*Design Philosophy

enXes is based on an unconventional philosophy of language instruction. The great secret to learning Spanish is not just vocabulary, it's grammar. Most English-as-a-first-language (EFL) speakers think about their sentence structure in an intuitive way. Most can't even name the parts of speech, let alone define the rules of grammar. Even getting them to agree that there are at least three tenses -- present, past and future -- is quite a chore. Imagine their surprise when they learn that Spanish has at least seven discrete tenses, and seven more when the compound tenses are added in. And to make it even more confusing, there are many verbs that do not follow the normal rules and change their form in different tenses. And to top it off, there are a few more forms called "voices" that add another subtle touch to sentence construction.

So here is the unconventional approach: 
  • Read Spanish; identify the verb in each sentence and then identify its tense and whether it's in singular or plural form. Then reconstruct the sentence filling in the translations for individual words. Look up the words you don't know and add them to a list. At the end of a reading session, review the list and commit new words to memory.
  • Learn how to conjugate verbs. Commit to memory the endings for each tense, the changes to the verb stems for irregular verbs and the orthographic corrections that must occur when endings are grafted onto stems.
Why is it unconventional? because it actually requires some effort. It's not easy to learn an entire language, just like it's not easy to learn to play the piano. Both require hard work, both in theory and in practice.

How does enXes help?
  • Paper dictionaries are clumsy. But with just a few keystrokes, enXes will find the word you are looking for. With a few touches, the word can be added to a favourites list. enXes even remembers recent searches, so if the word didn't get added, it's still nearby.
  • enXes uses the favourites list to populate flashcard questions. Reviewing with flashcards proceeds at a rapid pace and recent terms can be mixed in with high frequency, so even if you make a mistake, you'll see the same term in a different flashcard within  a short period of time.
  • enXes verb exercises propose a verb, a tense, a grammatical person and a grammatical number. Your response is checked against that of the built-in conjugation generator.
  • The conjugation browser shows the complete conjugation of any Spanish verb. 
  • In both the verb exercises and the conjugation browser, the English translation of the verb is presented as an additional aid to memory recall. 
These types of learning activities augment the more usual conversational Spanish lessons by exercising  vocabulary recall and encouraging rapid grammatical construction. 

enXes is designed to be used as an unobtrusive aid while reading, hence the sobriquet Pocket Companion. But it's also useful on the street to rapidly produce a conversational term in Spanish or look up the English definition of an object whose name you see written in a store window.


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