As I take great pride in exploring the tools and services out there for language learners, I did not hesitate when Oliver Antosch of Antosch & Lin approached me to review their flashcard service. Note that this is part 1 of my review, the first look. I will write another post when I have used the service for a month to evaluate it.
Disclaimer: I was given a free premium membership in order to test out this service. My views are objective and impartial however.
Under their company name they run a lot of sites, that I will give a link to at the end of the post. Technically this is a Russian-Flashcards.com review but they also have sites for Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Thai with identical constructions and functions.
The above is quite an impressive portfolio of languages. What is great about this concept is that a membership gets you access to ALL of the above. Great for those who enjoy to learn multiple languages at once. The primary service (flashcard service) is free, with the option to upgrade to a premium account. I will get back to what you get as a premium subscriber in just a minute but for now allow me to introduce just exactly what the Antosch and Lin flashcard service is.
Antosch and Lin – Flashcards on steroids
As a follower of Memrise and well aware of Anki, I was curious as to what Antosch & Lin could offer beyond that which the previously mentioned services offer. To me you should only design your own product or service if you feel like you can offer something better than current options. You shouldn't try to reinvent the wheel if your reinvention offers no improvements. Antosch & Lin though, went above and beyond and designed a framework which they then duplicated for additional languages.
They have flashcards for individual words and they work just as you would expect them to, like we know from Anki or Memrise. Just like any other similar service you get a word with example sentences and then you can choose when you want the word to reappear. If you are really confident about the word you can ask it to NEVER return. Generally though I would just rate my knowledge of a word between return soon and come back in a week. Although you can tell by this screenshot that you have plenty of possible variations.
Diving deeper into the membership area
The membership area is conveniently organised on the left hand side and you will quickly find that it has 3 main elements to it, with each element containing a number of (but similar) activities that you can do in order to learn or refresh what you have learned. The content allows you to progress as you become better moving from elementary words (like traditional flashcards) into sentences and finally into longer dialogues and texts. As most other services it also allows you to freely add your own words, sentences and texts for further analysis.
Here is a look of what you can do with the words and sentences within the membership area:
As you can see there is a metric ton of activities to make sure that your ‘flash-carding' doesn't get boring. This is a big advantage over traditional flashcard services. I'll refrain from showing every single one of them, as most of them are pretty self-explanatory. Furthermore I will also bring a part two of this article when I have used the site more. For now I just want to say that you can make a game out of your learning, which only enhances motivation. There are even high score games where you try to beat other learners scores.
And if you are a hyperactive polyglot who likes to learn a ton of different languages you can actually switch the language from within the membership area. No need to log in to each individual site.
Lots of settings and motivation enhancers
I already mentioned how the site uses games and high scores in order to enhance your learning experience. The story doesn't quite end there though. Whenever your log in your are presented with a box that says: Daily Exercise done and Fluency achieved. Now I'm not sure what they base the fluency number on, but having both numbers ensure you are always working towards a goal – and not just blindly flashcarding, which can definitely get tedious fast.
Within the settings menu every possible preference can be set as well. From how many words you want to learn, to whether or not you want to see the meaning, romanization and a lot of other things. I definitely cannot fault Antosch and Lin for having too little customisation. One last thing that you can enable is to be sent an email with an exercise that also tells you how far you are. You can get this email daily or weekly depending on your preference. I think the idea of getting a daily email with learning might be motivational for some, personally I haven't found it super effective yet (I simply glance at the email and then move on with my day) but I think the idea behind it is quite good.
To be honest this review might seem overly positive, which coupled with the fact that I was given a premium membership might raise suspicion. But trust me, most of the service is free – and you get all of the above mentioned tools and resources minus two critical parts. The most important one being AUDIO! Audio is obviously a big part of learning and flashcards. I never use any memrise or anki decks without audio, as it is just too important. The other big perk obtained by upgrading is the ability to submit your own content for learning, which some might not even use. But if you are the type to enter your own words, sentences or texts, upgrading is imperative.
But I will say that you can still benefit from Antosch and Lin flashcards even if you are not willing to upgrade to the premium option. Currently the premium upgrade is $7.99 a month with the option of paying a year upfront for $71.88 – That's the equivalent of saving $2 every month, bringing it down to $5.99.
I will rate this service a 5 out of 6 on the imaginary AF scale. High quality product.
And with a 7 day free premium trial for you to try, why not go straight to your target language and get started?
Get started now
Go to the main site and navigate to the language of your choice. There are many to choose from!
- http://www.antosch-and-lin.com/ – Main site
Have you tried Antosch and Lin flashcard services? What do you think?
Note: I didn't get around to part two of this review yet, due to time constraints. I hope to one day get back and give the software the extended test. Stay tuned for it.