After my first international trip I realized how much of the world I was dying to see. One of the biggest things travellers worry about when going to a foreign country is the language barrier. Americans in particular, are woefully underprepared in the area of foreign language study, and many, unless they speak another language in the home, are very apprehensive of communicating in one.
Luckily with mobile technology language learning has not only been made a lot easier but also a lot more fun!
Over the last few months I’ve been experimenting with a variety of language learning apps and have selected the three that have been the easiest to use, the most beneficial and are the most fun!
Babbel is probably one of the most simplistic and easy to use language learning apps. You literally download it, select your language and it immediately immerses you a vocabulary exercise. The exercises themselves are fast moving, if a bit overly simplistic. After your first set of exercises, it will prompt you to register for an account. Once that’s done you need to download the first lesson and you’ll get a little introduction to the language you’re about to start. It has a great selection of languages to learn with a number of unusual ones. I chose Norwegian just for the heck of it. It does have speech recognition which allows you to practice your pronunciation and with Norwegian that was definitely a good idea!
This fun, colorful, little app has a great user interface and integrates a number of exercises that immediately help you recognize keywords and phrases in the language of your choice. I chose Japanese to test the app as it has three different alphabets and I was surprised and happy to see that not only did it help me learn the pronunciation and anglicized spellings of Japanese words and phrases, it also taught me both hiragana and katakana two of the three alphabets often learned by beginners. The only downside is that to unlock the pronunciation and speech aspects of the app you need to subscribe, the cost isn’t astronomical but for those looking for a totally free experience it’s a bit off-putting.
Far and Away my favorite language learning app. It has a host of varied exercises and fun incentives to keep you engaged and excited about pursuing your study of a foreign language. It’s completely free (as of right now) which is a major perk. At first, the app was limited in its selection of languages you could learn, but now it’s expanded to include a wide variety modern and practical languages. With points and bonus lessons to unlock, this app takes language learning to a fun new level.
Any other language learning apps I missed? Tell me about them in the comments below!