Author Archives: Dr. Jennifer Wagner

About Dr. Jennifer Wagner

Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.

Best Chrome Extensions for Learning Languages

Best Chrome Extensions for Learning Languages

What are the 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 

 

Rememberry

Translate words on webpages and save them to your own customizable flashcard decks with Rememberry. Translations  and pronunciations are via Google Translate. This is a relatively new extension, and mobile apps and offline use are in the works.

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.

Any others?

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

[Post updated in April 2017 replacing Rememberry with the now-defunct lingua.ly extension.]

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!)

World Congress of Applied Linguistics - AILA 2017 in Brazil

AILA 2017 in Brazil: World Congress of Applied Linguistics

AILA 2017: World Congress of Applied Linguistics

The 18th World Congress of Applied Linguistics (AILA 2017) will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from July 23 to 27, 2017. The call for papers has been extended to May 31, 2016, so submit your proposals (in English, Portuguese, or Spanish) for papers, posters, workshops, or symposia at the official website.

This is the largest gathering of applied linguists in the world, and it only happens once every 3 years. The last one was in Brisbane, Australia, and since I was doing my PhD in Australia at the time, I was fortunate enough to go. Over 1,500 delegates attended and the conference ran for 5 full days. It was an exhausting, but amazing, week. The theme for this year is Innovation and Epistemological Challenges in Applied Linguistics.

AILA 2017 also has a Facebook page if you’d like to follow their updates. I don’t think there’s an official Twitter hashtag but I use #AILA2017

Hope to see you all in Rio next year!

If you’d like to start learning Portuguese in preparation for your trip to Brazil, check out the Portuguese tutorial with audio recordings by native speakers, the Foreign Service Institute course From Spanish to Portuguese, and the Romance Languages Comparative Vocabulary Lists or Verb Conjugations!

Spanish Accents Game by El País

Fun Spanish Accents Game

Play a Spanish Accents Game

Here’s a fun game to see if you can hear the various Spanish accents around the world. El País has a multiple choice quiz where you choose a country depending on which accent you hear in the video.

 

Spanish Accents Game Screenshot

 

I have no problems hearing differences in the accents from Spain, Mexico, and Argentina, but the others are still difficult for me to distinguish. Luckily the videos in the game are actually of people talking about a certain word or expression used in their country, so if you have knowledge of regional vocabulary, you can still figure out what country they are referring to even if you aren’t sure by the sound of the accent alone.

Try it out and see how many you can get!

German Language Tutorial PDF e-book and mp3s now available

Learn German with German Language Tutorial e-book and mp3s

German Language Tutorial Now Available for Purchase!

If you are learning the German language and would like a complete overview of German grammar and vocabulary as well as audio files so you can read and listen at the same time, then this is the product for you.

The PDF e-book includes:

  • over 160 pages of grammar and vocabulary topics and sample sentences,
  • realia images and photos taken in Germany and Austria so you can see how German is used in real life,
  • links to German, Austrian, and Swiss websites so you can learn more authentic German online,
  • plus nearly TWO HOURS of audio (127 mp3s) recorded by two native speakers – the lovely Sabrina and Simone – so you can learn the pronunciation of each word and sentence.

Your purchase also includes FREE lifetime updates to the e-book and mp3s!


Buy German Language Tutorial

American English courses at Udemy with Dr. Jennie

American English Courses at Udemy

American English Courses at Udemy.com

American Pronunciation and English for French Speakers Courses

Are you learning American English? Do you need help with American pronunciation? I have been busy the past few months creating American English courses for Udemy, and they are finally ready! Currently, there are two courses available:

The pronunciation course is a paid course, but if you subscribe to the ielanguages.com newsletter, you will receive a coupon code for a large discount. (Look for the code in the final welcome email.) There are a few preview videos you can watch first if you’d like to the check out the content.

The English for French Speakers course is free! (And it’s actually still in the review process, but you can join and start learning now anyway.) Even if your native language is not French, most of the lectures are in English only so you may still find it useful. And did I mention it’s free?

Promo video for American English Pronunciation: Vowels and Consonants course:

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’0′ hide_logo=’0′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’0′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBDeb5pVqxM[/responsive_video]

 

Promo video for American English for French Speakers course:

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’0′ hide_logo=’0′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’0′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3Mww1sOpQU[/responsive_video]

 

I plan to create another pronunciation course on Stress and Rhythm and as well as a vocabulary course on English for Academic Purposes in the future. I will also continue to add new content to the existing courses based on student feedback, so let me know what else you would like to learn.

 

Thanks for your interest in learning American English!

– Dr. Jennie

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!

Using Univision Telenovela Transcripts and Readlang to Learn Spanish

Using Telenovela Transcripts and Readlang for Learning Spanish

Telenovela Transcripts Now Available at Univision.com

Univision usually includes Spanish subtitles for their telenovelas online, but I’ve recently noticed that they now also include the ENTIRE TRANSCRIPT of each episode below the video. This is great for copying and pasting into other programs (think of the corpus linguistics applications!), but it also means that you can use the Readlang add-on to quickly translate a word you don’t know by clicking on it – as I have done with the word rebaños in the screenshot. This is not possible with the subtitles, which you cannot click on or copy and paste elsewhere.

This example above is from episode 10 of El Hotel de los Secretos (The Hotel of Secrets), which you must check out. It’s a Mexican telenovela, but not like the stereotypical crazy telenovelas since it’s more like a period drama. It takes place at a fancy hotel in the Mexican countryside in 1908, and it’s actually an adaptation/remake of the Spanish drama series Gran Hotel (which has been called the Spanish Downton Abbey). I’m a tiny bit obsessed with it already.

El Hotel de los Secretos Telenovela on Univision

There are lots of mysteries and (obviously) secrets to figure out, and the plot advances rapidly so you won’t get bored waiting for the obvious to happen like with so many other telenovelas. Plus there will only be 80 episodes total so it won’t keep dragging on.

If you have access to the Univision videos online, you can watch most of the episodes for free. The latest five episodes are locked unless your cable provider allows you to log in, or you can subscribe to Hulu for all of the episodes. Another option is Univision’s new subscription app that lets you watch Univision live or anything shown within the past 72 hours.

The other major Spanish-language channel in the US, Telemundo, also provides videos of their telenovelas online, but so far they only offer subtitles in Spanish embedded in the videos.

Intercomprehension Websites for Learning Multiple Languages

Intercomprehension Websites for Learning Multiple Languages

Explore Some Intercomprehension Websites

Learning to Comprehend Several Languages at the Same Time

I have previously posted about comparative books for learning several languages together, including EuROM5 which has an accompanying website. Here are some other intercomprehension websites for learning multiple languages at the same time. These projects focus on comprehending languages related to your native language or learning to understand closely related languages. Some of these projects offer explanations in English while others remain in the target languages only (usually Romance languages).

Union Latine – Some Romance language activities in Catalan, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian; six modules for learning all six languages (Romance Itineraries) and the game Limbo for learning Spanish and Portuguese

Euro-mania – Twenty lessons in six languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Occitan, and Romanian) on the topics of science, history, geography, technology and math

Euromania - Learn Six Languages Together

Sample page from first module of Euro-mania with integrated sound files

 

Micrela – Mutual intelligibility of closely related languages project with language game to test how well you can understand a European language related to your native language

European Awareness and Intercomprehension – Platform for comprehending 11 European languages (Bulgarian, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish or Turkish) based around traveling in Europe, with videos

Intermar – project designed to facilitate the reciprocal understanding and learning of languages through intercomprehension in a maritime context; materials in English (as the lingua franca at sea), Romance, Germanic, and Baltic languages

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:

  • available in multiple 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, Italian, German, English, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. (Italian seems to have fewer content than the other languages, and Portuguese appears to be in the works.) FluentU costs $15/month or $120/year for the Basic plan and $30/month or $240/year 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 nine 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, then FluentU will be a better deal especially on the Basic plan.

If you are learning Italian, there is currently more content available at Yabla.

If you are learning Japanese, Korean, or Russian, your only option is FluentU.

Let me know your thoughts on these websites!

 

This post was last updated March 2018.