Websites and apps to help on your language learning journey
Taking the first steps towards learning a language can be the hardest ones, but once you’ve taken the initial and crucial first steps, it can be a lot easier than you might think.
You’re not alone in your language learning, and these days there are a multitude of websites and apps that can help you progress quickly.
Whether you learn best by listening, watching or reading, there’s guaranteed to be something for you to help you learn your chosen language faster.
This is probably the most popular and well-known language learning website, and is well known for its push notifications that urge you to keep practising your language skills.
It tracks your progress and identifies any particular words that you might be struggling with, and provides plenty of vocabulary practice.
Following a quick test to identify your linguistic level, BBC offers a range of resources in more than thirty different languages, including links to foreign newspapers, themed vocabulary sets, games and audio challenges. As well as this, you can also access short courses and videos to improve your speech and listening skills, and cultural immersion.
After finishing my undergraduate degree, I found it difficult to maintain my linguistic level of Spanish. This led me to exploring a range of podcasts available of Spotify’s streaming service. ‘Coffee Break Spanish’ is one I have gone back to time and time again, half an hour episodes of listening practice that allows you to engage your mind and practice everything you’ve learnt so far. There are also versions for French, German, Chinese, Italian and Swedish.
As Spotify is primarily a music streaming service, there is also a wide variety of music available by foreign musicians, which is often thought to be one of the best ways to learn a language.
As well as having a wide range of foreign language films and TV shows, Netflix also offers a caption option, allowing you to watch almost everything with subtitles and practice reading in a variety of languages. You can also change your audio settings to practice your listening skills. Netflix displays up to seven language options that are deemed most relevant to your location, but you can download other options to expand your vocabulary. A Chrome extension is also available that allows you to see two sets of subtitles at the same time.
Whilst not strictly a language learning website, Quizlet takes flashcards to a new level, enabling users to input phrases in both languages and complete a variety of challenges until they are embedded in your memory. Options including games like space raiders and a matching game, as well as more educational spelling tests.
Providing users with a range of free language courses, and access to professional tutors, Lingualift is perfect for beginners. Complete with grammar explanations and a customised study plan, Lingualift can be used by beginners as well as those at an intermediate level.
Finally, although on the more expensive side, Rosetta Stone is probably the most well-known and widespread language learning programme, with over twenty different languages available. Whilst their focus is on individual words, Rosetta Stone uses your target language almost exclusively, making it almost impossible not to develop in some day linguistically.