Language-learning is not exactly the focus of this blog, but I stumbled across this series of short posts a few days ago and they awoke two of my many inner nerds: namely, the Glossophile and the Software Tinkerer. It’s not all that often those two have something to talk about. The posts were published on the language-learning hub the Mezzofanti Guild, and introduce a host of tools that facilitate language-learning on the Linux operating system.

The posts are really companion pieces to the YouTube video tutorials in which site creator Donovan Nagel discusses his language-learning setup. He covers vocabulary tools, such as Learning with Texts, as well as a range of utilities for downloading, ripping and managing your collection of audiovisual resources. The videos are a little on the technically adventurous side, but if you are already familiar with Linux, they offer a fascinating look at some software you may not have come across before.

That’s the short version, in any case. If you’re suitably intrigued, and especially if you’re a Linux language learner on the lookout for new tools, have a gander:

As I’ve mentioned before, free and open-source software is an abiding interest of mine. I run Linux myself for more or less everything: for my editing and translation work; for my academic writing; and even for gaming (as far as my venerable laptop will allow).

Of course, my setup is nowhere near as advanced as Nagel’s – I’ve never been brave enough to go near the Arch Linux distro, for a start. Nonetheless, I do enjoy experimenting with the OS periodically, and trying to craft the most efficient, customized and lightweight working environment possible. These tutorials definitely interest me on that level. I’ll also keep Nagel’s software recommendations in mind if I ever start learning languages again more seriously; Learning with Texts looks particularly promising.

Give the tutorials a read (and a watch), anyway – and let me know what you think. I’m toying with the idea of writing a couple of similarly themed posts on editing and translation software under Linux, so thoughts on that would also be very much appreciated!