Mixxer update, Thank You's and Badges

01/24/2018 - 15:45 | bryantt

Thank You

I've made a two additions to the site.  The first is a way to say "thank you" to other users.  If someone corrects your writing or is very helpful during an exchange.  Consider click the thumbs up icon at the top of their profile.


It will send them an email expressing your thanks, and other users of the site will be able to see that they've helped someone else.  FYI, if there are users who are offensive or are not here to learn a language, there already is a link at the bottom of every person's profile to flag for abuse, spam or inappropriate behavior.  This sends me a message, and I will then ban them from the site.



I've also set up some badges. They're visible via the Profile Search on each person's Profile Page. These are meant primarily to make it clear how the website should be used if people are serious about practicing a language.  Message other learners, add them as friends, write, and help others by correcting their writing.  This will also hopefully help more serious users find each other, and it's a way to say thank you again to those who are helping others.  Anyone who spends time correcting someone else's writing is good language partner, and it should be recognized.

The Messenger Badges The Friend Badges The Writer Badges  The Corrector Badges 

Messenger Badge

Has sent at least ten Messages

Friend Badge

Has at least one Friend.

Writer badge

Has posted at least one Writing or Blog post. 

Corrector Badge

Has corrected or commented at least once.

Messenger Plus Badge

Has sent more than 50 Messages

Friend Plus Badge

Has more than five Friends.

Writer plus badge

Has posted at least six Writings or Blog posts.

Corrector Plus Badge

Has corrected or commented more than ten times.

Messenger Plus Plus Badge

Has sent more than 100 Messages

Friend Plus Plus Badge

  Has more than ten Friends.  

Writer Plus Plus Badge

  Has posted more than ten Writings or Blog posts.  

Corrector Plus Plus Badge

Has corrected or commented more than 25 times.


Good luck with your exchanges.

Todd Bryant

Mixxer Admin

Dickinson College


Comment count: 1


01/24/2018 - 08:21 | ekaterina.mosko...

Hallo! Ich heiße Katya. Und ich möchte einen Freund finden, weil ich gut Deutsche Sprache lernen möchte. Ich lebe in Russland und lerne Englisch auch. Ich möchte mit jemand ein Gesprach haben.

Comment count: 0

Language Apps Are Really Just Vocabulary Apps

01/23/2018 - 10:28 | bryantt


(Image from Flickr user Bronx)

Hey look, a new app!

I came across an application that sounded interesting, Glossika.  It promised, as many now do, to use AI to learn a language. It also promised practice to communicate in real-life situations and to be able to “internalize” grammar structures from context.  When I tried it out; however, it was very similar to other “language” apps such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Memrise.  It’s a series of translation activities, learned by repetition, and organized by topic.


I should have known by the misleading “internalize” term when it came to grammar.  Much is made about the advantages children have when learning a language, and it is true that when it comes to sounds and accents, they have an advantage over adults.  Much less mentioned is the tremendous advantage adults have when it comes to grammar and other patterns.  We don’t have to listen to hundreds or even thousands of examples before we are able to recognize a grammatical rule and its exceptions.  Instead, we can simply read an explanation.


For example, Spanish verbs end in -ir,-ar, and -er.  Most verbs are regular.  For these they all follow the same pattern.  For -ar verbs for example.


Trabajar - to work

Yo (I) trabajo

Tú (you) trabajas

Él, ella, usted (He, she you formal) trabaja

Nosotros (We) trabajamos

Vosotros (You plural, Spain only) trabajáis

Ellos, ella, ustedes (They and you plural for Latin America) trabajan


The pattern is very similar for -er and ir verbs as well.  Imagine how long it would take to figure out the pattern based only on examples, especially if you learned some irregular, though very common, verbs first.  Instead, with a few minutes of studying you can conjugate most of the verbs in the Spanish language for the present tense. Unfortunately language apps never explicitly state these patterns so even simple and very common grammar functions, like the present tense, take a very long time to master.


Another key skill not addressed from these apps is the ability to understand and communicate using what little vocabulary we have and making use of the context to derive meaning.  Without this skill, it would be years before could have even the simplest conversation.  There’s simply too many possibilities to count on memorizing phrases as a path to fluency.


Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s boring.  To hear these short phrases repeated ad nauseum only to then move on to the next set is excruciating.  This isn’t to say that some memorization is required, but to so as the only way to acquire a language is both tedious and ineffective.


One of the great joys in learning a language is that any activity that involves reading, listening, speaking, or writing is helpful to learn a language.  Find a topic you enjoy to write about, read a book, watch a movie, or find a language partner.  Not only are these enjoyable, but you’ll learn to communicate with even a limited amount of vocabulary as your skill and knowledge grow.


These apps can be useful to add a few new words, but they’re only a small piece. Language is about communication, stories, and ideas.  This means as with most things, learning is best done by doing.

Comment count: 0


01/18/2018 - 12:05 | VortexOfIndustry

日本語では、「俺」がいいですか? 「俺」で書きますがいいですか?


Is it ok to use 俺 in Japanese? Is it ok to use 俺 when writing?





Comment count: 2

2nd Day

01/17/2018 - 19:42 | nick.neu

French Plurals- most adj and nouns often end in -s; these s' are silent

Pronoun conjugations with plural verb (Parler)

Je Parle

Tu Parles

Il Parle

Elle Parle

Nous Parleons

Vous Parlez

Ils Parlent

Elles Parlent

Usage of tu & vous

tu- singular and to be used around those you're familiar with

vous- formal usage

Pronoun, adjectives, articles agreement:

All three must agree with their nouns in both gender and number

Masculine Singular: Le Chat Noir

Masculine Plural: Les chats noirs

Femme singular: La robe noire

Femme plural: Les robes noires

Continuous tenses: 

French has no specialized continuous verb tenses unlike english. However to express something that is continuous you should use Idomatic phrase 'etre en train de' - I am in the process. 

L'Amour- Love is tricky in french language. Verb Aimer = Love, but adding an adverb to it expresses a different meaning. Amier bein translates to 'to like' 

Conjugations of Eres

Je - Suis = je suis

Tu - es = tu es

Il - est = Il est

Elle - ? = elle 

Nous- sommes= nous sommes

Vous - etes = vous etes 

ils/elles - sont = ils sont

Avior - to Have 

Je - Ai = J'ai (elision)

Tu - as = tu as

Il/elle - a = elle a

nous - avons = nous avons

vous - avez = vous avez

ils/elles - ont = ils ont


Comment count: 0

I'm looking for study English SKYPE partner

01/17/2018 - 14:05 | 8

I am a Japanese 40 years old woman.

I am looking for language exchanges partner born and live in real  English country peaplo.

I want to know the European story of the  grammar and an accent and culture of the Medieval Europe.

And I like comic and Anime. If you want to read fav comic, I can read and lesson to you.

I live in Tokyo and I draw Doujinsi and participate in comic market. If you are MANGA OTAKU, maybe same hobby.

Comment count: 0

1st day

01/16/2018 - 22:09 | nick.neu

Went over Grammatical Genders (Male/Female)

Pronoun table je/tu-vous/il/elle

conjugation tables

definite article, indefinite article, partitive article

Elisions -le/la becoming l' (l'homme)

Words begining with H


Comment count: 0

I’m a Visual Learner

01/15/2018 - 19:31 | bryantt

Visual Learning

Me, too!  Come to think of it, have you ever heard someone say they were anything except a visual learner?  I have not, and it turns out for good reason.  While we all can agree that everyone learns differently, there isn’t any scientific evidence that we can be grouped into “styles” that focus on one of the five senses. (1)   This isn’t to say we shouldn’t try to use images, video, sounds, and music in our teaching and learning, rather we should consider the content and goal of the lesson.  

For example, research has shown that we are better able to remember vocabulary when we associate a new word with an image. (2)  With some words, it may not always be possible to create vocabulary lists with each word corresponding to an image that clearly defines the word.  However, as learners, it is helpful to associate even abstract words with an image, although they may be just our own.  Educators have also found music useful to introduce culture into their lessons and to keep students engaged and motivated. (3)  Language learning is a time intensive activity.  Any opportunity we can find that encourages learners to listen in the target language outside of class is extremely valuable.   Finally, many teachers may have heard of the Total Physical Response, or TPR method of teaching.  Most teachers have done some form of TPR when introducing the imperative or command tense for example, “sit down”, “open the book”, etc.  Students demonstrate their understanding of the commands by responding physically following the command.

All of this is to say the most effective approach, and in my opinion also the most enjoyable, is to engage the language in all of its forms.  As we communicate with others, listen to the radio, read books or online texts, and watch our favorite movies, we’ll be experiencing the language in a variety of ways, and more importantly, learning about different cultures while practicing reading, writing, listening, and speaking in the target language.

Todd Bryant

Dickinson College

Mixxer Admin




Image from Flickr, US Embassy Bolivia 

Comment count: 1

You want to improve your spanish? você procura melhorar seu espanhol?

01/12/2018 - 12:10 | Victor12

Hello everyone, my name is Victor, i´m from Panama. If you really are looking for a linguistic partner contact me!

Olá galera, se voces realmente procuran um companhero para aprender espanhol me escriven!

Comment count: 0

I'm in Wuhan,and you?

01/11/2018 - 00:17 | SNOW-K

If you want to learn chinese or want to visit Wuhan,welcoe to contact me.I'm a student in Wuhan and I'm willing to be your guide.
I always want to make a foreign friend,so I will be very happy if you are in Wuhan too,it's easier to communicate with you for me.
(My English is not very good,if there are some mistakes,please correct me.Thank you~)

Comment count: 0