More ways to learn language with Evernote

evernote-logoAfter reading our post on Building an external brain with Evernote, have you tried it yet?  As promised, today we have three more ideas for how to use Evernote to become a more efficient language-learner, and there will be three more next week.

I’m what you call a « late adopter ».  With any new technology  it takes me a long time to make a new application part of my daily life.  I think that the reason I put it off is that I know I will have to invest time in learning how to use it.  At the beginning it feels like you are playing with a new toy, and I would rather reserve my « play » time for my children.

Evernote was like that for me, but I am finding new ways of using it that are making it part of my routine.

Turn your language notebook into a personal dictionary and grammar reference
You can’t learn a language effectively without having a way to record your learning.  One of the best ways is to have a vocabulary notebook that you carry with you everywhere, and write notes of everything you are learning.  Even the best technology will never fully replace paper and pencil.

evernote-snapshotHowever, there are problems with notebooks.  It’s difficult to record notes in a logical order, sometimes you can’t read your handwriting, they fill up and you have to keep adding new notebooks, and most of all, when you have several notebooks it is sometimes impossible to find what you are looking for.

Enter Evernote.  Using webcam, digital camera or scanner, you can paste an image of handwritten notes into Evernote.  Even handwriting can be searched effectively so you will never have trouble finding your notes.

Create a learning log
Good learners take control of their learning through recording it.  The best textbooks, language-learning software and language courses in the world cannot replace having your own personal record of learning.  In addition to pasting your vocabulary and grammar notes into Evernote, you can create a learning log where each day you type your thoughts about what you are learning into a note, and save it with a tag such as « journal » or « learning log ».  As the notes are date-stamped all your learning is available to you in chronological order.   This is a useful way of managing notes from a language course, for example.  You can also paste images of course materials (handouts etc) into the note.

Turn vocabulary and grammar points into tags.
Adding tags to notes is not essential because Evernote can search the text of your notes efficiently.  However, tags will speed up evernote-tagsyour searches considerably.

It’s frustrating when you need a word or a grammar point that you know you have learnt, but it’s has gone right out of your head.  Turn these learning points from your notes into tags.  This way Evernote becomes your own personalised dictionary and grammar reference.

In the next post in the series we will look at bookmarking, becoming a better reader and learning language from your social networks with Evernote.

3 Commentaires

  1. 13 janvier 2009 à 21 h 11 min

    Very good idea. I wonder if Evernote supports Korean. I need to find that out. I would love to have all of my old index cards in there and keep adding digital words as I go forward.


  2. Simon-Reply
    13 janvier 2009 à 23 h 18 min

    @troymalone Thanks for your note. The user manual doesn’t specifically mention Korean, but other Asian scripts are not supported in the standard HTML-based notes. They suggest working around it with rich text:
    1. Click the New Note button or jump to the new note at the bottom of the tape.
    2. In a new note, use Ctrl+click (instead of just click) on the Note Type button.
    3. Choose Rich Text Note (RTF)
    4. Enter characters in the body of the note.
    I have zero experience with Asian scripts – would be interested to hear how you get on.

  3. Johannes-Reply
    16 janvier 2009 à 12 h 36 min

    Have no problems copying Japanese text from clipboard to standard non-richtext notes. However, direct input does not work for me in the desktop application. I can input kana (which in Japanese stand for syllables), but the conversion to kanji (the chinese characters) does not work.

    Using the website in FF everything works. May be similar for Korean (don’t know their way of input).

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