One month ago I started the Language Hacking League (LHL) e-mail list, and I am really pleased with how it has evolved!
Every Monday I send out an e-mail with a language hacking tip, links to the Internet's best free resources for language learning and then I end by asking the league a question. E-mails also include behind the scenes updates from the fluent in 3 month project and advanced news on upcoming language missions, and on the Language Hacking Guide.
The responses and feedback I've been getting have been incredible from the almost 400 people who have signed up so far. If you'd like to join us, just fill in your name and e-mail on the right – you can unsubscribe at any time of course! People's responses have been fantastic and usually inspire the links and language hacking tips in later LHL e-mails.
So today, for those of you who haven't joined yet, I thought I'd share some of the LHL‘s favourite links so far. The Internet is full of some amazing resources, so this is just a small sampling that I'll be constantly adding to in the e-mails.
The best links for free language courses
I'll start by going overboard and give you a whole 175 links:
These two lists were exhaustively researched by the authors to gather the best free resources for language learners online – it's true that quite a few of them appear in both, but I'm sure you'll find something for whatever language(s) you are studying here! Let me know what your favourite links are!!
Ideas for mnemonics
Over the next weeks, I'm attempting several interesting techniques to try to quickly improve my scope of vocabulary, which I'll be writing about in more detail later. But up until now, image association has been extremely effective for me to rapidly and efficiently learn new vocabulary. One problem a lot of people have when they try this is that they are not used to creating interesting associations.
That's where Memorista comes in!! This site does the work for you by giving you already prepared associations (image and sounds-like) for particular basic vocabulary (in French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish). Some of them are very clever and will burn a particular word into your mind for good if you really imagine it, and give you great ideas for what to do on your own 🙂 There aren't a huge amount of examples, but it will certainly get you started on remembering the basics and give you ideas for how you could do it yourself!
Have a native say it for you!
If you've ever needed to hear what a particular sentence sounds like, it can be a bit of a problem; even phonetic languages can have their ways of catching you out, and you might not be sure about one exception. There are loads of cases where you just need to hear a native say a particular sentence, and if that's the case for you, then definitely check out this site: Rhinospike
To test it out I requested a German tongue twister that I've been challenged to pronounce (apparently some people have told me this will be my “true” test of speaking German with no accent 😛 ) and a native pronounced it for me!! I've also seen short texts (introduction speeches, or even short romantic poems) recorded that would clearly have been useful to the requester.
The time it takes to get a response back depends on whether you contribute your own native readings of texts for others. It's a fantastic idea since it encourages you to help others and others will help you quickly too. All you need is a microphone and speaker, and a completely free account on the Rhinospike site.
Continuing from this, there is another site that is extremely useful when you want to know how a particular word is pronounced: Forvo
In this case, just having a (free) account is enough and you can hear the word you are looking for immediately. Of course, you can contribute by recording words and phrases that others have requested in your own language. I thought of a few tricky words in several languages and they were all already there and pronounced very clearly!
Free instant text correction from natives
I've talked a lot about speaking languages on this site, and not so much about writing them. Well, the same rules apply! I personally don't believe you should study for years until you are “ready” before ever trying. You need to write soon, make mistakes and see where your problems are.
The only problem is, when you write something, there may be no natives around to correct you, especially if you are still in your home country. Well of course, the Internet comes to our rescue! Check out: http://lang-8.com/
Similar to other sites above, you sign up for free, ask for help, and give help with your native language. I tried it out with a short e-mail that I wanted to write in German and I got a response within an hour with corrections and even a helpful comment! This site is definitely worth checking out for those of you who are interested in improving your writing skills!! You can bet that I'll be using it a lot when preparing for my C2 exam.
Of course, the e-mails also include an unconventional language hacking tip every time, based on what I've picked up over the last 7 years. Have I given enough of a sales pitch for the LHL yet? Go join it!
If you are already a member, let us know if you've been enjoying it! Did you check out any of the links above and find them particularly useful? Any links that I haven't written in the e-mails yet that absolutely must be shared with language hackers? Let us know in the comments 🙂
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.