Here are 4 language learning apps I use regularly with my students. There are no affiliate links in this post, nor am I paid by any of these companies to mention their services.
If you’re learning a language, chances are you’ve heard of the app Duolingo. It’s a great starting point for new learners of all ages. Duolingo has gamified the learning process and uses a rewards based system, which is an excellent way to maintain motivation.
A really neat feature of Duolingo is that individuals can contribute to courses that are in incubation. For example, there are courses being created for Maori and English speakers, Yucatec and Spanish speakers, and English and Punjabi speakers. It’s a great way to include live language users in a real time setting and helps build vocabulary in a current manner.
English speakers using the app have 35 languages to choose from, including popular favourites like Spanish, Japanese, and Arabic. There are even a few unique additions like Klingon (Star Trek), high Valyrian (Game of Thrones), and Esperanto, a language invented in 1887 by a Polish opthamologist. Personally the languages that catch my eye are Latin, Irish, and Ukrainian.
Perhaps the best part about Duolingo is that it is a free tool. For the teachers in the audience, Duolingo is also available for classrooms with tracking tools to analyze student progress. Happy learning, friends!
Memrise is an excellent tool for vocabulary building. In fact, it’s not just a great app for those wanting to learn a new language. It’s also an excellent study gadget for vocabulary test takers of any kind – art, anatomy, history, science, engineering, standardized tests, etc… Heck, you can even use it to study board game trivia or Pokemon lingo!
Quizlet is a tool I often use with my students, especially with all of the online learning happening these days. (If you’re reading this in the future, we’re in the middle of CoVid lockdowns, school closures, and self isolation.)
Quizlet brings your tried and true cue card practice to the screen. If you’re a child of the 80s or 90s, cue cards were our study jam. In addition to your standard memorization flip function, Quizlet offers mock tests, a few games, and even a live classroom game.
As a teacher, I’m able to track student logins, practice, and performance. Not sure if Johnny has been doing his homework? Now you know. The live classroom game allows those with individual devices to practice together in real time (though, honestly speaking, I’m still a favour of more tactile study options).
Anyone can create a Study Set, which can then be shared privately or with all of Quizlet. Sets can combine the use of words and/or pictures, and Quizlet provides spoken examples as well. It’s an extremely well-rounded language learning tool that allows learners to study their spelling, listening, speaking, and reading comprehension skills in one space. If you haven’t hopped on the Quizlet bandwagon yet, I suggest you check it out.
Oh WordReference, how I love you so! This might be one of my favourite language learning tools. If anyone is still using Google Translate – STOP! WordReference should hands down be your go to bilingual dictionary. There are a plethora of languages to choose from, including and not limited to Dutch, Russian, Czech, Korean, Italian, etc…
In addition to a bilingual dictionary, WordReference has conjugation pages, forums with native and non-native speakers to discuss language’s nuances, links to its real world use on the internet (“in context” button), and links to images of the word on the web. There is the option for the word to be said, with different accents and playback speeds. Talk about helpful!
Best Language Learning Tip
Hopefully some or all of these tools are helpful to you on your language learning journey. I’ve one more resource to share with you today, and that’s the ultimate language learning hack. You might be surprised at how easy and accessible it is!
If any of your favourite language learning apps aren’t listed here, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. The internet can be an overwhelming space of information, but recommendations always make it easier to navigate.