If you really take some time to sit down and think about it, learning a language is an incredibly exhausting task. It is almost as if you are renovating a house, but this time it happens to your brain. Learning an entirely new language, different from your own, is like dismantling your entire house and leaving it in a pile of mess, a scramble of overturned things, as you try to express an idea from a language you know to a language you barely understand. The work you put in sometimes leaves you with sentences with little to no support, like a dining table with only two legs. The benefits you will receive from learning a new language, however, will make the temporary mess well-worth it.
If you wish to walk on those fancy French doors, lounge in that stunning English veranda, cook perfectly in that Spanish-style kitchen, or relax in a Japanese-inspired bedroom to add to your native language home, you will need to gather all the right tools. A home renovation will require many different tools to achieve what is desired, and such applies to the process of language learning. There are many available tools that help you learn a language out there, and it is easy to get lost in a sea of information.
Not all of them will be the best for you, so it is essential that you equip yourself with knowledge before upgrading and purchasing add-ons. Luckily, we have already gathered said tools that can help you learn a language. You only need to continue reading!
Tools That Help You Learn a Language: Building the Foundation through Listening
Research shows that listening is crucial to language learning. Linguistics argues that although you put in work in memorizing words and phrases, nothing will come out of that unless you understand the sounds that form within those words. In other words, a language will remain foreign to you if you only stick to memorizing. There are many tools available in the digital world that will help you build your language learning foundation, such as educational YouTube videos, music from all over the world, and even the radio. There are also podcasts for language learning, and of course, the good old classic conversations. Here are some of the best listening tools that help you learn a language, for a very solid foundation:
Innovative Language is one of the best free podcast series out there for language learners. It offers a wide range of language selections, and their series not only includes video and audio language lessons, but also cultural aspects of a specific country or region. Of course, each lesson also comes with exercises that help you build your vocabulary bank. Some of the many popular foreign languages they offer currently include Spanish, German, French, Russian, Chinese, English. It is also worth noting that each material is presented and created by professional teachers, making it one of the most prolific language sites available in the market. They have a paid version of Innovative Language, of course, but the free version of the service will definitely not disappoint. They are certainly up in their game, but the best part about this language learning tool is their inclusivity. There is something for the absolute beginners just as much as the advanced language learners.
Lyrics Training takes on a different approach, as its vision is to promote music as one of the best tools that help you learn a language. Its karaoke-style approach mixes fun with education. To use it, choose the language you wish to learn, pick out a music video, and select your current level. The game begins from there, where you will be asked to fill key words to complete the lyrics as you sing along. This is perfect for music lovers, so if you wish to take on this approach, make sure no one is around so you can belt (and learn) to your heart’s desire!
Tools That Help You Learning a Language: Your Vocabulary-building Tools
Thanks to the listening tools listed above, you will have the foundations of the new language laid well in no time. The next step to building your linguistic structure is to learn foreign language vocabulary. Figuring out how many words you need to learn to speak a language is hard to pinpoint, much less the best way to build that vocabulary bank (or in the case of a house, a vocabulary pantry). In any case, check out the best vocabulary tools listed below:
The unique part about FluentU is that it exposes you to your target language - in action. By that, we mean that FluentU brings you the real-world - music videos, news, list of movies to watch, and even motivational speeches. From there, they transform the content into your very own personalized language lesson.
Moreover, FluentU lessons are appropriated according to the user’s level. A beginner will usually start with basic words, such as those that pertain to nouns. Their approach is far from the traditional memorization, and will instead immerse you on content that depicts how natives use those specific words and phrases in everyday life. The makers of FluentU believe that learning the culture is essential to learning the language, so every content you will be exposed to is relevant to the lives of the natives themselves. For instance, a lesson will consist of TV shows and films the natives are currently raving about - this not only helps you learn but immerses you in their trends and prepares you for when you find yourself speaking to a local!
What is this list of tools that help you learn a language without Duolingo? It is perhaps one of the most well-known language-learning tools, as the vast world of social media has made the owl mascot a “meme”. Their insistent notification tool keeps you committed, and although people make fun of it, Duolingo will actually provide you with the best means to learn your target language while actually enjoying it. That pushy owl coach will guide you through your language learning journey even through the murkiest of days. In time, you will find that your vocabulary pantry will be stronger, founded after layer and layer of training.
Memrise is another popular vocabulary tool found on the vast web, but its approach is quite different from the rest. Memrise makes use of the flashcard strategy to personalize your language learning journey. Here, you have the liberty to mix and match vocabulary lessons. Should you wish to learn about colors and numbers today, and then phrases the next, you will be able to. The best thing about this language learning tool is its very nature, as customization will be able to help your brain to cope with new information. Remember, not everyone is built the same way! What is best for you may be different for others, so keep that in mind as you strive to learn a new language. And if you are one of those people struggling with learning, perhaps Memrise is your best option!
Tools That Help You Learning a Language: Your Reading Tools
You now have your foundation built through listening to speech sounds and a profound vocabulary up your sleeve. To cement that newfound knowledge, supplement it through reading. Research shows that reading in a foreign language is one of the most efficient ways to explore and discover words, along with their uses. This way, you further building your foundation and vocabulary tank. Check out these reading tools as you continue on with your language construction:
Wikipedia has gained a rather sour reputation over the past decade, but what many do not realize is that most of it remain an undiscovered threshold of treasure. For all you language learners, keep in mind that Wikipedia has millions of articles available in not one, not two, but two hundred ninety-five languages. This makes it a good source of contextualized target language reading, fortified with images and links that help you further understand its contents.
Chances are you are a lover of reading, and if you ask us, why stop reading in your mother language? Convert your hobby into another form of learning tool. Feedly will help you do just that, as it is an RSS tool that will help you customize your reading content daily - from online magazines, blogs, and other digital content - all tailored to the language you are currently learning. Should you wish to learn more than one language, you are free to divide content into categories; for instance, you can set blog posts in Spanish, films in Korean, and custom-written essays in English, then the news in German. Talk about a holistic language learning approach!
Tools That Help You Learning a Language: Connecting to Natives
And now we have reached the final stage of your language learning journey (and one that should never end, mind you!): communication. Language is about communicating, as what good would it be without practicing it? As you finish up your language construction, immerse yourself in the community of its native speakers. Of course, while the real deal is highly ideal, the online world is a good substitute, too. There are plenty of online tools that help you learn a language, and there are more that will help you find the language exchange partner that you need. See the best ones below:
Scared of talking to a teacher? Do not be. If you are targeting a more formal language exchange, Verbling is the right platform for you. This tool is composed of professional native teachers, where you will be able to schedule classes with them in the comfort of your pajamas, along with personalized lesson plans. Unfortunately, it is not free, but the cost is cheaper than those currently being offered in the market. Verbling, of course, tailors your language teacher according to your level, budget, and chosen language. The best part is you do not need a third-party program to communicate! It is all built-in, which makes tutoring sessions extra convenient.
HiNative takes on a more casual approach. Here, you reach out to native speakers, and you will be able to engage with them in casual conversation. Simple questions would suffice, even those questions you do not really know how to express. Why is this word spelled differently from at times? Is this noun feminine or masculine? Getting HiNative is like having a friend that speaks the language you are studying!
Custom writing service for students
As a student, we understand your current plight of trying to keep up with your program’s deadlines. You may have a debate to prepare for, a speech to finish, and then an essay to write - that is only the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately, as you have more coming. While it can be incredibly exhausting, keep in mind that there are options available out there for you, as with these tools that help you learn a language. Such an option includes CustomEssayMeister, a custom writing service for students. Let our professional writers handle your written work as you power through your other requirements. Contact us now to learn more!