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Review: Language Learning Log

Review: Language Learning Log

The Language Learning Log…

No matter how you go about it, learning a language can be an overwhelming endeavor. You have vocabulary, grammar, slang, culture, and so on. Then on top of all that you have this book and that book to go with this audio course and that software program. Not to mention the hundreds of schools you can attend. It’s no wonder we feel like we are running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Like many of you I also have a day job, a family to help raise, and community obligations. With everything going on in our lives, it can be difficult to know if everything we are doing is improving our language abilities. One solution is to keep a language learning log.

Is this Star Trek?…

When I say a language learning log, some people might immediately think of James T Kirk, or Jean Luc Pacard (depending on your generation) starting each episode with their famous, “Captain’s Log”. But a language learning log is just another way to say journal or diary.

To improve your language studies, on a regular basis write down what is going well, what could be better, and what is just not working at all. This lets you see what is really happening and not just what you think is happening. Without a record you might think you are practicing this or that enough or have this or that skill down, but after creating your log you’ll get a better idea on where you need to focus.

When learning a language, keeping a log can be a powerful addition to your arsenal. But in this day and age, shouldn’t there be some type of software to help us along? Well, there is. And it’s called, appropriately enough, Language Learning Log.

Language Learning Log…

Language Learning Log is a free software program. At the moment it’s only for Windows based operating systems. The program is specifically designed to help language learners keep track of their progress.

The most obvious part of the software is the writing area. Each day you are given a blank area for writing in your target language. This area is useful because you can write in any language. You can free hand it or set up a template to follow. Immediately below the writing area is a search box to quickly find previous logs.

To the left of the screen are other fantastic tools. Time Trackers keep track of how much time you spend on each language activity. There is tracker for writing, listening, reading, speaking, grammar, and vocabulary. And depending on your preference, you can set them to be visible, or not. To keep track of time you either left click on the timer or right click and input the time manually.

Also on the left is a ToDo section for (obviously) to do lists or goals. When you accomplish your goals, you check them off or just delete them.

Finally there’s an audio log section to record your log. You can also use it to practice speaking in your target language or just leave your thoughts in your native tongue. It’s all up to you.

The downside, as I’ve mentioned, is that it’s only for Windows. Mobile users have been left out in the cold as well. I know Catherine has a search for a Mac version and so have I. Sure, there similar available, but not anything that specifically caters to the language learner like this one does. With some encouragement, hopefully we can get developers to create one for other Operating Systems.

No matter if you use the Language Learning Log software or not, it is helpful to keep a record of how you are doing in your language studies. Not just to make sure you are going in the right direction, but to see how far you’ve progressed. So, what are you waiting for? Get out that paper and start logging!

Website: Language Learning Log
Twitter: @LangLog

Justin Travis Mair
I Want To Speak Thai
Successful Thai Language Learner: Justin Travis Mair

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7 Comments

  1. Justin, being able to track my audio progress is what really interests me. I haven’t come across that attribute in any software so far. Hopefully they’ll make a Mac version soon!

  2. What I like about any tool is that it is flexible to the needs and desires of the user. It has Audio logs and written logs. It keeps track of time, or it doesn’t. However you want to use it, it is there. I think a Mac and iOS version would be great. I’m so mobile now, I do most of my learning from my iPod.

  3. Same here. I’m transferring everything I can to my iPad so I’d love a decent journal app!

  4. I will be bringing out a book Language Learning Unlocked, in the next few months which will have a language learning diary as a bonus…so if you can wait….

  5. Hi Andrew. I’ve been looking forward to your new book (I signed up for your site awhile back). When it comes out I’ll gladly write up a review.

  6. It’s nice-looking software, but fairly raw.

    For example, try pasting the word หุ่น into the text area, and you’ll find that the vowel mark and the tone mark get transposed, so that the syllable looks upside down.

    More settings options would be nice — the ability to set one’s default font and size, for example.

    I’m not sure whether all the existing settings work, either: try the ability to change times on all dates setting.

    But definitely a good base to work from.

  7. I agree it’s a raw. I didn’t really try to change all the settings myself. It is a great start and so far it’s the only one I know of that specifically caters to language learners. The more we can encourage them, hopefully the better the project will become.

    Thanks for checking that out Rick

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