Learning a language in a classroom isn’t impossible, but it can be hard to really understand the context behind a language when your only insight into it is what you see in books. This is one of the key reasons why speaking at a level that approaches native fluency is generally only possible after long periods of conversing with locals.
If you’re in a language class today, or preparing for a study abroad trip, it can help to have something more than just a book to help you master a new language. Here are four apps that are designed to help you learn a foreign language faster and more easily:
HelloTalk is a groundbreaking new app that allows you to speak to people that are actually native to the language that you are trying to learn. Where HelloTalk succeeds is in the way that it promotes authentic conversation by using crystal clear HD audio that is backed by a huge communications infrastructure from Agora.io.
Additionally, HelloTalk improves your conversation by offering key features that help you learn more effectively, including:
- Speech to Text – Everything that you or your partner says is turned into text, making it easier for you to follow along with a conversation or review what has been said.
- Grammar Correction – Real time grammar correction enables faster learning by allowing your partner to correct your grammar on the fly and help you make immediate improvements to your speech.
Just because you aren’t currently in a foreign country doesn’t mean that you can’t learn like you are! If you’ve always wanted a more interactive learning experience, then HelloTalk is for you.
If you’re a self-professed data junkie, then Lingvist is a great choice for you. This language learning software quizzes you on words and phrases in your foreign language, by using an algorithmic approach that regularly recycles ‘problem’ words and phrases into the testing process for faster improvement.
Where Lingvist really shines, however, is the way that they choose what you should learn. Lingvist has built their courses (limited to only English and French at the moment) around words and phrases that are statistically relevant to real world conversations and text. This is a departure from traditional language learning courses that teach ‘fluency’ by testing you on everything under the sun. If you want a data-heavy approach that brings you up to speed on the real world language that you’re trying to learn, then Lingvist is the right choice for you.
Memrise has developed a comprehensive selection of language learning courses that span over 100 different languages, including niche options like Icelandic and Danish.
Memrise uses a progression based system that involves clear progression markers and set goals. Plus, with multiple games and rewards, Memrise will keep you motivated to continue moving through your language learning journey.
Duolingo is one of the original language learning apps, and they represent a hybrid approach to the process of learning a language. Duolingo’s key goal is to create a language course that uses bite-sized lessons that allow you to learn a language fast, even if you only have a few minutes at a time to dedicate to the process.
Their system is most effective for the time-crunched traditionalist who is successful in classroom-based learning. Ultimately, Duolingo’s approach has worked to marry an advanced focus on language with a classroom style approach, but it lacks many of the advanced features touted by more cutting edge apps like HelloTalk.
If you’re looking to get up to speed with a foreign language in advance of a study abroad semester or before classes start again, then these apps might be a good choice for you. Plus, they’re free, so you have nothing to lose!