Language learning in the electronic age


Language learning has become tremendously more convenient thanks to modern technology. I just can’t say it enough. I discover new benefits constantly.

Yesterday was a day of travel. My wife and I flew from Vancouver to Amsterdam, and then on to Vienna where we now find ourselves. During the flight I read a diary of the year 2010 in the life of Michal Viewegh called Další báječný rok. I have the feeling that I got to know him personally just by reading his very frank entries in his diary. Therefore it was a shock to discover that in late 2012 Viewegh suffered a traumatic aortic rupture, which has affected his ability to continue to write novels.

I started reading this diary in Vancouver. His language is easy to read for a learner of Czech such as me. I then found some online sources for Czech e-books and audiobooks, for e-books, and for audiobooks. I was able to go to both sites, find books by Viewegh, pay with PayPal, and import them onto my Kindle app on my iPad, or in the case of audio books, import them to iTunes.

For much of the flight from Vancouver to Amsterdam I was able to read Viewegh’s diary and other works, while looking words up in my excellent Bitknights Czech dictionary, which I have on my iPad. I accumulate one hundred words on the dictionary, which appears to be the limit to the number of words you can save in your history file. I then email this history file as a CSV file to myself, and from there import it  into my vocabulary section at LingQ. Therefore these words which I am starting to learn will appear highlighted in yellow in my future reading at LingQ. So I am able to close the loop on reading that I do out of traditional books, e-books in Kindle and LingQ, and make sure that I acquire the new vocabulary that I encounter in my different forms of reading.

The convenience of the whole process, from finding the sources, paying with PayPal, carrying a bunch of books and audio books in my iPad, and closing the loop with the dictionary lookups back to LingQ, is just amazing. We live in interesting times.


Want to learn language from content you love?

5 comments on “Language learning in the electronic age


I really believed with what I read but concerning me I don’t have your ability yo do so , may it needs a kind of insistence which I miss. Thank you sir I am interested in what you sir write.
Best regards
Al Tamimi Sajidah

Lyle Lexier

I hope to buy an iPad for Christmas on Boxing Day for around $699. Then I will buy an e-Book and an audio-book in French.

From your friend,
Lyle Lexier

Hi Steve,

hope you’re enjoying your stay in the Czech Republic. I personally use for the language learning my Blackberry, where I have awesome app – offline browser with audio recording(s) and translation. At the moment I’m learning Hungarian language, so I save some text page in Hungarian in offline browser with Czech translation and then I can learn everywhere on the road.

If you are fan of classic works of art, try this site where is text + audio:

Here are audio-recordings of Karel Čapek:

And here “Království mluveného slova” – “Kingdom of spoken word:

Will you during December disclose the place where the language meeting will be held in Prague?



These views are really thought-provoking. Creative use of technology and recognizing our tech knowledge, and embracing a rapidly changing tech environment are some significant challenges which we must accept with open arms.

Cool Steve, thanks for these resources. Have fun in the Czech Republic. I’ve been three times and even got married in Brno two years ago. The food and beer are divine!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.