When it comes to learning a language, the best way is to fly to a country that speaks that language and immerse yourself in that culture and lifestyle completely. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people in the world, this is simply not possible.
The next best option is to use tools like Duolingo, Memrise, or Busuu. Of course, language courses are great, but if you are already busy it will be difficult for you to adapt a structured class to your daily routine.
These online tools give you the opportunity to learn a language from the comfort of your living room. If you can set aside five or ten minutes a day to study, you should be able to master the basics of the language well enough to speak with a native speaker. It gives you the building blocks you need to achieve an advanced level of language proficiency.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular and well-known tools, compare their strengths and weaknesses, and help you decide which one is right for you.
1. Memrise ( Website.
Memrise is one of the most famous and popular ways to learn a language and is a flashcard app. Sometimes it plays a short section of someone speaking and asks the user to choose what the speaker said, while other times it prompts the user to enter a phrase. At the end of the session, the user is given a breakdown of the scores based on their accuracy, speed and other factors.
Memrise turns the language learning process into a game of targeted goals and estimating how long it will take to score a certain number of points per day. There are also leaderboards to show users where they rank compared to others.
There are quite a few traditional languages ??to choose from, but one of the most interesting features of Memrise is the list of “artificial languages” that includes Klingon, Morse and Na’Vi.
Memrise is great for beginners, but courses cannot be more in-depth or advanced than flashcards. This makes it easier to learn vocabulary, and the sound bites provide a wide variety of speakers to help identify those words spoken in different ways. But spoken language is minimal.
Memrise offers a Pro version for $ 9 a month, but it only offers statistics and an additional tool for learning more difficult words. Memrise is best used to learn the basics of a language and then move on to a more advanced and comprehensive method of teaching speaking skills.
One final note on Memrise: it offers flashcards on other topics as well. If anyone needs to study Political Geography, AP English Terminology, or other subjects for an upcoming test, Memrise can be a useful complementary tool to other teaching methods.
2. Duolingo ( Website.
Duolingo is one of the most popular mobile language learning apps, partly due to the joke about the mascot’s passive-aggressive nature. These jokes are not true; Don’t open the app for too long and its reminders will make you feel bad.
When it comes to language learning, Duolingo is a great place to start. The mobile app allows you to squeeze in a training session whenever you have downtime. Classes can be paused midway so you can answer a few questions or enter a phrase while waiting in the lunch line or in the elevator.
Duolingo makes this process similar to Memrise by offering virtual rewards and coins that you can use to unlock “fun” language modules like how to flirt.
The premium version of Duolingo removes ads, but doesn’t offer any additional useful add-ons. If you forget to practice for one day, it provides a one-time monthly “patch strip”, but the only reason to sign up is to support Duolingo as a service.
Duolingo currently offers 34 languages, including several Asian languages ??that Memrise doesn’t have. This is a great way to get started, but, again, does not by itself contribute to deep language proficiency. However, this is a great way to get familiar with the language and understand the basics.
3. Busuu ( Website.
From the outset, Busuu differs from Duolingo and Memrise in terms of its course structure and resources. There are only twelve languages ??to choose from, but this is due to the depth of each course. You need to register to use Busuu, but it’s as easy as entering your name, email address and creating a password. Then you need to choose between free and premium versions.
Busuu’s strength lies in its premium offering. While the free course gives you access to flashcards, the premium version offers conversation with native speakers, a travel course, mobile app quizzes, grammar exercises, the ability to earn official certifications, and more.
The premium version costs $ 9.99 per month unless you sign up for a longer period in advance, which lowers your monthly costs. The good news is that you can try Busuu Premium for a week and see if you like it first.
Native speakers can correct your work and give you important vocabulary clues. If you want to speak any language fluently, Busuu is your choice.
These three are some of the most popular language learning tools on the Internet, but they are far from the only options. Rosetta Stone, Babbel, Linguist and dozens of others are all viable options. The main key to learning a foreign language is practice. You cannot expect to be fluent by studying the flashcards. While this will give you a foundation to grow, you will have to put in the time and effort to sound like a native.
Remember, everyone learns differently. If none of these three recommendations work for you, try other tools. You may find that listening to a language constantly helps you understand it faster than watching it written, or vice versa.
Few things in life can be as useful as overcoming a language barrier. Take time to find out if you enjoy speaking another language as much as you enjoy speaking your native language.