Getting Back on the Wagon

posted in: German, Language Apps & Resources, Misc | 0

It’s been a while since I posted! I took a break for far longer than I should have. Not only from posting here, but from seriously learning German.

After the competition on July and practices for choir ended, it took me some time to get back into serious language learning. It took me about a month to start taking lessons again on italki, though it has not been nearly as frequent as before. I used to do 2 lessons a week, but now it’s 1 lesson a week or none at all. 🙁

I also changed jobs at the end of August and the change was one of my excuses for not being ready. To be honest, I was wasting a lot of my free time not doing anything productive at all. It did not help that my new workplace was much more flexible with the working hours!

Apart from my language learning, I stopped exercising regularly and going to bed on time. Consequently, I wake up late. I decided that enough was enough, and I started to commit to a schedule.

For the last few months, I was still using Duolingo and Memrise (I don’t ever stop doing these two because of – I’ll admit it – my ongoing streak), but I added Lingvist again. After a few weeks and I was pretty comfortable, I started to add some additional language learning time in the last week.

I want to share the new apps and resources that I’m using. The first two are especially for training and practising speaking on your own. They’re perfect from this introvert’s POV.

Seedlang

I signed up for Seedlang earlier this year, though I never made much use of it.

I’m still not subscribed to it since I’ve recently bought some things *coughgamesandbookscough* and don’t have the spare cash for it. Regardless, the free content’s already pretty awesome. You can access the first deck of each topic in the content tree.

It’s made by the people who host Easy German, which was how I knew about it in the first place. (Sadly I’ve still not yet made watching Easy German videos weekly a habit again.)

I particularly liked the listen and record feature. Of course, I felt weird doing it the first few times. I never liked hearing my own voice and recording myself. I like recording videos even less. But somehow I got past it and decided that it was pretty good practice.

This was what led me to try out Speechling again.

Speechling

Speechling was another service I signed up for earlier this year. But back then, I was uncomfortable with the idea of recording my voice, much less letting a professional teacher hear it and give feedback. Thanks in part to Seedlang, I got over it. Anyway, speaking to yourself is still way better than having to speak to someone else.

There’s a ton of other features including dictation, but the main one I use now is the Speak mode under Study, which I do for 25 minutes a day (1 pomodoro). You can hear a native recording, and then you get to record your voice.

Unlike Seedlang, you can re-record the same sentence as many times as you like before moving on. As a free user, there’s only 10 recordings that you can save a month. You do that by clicking their “Save for Coaching” button. I did not realise that saving would immediately send that for feedback, so I ended up using all 10 for this month already.

Even so, I find that there’s a lot of value in just practising on your own and hearing the difference between your voice and the native recording. One minor gripe: The voice in the native recording somewhat mechanical, and I almost think that it might be computer-generated. (But Speechling’s landing page says that a professional voice actor says each sentence.)

I think this app can be more polished. I’ve seen discrepancies between the audio and the text that is provided. I’ve also seen misspellings that change the meaning of the sentence because the wrong word is used. There’s an easy way to report errors, but I’m not sure how quickly the team resolves them.

Still, it’s a good service. Did I mention how much I like the visualisation of the audio waveforms? I like how I can visually compare the native recording with my own.

Grammar Hero

Okay, so apart from the other stuff that I’ve been buying, there’s also one language-related product that I bought recently: IWTYAL‘s Grammar Hero, launched sometime last week. The launch offer was that all the other 5 languages would be thrown in for free. The only ones that would be of use would be French and Italian right now. (I’ve not yet received the email for those other languages, so I only have access to the German edition.)

Mostly, I was sold on the idea that it was story-based, and that there would be audio files provided. I mean, I always love a good story. I’m not sure how useful it will be for me in terms of grammar. For German, the main topics are to do with prepositions, which I am mostly fine with for the basics.

But truth be told, learning grammar rules has never been the most difficult part of language learning for me. It would be nice to internalise the grammar through context, and I hope that the course can help me with that.

I’ve started on the first mission. The full course will have 15 missions, corresponding to 15 stories, but as of now, there’s only 5 fully available.

I spotted some minor errors here and there in the document, but I’m sure they’ll be sorted out and fixed eventually. At least, that was my experience with Conversations. (Yeah, I bought that last year, though I don’t think I mentioned it.)

Goldlisting?

While looking through some forums a few weeks ago, I came across for the first time the Goldlist method. I can’t believe it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of it.

It sounds like something that I would like to try. Not with German, since I’m using Memrise, which is a SRS and is not compatible, but with Greek.

I recently caved and bought two books for learning Koine Greek. I might start goldlisting one of the books, though that’s subject to having enough time to set aside. (I’ve still got a few things to work out for my schedule. While I now try to accomplish everything, I don’t do it at a set time, so it’s still kind of messy.)

If and when I start, it might be interesting to document my efforts here.

Moving Forward

So although I’ve gotten my language-learning schedule kind of set for now, I’ve not yet decided what the future of this blog will be. I’m not sure what I will be posting or when I’ll be posting again. Hopefully I’ll be able to post an update by next month.


P.S. While I’m not paid to write about the apps or sites above, some of the links above are referral links.