Whether you are looking to study abroad, travel, emigrate or simply expand your mind, learning a new language is a great way to immerse yourself in a completely different culture. The advantages reach far beyond just learning new words – increased interaction while travelling and a greater understanding of the local customs and history are just some of the added bonuses.
The great news is it is no longer necessary to enrol in expensive language classes. Smartphone technology has opened up the whole learning process making it more flexible, easier to access and faster. Whether you are just looking to learn basic everyday phrases or full immersion there is an app to suit; here are five of the best to get you started.
Busuu offers full language courses with the added bonus of being able to converse with native speakers. Learners can master reading, writing, listening and speaking skills for English, Spanish, German, Russian, French, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. Free and Premium versions are available with the Premium version offering bonus extras including quizzes and official certificates, travel courses, an offline mode, grammar exercises, a vocabulary trainer and the option to switch languages. Busuu is available on the web and has downloadable apps for iPhone and Android devices.
Living Language uses proven learning techniques originally developed for the US State Department. It follows a four stage approach including building a solid foundation of essential words and phrases, advancing to full conversations, recall practise and development of practical language skills. Aimed at serious learners, this is a paid service available in various formats and lengths of study time. Over 20 languages are catered for with vocabulary, grammar, audio and cultural aspects available.
Great for visual learners, the Memrise app features an array of categories containing user generated flash cards. The flash cards use various graphics and humorous images to help with the learning process. Different modules are provided for beginner through to advanced levels with over 200 languages available to choose from. Memrise is free to use and is available on the web and has downloadable apps for iPhone and Android devices.
Duolingo is a free user-friendly site that uses a mixture of reading, writing, listening and speaking to teach the chosen language. Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Dutch, Irish, Danish, and Swedish languages are on offer at various levels. Study is presented in a fun way with points awarded for completing lessons and the use of goal achievement motivational methods. There is the option to study multiple languages simultaneously and a handy website translation feature.
Babbel focuses on learning by repetition. An emphasis is placed on common phrases needed to start having real life everyday conversations. Supplied via a modest monthly subscription, learners can choose from a list of individual language apps and easily monitor progress with pre-set goals tracking your achievements. Babbel is available on the go via downloadable apps for iPhone and Android devices and also over the web.
The benefits of learning a second language have been well documented, these easy to use apps available on the go mean in as little as ten minutes a day you can be well on your way to achieving great results. Now there is no excuse – why not give it a go today!