Category Archives: Learning French

Learn two languages together with Duolingo

Learn Two Languages Together with Duolingo

Interested in learning two languages together, or learning a third language through your second?

Although the majority of courses at Duolingo in other languages are for learning English, there are some courses designed for native speakers of other languages to learn languages such as French, Spanish, German, etc. If you’re already used to the interface in English, it is quite easy to change to another language and try the courses available.

And of course, if you already speak another language, you can always use that language to learn another. Depending on how closely related the languages are, it may be easier to learn a third language through your second language instead of your native language. Personally, I prefer to learn Spanish through French rather than English.

As of mid 2016, the following languages offer Duolingo courses in more than just English:

For Spanish speakers – English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German and Catalan, while Guarani and Esperanto are almost ready

Learn two languages together with Duolingo

Duolingo courses currently available for Spanish speakers

For French speakers – English, Spanish, Italian, German, and Portuguese

For Italian speakers – English, French, German, and Spanish

For Portuguese speakers – English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian

For German speakers – English, French, and Spanish

For Russian speakers – English, German, French, Spanish, and Swedish

For Arabic speakers – English, French, German, and Swedish

For Turkish speakers – English, German, Russian, and French

For Chinese speakers – English, Spanish, and French

For reference, English speakers can currently learn the following languages on Duolingo: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Irish, Russian, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian (Bokmål), Esperanto, Ukrainian, Polish, Welsh, and Vietnamese. Hungarian, Greek, Hebrew, Czech, and Romanian will be released next, with Swahili, Hindi, Klingon, Korean, Indonesian, and Yiddish to follow (but not for a while!)

Don’t forget that you can learn two languages together, or multiple languages simultaneously, with our multilingual comparative resources

Best Chrome Extensions for Learning Languages

Best Chrome Extensions for Learning Languages

Best Chrome Extensions for Learning Languages

Extensive reading in a foreign language is an extremely effective way to increase your vocabulary, but without the use of graded readers or interlinear translations, it can be frustrating and tedious using a dictionary to look up words that you don’t know. Luckily there are some Chrome extensions that you can use when reading webpages to instantly translate words and even save them to flashcard decks to review later. These Chrome extensions for learning languages all use Google Translate to produce the translations, but let’s take a look at their different options and features.

 

Readlang Web Reader

My favorite Chrome extension for learning vocabulary through translation is Readlang because it saves every word you click on as flashcards so you can review them later. The entire sentence is also saved so you have the context, which is very important in learning vocabulary. You can also change the settings so that you hear the pronunciation after you click the word, and import the entire webpage to your Readlang account. The free account gives you unlimited single word translations and 10 phrase translations per day, while the premium account is only $5 a month or $48 a year. You can also install the Readlang bookmarklet on mobile or tablet (Safari or Chrome on iOS and Chrome on Android).

Readlang Web Reader Chrome Extension for Learning Vocabulary through Translation

Readlang Web Reader

Readlang Flashcards created from words you clicked on

The words you clicked on and the entire sentence are imported into your flashcards

 

Mango Reader Beta

The Mango Reader extension was just released in April and it is still in Beta mode, but it looks promising. After installing the extension, choose the language that you’re learning in the settings, and then just double click on a word. The translation will appear, along with a speaker icon to listen to the pronunciation, plus links to WordReference and conjugation websites. If you have a Mango account, you can sign in and have the option to save the word to your Vocab List to study later. You may have access to Mango Languages for free through your local American or Canadian library, but if not, unfortunately there isn’t a free option to create an account just for Mango Reader. However, for $20 a month or $175 a year, you will have unlimited access to all of their language courses (71 languages and counting.)

One small bug I noticed was that the pronunciation is sometimes an American accent pronouncing the word as if it were English, but the second click produced the correct pronunciation in the correct language. Currently, the supported languages for Mango Reader include: Modern Standard Arabic, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and Latin American Spanish.

Mango Reader Beta Chrome ExtensionMango Reader Beta 

 

Lingua.ly

The Lingua.ly extension uses both the Ultralingua and Babylon dictionaries as well as Google Translate. Each word you Alt + double click on is automatically added to your word list at webapp.lingua.ly – however, there appear to be some bugs since the export words to other applications function does not currently work. Lingua.ly is completely free and there are no limits on how many words you can look up or save.

Lingualy Chrome Extension for Learning Languages through Translation

Lingua.ly

Google Translate

Of course, Google Translate has their own Chrome extension that makes it easy to quickly look up a translation. With the Google Translate extension, you highlight a word to get the translation (and pronunciation, if available). Clicking on More will take you directly to the translate.google.com page.

Google Translate Chrome Extension

Google Translate Chrome Extension

 

Overall, I prefer to use Readlang because of the minimalist interface and the fact that the entire sentence is automatically saved. Sometimes I just use Google Translate if I’m not interested in saving words to flashcard decks. If you already use Mango Languages often, then their web reader might be a better option so you can save your word lists to your existing account. And if you would like other options besides translations from Google, then try Lingua.ly.

Any others?

Are there other Chrome extensions for learning languages that you recommend? Let me know!

Learn Informal French, French Slang, and Spoken French Expressions with authentic and spontaneous mp3s by several native speakers of French - transcripts and exercises also included!

Learn Informal French and Spoken French with new e-book and mp3s!

Informal and Spoken French e-book + mp3s now available

The companion to French Language Tutorial, Informal and Spoken French, is now available. This e-book is also more than 200 pages with 91 mp3s and free lifetime updates. It is designed to help you learn informal French that is often missing from textbooks and grammar books.

Learn informal French, French slang, and spoken French with authentic mp3s

This new e-book includes: reductions in speech, slang vocabulary and informal expressions, proverbs and idioms, 61 authentic and spontaneous French listening resources with fill-in-the-blank exercises and transcripts, and various realia images from Europe that show how French is used in real life. Both PDF and Word formats are included for easier editing and printing of the exercises. French teachers, feel free to use them in your classes! There are also online exercises to accompany the informal vocabulary lists and listening resources. Download a sample of Informal and Spoken French (including the table of contents).

Buy Informal and Spoken French


Buy Informal and Spoken French with French Language Tutorial!

Buy French Language Tutorial and Informal and Spoken French Together!

You can also buy the two French e-books together at a discounted price. These two products together include over 450 pages, 300 mp3s, and SEVEN HOURS of recorded French.

Buy French Tutorial + Informal French


If you had previously bought French Language Tutorial via Gumroad, you will receive an e-mail with a link to purchase Informal French and Slang at a large discount. E-mail list subscribers also receive a discount on ALL products!

Thank you for supporting ielanguages.com!

(Italian Language Tutorial will be available very soon!)

Romance Languages Verb Conjugations

Romance Languages Verb Conjugations – now with Portuguese

Romance Languages Verb Conjugations – now with Portuguese

The tables of Romance languages verb conjugations are currently being updated to include Portuguese. The tables are arranged with the columns containing French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese – but you can easily drag the columns into whichever order you’d like:

 

The tables include present, imperfect, preterite, future, conditional, present subjunctive, imperfect subjunctive, future subjunctive (for Spanish and Portuguese), affirmative and negative imperative, gerund/present participle and past participle, and the auxiliary verb used in perfect tenses (for French and Italian; they do not change for Spanish and Portuguese).

I’ve also created some simple blank charts in .docx format so you can practice writing out the conjugations. You could type the conjugations if you wanted to, but you are more likely to remember what you write with a pen or pencil than what you type on a computer.

Although they are designed to match the layout of the online verb conjugation tables, the charts can be easily modified if you want to compare different tenses/moods of the same language (such as present indicative and present subjunctive side-by-side). I’ve also left most of the labels blank so you can change the order of the languages and tenses/moods.

 

Downloads:

Conjugation Charts – Letter – Landscape

Conjugation Charts – Letter – Portrait

Conjugation Charts – A4 – Landscape

Conjugation Charts – A4- Portrait

 

Happy conjugating!

FluentU vs Yabla Language Learning with Authentic Video

FluentU vs Yabla – Language Learning with Authentic Video

FluentU vs Yabla for Learning Languages through Video Immersion

FluentU and Yabla are subscription websites for learning languages with authentic videos. Because they include subtitles (as well as English translations), the videos are a great way to improve your comprehension and learn new vocabulary. In this FluentU vs Yabla review, we’ll start with what both websites offer and then focus on the advantages of one over the other.

Features of both FluentU and Yabla:

  • currently available in six languages
  • ability to show or hide the subtitles and English translation
  • click on a word to see the translation, and add it to a set of flashcards to review later
  • play short sections in loops if you want to focus on a particular phrase or sentence
  • a large library of videos with new videos added each week
  • free videos to check them out before committing to a paid subscription
  • schools/classroom subscriptions for teachers who want to assign videos as homework and track their students’ progress

FluentU

FluentU offers videos in Spanish, French, German, English, Chinese, and Japanese. (Italian is planned but there is no exact date yet when it will be available.) FluentU costs $15/month for the basic plan and $30/month for the plus plan.

FluentU prices

The video interface is quite neat and clean, with the translations appearing when you hover over the word. Clicking on the word gives you more sample sentences and the option to add the word to a flashcard set.

FluentU vs Yabla Video Interface

If you are learning several languages, then FluentU will be perfect for you because your subscription gives you access to ALL languages. Fifteen dollars a month to learn six languages is a pretty great deal.

Yabla

Yabla offers videos in Spanish, French, Italian, German, English, and Chinese. Yabla costs $9.95 a month, BUT each language is a separate subscription, i.e. if you wanted to subscribe to both Spanish and French, you would need to pay $9.95/month two times.

Yabla prices

The video interface includes the dictionary on the right if you click on a word, as well as options to slow the video down and play a vocabulary game:

FluentU vs Yabla Language Learning with Authentic Video

Note that you can use the dictionary to look up any words, not just those that are used in the video you are watching.

How to Choose between FluentU and Yabla

I recommend both websites because they offer invaluable exposure to authentic language. So is there a clear winner in the FluentU vs Yabla competition? The best way to decide between the two basically depends on how many and which languages you are learning:

If you are learning only one language (either Spanish, French, Italian, German, English, or Chinese), then Yabla will be slightly cheaper.

If you are learning two or more languages (Spanish, French, German, English, Chinese, and Japanese), then FluentU will be a better deal especially on the Basic plan.

Of course, if you are learning Italian, your only option for now is Yabla.

Likewise, if you are learning Japanese, your only option is FluentU.

Let me know your thoughts on these websites!

 

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

Free Learning How to Learn MOOC on Coursera

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

Learning How to Learn is a free MOOC available through Coursera. It is a self-paced course which just started January 4, 2016, and I highly recommend it if you have trouble studying or remembering what you study. It includes valuable information about how your brain and memory work, and offers advice on how to study, take notes, conquer procrastination, etc. as well as what is NOT good for learning, i.e. constant re-reading and too much highlighting, for example.

This course is actually one of the most popular courses on Coursera, and the instructors deliver the content in a great way. While this course is broad enough to encompass learning material for various subjects, they do mention learning languages and the techniques are just as valid for learning languages as for learning math or science. One technique is the Pomodoro technique. Basically, you should study for 25 minutes (set a timer), and then take a 5 minute break – to stretch, exercise, have a snack, or just relax – and then do another 25 minute session, followed by another 5 minute break, and so on.

They also mention spaced repetition, which you are probably familiar with if you use Anki, Memrise, and other online study websites. The idea is to space out your learning and study over time rather than trying to cram and memorize everything at once. It is better to let your brain rest for a day or two and then repeat the material in order to really learn it.

The course is only 4 weeks long and new sessions start often if aren’t able to keep up with the quizzes this time around. The course is based on the book A Mind for Numbers, written by one of the instructors, Dr. Barbara Oakley. It is not required for the course, but it does delve deeper into the topic of learning math and science.

Learning How to Learn is based on the book A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley

Let me know if you’ve taken this MOOC and what your thoughts are on it.

Learn the Romance Languages Together: Resources You Need

Learn the Romance Languages Together: Resources You Need

If you want to learn the Romance languages together, you need to find resources that compare the languages.

Here are some Romance Languages books and videos to get you started:

One of the oldest books that compares the Romance languages and that is written in English is Comparative Grammar of French, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese Languages by Edwin A. Notley. This book was published in 1868 so it’s in the public domain and you can download a PDF that I created. Since it is so old, however, there are few spellings and words that are no longer used in the contemporary languages, so you will need to augment your study with more recent materials.

The Loom of Language: An Approach to the Mastery of Many Languages by Frederick Bodmer actually compares four Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese) as well as four Germanic languages (German, Dutch, Swedish and Danish), and offers advice on how to study multiple languages at the same time. Though a bit outdated, it is still my favorite book.

The Loom of Language: An Approach to the Mastery of Many Languages

The Seven Sieves: How to read all the Romance languages right away by EuroCom is a new initiative to promote intercomprehension of Romance languages. You can buy the book in PDF or paperback format through their website.

Another great book is Comparative Practical Grammar of French, Spanish and Italian by O.H. Heatwole. The main drawback is that there are only three languages, and since it’s out of print, it can be a bit difficult to find online. Third-party sellers do sell it on Amazon but it’s usually rather expensive.

Comparative Practical Grammar of French, Spanish and Italian

If you want to study vocabulary lists to learn the Romance languages, I have many lists available at Romance Languages Vocabulary Lists as well as some verb conjugations. The tables are set up so that English is first, followed by French, Italian, Spanish and then Portuguese. I chose this order due to how similar the languages are to each other. However, this may not be the order that you want to study the Romance languages in. Luckily, you can drag the columns in any order that you like! Simply click on the name of the language in the first column and drag it left or right.

Lastly, I’ve just created a video that teaches 25 basic phrases in French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. (I have also created a few videos to teach French and Spanish together.) Subscribe to the Youtube channel to be notified when any new videos are available.

I am really interested in finding other books, websites, or videos that help you learn the Romance languages together. Has anyone found other useful resources?

Intercomprehension of Romance Languages

Intercomprehension of Romance Languages

Learning to Comprehend the Romance Languages

If you understand French and are interested in learning other Romance languages, the MOOC Enseigner l’intercompréhension en langues romanes à un jeune public might be helpful. This MOOC, or CLOM in French, begins November 10, 2015, and lasts 4 weeks. It is designed for language teachers and students or anyone who is interested in multilingualism.

The concept of intercomprehension refers to the ability of users of closely related languages to understand each other thanks to linguistic similarities. It appears that this particular MOOC will focus on the six main Romance languages of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan and Romanian. Since it is developed by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the language used to teach about intercompréhension is French.

You can sign up now to join the MOOC.

 

Related:

Comparative Vocabulary and Verb Lists: Romance and Germanic Languages

Comparative and Multilingual Books for Learning Languages Simultaneously

Comparative Grammar of French, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese Available as PDF

FluentU Review

FluentU Review: Language Learning with Authentic Videos

FluentU Review: Great site for authentic videos

If you haven’t been using authentic videos with transcripts to learn languages, you are missing out on an effective way to increase your comprehension of spoken language as well as your knowledge of vocabulary and grammatical patterns. One website that offers many authentic videos and that I highly recommend is FluentU.

FluentU currently offers videos in French, Spanish, German, English, Chinese and Japanese, with Italian coming soon. As you can see in the screenshots, you can easily choose the difficulty level as well as the format of videos you are interested in: clips, movie trailers, commercials, etc.

The transcript and translation appears below the video and hovering over a word also shows the translation of that word. FluentU recently released their iPad app if you are a mobile learner, with an Android app also in development.

There is currently a free option if you’d like to create an account to check out the videos and captions. The Basic plan, which includes unlimited watching and listening with interactive captions, only costs $15 per month or $120 per year. The Plus plan costs $30 per month or $240 per year and also includes unlimited personalized learn mode, courses, flashcard sets and PDF printouts of the transcripts. Also note that you have access to ALL languages on FluentU rather than only one language so it is great for learners of multiple languages. You can change languages in Settings under Study Settings.

Learn French and Spanish Together

Learn French and Spanish Together

Do you want to learn French and Spanish at the same time (or Spanish and French together)?

I have started creating videos to help you learn these two languages at the same time.

I plan to create a comparative tutorial similar to French & Italian and French & German, but for now I am concentrating on Youtube videos. If you’d like to learn four Romance languages together, I’ve also created a basic phrases video and you can check out the Romance Languages Vocabulary Lists or Verb Conjugation Lists.

I am also planning to convert some of the mp3s from various language tutorials into Youtube videos for easier learning on mobile devices. So far, I’ve created a video on learning the Spanish alphabet:

And a few on conjugating verbs in the present and preterite tenses:

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Youtube channel so you’ll be notified when I upload new videos!