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Today I’d like to tell you about a new startup for people who want to constantly update and broaden amount of foreign words they know, but do not want to dedicate too much of their free time to this (I doubt anyone would ever want to do the opposite!)
Let me introduce you to WordSteps – personal vocabulary manager with a pretty simple idea: invest 15 minutes a day visiting this website and in return get about 20 new foreign words remembered. So easy! Let’s dig into more details.
A little bit of history
Of course, it would be so easy to tell you some unbelievable story about how the idea of startup was born in our minds while drinking warm sake and watching cherry blossoms on the slopes of Mount Fuji… but the reality was a bit different. While working on our first project to help people learn English language called RapidSteps.com, we realized what a great number of users wanted to learn foreign words, and not just English words. People demanded simple and convenient service with no confusing details; something that allowed them to monitor statistics and learning progress.
So we’ve gathered all that feedback and gave birth to a convenient international online service to improve and keep users vocabularies smart with minimum efforts and time. And guess what! Even if you plan to go out with friends for a beer on Friday, you will still have enough time to learn a couple of new words with WordSteps.com!
Goals and Results
What results can be achieved with WordSteps anyways? It appears that, according to linguistic researches and studies, the most efficient way to learn foreign words is by memorizing not more than 20 words a day (as Vladimir Lenin once said “Less is more”). Multiply this number by 365 days and get more than 7000 words in one year. Taking in account that normally no one wants to study every day and the best scenario is once in two days, we get a little more than 3000 words. Not enough? Don’t rush with conclusions. According to statistics that amount of words is enough to understand 80% of all foreign books, newspapers and movies, and this is more than enough to hold day to day conversations with foreigners.
So here is the target – to learn about 3000 words a year. And it’s WordSteps service that can help achieve this goal.
In order to save your time and fit into 15 minutes, we offer you our collection of dictionaries available on the website in nine different languages. Professional instructors and language native speakers prepare most of those dictionaries. But every user is also encouraged to create his own dictionaries of words he/she wants to learn.
Dictionaries can be set either for personal use only, or open to other users. Every user can rate dictionary he/she has been using and those dictionaries that have better ratings than others are shown on the website main page. In other words, rating system is used to determine dictionary’s quality.
At the moment we offer dictionaries to learn new words in any of the following languages: English, Russian, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Japanese, Italian and Portuguese. And the user can choose to learn any of these languages in any of languages from this list that he/she speaks. It all depends on user’s language proficiency and desire to experiment while studying.
So, what should be done to learn words from the dictionaries on WordSteps? It is very easy: find a dictionary you like, or create a new one, and then do any of six offered exercises. Among those are popular flash cards, choosing of correct translation, spelling of words letter by letter and others. Most of exercises have correct answer keys.
Here is a good advice: there is no need to memorize all words in dictionary at once. Words that were remembered earlier will stay in your mind forever if you repeat them day after day. It is much better to memorize a bit and repeat it seven times rather than learn all at once and totally forget the day after.
Every user of WordSteps has a profile that shows statistics of completed exercises. The most active users are listed in TOP 10 Vocabularies and get a chance to win valuable prizes.
First of all, the service is targeted at international audiences. At the moment the website interface is translated into English and Russian languages, and Chinese interface will be available soon.
Secondly, WordSteps offers more than 70 language pairs to choose from. Native and foreign language pairs can be chosen from “I speak” menu for native language and “I am learning” menu for foreign language.
In third place, you can communicate with dictionaries authors, add them to friends list and send messages. By allowing users to comment on others dictionaries, website developers are giving them a tool to punish those who do lousy job. Stay with us and soon we’ll tell you about other great ideas we have!