June 1, 2013 | Irish
Vocabulary Daze and a Heat Wave
New York City is in the grip of a heat wave, so today I roamed the entire worldwide web while lounging near an air conditioner.
This was a very hot day in New York, so I ended up spending much of the afternoon with air conditioning, FlashcardExchange.com, and various other vocabulary-abetting websites. My Irish vocabulary is not expanding fast enough. The situation is growing urgent.
Some of the Many Languages Available to FlashcardExchange.com Devotees
I had been on the FlashcardExchange.com site before, but not that much. I am trying to test it more thoroughly now, in part because (1) I can’t exactly go buy a box of Irish vocabulary cards in my local bookstore, and also because (2) I want to report more accurately on the usefulness of this resource.
Although there are scores of languages on the site, this time I went straight to the Irish section. One of my concerns about FlashcardExchange.com is that random people are putting their flashcards online. No offense to random people, but the problem is, besides getting random people’s flashcards, you also get random people’s mistakes, which is one of the reasons I haven’t visited this particular web locale all that much.
There in the Irish corner of FlashcardExchange.com, I spent some time trying out a pack of verb flashcards that someone had posted. They were very useful. But sometimes the person who made them didn’t know a particular verb form and put question marks instead. I’m not complaining; that’s just kind of how it goes with an undertaking like this. In general, I prefer my language-learning materials to have made their way past the eyes of a professional editor.
I tried other Irish flashcard sets from different people. One thing I didn’t realize was how much different functionality there was on the site. For example, you can be in memorize mode to help you learn the flashcards, or you go can into testing mode, which allows you to set up different types of test questions, such as fill-in-the-blank, or matching, or multiple-choice, or true-false, or a healthy blend.
Still, after a while I got a little sick of FlashcardExchange.com and started roaming through other Internet neighborhoods in search of more Irish vocabulary.
The things you can find online!
I came across another vocabulary-promoting website that I ended up really liking. It is called Digital Dialects and offers free games for 60 languages, one of them being Irish.
I studied up on Irish fruit and other food, Irish colors, and a bunch of miscellaneous Irish nouns, and it was fun. There were word lists (good for reviewing, and just the right length not to kill off brain cells), but also cute and effective games.
In a food game, I had to look at a food-related word and then click the corresponding food item on a table. If I picked right, the food would go sailing off the table and onto the floor. (It didn’t break and make a mess, but that would be a fabulous addition.) I am in theory a grownup, but the animation amused me.
Once that food fell off the table, then I would be given more food to make fall off the table. I liked it.
Digital Dialects Food Game: As Soon As I Click That Salt, It Will Go Flying Off the Table
I found it interesting how much easier it seemed to be to learn the words with the images. I didn’t think that mattered for my particular brain configuration. I’m still not sure it does, because the truth of the matter is, I had just spent quite a bit of time on FlashcardExchange.com studying food and other words, so maybe that gave me a boost for my visit to Digital Dialects. (By the way, I believe FlashcardExchange.com does accommodate cards with images; I just haven’t come across any yet.)
I have just posted a review of the Digital Dialects site here.
At times during my FlashcardExchange.com and Digital Dialects adventures, I made side expeditions to Forvo to get pronunciations of words whose appearance stymied me. I was pretty off on the pronunciations of some.
By the way, I tried using the WordFlash vocabulary apps on the Talk Irish website the other day, and I was disappointed. I had had high hopes, because I like their online Irish course so much, but the vocabulary functionality did not make pedagogical sense to me, at all. I quickly gave up.
Towards the end of my web day today, I hung out on Irish section of Quizlet and took a few little Irish quizzes. That, too, was fun, though I don’t know much of anything about the site.
What was up with the web today?! I had fun everywhere, and every second of it was free, and now the heat wave is nearly over, and tomorrow I intend to emerge from the Internet into the light.