Last Updated on February 11, 2017 by Josh Giesing
It’s may seem strange but one of my passions is for learning new languages. If you ask my friend or family they will all tell you the same thing.
You should learn English first
Even with that sound advice I still am pursuing learning other languages. Below I have made a list of different tools you can use to help you learn a second language as well.
Duolingo – This is a great app that helps you build your vocabulary and some grammar structure. I would highly recommend using Duolingo. It is simple to use and might be the tool that helps motivate you with learning. They do have a great way of gamifying the learning process. Duolingo has a point and badge system to keep you motivated. The only issue I have with Duolingo is that it doesn’t focus more on grammar.
Memrise – This app is perfect for learning vocabulary. It has custom made lists created by the community but not all the lists have audio recordings. This drives me crazy when I start on a new list to find out it only has sound for a small section of the flash cards. Memrise does have the option for you to create your list. This is a great feature if you want to learn a language. I recommend creating a list and adding the new words you are learning every day to the list you created. It will help you study and has the advantage of possibly helping someone else who is trying to learn a new language.
Rosetta Stone – I like the structured courses but I don’t think it helps me learn the grammar of a language. Yes, it helps with some principles, but overall it falls short on grammar. It did help with vocabulary. I also hated the spelling section of the courses, but I know they were a necessary evil.
Podcasts – there are a few great podcasts for the Russian language I enjoyed mine. I would highly recommend listening to podcasts in your car or while you are doing housework, but most of the podcasts focused heavily on trying to get you to sign up for their subscription service.
Anki – this is an excellent program that makes it similar to studying flash cards. It can also be installed on all of your devices. Best of all it is free and is community driven.
iTalki – This site has an amazing community to help you learn your language. It also has teachers you can pay to help you with learning the language. I have used both the teachers and the community “language partners”. The community and its blog seem to be its biggest asset to me.
Verbling – this is similar to iTalki but has only teachers to help you learn your language. It does try to have you use its built-in software for lessons which primarily relies on Google hangouts. The software was buggy at best, and most of my tutoring was done in Skype instead of Google Hangouts.
Skype – is a great tool for communicating with people who are far away. You will be able to call and speak with the people you meet on iTalki. This will help you practice speaking the language you want to learn.
Semper – Can be a great tool by having you practice your language to unlock your phone. This replaces your lock screen with vocabulary words. The free version is loaded with ads. If you are considering this phone app, I would highly recommend buying the paid version.
Linvist – Good walk through courses on a handful of languages. As with most apps does not focus on vocabulary but is still a handy tool None the less.
Music – using music to familiarize yourself with a language is great. Many apps will let you listen to radio stations in other countries but, as an alternative, I prefer to use Spotify and select a playlist that has the current popular songs for the language I am learning.
Books / Articles – Reading will help you learn your language but can be incredibly frustrating at first as you try to understand what you are reading. The more you practice, the better you will get!
Handwriting – writing in your chosen language does more than just teach you how to write it also helps reinforce your vocabulary you are learning and will improve spelling. It can be a challenge at first, but after practice, you will become a pro.
What are you using to learn a new language? Leave a comment below and let me know! Thanks