Learn New Words with Favorite Netflix Series

Become fluent in Spanish after watching Narcos, in German after Dogs of Berlin, and English after Friends?

Hooking way better than a boring classroom learning, right?

Jokes aside, watching movies and series is a very relaxing and efficient way to virtually immerse yourself in the environment of the language you set out to learn. And thus, learn a lot of vocabulary and pick up new grammatical structures. Hardly anyone would say learning vocabulary on flashcards is more fun than watching a favorite series or a movie.

And there’s a new very subtle way of learning new words from Netflix. You’ll need two free apps for that: Mate and Reji.

The first one allows you to click on unknown words in Netflix subtitles and see a translation right there. Thus, you can forget about being constantly distracted on your phone to translate that new word in Google Translate.

Since Netflix subtitles are available in many languages, you can learn a handful of them with the same favorite series. E.g., just put up Breaking Bad in German and voila! You’re already picking up that meth-cooking German slang!

Mate’s translations are precise, they show up with useful synonyms. Its speak-out feature and phonetic transcription come in handy as a pronunciation aid.

Netflix player with Mate's translation tooltip
Just install Mate’s extension for Chrome, Opera, Edge or Firefox and turn on subtitles on Netflix. Click on words to translate.

When you click on a word in the subtitles, the video is automatically paused. You can save the word to practice later or continue watching easily.

A real page-turner is that Mate allows you not only translate words (and, as we all know, forget soonish) but also practice them.

If you click on that Save button in the Mate’s tooltip, stocked vocabulary gets categorized by series and episode names. I.e. you’ll have word lists like ‘Narcos S1E1’, ‘Friends S3E4’, etc. Mess-free!

Saved words preview in Mate.
The words I saved from Umbrella Academy’s first episode.

And that’s where Reji kicks in

This is an iOS app which enables you to learn words, their spelling, and pronunciation. It’s based on spaced repetition — a renowned algorithm which helps to memorize a boatload of items (in this case, words) by simply repeating them on certain intervals. Reji manages all the routine work. All that you need to do is open the app (it reminds you via notifications) and spend a couple of minutes per day practicing your vocab.

It has a couple of learning modes to practice: matching words with translations, images, definitions or trying to recall their spelling.

While we kept Mate good for its original purpose – translations, Reji fills up the learning part.

Reji's learn mode with the words from the Umbrella Academy.
Learning the words from the Umbrella Academy in Reji. It’s one-click easy to export words from Mate to Reji.

Learning those saved words

Even though you’ll need two separate apps for this, we made it one-click easy to export words from Mate to Reji. And, we hope you’ll soon like the flexibility it gives you. You are not overwhelmed with a boatload of functions in one clumsy app.

  • Open Phrasebook (it’s where word lists for each series/episode are) in Mate by clicking on “view saved words →” right in the tooltip on Netflix or in the browser’s toolbar pop-up.

  • Select which list you want to export.
  • Click on Learn on the top.

  • Scan the QR code with the Camera app on your iPhone/iPad.

  • You’re all set! Run the learn mode in Reji and have fun!
Running Reji’s learn mode on the exported words. Practice spelling type of exercise.

Free downloads

Mate is available for free as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Opera.

Reji is available for free for iOS 10.3+. Click here to download.

10 Spanish Curse Words and Expressions that’d Make your Grandma Blush

When it comes to Spanish curse words, there’s a subtle art to swearing. Whether it be venting in a moment of frustration, expressing enthusiasm or making an exclamation of pain or disgust, Spanish-speakers sure know the power of an emphatic expletive.

Sometimes, a dirty look just isn't enough. Express your feelings of anger and frustration with these Spanish curse words.
Sometimes, a dirty look just isn’t enough. Express your feelings of anger and frustration with these Spanish curse words. Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Continue reading “10 Spanish Curse Words and Expressions that’d Make your Grandma Blush”

5 Ways to Memorize New Words in a Flash and Expand your Vocabulary

Need to memorize new words for an upcoming quiz in a short period of time? Sick of asking how to say a particular word over and over again? Or are you simply making a concerted effort to expand your vocabulary?

Whatever the motivation, these 5 easy tricks will have you using new words when speaking and writing in your target language in no time at all.

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How to Build Your French Vocabulary

Having an extensive French vocabulary can make communication easier all round. It not only helps us express ourselves better but also understand others better too.

Get more out of your holiday interactions by brushing up on French vocabulary and expressions before you leave home.
Get more out of your holiday interactions by brushing up on French vocabulary and expressions before you leave home. Photo by Paul Rysz on Unsplash

Equally, your vocabulary, or lack thereof, can limit your interactions. Ever had one of those moments where you think you understand what someone is saying from context, but you don’t know the one crucial word they’re using? Or perhaps, you’ve tried to describe something very specific but find yourself searching for that one important missing word? Continue reading “How to Build Your French Vocabulary”

5 Best Language Learning Apps You Should Try To Improve Your Vocabulary

Improve your vocabulary with an app. There are plenty to choose from. Photo by Hitesh Choudhary on Unsplash
Improve your vocabulary with an app. Photo by Hitesh Choudhary on Unsplash

Ever feel like you have lots to say but you lack the vocabulary to put your ideas into words?

Simplifying your ideas can help. Explaining your way around a missing word often works well too. But sometimes, you just need to suck it up and dedicate more time to learning new vocabulary. Especially, if your work uses technical language or you need to communicate with clients in a foreign language. 

So, you’ve decided you want to do something about it but where to start?

Continue reading “5 Best Language Learning Apps You Should Try To Improve Your Vocabulary”

Flashcard App Comparison: Reji vs Anki vs Quizlet

Flashcards should be a staple part of any students’ study routine. You can use them to memorize and drill anything from vocabulary to verb conjugations or lexical chunks. The trick is to stick with it and review at regular intervals so you don’t forget all that useful info. (Learn more about how our brains memorize new words and retain information, and how to harness this in my previous post here.)

The most simple flashcards have a word written in your first language on one side and the translation in your target language on the other side, but flashcards have come a long way from the homemade handwritten variety. Now, there are loads of great apps with lots of cool features which you can use to review anytime, anywhere, on the go. Much more convenient than lugging a stack of cards to the library with you.

But, which app is right for you? In this blog post, we look at the pros and cons of 3 flashcard apps – Reji, Anki, and Quizlet. Keep reading to find out more.

Continue reading “Flashcard App Comparison: Reji vs Anki vs Quizlet”

How to Really Learn New Words: 5 Tips to Boost your English Vocabulary Fast

Words are the building blocks of a language. If you want to build a solid house you need a good foundation. After the structure of the house is sturdy and secure, you can continue adding to it by investing time and hard work. The same is true of expanding your vocabulary.

So, what happens if you do a sloppy renovation job? Maybe something breaks and needs to be repaired. That means maintenance work. Either you can let it go and just live with it or you can reinforce which would definitely be the best long-term policy. Again, this rings true of learning new words in English.

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Same Same But Different: 3 Easy Ways to Learn Synonyms

For some reason unbeknownst to me, some students have this notion that synonyms are like the holy grail of vocabulary. My hunch is that they think since they already know the meaning of these words, they’re easier to memorize. Whatever the reason, synonyms are a useful tool for language learners to avoid repetition when speaking and especially when writing in English (or any other language for that matter). If you don’t know what a synonym is, it’s simply a word or phrase which has the same meaning as another word.

Don’t get stuck in the habit of memorizing long lists of words which you’ll never actually use and eventually just forget! Instead, try to expand your vocabulary in a conscious and meaningful way. It will make remembering them new vocabulary easier and more enjoyable. Not sure how? Read on for 3 easy tips.

Continue reading “Same Same But Different: 3 Easy Ways to Learn Synonyms”