Who we are
Having lived in the United States for almost four decades, Edward LeBlanc
decided it was time for a change of scene, and relocated to Germany where
his wife grew up. Several visits and as many moderately successful attempts
to learn German preceded this decision.
After the last trip and before calling the movers, it dawned on him
that it was getting dangerously serious. If he wanted to give himself a
fair chance to like living in the country of sauerkraut, beer, lederhosen
and castles, he needed to expand his German vocabulary. Fast.
Coincidentally, and handily, he is a software engineer by trade. Even
more handily, his wife, Ulrike LeBlanc, is a trained language teacher.
Together, they sat down and designed a vocabulary training program. While
they believe that context-based learning is important, experience taught
them that the bottom line for acquiring a decent-size vocabulary in a foreign
language is ...... to memorize words. Especially, if one needs to do it
fast, like Ed.
The vocabulary training program worked. Ed still mixes up dative and
accusative here and there, but he knows a lot of words and is adding new
ones that he picks up during the day all the time.
It was only a small step to thinking that many people learning many
languages would benefit from this program, as well. Ed and Ulrike sat down
again and expanded the program to function in several languages.
They then ventured to ask other language teachers and students for feedback,
as their language lab rats, so to speak. More time was spent incorporating
suggestions for improvement from testers. Ed and Ulrike are always open
to feedback and will continue
to work on new versions of Vocabulary Trainer.
As a final test, Ulrike put her mother, a retired French teacher and
a student of Spanish, to work, ignoring excuses like "I have never used
a computer before in my life". Within a half hour, Ulrike's mother had
the program down and concluded: "This is fun!"
If you are learning Spanish, French or German, you can have fun, too!