As time goes by, we language enthusiasts have a tendency of accumulating new products, systems, articles, premium subscriptions or other resources and resource lists that we thought looked useful at one point but that we’re honestly never going to go back to.
Wouldn’t it be nice to clean them up once and for all while sparking a renewed sense of interest in our language learning projects?
Maybe it’s time to sweep away the digital dust collecting on those bookmarks, sort them out in a useful manner and try to revitalize their usefulness in our language learning projects.
Create a new folder for language bookmarks
Creating new bookmark folders to help keep your language stuff in order is super simple and only takes a second to do.
I prefer to use Google Chrome as my browser, but this process should be more or less the same no matter which browser you choose to use.
As you can see, all you have to do is right click on the bookmarks bar and click “Add Folder”. Name it something super cool and unique like “Dusty Language Stuff” or “Dragons be Here”.
This will add a dropdown folder that you can then simply click and drag bookmarks from your primary bookmarks tab directly.
If you don’t use a bookmarks bar you can create the same folder in your normal bookmarks tab by right clicking on your “Other Bookmarks” folder. Once again – from there it’s just a matter of click and drag.
Now that you have a folder for your language bookmarks you can stuff it full of all of the miscellaneous links to language learning tips blogs, browser apps and web games you’ve been ignoring for the past three years.
Now…. what to do with it all?
Get rid of some (or most) of it
That link to Livemocha that you saved for yourself four years ago and never used? Delete it! Livemocha was recently taken down by Rosetta Stone.
Those links to various language articles that you saved months ago thought you were going to want to reference some day? Are you really going back? Really? Really? Look over them and see what you can dump.
The fourteen different Russian dictionaries you bookmarked “just in case?” You don’t need those either. Keep your favorite – throw out the rest.
Okay, so, what now?
One of the most important aspects of your language learning project is going to be keeping your resources in order. You need to know what you do and do not need. You need to formulate a plan and you need to do what you can to stick to it.
Excess is just that – excess, and trimming the fat in the form of the language tools you’re just not using can help you keep your affairs in order and your eye on the prize.
Now that everything is better organized it’s time to choose the tools that you do want to have bookmarked.
I keep my language bookmarks folder pretty spartan. These are more or less the online tools I use the most and the only things I keep readily available on my bookmarks bar and folder:
1. Memrise – Can’t live without it. One of my most trusted and most used language learning resources, across the board. If you aren’t already using it you really should be.
2. Duolingo – Another classic. If you’re more advanced in your language learning project, Duo may not be for you but if you still think of yourself as a beginner you may want to have this one saved. You can read more about it in my article: “10 Reasons You Need to be Using Duolingo.”
3. A translator/dictionary – I’m not really a big fan of using translators for my projects. I prefer to use online dictionaries that are more specific to the language(s) I’m learning. The ones I use most frequently are Pons (for German) and WordReference.
You can use a translator if you like – it’s just not my preference. Try to find the top language dictionaries for your target language – they usually have online versions and are more reliable than using automated translators. Sometimes they’ll even come with translation capabilities.
4. Etymonline – An etymological dictionary for the English language. How does this help my language learning? I’m not sure, it’s mostly just really cool and consistently reminds me of how much I love English. Check it out. Well worth hanging on to.
6. YouTube – You’ve probably already bookmarked this one. But just in case you haven’t, do it now. If you’re looking for another resource to go with it you can check out the list of my favorite language YouTube channels and podcasts right here.
That’s really all I need!
Keeping things simple is the way to be and in my opinion, the fewer bookmarks you have floating around, the easier it is for you to find and keep on top of the resources that you actually use.
And take this time to remind yourself to actually use those expensive subscription products that you paid for.
Pricey programs like Babbel, Rosetta Stone, Rocket Languages, or any number of others are not something you want to neglect if you’ve already laid down the cash – some of these can get quite expensive.
If you’re paying for a subscription to a big name language resource you definitely need to put it front and center.
While I don’t personally advocate most of the aforementioned expensive products, if you’re using them already you better make sure you’re getting your money’s worth because you’re not getting it back and time waits for no one.
Organization is important when tackling a project as big as a new language with any level of seriousness.
Sorting out the hoards of language bookmarks you’ve been stashing on your web browsers for months (or years) is a quick and simple way of getting rid of what you don’t need, realizing what you do need and structuring it so that you can focus again.
Not sure what your language bookmarks folder should look like? I can’t tell you exactly which materials you need for you, but I stand by the recommendations I’ve made above.
What bookmarks do you keep? What are the most important web resources in your language learning project? Leave a comment!