One of the greatest challenges of learning a foreign language is figuring out how to talk and write like an actual person instead of sounding like a textbook or audio recording lesson. And there are so many painful almost moments, when words that are beginning to become familiar have just enough casual spin on them that an entire phrase escapes meaning.
Phraseum is an app that leverages online content to use languages more naturally, as a native speaker might. Users highlight text they encounter online that they want to learn or remember, click on the Phraseum bookmark in their browsers, and store words and phrases for later use.
Permit the word geek in me a joyful moment: Phraseum, like a museum of phrases. Just the kind of place I’ve always wanted to visit.
Regardless if you’re reading news stories, blog posts, or comments, Phraseum lets users grab content from anywhere. Tags not only allow users to save and categorize phrases as they like, but they generate suggestions for other phrases related to a specific topic.
Better yet, Phraseum offers a community of phrase collections, or Phrasebooks, based on common topics, projects, or grammar lessons. Have a look under “Phrasal Verbs in Use” to pick up vernacular gems such as “We’d be toast without it” or “…feel free to drop me a line.” As with other beginner materials, there are categories for helping learn basic phrases for traveling, dining out, transportation, and lodging. Phraseum goes one step further by offering phrases in categories such as “Online Communication,” “Presentation,” and “Startups and Apps,” geared for digital conversation – important, since the Internet is such a vital interface where people from around the world interact with great frequency.
In addition to Phrasebooks, Phraseum has a Stream (similar to Facebook’s news feed) where it is easy to discover phrases from content subscriptions as well as the people and phrasebooks a user is following. The Stream provides quick access to content curated automatically.
Every language learner begins by using common phrases until gaining enough command of a new language to put thoughts together using his or her own words. Even then, it’s still difficult to make the next leap to using the language colloquially. For example, try asking a Cambridge-trained English student to say the phrase “How are you doing?” like Joey Tribbiani would on the hit television show Friends: “How you doin’?” (Based on personal experience, I can say that this is not a mean but a useful and hilarious exercise.)
Phraseum tackles a pain point that every language learner encounters, and does so by taking advantage of the vast reading material available online. Start clipping phrases from the web now at Phraseum.com, and stay in touch with the Phraseum team on Facebook and Twitter for more news and additional content.