Author Archives: Maik Barrett

MosaLingua – More than just flashcards

We have a review from my lovely language obsessed husband, Maik.

One of the perks of attending the 2016 Polyglot Gathering in Berlin was the amazing offer from the guys at MosaLingua to give every attendee free access to their Premium Apps for learning German, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian and Spanish.

 

Here’s what we think of them.

 

So, for a start, the apps are available for both iOS and Android. At its core, MosaLingua uses a flashcard system with spaced repetition. That doesn’t sound like anything special you might say, plenty of apps out there that already do that, but bear with us!

 

Here are some of the elements which set MosaLingua apart at first glance:

MosaLingua dialogues

 

  • Their phrases are well chosen, and useful in actual conversations
  • You can actually study entire, authentic dialogues
  • Good quality (native speaker) audio and images with each flashcard
  • A clever rating system

 

More on that last point:

 

Rather than being simply marked as right or wrong, the user can select four levels of marking the answer (in descending order of confidence): Perfect, good, difficult and again. These ratings determine the timing and frequency of when the flashcard is next presented.

 

But going back to the beginning, MosaLingua lets you select your level when you first start in the app, giving you some brief pointers of what you should be confident with at that level. Alternatively you can take a fairly simple placement test. Based on the results, the app then personalises your learning plan, so you don’t waste your time learning/ reviewing stuff you already know.

 

The flashcards you are presented with always contain full sentences. This clearly makes them more challenging than individual words, but also a lot more useful. To help your learning, each card is also presented in different ways, i.e. a card with a full sentence in either English or the foreign language, a card where you write out the phrase, or a jumbled up sentence where you need to select the correct words in the right order.

 

MosaLingua Categories

One feature we particularly like is the “Useful Lists”, which contains the following:

  • My new cards – yes, you can actually create your own cards within the app
  • By level – all available flash cards sorted into levels of difficulty from basics to advanced and specialised
  • Ignored cards – the ones you have chosen not to learn
  • Cards to learn – cards that you want to learn (obviously)
  • Memorised cards – the ones you are in the process of memorising
  • Cards to review (exactly what it says …)

 

On top of this you can jump straight into a subject that interests you, such as Eating, Shopping or Socialising, to name just a few. And you can unlock bonus material (including jokes) as you progress – an additional reward for your learning.

 

So, to summarise: MosaLingua is not your average spaced-repetition driven flashcard app. What sets it apart is how much you as the user can customise the app for your own purposes. If you get an answer right by sheer luck, you average app would just mark it as correct and assume you’ve learnt it, whereas MosaLingua will let you say “actually that as pretty difficult and I just happened to guess right”. Add to that the ability to create your own cards and the being able to study by topic, and you have a very personalised approach to virtual flashcards.

 

Of course no flashcard app is sufficient on its own to make you fluent in a language, but MosaLingua gives you a great set of tools to build up a useful arsenal of phrases. So, we recommend you give one of their apps a go. Test drive one of the free versions, and if you like it, you can upgrade for less than £5. Let us know what you think!

 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=MosaLingua+Crea

https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/mosacrea-limited/id353372463

Confessions of a German grammar geek (yes I like alliteration!)

With my amazing wife

With my amazing wife

This week we have a guest post from Maik with some breaking news about exciting new developments here at Lingotasic. Anyway I’ll let Maik tell you more…

 

Hi there! I’m Sarah’s husband Maik. When Sarah started Lingotastic, little did I know how quickly she would become (and I’m not exaggerating) an international phenomenon. At the time of me writing this blog, I think the numbers are at over 500 Facebook likes and 2,000 Twitter followers from across the world. Not to mention all the re-pins on Pinterest. Within a short time she’s managed to establish links with other language enthusiasts in the U.S., Taiwan, France and Wales to name just a few. All this on top of her regular language classes for tinies in the good old Home Counties.

Now the time has come for me to join my wife on the exciting rollercoaster ride which is Lingotastic. But let me tell you a bit more about myself. My name is actually pronounced Mike, and I’m originally from Germany.

Growing up in Germany, Languages have been a part of my life from quite early on, starting with learning English in school from year 5, French from year 7, and later additions of Latin, Spanish, Polish and some Hebrew. Yes, I do like languages A LOT!

Of course in a lot of cases I had a vested interest. Learning English allowed me to pick up twice as many jokes in my favourite sci-fi comedy, Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs” and watch dozens of cartoons like Inspector Gadget in the original. Oh, and it also meant I could watch, and understand reasonably well, the original UNCUT version (including all the gory bits normally cut out for German telly) of the Terminator movie when it was on cable from the Netherlands.

Asterix and his "big-boned" friend Obelix

Asterix and his “big-boned” friend Obelix

In the same way, Latin helped when reading my favourite comic book series … Asterix! Which was of course originally written in French. So after our school organised an exchange with a school in Rennes, France, I naturally returned home with my luggage containing a good number of Asterix books in their original lingo.

As for Polish, well this was actually during my University days, when I was studying European Business Studies. And it was basically a cut-price summer holiday! A full month of residential language learning in Czieszyn, Poland, including accommodation and food for a few hundred deutschmarks (this was pre euros).

Lots of Vodka. Got to try it all ...

Lots of Vodka. Got to try it all …

Naturally it involved making a lot of friends who would help try all of the 30-odd different brands of Vodka on the shelves of the local supermarket. It must have helped, or at least not been detrimental to the learning experience. I was actually reasonably fluent at the end of the month, having arrived in Poland with practically no prior knowledge.

It was also during my University days that I met Sarah – and we were married just a couple of months before I submitted my dissertation. Of course you know of her passion for languages, so it was only natural for us to bring up a multilingual family. Although honestly all those years ago I could hardly have imagined us singing the Two Tigers song in Mandarin, La vaca Lola in Spanish or entering an Esperanto language challenge as a family. But you’ve probably seen a lot of the mad stuff we get up to on the blog already, like randomly sticking Flashsticks post-its in all sorts of places.

There’s plenty more stuff in the pipeline for Lingotastic, including a multilingual CD of all the favourites from the classes and more! And I’ll be helping to develop our programme to go into nurseries and schools, doing classes, and lunchtime as well as after school clubs. Making language learning part of everyday life is what Lingotastic is all about, making it literally child’s play across the age groups.

The enquiries are already coming in from schools, as well as parents interested in after school tuition. Exciting times ahead, and I’m glad to be on board for this next phase of the adventure of Lingotastic!