Prague, Czech Republic – Central European languages, including Czech, Slovak and Polish, are famed for ranking among the hardest in the world, and learning them can often turn into an excruciatingly painful endeavor for the courageous linguists.
A new app, developed in the Czech Republic, is trying to change that.
Vocabulary Miner, a language app tailored to the needs of expats
Developed and upgraded in the past few years by Czech Skoumal Studio, the Vocabulary Miner app aims to root the learning of languages in expats’ and foreigners’ every-day life situations. “We were looking for an app that brings simplicity and usefulness into learning, something rooted in our personal experience”, CEO Vladislav Skoumal told Kafkadesk.
Meant to help expat communities all around the world, Vocabulary Miner currently boasts around 6.000 users and provides learning of up to 17 different languages. Although English remains the number one language learnt, interest for other idioms, including Czech, Slovak and Polish, as well as other predominant European languages like German, French and Spanish, is growing by the day.
But the app can also be useful to other groups, as Zuzana Pápayová, project coordinator at Skoumal, pointed out: students or language teachers also use it to create vocabulary flashcards within the app for their own or their students’ use. Travelers and backpackers arriving for the first time in Prague or Warsaw may also use it to quickly learn the basics of Czech or Polish, creating word lists along the way or downloading existing ones to make their trip all the more easier (flashcards with road signs vocabulary, for instance, or to help how to get pass safety checks at the airport, etc.).
How does Vocabulary Miner work?
For anyone who wishes to learn Czech, Slovak or Polish in a simple and user-friendly way, Vocabulary Miner might just be the answer. The app comprises thousands of flashcards and vocabulary lists specifically linked to concrete, daily-life situations: the Post Office, a doctor’s appointment, relocation services, etc.
Users can create, download and swipe the flashcards, organized by language, topic and level, depending on their own personal level of progress, while the whole process is being regulated by a spaced repetition algorithm that enables users to learn and remember the lessons in the long-term.
Vocabulary Miner, free in the App Store and Google Play but which also offers a Premium Membership for unlimited access for less than 1 euro per month, therefore provides a much-needed help, for instance, to help fill out forms or address non-English speakers in the every-day life of expats and foreigners arriving in a new country.
“60% of the vocabulary is created by in-house translators – often native speakers who also lived abroad and therefore have a better idea of the needs of expats” Zuzana Pápayová explained to Kafkadesk, on behalf of the Vocabulary Miner team. The rest of the content is directly created by the Vocabulary Miner community and its users, who also rate, comment and provide feedback on every word list in order to constantly improve the quality and scope of the vocabulary flashcards.
A Czech-made promising young app
The Vocabulary Miner app is growing, with new languages constantly being added to the mix. “Only a few days ago, someone published the first Japanese vocabulary list, and we registered Hebrew among the upcoming chosen languages as well”, Zuzana Pápayová said. “We’re also exploring new ways of working with international companies that encourage their employees to learn some basics of foreign languages, and are currently working on a problem reporting mechanism, so that users can alert us if they identify a mistake within a word list”.
Czech-based Skoumal Studio, the developer of the Vocabulary Miner app, also works on a wide range of new digital apps with other clients: like Integromat, that connects multiple apps and services into one without the user even noticing it. “We also cooperate with one of the biggest internet television platforms in the Czech Republic – 4net – on their mobile app”, Skoumal said, “or HB Rings by TheTouch, which lets you feel the heartbeat of your loved one in an instant connection even remotely”.
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