One of my life long goals is to learn languages, however with the hustle-bustle of everyday, how can find the time to dedicate hours studying a language?
Well, modern technology has solved this problem with smart phones, tablets and amazing apps.
I found this completely free app called Duolingo, which is completely ad free and simply amazing!
This app claims that it's scientifically proven for someone to learn a language to a solid level over just a couple of months, by dedicating half an hour each day! Easy, if you're like me, stuck on the bus each morning and afternoon to and from work.
Duolingo lessons are short and straight forward, with assistance at every step of the way. It's clean and clear and simply a joy to use.
It also offers a multitude of different languages which can be accessed by everyone from beginners, to people that wish to brush up their language skills.
Learning a new language does wonders for the brain- it's like intensive brain training every morning, and can break up the monotony of your work-day's activities.
I look forward to passing each lesson every day and the app allows you to track your progress, which is very encouraging. The app also allows you to add your friends so you can all motivate each other and share your progress.
The lessons range from voice recognition and pronunciation, to visual cues, word matching and so on. It's so simple and easy, and you progress through stages that build upon previous lessons. I quite liked the fact that it reminds you to go back and brush up on earlier lessons to ensure that you don't forget the basics. Very clever.
Upon completion of each module, you earn points, called "lingots" that you can spend to unlock bonus content, such as 'sayings', 'idioms' and 'learning how to flirt'! These were a nice perk and an interesting addition.
Additionally, you can create a universal log-in, which stores your progress, regardless of whether you're using multiple platforms: so, if I use my phone on the bus and then wish to continue on my iPad at home, it keeps my progress so I don't have to repeat anything.
Obviously, I cannot rave about this app enough! It's a very thorough system, with an enjoyable interface and no bugs or errors (that I could see). I'm very impressed and I hope that many more will join me on this app!
Just on their website here: https://www.duolingo.com/ or find their app in the iTunes App Store, or Android's Play Store today and enjoy the benefits!
Grazie mille! :)
Being a professional writer (of both fiction and non-fiction) and editor of all kinds of work, there seems to be a repeating theme amongst an alarming number of fellow editors and writing reviewers: this need to become overly emotional with their editing and feedback.
The sheer amount of edits I get back from beta-readers looking at my upcoming novels with comments that are inches away from aggressive abuse startles me! I actually laugh out loud at how emotional some of these editors can be and, truth be told, it can actually lead me to distrust and undervalue them as you begin to question their thought patterns and motivation behind their processes.
Now, I'm NOT saying that I don't have a thick skin or anything as petty as that; this is NOT a whinge blog post. In fact, the deeper and more thorough the reviewer and editor is, the better in my opinion! However, there is no need to get aggressive or emotional with your edits, notes and comments.
As an editor: keep your comments professional. It's very important that if you are dedicated to your craft and are serious about repeat work, and wish to encourage positive word-of-mouth about your services, you ideally want the original author to continue to trust your opinion. There is no need to capitalise your comments (e.g.: "DO NOT USE THIS WORD HERE!!"), use excessive punctuation (e.g.: "Why would any character ask this?!?!?!?!?!?), or use snide comments (e.g.: "Surely you know this is wrong?!").
Editing work is already a sensitive process, as people are very defensive with their work, so I believe it best not to poke the wound by adding unnecessarily bitter comments.
I prefer to keep my editor comments light and informative, without emotion. Professionalism is the key as you want the author to read your ideas and comments, and think to themselves 'Yes, I see why you would think this.'
Additionally, give them the option to agree or disagree with you. After all, it is their work and most elements of writing are very subjective; ie: your opinion may not always be correct.
When editing, I try and keep suggestions light, as one of the main rules to editing (especially with fiction) is not to rewrite it for the author; instead, explain why something did not work, or give them your opinion from the perspective of a reader, not a writer.
Remember, as an editor, you're there to help, not patronise!
All the best in your writing endeavours!