October 10, 2013 | Review Period
And French-Flashcards.com, and German-Flashcards.com, and Spanish-Flashcards.com, and much more!
I am a little sleep-deprived today, for which I blame Oliver Antosch and Wei Hsiang Lin, a husband-and-wife team whose UK-based company, Antosch & Lin, has a dozen different flashcard websites that kept me up way into the wee hours.
For quite a while now I have had a subscription to their websites, but last night was the first time I got around to trying them. I’m so glad I did!
The preliminary report is: I love their offerings. There is much wit and variety here. I have to explore all the features, which is going to take quite a while, especially since their languages span Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Thai.
Antosch & Lin: Look at All the Languages!
So far I have found their approach extremely helpful. It has flashcard practice, which I love, fused with modern technology, which I often don’t love—at least not the way many companies use it. I am in general a fan of paper flashcards and often of calm, one-medium-at-a-time learning, but this site impressed me with its judicious deployment of technological capabilities.
Technology for technology’s sake sucks. Smart technology is wonderful.
Here you can select your level of sophistication, work with words or entire sentences, remove vocabulary from or add it to the lineup, postpone words’ return to the lineup for a certain number of hours or days, and do a variety of other things to tailor your online experience and expedite your flashcard-based learning. Plus there is audio!
Most important of all, the vocabulary is relevant, useful, and interesting. On the Portuguese site I came across sentences like the following:
- Eles vão perder o jogo. = They will lose the game.
- Eu beijo bem. = I’m a good kisser. (This one cracks me up. It is rarely a good sign when someone makes such a claim.)
- Ela o traiu com o Pedro. = She cheated on him with Peter.
- Detesto ver meus pais brigarem. = I hate to see my parents argue.
- Muitas pessoas fumam no Líbano. = In Lebanon a lot of people smoke.
I love the audio for Portuguese, in part because the accent sounds (to me) exactly like the ones in my Pimsleur audio lessons for Brazilian Portuguese. Consistency is helpful to the solo language learner. (I am using VocabuLearn for Portuguese, too—audio-only vocabulary lessons—and it’s going reasonably well, but the accent is different enough from Pimsleur that it throws me sometimes.)
The Antosch & Lin design is simple, clean, and logical. Unlike on a site such as Cram.com (formerly FlashcardExchange.com—and I really dislike that name change, by the way!), where cards are submitted by random people from around the globe, these are professionally edited and therefore much more reliable. That is a relief.
I believe the combination of rapid-fire drills with visual and audio stimulation will really help me improve at this point, especially with Portuguese, where my grasp of accent and spelling remains tenuous compared to the other Romance languages I have studied. I will write more about the various features and controls, which appear to be quite extensive—yet not at all confusing so far!—when I become more familiar with them myself.
You can get limited access to any of the sites for free, but you have to pay if you want all the features. That is true of most worthwhile language-learning tools. I already know I love/need the sound component, and that comes only with the paid membership.
The pricing is totally reasonable, though: $7.99 per month or $71.88 per year. For all you crazed polyglots out there, you in particular will get your money’s worth, because that fee grants you access to all 12 Antosch & Lin languages at once.