Whether you are traveling abroad or just want to learn something new, language and linguistics are easy to learn online. There are many free ways to learn whatever language you want, ranging from Chinese to Danish. Now you can say hej hej (bye-bye) to Google Translate and 您好 (hello) to self-sufficiency!
You have probably heard of Duolingo by now. Duolingo offers Spanish, French, and very many other European languages, and is constantly expanding its selection. Russian, Hindi, and Vietnamese are in the process of “hatching” now. A great feature of Duolingo is that you learn using sentences, instead of individual words. You also practice speaking and by-mouth translation using your microphone. Lessons are broken up into small, themed sessions with often feel almost like games. Duolingo offers points for learning streaks and has a special currency called “Lingots” that allow you to buy power ups. Duolingo is an incredibly simple and easy to use way to learn languages.
Memrise treats growing your brain like growing a plant. You grow the ideas by practicing words and getting them right five times. Then you water the ideas by reviewing them so that they become a part of your long-term memory. Memrise is great for having certain Asian languages that Duolingo doesn’t have, like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Memrise feels sort of like learning with flashcards. However, another special feature of this platform is called “mems” which are pictures, images, or gifs that help you learn. Memrise, for those who like competition, has a leaderboard that it shows at the end of lessons. If you are interested, I really enjoyed learning how to read a menu in Chinese.
Mango Languages is available for free for some people through their library. You can check if you are covered here. Mango Languages does an exceptional job when it comes to conversations and jargon. You can record yourself and play it back with a professional speaker to correct mistakes. Like Duolingo, this program focuses on whole sentences rather than just words. Another quirk is that Mango has foreign films to help you interpret immersive dialog. Mango also does a great job of explaining necessary grammar as you go along. Mango has the basics for many languages, including those with non-Latin characters such as Ancient Greek, Arabic (four dialects), and Hebrew.
Now that you know where to start, time to get crackin’. Know any good free programs to help learn languages? Leave a comment!