Sunday, August 5, 2007


My buddy Rich sent me a link for "Before you Know It" flash card software by Transparent Language a few months back, but somehow I only recently visited. Their base software and a few hundred words in any language is FREE, so it costs nothing to try it out. I started with a little Russian, added in Japanese, Chinese, and German, just to see how the flash card thing could help reinforce my existing languages... And I'm finding that just reading and typing (yes typing) the words really does help glue them into the brain...

But it's one thing to reinforce existing language: The true test will be Swedish. I got the full blown version (with over 1000 words and 200 phrases) for just a few dollars more, and will be using it as my only gateway to Swedish, hopefully bringing Bella and Pamela along: One of Bella's classmates is Swedish, and we sometimes hang out with older sister and mom too, so having some language could be really fun!

One challenge is that to truly "own" a word, you need to type it from memory. In German, not so tough (nicht zu schwer). In Russian, that means typing in Cyrillic, which is harder. I haven't tried the quizzes in Japanese or Chinese to see how they do it, but I do note that Japanese uses full Kanji in their flash cards, not Kana simplified, so that should be a good challenge.

Anyway, for free I can't see any reason NOT to download the software at It works pretty slickly, and for reinforcement of existing language it's a no-brainer. I'm just curious to see how it works as a primary language tool!!! Watch this space as I try it out.

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