by Владимир Саранчин (Vladimir Saranchin)
How often do you visit websites that help learn foreign languages? Or let me ask it another way: do you even know of such sites? Everyone who wants to improve his/her language level should consider these questions very seriously. According to Sloan Survey of Online Learning, every fifth graduate student in western countries was enrolled in at least one online language learning course in 2007. Enrollment rose by 9.7% from a year earlier.
Today I'd like to tell you about a new website for people who want to constantly update and broaden amount of foreign words they know, but do not want to dedicate too much of their free time to this (I doubt anyone would ever want to do the opposite!).
Let me introduce you to WordSteps - personal vocabulary manager with a pretty simple idea: invest 15 minutes a day visiting this website and in return get about 20 new foreign words remembered. So easy! Let's dig into more details.
What results can be achieved with WordSteps anyways? It appears that, according to linguistic researches and studies, the most efficient way to learn foreign words is by memorizing not more than 20 words a day (as Vladimir Lenin once said "Less is more"). Multiply this number by 365 days and get more than 7000 words in one year. Taking in account that normally no one wants to study every day and the best scenario is once in two days, we get a little more than 3000 words. Not enough? Don't rush with conclusions. According to statistics that amount of words is enough to understand 80% of all foreign books, newspapers and movies, and this is more than enough to hold day to day conversations with foreigners.
So here is the target - to learn about 3000 words a year. And it's WordSteps service that can help achieve this goal.
WordSteps is a collection of thematic dictionaries, each offered in nine different languages: English, Russian, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Japanese, Italian and Portuguese. It's interesting that every user can create his/her own collection of dictionaries. And the best dictionaries voted for by majority of users are posted on the website main page. In order to start learning new words user must choose a dictionary and then do some exercises, such as reading, choosing of correct translation, writing a word etc.
You can use a lot of features without registration. But if you register, you get access to statistics of learned words and learning history, and can create your own profile. Using profile features you can exchange messages with other users, and add them to friends list. In other words, WordSteps is a very user friendly and convenient online service that provides great opportunity to learn new words easy while saving personal time.
Below are the main features of this service: