Learning a new language has many advantages. From staving off medical conditions such as Alzheimers, to learning about a new culture, and helping when travelling. However, if you’ve never learnt a new language before, starting on your own may seem a little daunting, but it shouldn’t be.
I’m currently learning a new language myself and I’ve found that to get the basics down you don’t need to fork out on classes and tutors. You just need time and dedication. So to kick start your learning process I wanted to share what I believe to be the best language learning apps.
I had to put this app first as it’s the one I swear by. There are a few reasons for this. The first being how discreet it is. Unlike other langue apps you don’t have to say the words aloud to pass a level. This meant I could plug in some headphones and use it on the train on the way to work without disturbing anyone. Secondly, by the time you’ve finish all of the levels (provided by the Memrise team), you will be at B1 level – without having spent a penny! Finally, you can even create your own courses. This is extremely helpful as you’ll no longer find it difficult to remember the new words you learn along the way as you can add them into your Memrise learning plan.
Duo-lingo isn’t my go-to app when I need to learn something new or brush up on old words, I’ll admit that, but it’s still a solid language learning app. Unlike Memrise, Duo-lingo actually makes you say the new words you’re learning to ensure you’re pronouncing them correctly. Of course this means you can’t use the app on the train without possibly attracting a few stares, but it will mean you’re practicing speaking. I find this the hardest part of learning a new language. Not only does Duo-lingo take you through carefully designed lessons, but they also provide additional tools like podcasts which will aid in your listening skills.
What’s the point in learning a new langue if you can’t practice it? The whole point of learning is to open up your world, meet new people, and interact in your new language. Well, both Tandem and Hello Talk match you with a native speaker of the language you’re learning so you can do just that. Speaking with natives, no matter how scary it is, is imperative to learning a new language. A native will speak differently, shorten words, use colloquial sayings, and be able to correct you with ease. I’ve made some really great friends on both of these apps and become so much more confident in my abilities.
Now whilst this app is only helpful for English/Spanish translations, it is an amazing app! It’s a dictionary for Spanish to English words and phrases and it even works offline. The app includes all of the conjugations for verbs, colloquial words used from different countries, and gives real world examples for your searched term. Their team even provide really helpful blog posts to aid your learning. On top of being a dictionary, when you have internet you can use it as a translation service or play word games.
If you aren’t already utilising the vast array of international content on Netflix you’re going to kick yourself when you see how many great movies and TV series there are to get lost in. Netflix is a great way to improve your listening skills, and learn some new phrases along the way. If you’ve just started learning a new language you could start with a show you’ve already seen and watch it a second time in the language you’re learning. This way even if you don’t understand what’s being said you’ll still know what’s going on.
I couldn’t complete this article without including our well known Google Translate. I know Google Translate doesn’t always get it right. There can be some questionable translations. But it’s been around for a while and keeps improving. When it comes to language learning apps, you wouldn’t learn just from Google Translate, but it’s a great additional resource to have. It even allows you to scan chunks of text to be translated which can be incredibly helpful if you need to check food ingredients for example.
What other language apps do you swear by?