The Benefits of Tagging

Study the transcript of this episode as a lesson on LingQ, saving the words and phrases you don’t know to your database. Here it is!

Today, Jill and Steve discuss how creating Tags can help the language learner categorize and organize related words and phrases so they are easier to review and learn.

Jill: Good afternoon Steve.

Steve: Good afternoon Jill.

Jill: How are you today?

Steve: I’m fine thank you.

How are you?

Jill: Great thank you.

Today we’re going to do a podcast, you and me, about questions that people are asking us about LingQ, about English or about language learning in general.

The question we are going to discuss today came to us via email, but we also will be implementing our community Forum in the next day or two on LingQ and so we will be receiving questions through our Forum as well.

Today I wanted to address the issue of “tagging”, which we have on LingQ and I think some people are not familiar with this functionality.

Steve: Well first of all, I think it’s a great idea to get questions from our learners, some of them, you know, important questions, which you get a lot of and to be able to answer these questions.

We hope people will ask more questions and we can answer them.

I know that some of the functions on LingQ, some people are not clear about them and tagging is one of the new features that we introduced.

We didn’t have tagging in The Linguist.

What tagging is all about is when people save a word or a phrase they have an opportunity to put a label on that word or phrase.

Tagging is a term that is used a lot in the sort of Web 2.0 world.

I’m not into Facebook and all these things, but I know that everywhere you go you have a chance to tag things and tagging is a very flexible way of putting things into categories because you can create your own label as you go.

You can label more than one…you can have the same item with a number of different tags and it gives you a chance to review things, you know, in this case, words and phrases, that you believe belong together; that somehow there is some reason why you want to associate them in one label or one category.

Jill: So it’s really a way of categorizing; in our system, terms, words and phrases.

Steve: Exactly and we don’t want to have it just grammar categories or, you know, set categories relating to different types of meaning.

In other words, we don’t want to say this is going to be, you know, this is medical terms or it’s economic terms…

Jill: …or this is animals…

Steve: …or colors or parts of the body nor is it limited to grammar, but it can include those and so the same word could be put in a grammar category, it could be…you might have a category or a tag that says “important phrases”, “phrases that I like”, it doesn’t matter.

Or you can have phrasal verbs or you could have past tense or continuous, present, things that are important to you.

You know, one of the things that comes up very often is…the technical term is “modals”, M O D A L S. Forget the technical term, but it refers to would, should, could, might, may.

These words in English cause a lot of trouble for people, so you might want to tag…you might choose the word “would” to represent all of those or you might call it modals and every time you save a phrase that has would or could or might or should you might want to tag that.

You might save words that you understand, but you want to tag them so that you can review them together.

Jill: Right.

It’s a convenient and easy way to review similar words, related words that have some sort of association.

Steve: Right and, of course, people who are familiar with LingQ know that in the vocabulary section they have lists; different kinds of lists.

One of the ways at looking at the words and phrases that you have saved is to select one of the tags that you have created and then you will only see the 25 or 50 or 200 words that you have tagged with that particular label.

That gives you a chance to focus on those words and phrases.

You can use flash cards.

You can see examples.

You can do whatever you want, but you’re now focused on words that you have tagged with that particular label.

Jill: Right and we’re planning on adding different functionality with tagging features, so that you can do…I know a lot of people have asked to see a list of all of their tags because they don’t necessarily remember all of the tags they’ve created.

So, when they save a word they may think, you know, maybe they saved the word “stomach” and they can’t remember if they’ve created a tag for body parts, so they would like to see a list of all their tags and then it’s easy to assign the words or terms to these different tags.

I think we have plans to do that and some other things with the tagging as well.

Steve: Absolutely.

Like so many of the functions that we have in LingQ, now we realize that there are a number of things that we can do to refine them to make them more user friendly.

Some of the ideas are ideas that we have, some of the ideas are ideas that our users have suggested to us and so we will make it more user friendly, but it is already very user friendly.

I use it all the time in my Russian studies.

It’s very effective and the reason it’s effective is that, you know…and I’ve been doing a lot of reading about how the brain learns and the brain is very effective at learning things where it can create an association, tie it to something that it’s already familiar with or compare it to something or link it to something, hence the word LingQ in our system.

A lot of the way we learn at LingQ is based on this idea of creating associations, so tagging is just another way in our system that we help people learn though associations and, therefore, help them, you know, increase their vocabulary, both their passive and eventually their active vocabulary.

That’s really the purpose of tagging and it’s one of these things where some people won’t use it, but most people once they start using it they’ll continue using it.

Jill: And I think it’s probably like with many features on LingQ there’s a lot more there than most people realize.

Most people only use the basic functionality and they’re not familiar with all of the little things that you can do to enhance your learning experience.

We are going to do a better job too of making that more obvious, those features more obvious with a Proper Help Section and updating our video demos so that they include some of the new features and functionality, but for sure, there’s a lot on the system that people don’t even know they can do.

Steve: And I think too, I find in my own learning you go through stages.

You’ll go through a stage where really all you want to do is listen and read and so you’re saving words on your listening and reading and you’re enjoying that and you’re listening to stories or whatever you’re doing.

Then you’ll go through a period where you’re prepared to put the time and effort into working on your vocabulary.

In some way, working on vocabulary away from the context, which is more difficult, but it’s helpful too.

It’s all training; raking the brain; training the brain and so it’s good to vary it in this way and very helpful.

I think tagging is a big part of that and I look forward to more questions from people about tagging or about other features of the system.

I think once we have the Forum working we’ll get people suggesting different ways that they’re using the system.

You know I just remembered, recently I had an email from someone who was doing something very good with LingQ.

I was going to mention it, but I forgot what it was.

There are so many of our learners who are finding imaginative and creative ways that they’re using different functions and once we have the Forum up and running then people will be exchanging these different ways of doing things.

But at the same time, we do welcome your questions so that Jill and I can talk about them here and, hopefully, that will be useful to people who are learning English or other languages with LingQ.

Jill: Yes that’s right.

We encourage questions about the language in general.

If you have questions about phrases or words or things that cause you problems or about the system or about language learning, we’ll discuss all of those sorts of things here.

Steve: We look forward to hearing from you. Bye Jill.

Jill: Bye, bye.

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