I might at times lack focus and direction. I’ve explained this elsewhere, and it is one of many of my excuses for not being a CEO, world leader or some such.
But also, when developing Surface Languages, my ideas change and evolve, and not solely with the direction of the wind.
An example of this happening concerns dictionaries.
A while ago, I was very keen on adding a load of dictionaries to SL, and I’m still keen, but I’ve realized that I was in danger of becoming sidetracked with the whole dictionary shebang.
There are already great dictionary sites out there – although not perhaps for minority languages – and Surface Languages is about language learning.
So, I’m going to add the word games for most of the languages on this site over the coming weeks, and not obsess over dictionaries.
Crosswords and language learning
Of course, learning a language is far more than learning lists of words.
But I like crosswords, and the best way, in my opinion, of acquiring vocabulary is by doing different things with the language.
Talking. Way! Reading! Way!. Listening!! Writing. Duh!
Doing crosswords is just another way of increasing and re-inforcing your foreign language vocabulary, as it is of increasing your vocabulary in your mother tongue. (lengua materna, madrelingua, język ojczysty in the languages I am learning. I don’t know enough Polish to be sure of this but ojczysty appears more like ojciec ‘father’ than mother to me. Hmmm).
Anyway, I increase my English vocabulary by doing crosswords. Naturally, I do the quick crosswords from the Guardian, and only when I have hours to spare would I do the cryptics from the same paper.
I thought that it would be very helpful to have crosswords for beginner language learners with a limited number of ‘easy’ words.
As the crosswords are generated at random, and taken from a short list (of between 500-1000) words, the same words will appear frequently.
This, dear reader, should help make them stick.