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Backwards and Forwards

Did you know that IngoLingo allows you to learn a language in another supported language?

Let’s say that you’ve learned lesson 1 in German. How well do you think really know those words? Since the first 30 lessons are the same in each language, you can begin the same lesson in Chinese Characters. The trick is to tell IngoLingo that your native language is German.

Once you do that, the Chinese lesson will function as if you are a native speaker of German trying to learn Chinese. The correct response is Hund (the German word for dog, similar to the English word “hound”), and the word options are in German as well:

forwards_and_backwards

This very challenging scenario will add an extra dimension to your language skills. Did you learn those words so well that can learn Chinese in German? Do you know them backwards and forwards? Find out!

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Learning Pays

There are many reasons to learn a language. It can be fascinating, fun, useful, expand your mind, and of course – help you communicate. But might it also increase your earning potential?

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Information is sparse, but I just ran across a fascinating study that shows that Hispanics in the United States who know only English make on average $7,000 less than Hispanics who can speak both English and Spanish.

A recent (very-unscientific online) poll shows that an astounding number of CEO’s speak more than one language  Here’s the breakdown:

  • 36% speak only one language
  • 31% speak two languages
  • 20% speak three languages
  • 9% speak four languages
  • 4% speak more than four languages

So will you earn more money if you speak more than one language? Not necessarily, but more opportunities will be open to you. It’s up to you to seize these opportunities, and learning a language with Ingolingo can certainly be a part of that!

    Posted in Ingolingo Basics.

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    Ingo Update

    All of us here on the Ingolingo team are very excited about upcoming changes to the site. We’re dedicated to creating a continuously expanding content base for our users. And now, all of it is available for just $9.95 per month.

    Of course, we’re using the site ourselves to learn languages! All of us have found the courses enjoyable and useful. Learning a foreign language is always difficult, but Ingolingo makes learning a smooth and fun process.

    It’s our goal to create an excellent experience for all of those in the Ingolingo community. Stay tuned for more updates!

    Posted in Announcements.


    The new Ingolingo

    Ingolingo is a simple tool that allows you to quickly learn a large number of words in a foreign language. Right now, we support: English, French, Spanish, Chinese (Pinyin & Characters) and German. More languages are coming everyday.

    How Ingolingo works

    Ingolingo uses a system we call the post-prediction method. It’s a bit like flashcards, but designed to make you remember the words as best as possible by creating connections between the text of the word and the item the word represents. We do that by making you guess what the word is before telling you what it is.

    Let me give you an example: Say I tell you that “Flasche” means “Bottle” in German. Usually, you would forget this in a few minutes.

    With Ingolingo however, what we do is ask you: What does “Flasche” mean in English?. You do not know, so you hit the button, “I do not know, show me pictures”. The first picture you see has a bottle in it, but it’s mixed in with a lot of other items. So you do not immediately know what the word means.

    You hit the “Show me picture” button again, and another picture pops up. This time, the bottle is more prominent in the picture. You can continue to do this, till you reach the 4th or 5th button, by which time, the bottle is very clearly in the picture. You can then look at all the pictures and figure out what the word means.

    As you go through this process, you are thinking hard with your brain. Your brain has switched to puzzle mode, and is actively trying to find out what this word means. When you finally discover it, your brain immediately stores the information, because it had to work to discover this piece of knowledge.

    On a neural level, because of the mental effort you put into discovering the words, connections are built in your brain linking the word with the picture of the word. When you need to remember this word, it jumps to mind!

    It’s a simple concept, but very effective. Try it out for yourself to see what we mean.

    Other parts of Ingolingo we’d like to mention:

    • Ingolingo profiles your training, and knows the words you are doing bad at. It repeats those words at greater frequency
    • You can add your own words and create a custom course. For example, if you are studying a language in a physical school, after every lesson, come home and type in all the new words you learnt into Ingolingo. Train with them for 30 minutes, and you probably will not forget those words again
    • Chat and discuss with other people learning your course

    The advantages of the paid version

    Well, some people are not convinced that that system is good enough to learn. Well, we offer more than that. First of all, we have two types of learning – free and paid. The free learning allows you to train using the system above. The paid version is different. Let me explain.

    Ingolingo has a simple thought behind it – how do we make people rapidly increase their vocabulary in a foreign language? How can we make people learn more words with the minimum of effort? We use this software ourselves, so we are in the same boat – learning a new language is tough and it’s easy to give up.

    We decided that there was something we could add to the pay version that would take our users a step forward towards learning the language – a personal motivator. What this is is simply a person who is sitting in our offices and looking at your progress. When you stop practicing and improving your language skills, this person will message you over Chat or call you (if you wish), and ask what the matter is. You can talk to the person, and the person will try to motivate you to go on.

    You know what – just knowing that someone is monitoring your usage and will call you when you start losing interest is motivation enough – it will give you that extra push, as you’ll know you’re not alone. (Of course, you can switch off this option)

    Of course, that’s not the only advantage of the paid version. You get:

    • In the free version, you can only do about 50 words in each language from our well prepared courses. That’s 3 lessons. In the full version, you get access to all 3000 words. But of course, you can always add your own words in the free version, so the free version is still useful
    • You can study multiple languages at the same time

    Ingolingo is just starting out, and there are many things we still want to add and to improve. Do you have any ideas on extra things we can add?

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    I’m so lucky to work this website

    People sometimes come to me and ask me – hey Mark, why are you not working for Google or Microsoft? Or they ask me – why are you not trying to make some Web 2.0 startup that will IPO and make you a lot of money? I tell them the simple answer: I’m not interested in those things.

    That’s the key, that’s what makes this site special. I’m not working on it because of some big payout or because I want to get rich off it – I’m working on it because it lets me be free. I love traveling, I love meeting new people and visiting different countries. I love discovering languages and cultures. I love maps and reading about other countries.

    So when I was given the opportunity to work on software that involves researching and finding the best way to learn languages, when I know that a big part of this job involves spending time in Asia and other parts of the globe – I was intrigued. This was what I wanted to do, it matched who I was.

    That’s why I work here on Ingolingo, and I want people who use Ingolingo to find something in this piece of software that also creates some of that freedom in them. Ingolingo is to be about the freedom to talk, freedom to express yourself, and most of all, the freedom to discover

    Posted in Ingolingo Basics.


    Some ideas for upcoming vocabulary lessons

    I’ve got a few nice ideas for some extra stuff we can add to the Chinese course. When I was in Shezhen and Shanghai in February, I picked up a few children’s books. The books are quite tiny and each page has about 2 lines of text. What I’m thinking of doing is making each page of the book into a lesson, and basically letting people learn how to read that single page in each lesson.

    So over the course of a month or so, one can actually learn to read an entire book – and get this: In Chinese characters, not pinyin. ;) I think that would be quite cool. I’ll work on scanning the pages and making them into a lesson, I think it will be great.

    (The book is quite nicely drawn, by the way)

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    Do not travel without learning these words!

    Recently, on a trip to china, I was forced to communicate with people who spoke not a word of English. It took me a while, but there is a simple tip that will save you a lot of bother when it comes to communicating to people who do not speak your language: Learn a few basic phrases, and you can say a lot more than you think you can. I learned about 30 words, and I was fine for most things. These are the critical words to know:

    “I want …”: Learn the polite way of saying that you would like to have something. Then just point at what you want.
    “Thank you”: Saying thank you and smiling helps a lot
    “1 to 12″: Know your numbers, it helps you from telling time to asking for change to dialing telephone numbers
    “Okay, Yes, No”: If you cannot say these, you’ll be in trouble
    “You, Me, Her/He”: When you need to communicate, this helps.
    “What/Why”: What do you want? What’s the problem? Why should I come? These two words form the basis of all questions, and just saying them will indicate to people that you are in doubt
    “Where”: Travelling involves well…moving around. So know how to say ‘where’
    “Taxi, Airport, Bus, Road, Car”: The basic transportation means
    “Hospital, Police, Ambulance”: Bad things happen, be prepared

    And really, after knowing these words, you really can get through most situations just fine. I did exactly that for a few weeks in Brazil last year.

    Posted in Language Learning Tips.

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    Our little vocabulary trainer

    This is the semi-official Sunday launch of our language learning software – Ingolingo. Ingolingo is based on the idea that it’s easy to remember words if you have some context around which to associate the words. If I were to simply tell you that Flasche means Bottle in German, you would probably forget very quickly. However, if I asked you to guess what the German translation of “bottle” is, and gave you clues to help you, you are more likely to remember it. That’s the ingolingo concept – we ask you to guess a word, then give you pictures that hint towards what the word is, actually making you think about the word, and remember it better.

    This is just a modest minimum feature launch. Ingolingo is incredibly useful now (my Chinese is improving fast), but we have big plans for this tool.

    Ingolingo is a tool we created because we need it. It’s a business that provides a service we need, and I think this is the best sort of business. Try it out and send us an email with your comments on how we can make this tool the best and simplest language learning tool on the planet.

    Thanks guys!

    Posted in Ingolingo Basics.