Learn a Foreign Language on iPhone or Android with These Free Apps
English is the most widespread language for business and education, but have you ever wondered why Americans are viewed as uneducated by many nations? This is partly because English-speaking people seldom think it necessary to master even the basics of the language of the country they intent to visit, or to do business in.
Learning a foreign language has become significantly simpler with the expansion of mobile devices in our business environment. Now, you can install a language learning application and learn basics of a foreign language literally on the go – when you commute or travel, or even do gardening at home.
It features an extremely easy to use interface, which is bright and intuitive, enabling users to naturally progress according to their own pace. You start off with simple, basic phrases moving gradually to more complex things. It features help along every step of the way, pointing out mistakes and praising your efforts. There are many ways you can test yourself, as well as set your own goals or polish acquired skills whenever you got a minute for yourself.
With more than 25 million users, Duolingo features techniques that allow you to polish your reading, writing and pronunciation skills, challenging you with interesting and sometimes even fun activities. It would occasionally send you encouraging emails, and in no time, you will notice you have mastered the basics on your own. If you should forget something, Duolingo makes it easy to revisit any lesson and work out your weak points.
It allows you to learn a foreign language while translating websites on the Internet. As you take lessons you will be translating webpages you browse effectively learning to pronounce and read words and sentences in a foreign language by looking and listening to what native speakers are writing and saying. The program has courses in several languages that are incredibly complete and structured like games – you earn skill points as you succeed in lessons, but if you make mistakes, you lose lives. If you lose too many lives, you will have to retake the lesson over again.
Duolingo checks your progress and learns where you make mistakes and which questions are the most difficult for you.
Memrise language learning application goes beyond vocabulary to incorporate science and history featuring a flash card-like style empowered by images, memory enhancing tricks and other nifty tools that make it easier to learn a foreign language. As the name suggests, Memrise focuses on memorization and helps you learn a language in a fun and entertaining way. Just like in Duolingo, Memrsie gives you points and reputation as you succeed, and you can compete against other students while you complete quests.
It is a free application available in iOS, Android and a standalone web based application; it’s very convenient to use on the go. It focuses on repetition and memorization while the courses are many and you can choose which ones to sign up to pick up the language quickly.
It starts off slowly and you will go through the alphabet if you’re learning a language that is not based on Latin. Its simplistic visual flashcards are intuitive and easy to grasp while encouraging emails ensure that your learning process is supported by a network, since the courses are crowdsourced. Best of all, Memrise enables you to download courses, so you can practice off-line wherever you are, even if you don’t have access to the Internet.
Anki is a Japanese word for memorizing, and it is based on the flash card system displaying words, phrases and images and even playing sounds and making users understand the connection, repeat the word, interpret its meaning and memorize it. This program is not only useful for learning a foreign language, but also for mastering diagrams, equations names and faces, so basically it’s a great tool to enhance your memory. The best part about Anki is you can load it with custom card sets depending on what you would like to memorize. There are hundreds of shared decks available free of charge for Anki, and you can download any of them, and start memorizing languages, patterns, equations, whatever. It is a free application, although donations are welcome, and the app is available across a multitude of platforms, including iOS and Android and as a web client.
This language learning application is based on audio perception focusing on speaking and sound exercises. It features reading and vocabulary exercises, but with main focus on speaking and learning to pronounce correctly. Each exercise is a 30 minute brainstorm making you parrot phrases both in your native and target languages as the program introduces new phrases and words to you enforcing your memory to revisit previous exercises. This program is available in over 50 languages with a long track record of successful practices used by large organizations that train their employees new languages.
It is a commercial product and you can take a 30 minute lesson for free to see if it fits you; after that you pick a language and pay up front.
Livemocha is a language learning community and application backed by native speakers, according to some estimations about 12 million people from 200 countries, and offering assistance learning over 38 languages. Launched in 2007, it offers most of its content for free. The approach is web-based, featuring live classes, native speakers as teachers, entertaining and fun way to participate in conversations as you master foreign language, the video tutorials and more. You do not need to download an application since the courses are available online. You can learn from whatever device you have connected to the Internet. Moreover, you can get private lessons if you have extra money to spare. At some point when you reach advanced levels you will hit the line when you will have to sign up for a paid membership, which will set you back $99 per year, or $9.95 per month.
This one is exclusively iOS application which teaches you pronunciation of single words, not phrases. You can use it as a supplement for other language learning tools. If you’re struggling with correct emphasis, or can’t get the hang of some peculiar pronunciations, this application is the right thing for you. You can have fun with it because you could type an English sentence and have the application read it to you in a French accent, so that you get a grasp of basic principles of the French pronunciation. Initially, the set of languages available is limited, but you can add a lot more by going to Settings – General – Speak Selection – Voices. You will need to download the voice using Enhanced Quality feature and restart the application to have the new language added to the list.
Learning a 2nd, or maybe a 3rd language not only improves your memory, it also widens your perception of the world and helps you understand your business partners better because it gives you an insight into their culture, not to mention that it significantly simplifies personal interactions with your friends and foreign relatives. In simple words, learning a foreign language is a wonderful opportunity to make yourself a better person who tries to comprehend and respect foreign cultures.