Learning new languages before traveling to your favorite destinations isn’t as difficult as your high school foreign language teachers made it seem! When no tests hang in the balance, it’s rather freeing to learn new languages. If learning a new language goes hand in hand with travel, it’s downright exhilarating.
Learning new languages is fun
Using smartphone foreign language learning apps, and websites, help ease roadblocks when tackling a new language. It’s not about becoming one hundred percent fluent before a trip, but it’s important to know key phrases, such as “where is the nearest bathroom?” Listen, if you’re capable of fluency in a short period of time, outstanding. Most of us out here want to read a menu and know we’re not ordering lamb brains for lunch.
Unless you love lamb brains, then more power to you! For those who don’t, let’s check out a few options for language learning.
I’ve always wanted to visit the Netherlands. I attended Hofstra University, and for some reason, the Dutch life speaks to me. Tulips are kind of awesome, too. Thankfully, the Dutch language is similar to American English. In order to ease into learning Dutch, I found a fantastic app for my smartphone: DuoLingo. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to a new language. It’s also great to brush up on a language you were once fluent in, but have been out of practice, and aren’t quite as fluent anymore. For me, it’s proper Italian.
In order to refresh my brain, and start my daughter in a new language prior to her learning it in Middle School, we’re using DuoLingo. It’s simple to use, and reminds you each day to participate in a lesson. Best part? It’s free. It has a pro version, but it’s not a necessity. Stick with the free version, get your feet wait, then find a more intense program, like babbel (also on my list).
DuoLingo also has a community aspect where you can compete with others during your learning adventure. There’s clubs one can join. It’s a great way to start your language journey, and perfect for kids.
One-on-one learning is important to many people. Learning from native speakers also helps many. There’s thousands of teachers on italki.com, and you pay per lesson! No monthly fee. It’s simple to use, too. You look through the teachers, pick one, then set up a day and time for your lesson. You do the lesson over Skype, or whatever video chat program you and your teacher prefer using.
Joining the community allows you to find people to exchange learning scenarios with. If someone wishes to learn English, you can teach that in exchange for learning a new language. It’s a cost effective way for learning languages.
Babbel.com charges a subscription in order to learn a language. Babbel has different price plans. Lately it’s all over the internet, and touted as THE SYSTEM for learning a foreign language. It’s online, as well as an app for your phone. Starting an account is free, and there’s some free content on the website. However, to LEARN, you pay a monthly fee.
All I have done so far is the free lesson, and honestly…. I don’t quite understand how this is the BEST system to learn a language in just three weeks. Plus, you have to pay PER language you wish to learn. Could be an expensive investment if someone wishes to learn more than one language. It does state you can email them if you wish to learn more than one language, to see if there’s any kind of promotion, or current deal. After testing the waters with DuoLingo, Babbel.com is a logical next step. They do offer a 20-day money back guarantee, so there’s that.
However, perhaps involving yourself in a community-based language learning platform, such as Hellolingo.com, works better for you.
Hellolingo is fairly new. It’s a network of people learning languages. Whilst in your account online, you can text/chat with people active on the site at the same time. It’s more of a community where you learn from native speakers, rather than a formal learning platform.
Currently, the platform is in a type of “beta” stage . However, it’s a great way to learn from native speakers, and teach others your own native language. I see big things for this one, but not for kids. I don’t see filters for “stranger danger” kinds of things.
busuu.com is similar to Babbel. It’s less expensive, and only offers a 7-day money back guarantee. It uses both the website, as well as a smartphone app, just as Babbel does. However, busuu offers access to twelve different language courses with their monthly fee.
You learn with interactive exercises, and quizzes. There’s advanced grammar units, along with a downloadable option to learn offline! There’s opportunities to have real conversations with native speakers, and there’s the chance to take tests and earn McGraw-Hill Educational certificates. Personally, having 12 languages for one price is appealing.
The downside? It only has 12 languages, and Dutch is not one of them. Sad Panda. However, Italian is one, so that’s always lovely. Spanish, French, German and more. Definitely check it out for all twelve language options!
memrise.com, also a subscription-based foreign language website with app for your smartphone. It offers the least expensive option on my list, and has a 7-day-free trial to check out their offerings. Memrise.com also has a ton of language options to choose from. They claim to know oodles and oodles about the science of the brain, and using that knowledge to help people quickly learn languages. Combining brain science, with FUN, as well as a community – and that’s the memrise way of doing things.
memrise teaches more than just languages, too. It has math, science, history and more. Again, it’s the least expensive of the monthly subscription options on this list. Plus, it has both a website and a smartphone/tablet app. It also looks like it has the biggest selection of languages to learn, all included under your username. No paying for EACH language you wish to learn.
Whichever direction you choose, START LEARNING today. Don’t put it off! If you have kids, get them learning at a young age. Learn together, and use it in the home often! Travel the world, and feel confident when speaking any country’s native language.