Top Language Learning Apps and Activities (Opinion)

September 11, 2013

Languages

Language learning can be frustrating and extremely time consuming depending on your life style, especially for adults. Children have a much easier time at learning a language than adults. Among many other reasons because they have less life responsibilities than grown ups and their rapid brain development allows for more vocabulary flexibility. However do not be discouraged if you find there is no time for you to practice or learn that language you have always wanted to master. 

I used to teach English and Spanish in one-on-one hour-long sessions to both children and adults. By far the most asked question by adults back then was “What can I do at home to practice what I learn?” Very fair question, especially considering the fact that most people have very little real life scenarios where to practice the target language. There are quite a bit of activities you can engage on to practice and improve your language learning. A few of these are:

1. TV – Watch TV in the target language. You will improve your listening comprehension and expand vocabulary.
2. Music – One of my favorites just because you can somewhat easily learn the lyrics to a song and sing along to it. Once this is accomplished those words come to you easier and are top of mind.
3. Reading – Books that are written in the target language are a great way to practice. You will find that many words are new to you and this gives you an opportunity to not only learn what they mean but also learn how they are used. Remember, everything we read stays in our minds either consciously or subconsciously. Also, try reading an online newspaper in the target language, it does wonders.

Back when I was tutoring these languages we unfortunately did not have web/phone apps to work with to improve our language skills. I have encountered very recently that apps are actually an excellent way to improve and learn a language, even from scratch!

For the past month or so I have been using two very useful apps that have helped me improve my Portuguese knowledge. I encourage all our readers to try these out and stick with them for a while. You will be glad that you did. What follows is a short review of the apps I have been using, how useful they are and how they can help you and others learn and improve a language.

1.Duolingo
One of the issues with learning a language, especially on your own is that it tends to get A) boring and B) frustrating. In my view Duolingo takes care of both of these issues.

There are a great number of levels you have to go through in the app until you finish the learning process. You start off with 3 hearts on every level. The hearts simply represents your “health” in each of the sub-levels. One heart is subtracted every time you make a mistake. This means that after three mistakes you have to take the sub-level again.

The more you use Duolingo the more fun it gets. It makes you translate simple sentences and repeat after a lovely voice for pronunciation. Of course with every level comes more difficulty but you will find you are right along with it and will be surprised at the improvement. Think of Duolingo as a game in your phone or tablet that the more you play it, the more you speak a different language. 

2. Memrise
Very similar to Duolingo in that there are levels to go through. However, with Memrise you create a character, or meme and learn your way to fluency. You can also compete against friends which, if you can, makes it all the more fun.

So far personally I have used Duolingo more than Memrise but from my view both of these are the prime way (when it comes to apps) to get you on your path to fluency. Now remember, there are always extra things you can and should do to help you on that path.

Although more languages are being added both Duolingo and Memrise, for now, offer most of the common languages like German, Portuguese, Spanish, English, Italian. You won’t find all language but again, more will be added in the future.

As a token of evidence that it has helped me personally here goes:
Eu estou muito feliz com meu novo linguagem. Portugues é, na minha opinião, uma das línguas mais lindas do mundo. Obrigado pra Duolingo e Memrise

That was all me people…all me! 

Until next time!