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"This is a great tool, thanks." Nell, EU.
"its a great idea!!!! its perfect for me because of english - tagalog - one of the very rare sources!" Dirk, Germany.
"I am enjoying your site very much - keep up the good work!" Elen, USA.
"tankyo" (sic) Faras, Saudi.
"cool.it is cool. love your stuff, feel like i’m doing something useful at work now your site’s on my desktop!" Rob, Amsterdam.
"I am American from the US and speak Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and can read Hebrew. Your program is the greatest idea since Rosetta Stone! I am interested in learning other languages…Your site and the idea of 10 words a day is brilliant!" Jay, USA
"This is a GREAT idea! Love it… Keep up the good work!" Rob, USA
"excellent idea, fun, practical and very effective" Rob, UK
"I need this" Claudio, Brazil.

The Blog

Do you speak Globish? Please don’t!

January 26th, 2009

Globish is the word used by Jean-Paul Nerriere to describe the English language as spoken by the majority of speakers. Across the globe, native speakers of English are now the minority. I wonder if he understands the connotations ‘Globish’ will suggest to native  speakers?

Globish. Glob.  Collocates with spit. Gibberish, gobblish, rubbish, something spat out. It is not a pretty word.

Jean-Paul Nerriere concentrates attention on the down side of the English linguistic empire. The way English is being used is evolving. This is nothing new. Look back to Shakespeare to see how language changes over time, look across the pond to see how two nations can be ’separated by a common language’ (Shaw).

According to a bbc report ‘Globish has only 1,500 words and users must avoid humour, metaphor, abbreviation and anything else that can cause cross-cultural confusion’.  Dull, dull, dull.

Yes, learn the most important 1,500 words first (exactly what we include in Learn10), but these are merely the means for you to investigate the world of a new language, not the ends in themselves.  If you think 1,500 words are enough, you might be interested to read this article by Tim Ferris. (At least he has improved on his previous 1 hour estimate of the time necessary to learn a new language). It sounds like globish to me.

The Learn10 Gaming Challenge - games are good for you.

November 18th, 2008

So… you like playing flash games… but what are they good for? periods of incarceration, public transport, idle afternoons in the office?

Learn10 is about to banish any vague feeling of unease you may experience after a lunchtime gaming session. We have a cunning plan to make online gaming a little more wholesome.

Learn10 is looking for flash game developers to sweeten the medicine of vocabulary learning. Developers can reach into our API to pick out pieces of a puzzle for individual gamers. Mostly these are going to be 10 daily word pairs in a language being studied, but it could be just about any call and response combination the Learnit member has input into our system.

We’re talking with Geewa.com and are awaiting a response from the Kongregate.com team (hello jim!). I’m also now going to speak to The Casual Collective and the Pirate guy.

The Learn10 API has so far been used to develop a screensaver and simple test functions, but we reckon that the creative might of game developers out there will come up with some fantastic results. Some possible examples:

  • A Tetris (falling words) style game where the learner must input the correct answer
  • A Space Invaders style game where the longer the word, the more points accessed.
  • A memory style game.
  • Integration into existing multi-player online games in the form of clues or articles for collection.
  • Integration of a speech recognition API - input via correct pronunciation.

All games created using the Learn10 API will be listed in a Learn10 games resource directory - with a rating system (of course) and affiliate opportunities for participating hosts.

So the medicine will be integrated, and the reward: gaming time is good for you.

We have ways of making you talk

November 6th, 2008

press release

Background: German firm Babbel.com has just bought out British FriendsAbroad.com - but Brit owned Learn10.com is there to make you learn using the methods of the Advertising  industry.

English speakers don’t exactly have the best reputation for speaking a second language. Those that do are the exception, rather than the rule. But, now is the time to try, because learning a new language just got a lot more convenient. The learn10 widget is a new service which helps you pick up 10 new words every day. It uses the thinking of the advertising industry, and you can find it on all over the Internet.

The old fashioned, Brits Abroad way of communicating with “Johnny Foreigner” was to talk loudly, and, if that didn’t work, shout. With 750 million people around the world learning English, it’s easy to see why native speakers can get away without learning the local lingo, so why try?

Nicola Robinsonova, from learn10.com says that the number one reason given by learn10cusers, is, because it’s fun! Brain fitness and career opportunities are also important, but pleasure was the number 1 motivator for language learners. Learning a language for love was also important, with many learners saying that they were inspired to learn because of their partner, or family.


Why now? We are seeing rapid technological development. There are a host of new products being created for the growing market of online language learners. Many of these are currently free, or available for a small charge. And though 80% of the Internet is in English, there are lots of materials in other languages, such as tv and radio stations and local newspapers. These days you can be immersed without leaving your computer. You can swap languages with native speakers on several language sites such as German based Babbel.com.

One tool,  the Learn10 widget, began with its founders, Mike and Nic, moved to a small village in South Bohemia.

“We’d been learning Czech for 18 months before we moved. Our classes were great - but, lacking time, we skipped class & didn’t do our homework. As Czech isn’t a common language, there weren’t so many resources available for it online. We created Learn10 out of our own need, so that learning a language is part of our day, not something that takes extra time. We now offer 22 languages (the long tail), so not just the most popular ones like French, German & Spanish.

“I get to see 10 daily words in lots of different places: my email & twitter accounts, blogs and language sites. They’re on Facebook, my desktop and we have a screensaver as well. You can even subscribe to an SMS service to get the words sent to your mobile phone every day.”

The inspiration for Learn10 came out of Nicola’s experience as a researcher for the advertising industry. “We are using the techniques of the advertising industry to help people learn what they want to.” says Nicola.

The learn10 widget spins out user generated lists around the Internet through an affiliate scheme - this means that any publisher can put an ‘advert’ on their site which holds the content selected by members of Learn10.com. Sponsored slots are also available to spread the content even further.

The English language is the lingua franca around the world, arguably the UK’s most successful export. If you want to get on in business or a career you need to be able to speak English. In many countries, such as the Czech Republic, you need to be fluent to get a place at a good university.

Nicola says that this affords great opportunities to native English speakers: “if you have an education, and a willingness to travel, you’re pretty much guaranteed work in any country. Native English speakers are like gold dust.”

“With the beginnings of a new language under your belt, you can make changes to your life… blog from Seville, for example, or create a web 2.0 startup from South Bohemia!”

Learning gets clever

October 29th, 2008


Welcome to Learn10!  Do you want to get better at a foreign language? We can help. We’ll give you 10 words a day to learn.  You’ll see them around the Internet. We’re on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll send you a daily email, too. You will see your words on many sites. Any publisher can join our affiliate scheme to help you learn your daily words online.

Learn10 uses the science behind advertising to help you learn. Use our services for free, or you can subscribe to extras such as a virtual teacher like me,  daily SMS,  and our screensaver too. Learning gets clever with learn10. Join us now!

What new features do you want next? (2)

October 28th, 2008

We thought it was time we looked again at this fundamental question.  Over the past 9 months we have developed the widget, guided by the requests of our members, and the limits of our own resources.

We have added:

  • ‘listen’ word recordings (provided both free - user generated, or from a speaking avatar via a subscription service)
  • A test
  • Grammatical info
  • Multiple languages
  • ‘write’ common phase translator
  • ’share’ - directory of useful language resources
  • twitter feeds (providing the words as RSS as well)
  • a facebook application

We are currently developing:

  • a daily email (free)
  • sms service (pre-register via the ‘my account’ page on the widget, $0.20 US per message)
  • a screensaver ($9.95 US per year or included in the premium package)

For us, the most exciting part of the project is the use of the techniques of the advertising industry in learning - to this end we are building partnerships with other sites so that we can maximise the number of times a day you will come into contact with the materials you want to learn. Please get in contact if you have space to join our affiliate scheme - making the learnit daily words available in a variety of standard advert sizes.

Berlin on a bootstrap - the web 2.0 expo

October 22nd, 2008

Right now I’m sitting listening to Tim O’Reilly talk about the effects of the economic downturn on web 2.0 startups such as our own.  A strange situation seeing as the conference seems to have gatecrashed the Community Room - provided, I thought, so that we could get on with a bit of work while attending the expo. Just different work to that what I thought I’d be doing. Read the rest of this entry »

Learn10 uses Google Adwords to teach language

August 26th, 2008

What can we achieve with 25/35/35 character lines of text and a minimal budget? We have been experimenting with Google Adwords to find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Use Twitter to learn a new language

August 8th, 2008

Read the rest of this entry »

First draft of the press release

July 24th, 2008

Embargoed
Learn10 is the obsession of a British husband and wife team based in South Bohemia. They had moved to a derelict country house south of Prague to make a green tech reconstruction - they didn’t have running water, but at least they had the essentials - a fast Internet connection.

“We’d been learning Czech for 18 months before we moved out here. Our classes were great - but, lacking time, we skipped class & didn’t do our homework. As Czech isn’t a common language, there weren’t so many resources available for it online.”

“We needed to expand our vocabulary. My new year resolution was to learn 10 words a day. Then at the end of January, Mike asked me if I could think of a Facebook app he could build. Learn10 was the widget that I needed.”

They had the first release of the application live within a week of having the idea - and have been developing it intensively since then.

“We made it super easy for people to give us feedback, and our users were very vocal about us needing to add sound & a test function, so these were our first priority.” They now offer 22 different languages on the widget.

Their formula is to take the most common 1000 English words and distribute 10 of these every day. Learn10 puts these in a variety of different places that users visit every day, such as their Facebook page, blog & email. You can subscribe to the twitter feed for a specific language & soon you’ll be able to get the words by SMS too. It’s exactly the same principles used by the advertising industry - brand exposure leading to brand recall - but giving people content that they want to remember.

“It’s been hard trying to balance the needs of running a startup with keeping a roof over our heads - quite literally. But now we have water coming into the house through pipes, not holes in the roof.”

Most of the content is free of charge. As well as looking at the words on screen you can use the widget to hear the words pronounced, either by native speakers who have made recordings using the ’speak’ function, or using the speaking teacher avatars in ‘listen’ (a subscription service - or free if you contribute recordings). You can also add & look up common phrases using the ‘write’ section and build relationships with other learners in ’share’.

They are developing added value content such as a phrasal verb package & more advanced word lists. These will be available for a small monthly charge.

The new release is out soon.

Background information about Learn10: http://www.learnitlists.com/about

ends

Korean? Learn English with Learn10

July 14th, 2008

I’m delighted to announce that Korean has now been added to Learn10.

Korea is a fascinating area with a chequered history. South Korea is well know as being one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. 75% of the population have high speed Internet access & LG and Samsung are household names around the world.

Online gaming is more popular than TV in Korea. We recently had Korean visitors (part of the very hard working YWAM team) who were pleased to find out that we had WIFI so they were able to get back online. We hope that Korean students of English will discover Learn10 and integrate it into their other online activities.

Looking at the data on Google Analytics - we had just 27 visitors from South Korea last month. It will be interesting to watch this story develop.

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