Traveflips standard set language learning tool

Travelflips Flashcards

I have written in the past about how communication works, so it makes sense for me now to take a step back and analyze the fantastic tools we use for this purpose. Much can be said about non-verbal communication, but today I want to concentrate on language itself, which is something we tend to take for granted, until we find ourselves in a context where we can’t understand what is being said.

We learn our first language seemingly effortlessly, as babies – the plasticity of our brain allows us to “absorb” the meaning of sounds from the context around us. There is a widespread belief that learning new languages at a young age is the only way to be successful in this endeavor, but there is considerable evidence challenging this belief.

Adults have at their disposal a number of tools they can use to effectively compensate the alleged advantage of the plasticity of a child’s brain: motivation and studying techniques are only two of them. Additionally, the more languages we learn, the easier it becomes to learn new ones – many words share a common root, and learning the root makes it easier to understand and remember the different possible variations.

Along with the obvious advantage of being able to communicate in geographically diverse situations, learning a new language has been proven to provide healthy exercise for the brain. Languages don’t translate symmetrically: it’s not an urban legend that the Inuit actually have 50 or more words to describe snow. Some words and expressions cannot be entirely translated at all. For example, the ancient Greek term oida is the past for orao, “to see”: but it means I know (because I have seen).

Since there is no direct correlation between words in different languages, every time we learn a new word we are potentially forced to consider the concept itself from a new perspective; learning a new language forces us to adopt a new approach when interpreting reality.

There are multiple ways and methods to learn new languages, and they all work – with the right amount of dedication from the student. A new method I encountered at the New York BookCon which think is worth mentioning here is Travelflips: flashcards with idiomatic expressions, sentences, and keywords that can easily be studied daily, before a trip to a foreign country, to learn the essentials.

What I personally really liked, is that it’s an elegant gadget that is crafted with style and attention to detail: involving multiple senses is an excellent way to stimulate learning, so having beautifully designed cards that feel good to the touch is more than a purely aesthetic quality, it’s actually a promise of effectiveness.

We are constantly bombarded with apps and virtual products – sometimes it feels good to have something tangible.