Welcome to Taalhammer, language learning that works

Your journey to fluency in a foreign language has just begun. We think it is important to know a few things before you start. It will only take 3 minutes.

Taalhammer is a state-of-the-art application and an e-learning platform for rapid foreign language learning. You will build up the vocabulary fast and you gain the confidence to use it by learning loads of simple sentences. Working with our tool will contaminate your thoughts with language blocks and patterns. Smart algorithms and advanced statistics will reduce the workload.

Learn Any Language

Taalhammer is a tool that you can use to learn any language. However, we offer much more content for some language pairs than others.

You can find all language content by clicking on languages.

For some language pairs, such as e.g. English-Dutch, you can find different kinds of collections.

  • The core collections have been created by the Taalhammer team and are designed to master the most fundamental language skills.
  • In addition, we are constantly publishing so-called topic collections, which allow you to expand your vocabulary and learn about various interesting topics.
  • Moreover there are collections created and shared by other users in our community. 

If you are new to a language, we recommend that you first subscribe to the core collections, and then join other topic collections or collections provided by other users.

The Editor

Another important place for your language learning is the editor where you can find examples of usage, translate and write your words and sentences.

The application will make sure you memorize them all quickly by serving you repetitions at the right time and in the right amount. Moreover, the editor is the place where your teacher should write down words, phrases and sentences from the lesson so that you can efficiently repeat and remember everything with the help of our smart algorithms.

If you haven’t found a collection for your target language you can still use Taalhammer to create your own collections as well as to work together with a teacher. For many languages, even though there are no collections available out of the box, we offer a search engine that you can use to find example sentences as well as a powerful machine translation that helps you translate your own content.

If you use the application on Desktop then you will also have convenient access to all your collections on the right hand side of the screen.

The Learning Mode

And finally the Learning Mode, where you repeat and learn from all the sources mentioned above i.e. from core or topic collections, your own searches, collections from your teacher and collections provided by our community.

We have a separate article and video about exactly how repetitions with Taalhammer look like, how our algorithm works and how to get the most out of it.

This, as well as all the other explainer videos are available on our knowledge base page http://www.taalhammer.com/help.

The Listening Mode

The last place is Listening, where, as an extra repetition, you can listen to all those elements that you are learning. This is a great exercise that you can do while doing sports or driving.

Enjoy your learning journey with Taalhammer, language learning that works.

How to learn Dutch with a teacher (and using sentences)?

So you want to learn Dutch? We’ve been there too. This is how the Taalhammer project started.

We met in Amsterdam with an old friend of mine and we both wanted to learn Dutch. We had both learnt languages before, so we already had some good experience. This time, however, we experimented with some well-known memory-hacking techniques and a bit of software engineering. It all worked like a charm.

Collaboration tool

Language learning is 80% working solo and 20% working with your teacher. Taalhammer supports you in both. 

You can learn a lot with Taalhammer just on your own (there is a separate video on that), but we highly recommend finding a teacher. Teachers play a crucial role in the process of language learning. They talk with you, they correct your pronunciation, and most importantly they keep your motivation high.

If you already have a teacher, then he/she probably already overwhelms you with PDF files, Google Docs, or chat messages. Taalhammer solves that problem for you.

Teachers can easily add more words and sentences to your learning stream. Taalhammer will make sure you learn them all in the most optimal way. That way everyone can focus on their task. You can focus on practice and repetitions.

A collection is a place where you store two types of content: 

  • chunks of language – all the things that you need to memorize and automate (i.e. words, phrases, and sentences).
  • all the other supporting material (i.e. links, texts, videos, comments and other notes).

During the lesson, you typically work with your teacher on the Taalhammer Board. The teacher simply needs to share their screen with you and start making notes on it. All language chunks from the lesson will be added to your learning and scheduled for repetitions.

Collection types

There are several types and sources of collections.

First you have Dutch core collections, which have carefully curated content optimized for building and strengthening speaking skills in the most fundamental part of the language. 

Second are the collections that come from your teachers. They will contain content from your classes, and they are much easier for you as you already have some context and emotional connection to their content. 

Lastly, we are continually adding topic collections (like “COVID-19” or “love and flirting), so you can expand your vocabulary and learn about things interesting for you.

Not only a collaboration tool

Taalhammer is not only a great collaboration tool.

Its true power comes from the combination of the collaboration features with what you’ll be learning and how.  Thanks to our algorithm, you can easily remember thousands of simple sentences. 

With each remembered sentence, your brain is coding patterns and saving language chunks.  Add questions and negations to the mix and you’ll be able to hold a conversation.  Change the tense/time to the future or the past, and more often than not you’ll know how to say something without knowing a grammar rule behind it, just like we all do in our native languages.

When looking for a collection, in our catalogue you can filter them by various attributes. If you are part of a language school that works with Taalhammer (like the Amsterdam-based Koentact), your teachers’ collections will be available on a filter named for your school.

If the content provided by your teacher is not enough, subscribe to one of our core or topic collections. Go to the collection catalogue and make sure your target language is set to Dutch. Now find a collection that corresponds to your level and subscribe to it.

Even if you’re on an intermediate level like B1 or B2, we recommend you go through the core collections. It will give you speed, fluency, and confidence in the most fundamental areas of the Dutch language.

Keep in mind that if you subscribe to multiple collections at the same time, the content served to you will be coming from all these collections. It may seem chaotic or without a context at times. If the content served to you is too easy or too hard, you can always change your subscribed collections.

In learning mode, if a word or a sentence seems to be strange or irrelevant, just click the trash icon and Taalhammer will never bother you with this content again.

Core Collections

So, what does learning with sentences in the core collection look like?

You will learn a few words and then we will teach you sentences with those words. While we increase the new words slowly and steadily, the number of sentences increases rapidly. The sentences are mostly variations of themselves: questions, answers, negations, etc. After around 200 hours spent on repetition, you’ll know 1000 words, 700 phrases, and 3300 sentences.

A good analogy to help you think about this is music. You can view words like musical notes. The various phrases and sentences you use can be viewed as musical scales. By practicing a small set of musical scales, you can open yourself up to playing a huge number of songs.

Why should you learn with whole sentences?

Take a look at those examples:

  • I go to the gym.
  • She goes to the gym.
  • She goes to the park.
  • She does not go to the park.
  • We went to the park.
  • We didn’t go to the park.
  • We didn’t go there.

You need to learn them by heart. It does not matter if you actually go to the gym or not. It’s popular enough to be worth learning. Not only because of the fact that many people do go to the gym and you’ll hear that quite often. It’s extremely important because it contains different forms of the verb “to go“, which is one of the most frequent and important verbs and we use it all the time. You constantly talk about going somewhere — in the past, now and in the future. If you want to communicate fluently you have to automate the usage of these verbs in conjunction with places and across tenses and persons.

This approach gives even more spectacular results with typical language troublemakers like temporal expression and conditional sentences.

  • She looks healthy.
  • She will look healthy.
  • If she goes to the gym, she will look healthy.
  • If she went to the gym regularly, she would look healthy.
  • If we went to the swimming pool regularly, we would look healthy.
  • When we were healthy, we were going to the swimming pool more.

Learning with sentences enables you to get a feeling for how to speak correctly. If you work that way, you will feel the progress week by week. The constant progress will be your motivation to keep going in your marathon.

Start learning Dutch now on taalhammer.com

Simple recipe to personalise your language learning

You learn 5 times faster, and you remember forever, if you have a contextual or emotional connection with the content you are learning.

We’ve all heard that, but how do we actually do it? 

Well, we solve the problem for you.

Create and learn your own example sentences

Use Taalhammer when you search for a meaning or a translation and it will include your search history in your repetitions.

Have you found a great word or an interesting sentence on the web? Just paste it into Taalhammer. It will not only help you remember it forever but it’ll train you to use it, with speed and confidence, very quickly.

Or imagine you had a conversation and wanted to say, “Let’s have a drink after work,” and didn’t know how. Just start typing it in our editor and Taalhammer will search for some examples that you can click and save. You’ll see that you will quickly be able to say that sentence fluently. You can also use our auto-translation to translate your own sentences . 

When you save it we will add pronunciation audio for you. But more importantly, we’ll add it to your Spaced Repetition queue. The item is saved in the currently active collection if you would like to open it later.

If you use Taalhammer on your desktop, you can also add images for even stronger memory stimulation.

Create variations of sentences around a certain topic

I encourage you to add a few example sentences as often as possible. For example, let’s add also “Are you coming for drinks after work?
That way you’ll quickly remember and be able to say a few things around a topic. Let’s add not only a question but also a negation: “Aren’t you coming for drinks?

It’s a very good way of learning. By remembering the whole sentence you also learn the structure and the way of saying something. There is more to it, our Spaced Repetition algorithm trains you on that sentence so you can easily recall, say and even swap parts of the sentence fluently. This is how we create native-like language reflexes.

Create sentences with variations of the same verb

Working with the Taalhammer Board will allow you to quickly automate things in language like asking questions, negating, accepting, confirming something etc. With a few clicks you can easily create many variations of sentences by changing the person speaking or moving it to the future or the past.

Repeat, repeat and repeat

Our statistics reveal that if you show an element only a few times, but spread over time, our brains will usually need 45 days to master this element really well.

People often think of remembering the whole sentence as something hard or laborious. Not true at all! And as we said before, everything that you searched for or translated, and then saved, will be added to your repetitions.

Taalhammer Learn Mode on Mobile Devices

Make sure that your sentences are quite short, and that you are familiar with at least 50% of the words. This is a very powerful and natural way of learning a language.

Don’t worry about the workload. Our Spaced Repetition algorithm called Atom will optimize your repetitions in such a way that you repeat less but remember more.

Train your ears by listening a lot

Last but not least, you can hack your memory even further and train your ear by listening to everything you’ve saved or learnt from other collections.

This is a hands-free activity where you can listen to everything you’re learning.

Studies report that combining language learning and physical activities improves your ability to remember information by 25%.

Listening Mode in Taalhammer Mobile

Enjoy language learning with Taalhammer, language learning that works!

An easy way of improving your teaching with Taalhammer

Artificial intelligence won’t replace teachers

We believe that the teacher plays a crucial role in the process of language learning. We also believe, despite the popular opinion, that AI will not replace humans in teaching languages anytime soon. The current situation proves completely the opposite. We have an explosion of teachers and tutors offering their services via online marketplaces, Facebook or WhatsApp groups.

Why are we not getting the most out of lessons?

We conducted a survey among students and teachers asking them about the strengths and weaknesses of the relationships between them, as well as their ways of working. It turns out that the biggest problem, especially for students, was the lack of an easy way of repeating the content from classes in a digestible way. Students are overwhelmed by the quantity of notes, PDF files, and photocopies – let alone the chat messages.

Survey conducted on students of foreign language, Taalhammer 2020

While the majority of teachers do a terrific job of explaining language concepts, correcting pronunciation or finding examples of use, they fail on passing that content to students using repetition. Remember, the human brain needs to process information on average at least seven times before we really learn it.

Google Docs is not a tool for language learning

We have been there too – frustrated by the long lists of words and sentences shared in Google documents after online lessons, which are inconvenient and hard to repeat.

Because of the pandemic, we are seeing an even faster trend of moving language learning online. Combine that with the explosion of online teachers, tutors and platforms, and two questions arise:

  • How to stand out from the crowd
  • How to retain students.

Learners increasingly expect teachers and schools to incorporate modern and mobile tools into the learning process and provide a seamless learning experience between the online and offline worlds.

Many statistics show that slow progress increases the likelihood of leaving to find another school or tutor or method, or even of dropping language learning altogether.

And we fully understand why that is.

Isn’t it frustrating when you have to repeat the same things with your student over and over again? It’s even more frustrating for the student. Wouldn’t be great if they could retain things from classes? Well, it turns out there is a better way to do that.

That is why we built a tool that helps teachers and students and supports them in building a successful and long-lasting relationship.

Magic formula = spaced repetition + boards

We developed Taalhammer Atom – our version of the well-known “spaced repetition” algorithm. Then we combined it with a simple-to-use yet powerful virtual board, a place where teachers can put words, sentences, examples of use, texts, comments etc. – whatever they think is important during the lesson. Just like a regular whiteboard in the classroom.

The content you put on the board is added to students’ repetitions and Taalhammer will make sure they remember everything they need to know. It takes around 5–10 repetitions spread over 2–3 weeks to learn an item.

Supercharge your classes with boards

Do you have a new class or a new student? Create a new collection and share the link so students can subscribe to it. From that moment on, whatever content you add to this collection will instantaneously be available for all your students to learn from all devices, including their phones and desktops!

Two types of content: multimedia vs flashcards

While studying and working with teachers, we’ve realized there are two types of content:

  1. Chunks of the language – items that should be remembered and automated (words, phrases and sentences)
  2. Content supporting the learning process, i.e. texts, comments, names, videos, links etc.

This is how Taalhammer boards are designed. For all the supporting content, use the text elements – these will be available for reference. For the language chunks, use flashcards – these will be scheduled for repetitions by Taalhammer Atom. You can combine them however you want. Taalhammer will take care of the rest.

Let’s say you want to analyze a short text with your students. Just paste it in Taalhammer. While you work on the text together, you can add a few flashcards to the board with example sentences.

The moment you press save, Taalhammer not only saves the whole board for reference; it also creates separate flashcards. From that moment on, it challenges the students with these words and sentences till they have memorised them. A few weeks later they’ll not only remember them, they will use these words and sentences without hesitation.

Always in sync with your students

The combination of boards and collections is very flexible and allows you to change the way you work with your students without extra work.

You can reuse existing boards, change them a little bit and share with different groups.

You can create templates with lexical or grammatical content upfront, share them with your class, and add even more examples during the lesson. It’s a very powerful method to help them remember even better!

Does your class or student want to discuss the conditional tense today? No problem. Choose the previously prepared board from your personal collection, and share it with your students. The application will take care about the rest.

Flexible homework

With Taalhammer boards and collections, it’s super easy to give your students homework. Because they have subscribed to the collection you shared with them, you can give them content to learn whenever you want. Just add more boards or flashcards to the collection.

The content will not only be immediately available to your students but more importantly Taalhammer will make sure they learn it by challenging them as often as needed, whether they use it on their mobile devices or their desktop.

Quickly catch up after absence

This way of working comes to the rescue for students who have missed a few group classes. Coming back from a break and catching up can be a really daunting task. Not with Taalhammer boards! During their absence, all the content has been organised and automatically scheduled for your students. It is almost like they never missed a class – without any special effort needed from the teacher.

How to learn a language with Taalhammer

Hi everyone and welcome to this short demo about how to learn a language with taalhammer.

You always learn with questions and answers. Research has shown that learning in this way stimulates your memory so you remember more and faster. This helps to learn the language very effectively. Each question and answer pair we call a flashcard.

But in Taalhammer, you are not just learning a random list of words. You are learning a carefully selected content that consists of the most frequently spoken words, as well as simple phrases and sentences that illustrate how to combine those words. 

Based on your feedback the algorithm precisely calculates the date of the next repetition. This algorithm was designed to facilitate the transfer of elements from short term memory to long term memory.    

But there is more to it! Learning that way you’re not actually memorising sentences though, you’re memorising patterns!

What you learn consists mostly of words that you have previously learned. That way you don’t focus on the meaning of words, but how to arrange them in a sentence. So you are never bored nor overwhelmed. You are always challenged to stay motivated and keep going!

What is Taalhammer?

Did you know that more than 80% of language students fail in reaching conversational fluency?

Are you one of that 80%? I was.

Why is that?

When you want to have conversations and interact with people, you need to use sentences. However, in the current language learning methods, online and offline, teachers and applications, there is no focus on training full sentences.

There is a better way to learn a language!

Train the language with taalhammer!

  • You will gain confidence by using full sentences
  • You’ll understand 75% of the things you hear in the new language, including movies
  • You will engage in social situations, like asking someone out.

How do we do that?

Using advanced statistics we have carefully selected 1270 most commonly spoken words and we combined them into 4000 simple sentences. We call them Core Collections. These collections will help you to speak with confidence, to use phrases and full sentences. You’ll learn a lot more than the meaning of words!

What do you need to do?

You need to learn the collection! Our Spaced Repetition Algorithm called Atom will optimise your repetitions by serving the right content at the right time. This will reduce learning time and increase retention, so you will speak in less than no time. 

Good luck!