Introducing Langscript

I have recently created a simple browser-based synchronized audio-text reader for language learning purposes. I have checked out some other synchronized audio-text readers available on the web, but none of them seems to have sentence-level synchronization and at the same time support multiple translations. Out of frustration, I wrote my own. LangScript synchronizes the audio […]

Hyperpolyglot Who Speaks 59 Languages

Yesterday I was contacted by someone who claimed to speak 59 languages and he was only 18 years old! My first reaction was: Really?! Well, ‘speak’ is a vague term. In fact, he admitted up front that he was not fluent in all of them. Before jumping into any conclusion of my own, I did […]

The Most Effective Way to Learn Hiragana

Over the years, I had made a few attempts to learn Hiragana (平仮名), the fundamental character set of the Japanese language. Sadly, in every attempt I quited before completing the first row of あ, い, う, え, お (a, i, u, e, o). I never intended to learn Japanese seriously in the past, so I […]

Google’s Babel Fish

Here is my latest fish-joke. It was Chinese New Year last week. My colleague of Mexican origin instant-messaged me: ‘新年好’ (good New-Year). Obviously, he had been playing around with Google Translate. So I challenged him that, with the help of Google Translate, he should not have any more excuse not to chat with me in […]

What is Natural Approach really?

Keith commented on my previous post, questioning on how SRS can fit into the “natural language learning” model. After all, it is not natural. It seems to be me that different “language naturists” have different degrees of “naturalness” in their approaches. By all means, I am in favour of the “natural approach” as opposed to […]

SRS and the Natural Approach

The other day Kev posted an excellent question in my previous post. He asked: If you spend progressively more and more of your time on reading and listening (as you should), wouldn’t the amount of time you spend on feeding/reviewing an SRS fade to zero? Therefore, is it worth spending any time at all on […]

SRS Best Practices

The key to language acquisition is vocabulary-building. The best way to build your vocabulary is through comprehensive input (i.e., reading and listening). An efficient way to maintain your vocabulary is to use an Spaced Repetition System (SRS). There is no doubt about it. Look around and you will see everybody in the language-learning circle talks […]

Sorry, I Don’t Speak French

I recently read the book “Sorry, I Don’t Speak French“, which gave a very comprehensive account on the language struggle in the recent history of Canada. To those who are not familiar with the issue, French has been spoken predominately in the Quebec province, and English in the rest of Canada. The Quebeckers resent the […]

Learn to Speak Fluently in No Time

As I have said in a previous post, many people expect everything free from the Internet, but yet they are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on books and materials on language learning. Some publishers out there are therefore more than happy to take advantage of these people. They are confident that they can convince […]

No More Skypecast

Over the weekend, another free on-line service was gone, not only the “free” part, but also the service itself. Skypecast was launched in 2006 to host public conference calls up to 100 people at a time. It was since being established as a meeting place for many to get to know others and talk about […]

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