How to learn a new language (by using flashcards for gratis).
Say you are a (almost) native English speaker. And assume you would like to learn one of the continental European languages, say Dutch, for free. How would one go about this?
One piece of advice you will consistently find is:
- Learn a couple of new words per day. Don't overdo this. Start small.
- Use Flashcards.
- Use them every day.
- That is it… just 1,2,3….
Okay, how can we do this on the cheap. Like for gratis?
We need to find free and high quality text files, or AZW3 or ePUB format. It so happens that www.jw.org has articles in more then a thousand (no joke!) languages, and quite a bunch of publications to download for free as well.
Download a publication in the target language of your choice. As an English speaker who want's to learn Dutch I will download the "Bestudeer dagelijks de Schrift 2022" booklet.
- From this web address: https://www.jw.org/nl/bibliotheek/boeken/Bestudeer-dagelijks-de-Schrift-2022/
- And an English version for reference here: https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Examining-the-Scriptures-Daily-2022/
Save those files on your Pc/Mac at a location where you can find them back later.
This enitre post is really about one thing: how and where do I find a free to use flashcard application? Amazon.com is where. Or, more speciffically, just the free to download Kindle app.
For our next trick: find the "kindle" app in you App Store of choice and download it.
Now go to www.amazon.com and create a free account.
Use that account to log into the Kindle app (no need to buy any books at this point).
Alright. We have found some free literature that is of high translation quality (and on a more personal note: also of a high quality go content). ✅ We have found a sort—of-free-to-use flashcards app. ✅ Now we need a way to open epub files in an application that has NOT been build for this job. We need to convert our ePub files to the MOBI or AZW3 file format.
- If you found AZW3 files you can skip this, if not:
- Go to https://calibre-ebook.com/download and get whatever version will work on your device.
- Install it.
- Now open the Calibre app. Click on the [Add Books] button and add the EPUB files we downloaded.
- In the top right corner, choose the MOBI or AZW3 format.
- Now, click on the [convert book] button. In the right bottom corner you will see a spinning wheel, signifying the conversion process is working. Click it if you get impatient so you can look at a status-bar instead (mine seemed to be stuck at 47% for a while 🤔) :
- If using Calibre is not for you you van try this instead: Find the location where you saved the English and Dutch ePUB files that we just downloaded, and use upload those files now to the free converter too on this website: https://convertio.co/nl/epub-azw3/ It will give you back AZW3 files for the EPUB's that you uploaded.
- Now our MOBI or AZW3 files are created. Save the files at a location that you can find later.
Okay. We have high quality MOBI files in a target language of choise. ✅
We have a free account for a free to use app that knows how to do flashcards. ✅
We are giddy with excitement! Less go-go-go ….
Look up the MOBI or AZW3 files that you just created.
Now open those files in the Kindle app.
Click on the [table of content button] on the top left corner and navigate to Januari.
For each day of the year you'll find a short piece of text. Read it and look up every word you don't know.
Mark these words and add the proper translation to the markings.
Practise makes perfect. After you have made some notes you can now use these notes in the Kindle app to practise your language skills.
Open the Kindle app and the book we picked earlier.
Now press the [show notebook] button in the top right corner.
We now see a list of the flash cards we ourselves created earlier by translation difficult words.
Press the [+ Flashcards] button to create your own set of flash cards.
Congratulations: you can now start to practise a new language with free self made slash cards 😊 🥳