Learning New Words Electronically

by Linguarama 6. January 2012 07:29


How do you store the new words and phrases you meet on your language course? Many students write down their new words in a notebook, along with a translation. However, it can be difficult to find the words you record like this, in order to review them. Have you thought about how technology can help? This blog post looks at some of the exciting ways in which language learners can store their new words electronically.


Whichever language you are learning, a quick and easy way to get started is to enter your new words on a simple spreadsheet. You can include a column with information about the word, such as whether it is a noun, verb or adjective. A nice feature of a spreadsheet is that you can organise words alphabetically. It is a good idea to include a final column to create a meaningful sentence containing the new word. This personalises the language and helps you remember the new words. In time, you can build up a 'personal dictionary'. Try: google.docs 


MyWordBook is a great free app from the British Council, and worth investigating by learners of English. You can add your own new words, a translation, and even import a photograph from your album to illustrate a word. This app allows you to practise the new words through a simple multiple-choice game.


Technology can help you store words in 'concept groups' such as: finance, technology, hobbies etc. In the Macmillan English Dictionary app, you can create your own categories, then assign words to them. You can even add a 'note' to a word, allowing you to 'personalise' your electronic dictionary. Of course, you have the added bonus of being able to listen to your new words.


Just think about the number of words and phrases you meet every time you listen to the news or read a text. Whichever language you are learning, it pays to be 'systematic' in storing and reviewing vocabulary. Why not make 2012 the year you explore some ways in which technology can help you review your new words?  




Globalisation: the good, the bad and the necessary

by Linguarama 15. November 2011 11:48

In light of the recent wave of anti-capitalist protests, the Linguarama Blog is going to explore the many complex and sometimes controversial connotations of Globalisation.

Globalisation has become a buzz word for business. Thanks to its effects, the world has become a smaller place and trade is now freer than ever before.

Recently however, in the wake of the current financial crisis, the buzzword has become a byword for uncertainty in the fragile economic climate we live in.

So is globalisation an unstoppable force for good? Do the prospects for a homogenised world wide work place look glum? And what part will languages play in an increasingly integrated international market place?

First, a cost benefits analysis.

The ongoing question as to when globalisation began is still being debated today. One undeniable point is that over the last 20 years, the coming together of the world’s markets has benefited businesses both big and small. National interests and protectionism have taken a back seat in favour of blurred borders and expansion. Some argue its ubiquitous presence even encourages peace and prosperity between countries while others advocate the advantages of easier travel and improved communication links.

The cost of globalisation however, has become a bone of contention for many who feel that free trade is detrimental to developing economies and low cost travel has had an irreversible effect on the environment. Many suggest that the movement of labour leaves poorer countries lacking in skilled workers, thus keeping them in a perpetual state of poverty.

Globalisation’s impact on languages has been immense. To ensure they do not get left behind in the global market, companies the world over have been investing in language learning to compete on an international scale.

Over the past 40 years that we have been training business people to speak new languages Linguarama has seen a remarkable shift in the languages being requested. At the beginning, in addition to English, the demand was mostly for European languages with occasional requests for Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese. But now Russian, Chinese, Arabic and Spanish for South America form a large part of the training we offer. This reflects the increasing internationalisation and globalisation of business.

So is globalisation good or bad? I think we can conclude it is a little of both and as Kofi Annan so eloquently puts it: arguing against globalisation is like arguing against the laws of gravity.”  Globalisation is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Our advice would be to grab it with both hands and embrace what it has to offer, languages and all!   


Learning with technology

by Linguarama 30. September 2011 05:47


Learning with Technology has become a natural bi-product of the digital age; but could it ever become a realistic alternative to the classroom?

E-Learning has a myriad of benefits for the modern work place. We should know. Linguarama Direct, one of the early web-based language learning programmes, has helped thousands of learners improve their Business English as part of a blended language learning programme. 

Our trial version of Linguarama Connect, (http://www.linguarama.com/linguarama-connect ) our new language learning platform for Business English, has already proved an invaluable tool for supporting face-to-face language learning for our professional clients across Europe.

The news agency Reuters recently reported that Japan’s white collar workers have been panic buying E-Learning courses to combat what they have coined as an ‘English language crisis’  which is sweeping the country.

With slow economic growth, workers in Japan are aiming to improve their business English in order to gain an edge over their colleagues in an increasingly unpredictable market place.

Now, it is a well known fact that although Japan is the third largest economy in the world, their level of English has traditionally been low. The country's average score on the TOEFL, a computer-based test of English as a foreign language has not been at the top of the league among Asian countries. 

So is E-Learning the answer to Japan’s prayers?  In a word, no. E-Learning should only ever be used to complement classroom teaching, not replace it.

Although E-Learning is undeniably a cost effective means of learning languages, which offers convenience and flexibility, it cannot provide Japanese earners of Business English with the skills to compete in an increasingly English speaking, globalised economy.

Linguarama’s classrooms are brim full of language in action – discussion, debate and the kind of interaction that we learn language for. Outside the classroom our participants have the chance to log on to Linguarama Connect and use it as an additional learning tool.

At Linguarama, we embrace new technology and want our clients to have the chance to use it whenever it will benefit them. Technology is always evolving and no doubt there will be ever more innovative ways to learn languages online. In our opinion however, nothing will ever replace the value of the face-to-face, traditional classroom environment for getting the most out of your learning experience