Last Updated on December 15, 2020 by Muhammad Junaid Khalid
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has locked us down in our homes and disrupted daily routines. While it is frustrating to be at home, it does not mean that time has to be wasted. You might have a hobby you wish to perfect or a craft to fine-tune. Alternatively, maybe you are simply bored.
If you prefer something more cerebral to pass the time, learning or improving a language might be just the thing. There are several apps you can install from either Android or IOS with a tap. Forget about poring through boring notes and exercise books – these apps can help you nail down the basics!
Boasting a library of more than 60,000 language learning modules and seamless experience, Babbel takes you through the nuances of different languages with a focus on conversational fluidity. You might find it similar to a language course in an institute’s curriculum. The app has a minimalist interface and can seem easy to use without being overwhelming or boring. Native speakers provide the audio, which helps with regional differences and pronunciation.
For each lesson, you go over translations, with different phrases and words as well as their informal and formal usage. The app also shows the correct sentence structures in that language. Each lesson is 15 minutes long, so you can easily fit them into your routine. You can also monitor your progress on the My Activity module.
Babbel is available on Android and IOS store free, or you can choose a subscription. You pay $13 for one month, $27 for three months, and $45 for six months, and $84 for a year.
Update: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Babbel has made its services Free for all the K-12 and college students of the United States. The company offered a similar deal for students in Italy, the U.K., Germany, Spain, and France.
The service currently offers courses for English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian,, Polish, Turkish, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and Indonesian. Students who want to sign up only need a valid school address to get started.
Mondly is a vibrant app that offers lessons for 33 languages. It makes the learning process enjoyable. You can learn at the beginner, intermediate or advanced level. There are regular new lessons to challenge you along with a translation, visual and audio help to enhance learning.
Mondly helps you learn, but without making things too easy. You can record your speaking to correct and practice your conversational skills, play language games, view words and conjugations and increase your vocabulary.
There are daily lessons for the user, and each lesson recalls what they learned at the end. A unique feature is a Chatbot, which aims to simulate back-and-forth conversations. A points scoring system adds a sense of competition as you play against other users – motivating language learning for sure!
Mondly is available on both Android and iOS platforms. A limited free version and packages are starting from around $9.99 per month for one language. A version of the app called Mondlykids aimed at children aged 5-12 is also available.
Among the most popular language learning apps, Duolingo is famous for its colorful user interface, interactive exercises, and tenacious reminder system. There is no limit to how many languages you can learn at one time.
However, it is recommended to avoid confusion by focusing on just one. You get to learn through visual and audio aids, and the app’s interface is sleek plus easy to navigate.
Duolingo offers 11 full language courses while others are still in development. The lessons are in the form of “modules”, and these are in different skill levels, starting with basic, of course. Modules are accessed in order, challenging users with speaking exercises, vocabulary lessons, translations and more for points.
You can re-do a lesson for practice. You can also maintain “streaks”, which tracks the total days you have been doing lessons and gaining points.
After finishing a module, you can see how well you performed and then focus on your weak points. One of the most useful features is to slow down pronunciations and revise words – good for making lessons stick! A good feature is that if you have some experience with a language, advanced modules become open earlier.
The Duolingo app is available free on iOS and Android. There are also in-app purchases for repairing streaks. There is a Duolingo Plus addition for an enhanced ad-free experience at $9.99 a month.
4. Rosetta Stone
Odds are that you have learned of the Rosetta stone program on your language learning journey. The service originally began in 1992 and is aimed at more dedicated students.
While many apps can seem casual in instruction, you can access this complete program through an app. It is a good investment if you are dedicated to learning the bones of a language.
The program asks about your goal for learning the language. You might be traveling abroad, studying a language, or simply learning for the sake of knowledge. Next, you placed according to your language proficiency in lessons.
Like the other apps, Rosetta stone takes you from basic to more advances lessons (divided into units) with audio and images, with a focus on immersion learning.
This leaves out translations and makes for a challenging experience. You can also practice your speaking skills with their speech recognition feature. Visual learners will find the picture-based lessons appealing. The units are separated into core lessons about vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, listening, writing and reading with revisions coming up regularly.
The program is available on the iOS and Android platforms with different subscriptions. The subscription prices differing for most languages e.g. the Spanish courses cost $27 and $20 for three and six months respectively, $15 for one year and $10 for two.
Whether you like to gamify learning or have a more structured experience, these apps can help you with language learning. Of course, no such experience is complete without interaction with a native speaker or teacher to guide you through the finer points. Still, such apps are a good addition to typical classes. So knuckle down and get learning – you can come out of this lockdown armed with a new language!
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