Browsing Category:

Writing

Books & Tea & Langenscheidt IQ Vokabeltrainer Englisch

Hi there,

the last few weeks were really adventurous. I had a lot of appointments and events (such as the Frankfurt Book Fair) and I loved attending them 😀 I really did, but to be honest I’m relieved it is over. Even if I had a great time, as I am an introvert it was eminently exhausting as well…

I hoped that it will be less stressful the next weeks, but I think I might have forgotten to consider the fact that Christmas is coming soon. Only 20 days left!

So I’m absolutely grateful for every single minute I have to myself between appointments and other obligations.

Besides having some quality time with my family, I read a lot and most of the books I recently read were in English, such as Turtles All The Way Down by John Green and Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. (They were fantastic!) Currently, I’m reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Yep, I know… I’m a bit late to follow the hype about the Don Tillman books which occurred when they were first published but do you know this feeling when you’re interested in a story, but it doesn’t seem to be the right time to read it because there are other books you currently feel more attracted to? For me, that was the case with these books. But even if I didn’t read them in those days, I enjoy reading them now all the more 🙂 I’m on page 149 and so far it’s genius and absolutely funny 😀 Have you read it yet?

I’ve also written a lot lately. Even on my blog actually. See, I originally had a really good plan: My next post was supposed to be about extroverts and introverts and another one about my experiences at the book fair. After these two I wanted to show you an app called “Langenscheidt IQ Vokabeltrainer Englisch”, followed by a lot more ideas I still have in mind 🙂 But no matter how much I tried I wasn’t able to overcome my writer’s block in the long term. So I recently started three different topics and didn’t finish even one of them… Hooray procrastination!

And now I’m finally sitting here in my living room, drinking tea (a lovely cup of Earl Grey with milk and sugar) and all I do is writing. Take this writer’s block! Anyway, I decided to upset my plans and celebrate my comeback to creativity by writing about the vocabulary app. So grab a cuppa, take a comfortable seat and here we go 🙂


Thank You, Langenscheidt!

I met the nice Langenscheidt team at their stand at the book fair and I had a lovely conversation with them. We stayed in contact afterwards and the publishing house offered me the opportunity to test the full version of “Langenscheidt IQ Vokabeltrainer Englisch” for free. Thank you very much 🙂


First Things First

Langenscheidt offers a variety of vocabulary trainers. Besides English, they’re also available in French, Italian, Spanish and Swedish.

With downloading the free version of “Langenscheidt IQ Vokabeltrainer Englisch” you get the opportunity to test the vocabulary trainer with words from the categoryEssen und Trinken” (Foods and Drinks).

If you find it helpful, you can purchase the full version. It contains 800 words and idioms from eight topics and a variety of functions such as games for interactive training, a recording function or the possibility to add your own words.

The app is available for both Android andiOSand I can totally agree with Langenscheidt who are recommending their vocabulary trainer primarily to people who are beginners (CEFR level A1/A2 and below).

Tiny hint: If you’re one of the lucky owners of a “Langenscheidt IQ” language courseand already registered in the “Lern-Manager” (learn manager) you can unlock the full version for free.


First Impression

When I first opened the app (at this point I was using the free version), two thoughts were flashing through my mind:

I really like these colourful little pictures, but the background colour is too dark for my liking.

Actually, I don’t consider myself being particularly superficial, but I realised that colours and pictures have a huge impact on the way I can remember vocabulary because I’m a visual learner. That’s why I prefer bright, friendly and motivating colours. I’m sorry, but black doesn’t fall into these categories.

But for sure the content is way more important to me than the appearance. And when I first read the app description in the app store I got so excited 😀 I’ve had noticed that Langenscheidt wrote that the app is most suitable for beginners. So I thought it’s likely that I’m already familiar with most of the vocabulary. And I was right. But as there are features like “Meine Wörter” (My Words) with which you’ve got the possibility to add your own words (plus a matching picture), I thoughtthe app might be quite useful for advanced learners like me as well.


The Free Version

As I mentioned before, you get free access to the vocabulary category “Essen und Trinken” (Food And Drinks) after downloading the app. That way you’ve got the possibility of getting familiar with the functionality of the vocabulary trainer by testing two games. Hereby you can figure out whether the app agrees with your needs and wishes or not. Based on the experiences you’ve just made you can decide if you want to unlock new content and functions by purchase.

With the free version, you can test “Match it!” and “Buzzer”.



My Experiences With The Full Version

After purchasing the app I had access to the complete vocabularyand all other games and features. And if you call to mind that the app was designed for beginners, I think 800 words and idioms are something you can work with for a while, don’t you?

I also like Langenscheidt’s visual attempt. I know I said I don’t like the dark background – actually, that didn’t change at all 😉 – but I rather mean the connection between words and pictures. You can recall vocabulary more easily if you can connect them with a special picture or feeling. That’s just how our brain works. (I’m currently reading about this topic so I might continue that thought in another post later on. Feel free to remind me if you’re interested in it 🙂 )

Games

I tried all the games “Langenscheidt IQ Vokabeltrainer Englisch” has to offer and I’m a big fan of the general idea of using interactive learning because it’s funny and if you enjoy the task you’re doing you’re more motivated to keep going 🙂 So I think it’s great that Langenscheidt followed this attempt in the app.

I enjoyed playing “Letter Puzzle”, “Match It!” and “Buzzer” and I really consider them being helpful when it comes to remembering words more easily (especially because of the pictures which were used), but there were also some things which I don’t like about them. Just to give you an insight into it:

In “Match it!”, for instance, you can only find the matching picture to the English word, which appears at the bottom of the app. Especially because the pictures aren’t always self-explaining, it would be great to see the German translation, too.

Unfortunately, I also developed a quite strained relationship to the features “Wortliste” (Word list) and “Meine Wörter” (My words) much to my regret.

Wortliste

Instead of the list view, I’d prefer traditional flashcards, because in my humble opinion flashcards are clearer and make it easier to learn the vocabulary. The list view in “Wortliste” seemed a bit overloaded for me, though it is great that the app keeps examples ready to show how to use a particular word in a sentence.

Besides this, I was really looking forward to the recording feature, but it seems that there is a problem because it doesn’t work at all on my iPhone (iOs 11.2) 🙁 I’m hugely disappointed because I think it’s a lovely idea to offer the possibility to listen to the words spoken by a native speaker with the correct pronunciation. And also the feature to record your own voice, so you can compare it with the native’s recording, is brilliant.

Meine Wörter

Again, it’s a great attemptto offer a function that allows you to add own words. After reading the app description, “Meine Wörter” (My Words) was the feature I was most looking forward to trying, but sadly it didn’t work the way I think it’s supposed to work.

As you can see in the gallery above, adding words proved to be difficult, because it’s hard to identify in which row you’re supposed to type in the English and in which the German term; the row label is unreadable, you’ve got to guess.

Additionally, I wasn’t able to add a picture to a word. No matter whether I tried to take a picture or whether I tried to add it from my photo albums, the app crashed. But it’s designed for words being connected with pictures because otherwise, you can only see white symbols on the list. (As you can also see in the gallery above.)

Before you can finally learn your own added words, you’ve got to click on the matching picture (given that you’ve been able to add some) and then on “Wort ansehen” (show word), only then you get the English term and its German translation.

It would be fantastic if you could learn your added words in the games as well, but unfortunately, that isn’t possible. Neither can you add whole sentences, because they’re too long.


Conclusion

I think Langenscheidt developed a lovely interactive training, which fits with the desires and needs of people who don’t have much prior knowledge of the English language or any at all and who just got started improving their English.

The games are a fun way to learn vocabulary and they help to stay motivated. The visual attempt helps to remember words more easily. I really like this concept 🙂

That’s the reason why I hoped the app might be useful for advanced learners as well, especially when I read about the function “Meine Wörter” and the recording feature; turned out I was mistaken. The general idea of these functions is great, but much to my regret the implementation hasn’t been able to convince me entirely given the fact that they didn’t work properly. Pity!

And I think that’s the sticking point. The app’s focus lies in the vocabulary already provided by Langenscheidt. “Meine Wörter” is only an additional service. Nevertheless, it’s written in the app description that you get access to these functions when you purchase the full version for € 10.00, what I think is much money. And it’s quite frustrating actually if it turns out that you can’t use them properly, even if you’ve paid.  (Especially if the only reason why you purchased the app was that you were interested in these particular features.)

I’m sorry, as I am rather an advanced learner (kinda proud to be able to write that actually 😀 ), and due to the fact I already tested a lot of different apps, software and other methods to learn vocabulary, I’m probably quite difficult to please. (And it’s perhaps not helpful that I’m a hardcore perfectionist with super high expectations, is it? 😉 ) But even if the app doesn’t work for me, nonetheless it might be working for you. 

Don’t get me wrong, I like the app, but I’d only recommend it to total beginners and I also think there’s still room for improvement 😉 Well, two years have passed since the last update, so it’s actually time for a new one, isn’t it? We’ll see, maybe we’re lucky 😀 )


What’s your way learning vocabulary? Let me know, I’m really curious 🙂 Take care, everyone!

Perfectionism Is The Enemy Of Communication

Hi there,

Remember when I told you in my last post that “Perfectionism is the enemy of communication”? Yeah… I’m currently quite struggling with that statement 😅 Don’t get me wrong, I’m still convinced that it’s absolutely true. And that’s exactly the point I’m struggling with…

Overthinking

As much as I love to write, as difficult it is for me to find the right words to express my thoughts. It’s a bit like all things I want to say are stuck in my head and I’ve got to “unstuck” them before I’m able to write them down in an useful way. Kind of a big ball of wibbly-wobbly 😉 stuff up there in my mind…

And as soon as I’ve written a paragraph, I’m rereading it. And that might be a failure. Because when I do so, I always start thinking something like: “Huh, yeah, that’s okay. But I’m not really sure if these sentences make really clear what I want to say. There must be a way to express it in an even better way.” And here we go 🙄

That Leads Directly to Perfectionism

That’s it. Over and over again: Writing. Overthinking. Editing. Overthinking. Editing. Overthinking. Adding something. Overthinking. Editing. Overthinking. Writer’s block. Overthinking. Editing. Overthinking. Adding something. Overthinking. Editing. Overthinking. And with a lot of luck there might come the point, when I finally call a text “finished”.  So there it is: a perfect example for perfectionism.

And yes: It’s definitely as strength-sapping, time-consuming and frustrating as it sounds.

The Enemy

I just want to write about stuff which flashes through my mind; anything I consider worth writing about. Just for fun. On a regular basis. It would be a big fat plus if I’d be able to improve my writing skills that way, as well. (And it would be even cooler, if there would be someone, somewhere, drinking a cuppa, reading my articles and consider them helpful and entertaining. I’d really love that. ❤️)

Of course it is absolutely demotivating, if you’re writing for hours and hours, but you don’t get any sense of achievement. Certainly I’m happy when I’m able to finally hit the “publish button”, but as I spent so much time on writing an article, there isn’t much energy left to enjoy one of these great “YES-I-DID-IT!”-feelings; it’s rather a relief than anything else. (Just for fun, here some stats: I edited this article 13 times so far and spent seven hours writing. 95% of the first version’s paragraphs are completely gone. Okay, I admit: might be possible that I’m some kind of hardcore perfectionist 😅)

Being a perfectionist means that you have high standards. You always want to do a great job and you work very hard and they achieve very hard to achieve their goals. And that’s nothing bad, is it? That’s even a quite admirably character trait. But there is only a unbelievably slim line between the positive and negative aspects of perfectionism, so you’ve got to be careful. Very careful.

Don’t Let Perfectionism Get You Down!

Based on own experiences, perfectionism can have quite adverse impact on someone’s life. And that’s the case, as soon as it keeps you from achieving your goals (publishing new blog posts on a weekly basis or being able to make the deadline for work projects, for instance). Or if it makes you feel bad.

Perfectionists tend to struggle with making mistakes. They consider it as something really bad instead of seeing it as an opportunity for improvement. If they did something wrong or if they weren’t able to fulfil someone else’s or their own expectations, they often feel as if they have failed completely. Unfortunately, perfectionism can even make you feel pressured, anxious, upset, frustrated, sad, exhausted or even depressed. Perfectionist also often suffer from low self-esteem. (I’m also very familiar with these negative feelings and emotions.

Overcoming perfectionism can be really hard. (I know what I’m talking about.) But there are different approaches and strategies you might want to try, if you feel addressed.

Overcoming Perfectionism

I’m trying to give everyday life some sort of structure. I’ll set up concrete time slots for each task I’d like to accomplish. If I’m not able to achieve it, I try to be happy, anyway. Eventually, I didn’t have more time on hand and I definitely did my best. (Certainly, it doesn’t work every time (at lese not yet), but I consider it quite helpful, anyway.) I try to set up realistic goals, which I can achieve easily. For example I tidy up at least 10 minutes each day. I set an alarm, so I know when I’m allowed or forced to stop working. But it’s certainly more difficult to follow this plan when I’m in a middle of a task I really love to work on; writing an article, for instance (I definitely need to figure out how much time would be appropriate to spend on each post 😶 So if you’re a blogger yourself, please let me know how much time you plan. I’d love to get some advice. Thanks in advance! ☺️)

I also found some relaxation strategies to calm me down and to get my mind free: I drink a cuppa (A cup of tea solves everything!), get lost in a good book 📚 , go out for a walk 🌳, take some deep breaths, meditate a bit, try to get aware of the moment I’m currently experiencing, talk to loved ones ☎️ (doesn’t matter if it’s face to face or on the phone), cuddle my cat, treat myself to some pieces of chocolate 🍫 , listen to music 🎶 or dance very badly (the latter is definitely a realistic assessment and not based on low self-esteem 😂) Or I do all of these things.

It doesn’t matter which strategy you follow, the important part is that it helps you.

More strategies and interesting facts you’ll find in these articles: “How to Overcome Perfectionism” (published by Anxiety BC (The Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia)) and “Tipps für den Umgang mit Perfektionismus” (published by German psychotherapist Dr. Rolf Merkle on Psychotipps.com). Maybe you’ll find them as helpful as I do 🙂

Perfectionism and Language

Though, back to the quote I mentioned at the beginning 😄

If you’re a perfectionist and learning a new language, it will probably happen that you’ll set up goals impossibly to reach. For example: “I want to master English like a native speaker within a period of six months.” How should you be able to reach a goal like this beside a fulltime job and a family? So you’re going to feel pressured, and because of the few moments of feeling successful, you’ll probably feel discouraged and depressed instead.

Some people, myself included, are so anxious about making mistakes that they avoid situations which hold a high risk to fail. Relating to improving language skills, that involves especially avoiding writing texts (and publishing them) and actually speak. But if you’re too anxious about doing so, there is – unfortunately – no possibility to improve.

Try to realise that learning a language, especially if you just got started, is in a way primarily based on making mistakes. But that’s actually okay. You’ll learn from it and you’ll get better over time 🙂 Promise!

Are We In The Same Team?

Anyone else here who’d love the ability to turn off your mind for a couple of hours? 😅 (If hours aren’t available, I would also take minutes. I’m not hard to please.) Or who also suffers from perfectionism? Hey, how about a support group? We could produce even matching sweater 😂

But honestly: Take care of yourself and remember: Don’t let perfectionism (or anything else) get you down.

Vroni

%d bloggers like this: