Learning languages is paramount for travelers looking to have an authentic experience when visiting foreign countries. Learning the language of the country you are visiting signals respect and appreciation of the location and its culture, and it’s also an important tool when navigating cities, visiting restaurants, shopping and interacting with locals.
Many bilingual people believe the best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it, but hanks to evolving technology there are new ways to practice different languages that are accessible through your mobile phone or computer. Apps make it easy to use your free time to learn a language on your commute to work, during your lunch break, or even while cooking a meal or cleaning the house.
Here are some of the best apps and online courses that make learning a language easy and fun.
For one of the most elite language learning experiences, users can find a range of learning activities on Pimsleur. An investment in this application provides various learning opportunities. Courses offer 30 minute daily lessons, reading lessons, a voice coach that provides pronunciation feedback, digital flashcards, games, and culture and history lessons. With this option, users get a well-rounded education on all aspects of the language and culture and can start conversing in just a few weeks. Pimsleur’s programs are based on scientifically proven memory and recall methods developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur, a respected researcher on foreign language teaching practices. The platform offers two different payment methods. Begin with a 7-day Free Trial, and then if you like it pay just $14.95 per month.
Duolingo is a popular language-learning app, which has garnered special attention from younger audiences. This app takes you through lessons pertaining to different subjects, verb tenses and grammatical themes, and offers activities that include listening, translating, and writing sentences between your native language and that which you are learning. After each exercise you receive a grad between 1-100. It also rewards you points as you continue to learn and sends you special reminders each day or week to practice.
Many younger generations use Duolingo to learn alternative languages because it is easy to use and free. However, as you use the app, your session runs out after you make five mistakes. Once you make five, time out. You’ll have to wait some time before you can continue to practice and earn points again. Users have the option to buy points or time so you can continue practicing with quizzes. Cost: The basic course is free, while Duolingo Premium is $6.99 per month for an annual plan, and $12.99 for a month-to-month plan.
Another very popular language learning application that requires a subscription is Babbel. Users can choose from various different programs based on how often you pay, monthly, every three or six months, or annually. Though Babble was started in 2008, today, a subscription gives you access to interactive lessons based on a curriculum built by expert language educators. Offering 14 languages, There is a mobile phone app for Babbel which encourages you to practice for just 10 minutes daily, but there are also live language lessons, podcasts, short stories, and interactive activities for users to peruse. Cost: $6.95 to $13.95 per month.
This platform has been a mainstay in the language learning industry since 1992 when it was launched. Over the years, Rosetta Stone has evolved with changing technology to offer users an effective and easy-to-use learning process. The company’s signature big yellow workbook has evolved into an award-winning app for on-the-go learning, short daily lessons, speech recognition to improve your accent and pronunciation, and fully immersive environmental learning.
Today you can get a lifetime subscription to Rosetta Stone for just $179, or opt for a monthly payment plan of $11.99 per month for three months or $7.99 per month for 12 months. They also offer programs for companies and schools who encourage employees or students to learn another language.
This platform is considered one of the best learning programs because it matches you with a native speaker in the language you select along with lessons, flashcards, and basic grammatical exercises. Your partner will correct your work and give you both spoken and written feedback. There are also videos of short conversations from native speakers. Busuu is free but you can get additional access to their live lessons at $13 per lesson.