Self-isolating can quickly start to take its toll on our productivity. Being trapped inside for extended periods of time soon destroys any sense of routine and purpose, as days begin to bleed into one another and you start to wonder if watching too much Netflix will really make your eyes go square. This is why it’s important to keep both your body and mind active while trapped indoors, and what better way to get a practical mental workout than by learning a new language? We’ve rounded up some of the top apps for language learners to keep you engaged, entertained and productive while under lockdown.
This app is unique in its methods in that it replicates an immersive experience. Instead of translating from your home language to the target language, the app transforms to communicate with you only in the target language. It also makes use of speech recognition to track your level of fluency and proficiency and even has AR integration where users can aim their mobile camera at an object to receive the translation in the target language in order to improve vocabulary.
Babbel’s minimalist layout and activity-based learning technique are similar to taking an online course. Each lesson is only 15 minutes long and includes vocabulary lists, flashcards, exercises and quizzes. There’s also a listen and repeat component, and the app makes it easy to track your progress towards fluency.
This app is perfect for first-time second language learners! Not only does it teach vocabulary, but encourage your progress through gamification, leaderboards and speed drills. There’s even an AR integration which allows your virtual teacher to pop up on your screen and appear to be “standing” right in front of you. It also caters for a variety of learning styles, using audio, images and in-app games to help you remember translations and phrases.
Duolingo is perfect if you haven’t yet decided on a target language and want to dabble in a few options before you commit to one. You work your way through various levels, but if you aren’t consistent in your practice, Duolingo will push you back a few levels when you next log on. It’s also easy to track your proficiency by monitoring your weak areas, and you can revisit previous lessons if you’ve forgotten a thing or two.
Memrise is a great option if you’re wanting to learn to be more conversational in your target language. Short videos are included as part of the coursework so that you can see how the vocabulary and phrases you’re learning are used in daily situations. It also helps you to spot patterns, making it much easier to pick up new things.
This app takes a holistic approach right from the beginning, asking you what language you want to learn, why you want to learn it, and it encourages you to set a goal to be completed within a certain timeframe. There’s also an introductory placement test which ensures that you get placed at the right level, which is great if you’re not a complete beginner. When you log in for each lesson, Busuu also reminds you of weak areas from your previous lessons that should be revised.
While we can’t guarantee you’ll be flying across the world to be immersed in a foreign culture anytime soon, you can still get a taste of new culture by learning a foreign language. These apps are just a few of the ones available that make learning a new language easy, fun and accessible. Make sure to try a few of them while you’re self-isolating, and remember, stay safe and be kind to one another.
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