Speaking a second language not only provides better career opportunities, but also introduces you to an entirely different culture. The learning process also improves memory and builds confidence in communication. Unfortunately, returning to the classroom is often impossible when the hustle and bustle of life gets in the way. With that in mind, it’s great that picking up or relearning a language is easier than ever with the help of the internet.
There are numerous ways to boost your language skills online. You can start by getting to know the target language’s culture through translated media, such as books or films. Also, there are many platforms on the internet that connect you with native speakers who can teach you about the culture and help you with vocabulary and grammar. Language learning apps combine these benefits by starting your journey with simple tasks and then providing extra materials as you progress.
Recommended Language Learning Apps for Beginners in 2023
Variety is key, and Busuu is anything but monotonous. With its colorful flashcards, constant feedback through quizzes, conversations by native speakers, and review page, the software is as engaging as it gets. It offers 14 language courses, including English, French, Chinese, and Japanese.
When you’re ready to test your knowledge in practice, Busuu’s built-in social platform establishes a connection with native speakers – perfect to find a study buddy. They aren’t qualified teachers, more like everyday people who help you and provide additional feedback. Progress stops at B2 level, which is more than enough for fluency.
Busuu is also generous in its pricing, with all courses available for one subscription. There’s a limited free plan too, but the premium subscriptions are reasonably priced and unlock multiple benefits, such as grammar lessons.
The linguist Dr. Paul Pimsleur designed a language learning method in the 1960s that was centered around learning through spoken words only. The company he founded, Pimsleur, makes his legacy lives on, with its courses being built entirely around listening and speaking exercises.
There are no grammar explanations, but you’ll pick up zillions of words and the app constantly reminds you to practice. In fact, Pimsleur doesn’t let you progress unless you’ve memorized the new material. Additionally, lessons gradually introduce students to the target language’s country.
Pimsleur’s pricing structure isn’t the easiest to understand, though. There are two options: getting a subscription or purchasing the course for life either in full or in 30-lesson packs. If you’re trying to learn as fast as possible, the subscription might be the best option, especially considering you get access to more than 50 language courses for a few dollars extra each month. The first lesson is always free, but some language programs can be tried out for seven days at zero cost. Plus, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in place.
Lingoda’s lessons are the closest to traditional in-class courses. The software offers live sessions only, all taught by qualified teachers. They follow a flexible schedule and are available 24/7, letting you book lessons as you see fit. Lingoda provides learning materials beforehand that can be used to prepare for classes.
Four language courses are available: English (including Business English), German, Spanish, and French. While there aren’t many language programs to choose from, you can start from scratch and go up to C2 levels with a single subscription.
Lingoda does all this for friendly prices, as it lets you try out its platform free for seven days, or you can get up to 100% of your money back if you complete the Language Sprint course on time.
Why Learn a New Language With Language Learning Software
The digital era has brought about several methods of learning online. Whether it’s the easiest or hardest language you’ve decided to study, you’ll most likely find an internet community that will help you practice. Joining forums and chatrooms and reading up on a country – even if just via Wikipedia – is easy and free.
Language learning apps are also widely available and are generally user-friendly. Moreover, these programs come in all shapes and forms, with some following a more traditional teaching course with live tutors, and others leaving you to explore the depths of a language independently through various exercises. You can also take them anywhere, with mobile apps allowing you to learn whenever and wherever you like.
These language learning programs also have interactive features that help maintain engagement. For example, some platforms offer minigames that aim to teach you vocabulary while playing. Other tools include live tutoring and extra learning materials like bilingual ebooks. These are either available straight away or unlocked after some progress.
The Challenges of Learning a New Language
Even if you have a natural aptitude for language learning, you may end up struggling if the new language isn’t related to your own. For example, if a Spanish speaker picks up Portuguese, they’ll soon speak like a local since both languages are descendants of Latin. However, an English speaker who jumps into Russian will have a hard time because the two languages bear no similarities. With language learning software, you’re able to have everything laid out in a logical manner, helping you understand where to start and follow an efficient learning path.
It's also an issue that it’s hard to find time to invest in learning. With responsibilities growing as you get older, there’s always a reason to postpone taking up a language. Of course, it requires a certain level of dedication, but you don’t have to completely change your routine. A language learning app provides flexibility by letting you manage courses at your own pace.
In more general terms, these platforms help you cut corners. They teach progressively, providing learning materials catered to your level of knowledge. They kick off with the basics and occasionally let you try out short conversations. The right apps also teach through cultural context, making you learn more than just a new language.
Best Ways To Learn a New Language Online
A language learning platform is great for taking your first steps, but there are other things you can do to improve your skills. For example, a quick Google search will soon tell you the most common words and expressions of your target language; you should memorize them and use them daily.
Furthermore, since words stick like glue early on, download a mobile dictionary and use it whenever you hear something new. You could also find a chat partner to talk frequently with, and if communication stutters, you can still rely on free online translation services like Google Translate.
Finally, make language learning part of your routine through relaxing activities, such as watching TV shows and movies or playing video games. Granted, you’ll need to fall back on subtitles in your native language, but you’ll hear the target language in its context, so you’ll enrich your vocabulary while you’re having fun.