There are some great tech options out there that can help you get comfortable learning a language. It’s time to get past the basics of hi, bye, and how much. You want to engage with people when you visit their country, or with clients that you’re doing business with. The simple reality is that you want to learn a new language, but what you don’t want is the long, drawn-out, grammar-focused, process. The technological landscape is growing and ever-evolving, with information at our fingertips. It’s time to use technology to facilitate learning faster. Besides, isn’t your next trip or business meeting just months away? Let’s get to learning a new language – 2020 style!
Pull up Google real quick, and enter a random online search about Pimsleur. You may end up reading reviews like these:
“The beautiful thing about this is that it never allows you to become a passive listener.”– Donovan Nagel
“If you are planning to do some shopping and eating out in restaurants, then Pimsleur (at least the Hungarian version) is perfect for you.” – Benny Lewis
Pimsleur is an audio-based language learning program that’s accessible through its website or a play store. It offers you realistic and relevant conversations – you’ll see words you would use on a daily basis, and each conversation builds on the next. They do not make awkward sentences trying to have an entire conversation in a single verb tense. Many programs teach you awkward sentences like, “The post is on the hill.” If you’re new to the language, you’ll begin to wonder what exactly is the “post” and why are we learning “hill” before I even know how to say ‘Where is the….?’. With Pimsleur you won’t have to wonder, you’ll get real-life conversation and contexts while building on your conversational skills.
With an on-the-go learning practice, it helps you to learn by answering questions and repeating the vocabulary aloud. The content is divided into 30-minute lessons, and you’re encouraged to complete one lesson a day. It’s mostly audio, but each lesson is coupled with short lessons in reading, pronunciation, games and flashcards to help you learn even better. Of course, all those parts are optional but widely encouraged.
But wait! Just before you click that mouse. Pimsleur isn’t free. Well, not totally free, it offers a free 7-day trial. And if you want more, get an audio-only subscription for $15 a month, or a premium subscription, which includes the 12 top selling-languages, for $20 a month. Simply pay as you go, or stop once you’ve achieved your language goals. It’s really up to you. Here you can learn from 50 languages, with more than 200 courses in a number of dialects from as far as Asia, Europe, Africa, Scandinavia, and the Americas. And for those interested in the universal language of trade, there are fourteen variations of English to learn from. So go ahead and check out Pimsleur to see if it’s right for you. But we promise you’ll love it, just like we did!
How much of a visual learner are you? Are you into music videos, movie trailers, commercials or casual conversations? Then you will love what FluentU has to offer—learning native languages through videos. You’ll be instantly thrown into the familiar world of YouTube videos in your target language, where you can experience a range of emotions all while learning. Enjoy real world video content that’s equally entertaining, timely, and ideal for language learners…no matter your interest or skill level. This is curated curriculum, but it is not an organized program. What I mean is, this is a good supplement to a language tutor or other program, but this really allows you to dip into the language for 15 minutes, watch a fun video and go on to another exercise. It does not allow you to build from one ‘level’ to the next like Pimsleur does.
Now Understand What You’re Watching
There are interactive captions that are subtitled and translated. With just a click on any word you can see an in-context definition and examples of it in sentences. And you can put the subtitles in your own language, so you can quickly go back and forth between the two. After watching the videos, you can even do engaging flashcard quizzes.
FluentU offers videos in Spanish, French, Italian, German, English, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and that’s available on iOS, Android, and the web. It offers the advantage of a 14- day free trial that grants access to all FluentU languages. Users can also enjoy a monthly subscription plan for $30 per month or an annual plan that costs $240 per year at $20 per month. FluentU is an awesome way to push your listening skills and vocabulary to the next language level.
Get a Netflix Subscription
This is similar to FluentU. If you’re a beginner, you’re not going to just osmosis-style start understanding, but it is entertaining, and your ears will get tuned to the sounds of the language. You might learn some vocabulary and phrases that stand out. But this works best in conjunction with a strong weekly language tutor or organized program.
Watching movies or TV shows can be an effective and engaging way of learning a language. But binge-watching Netflix original content can be a much faster way to boost learning that language. The great thing about using Netflix to learn a language is that there are many subtitles and audio tracks available with foreign languages. We especially recommend watching something you’ve already seen before, so that you know the plot. You can put Friends in Spanish, or watch a movie in the original language once, then turn off the subtitles the following time you watch it.
Netflix shows have captions for over some 20 languages, which means that you can watch a complete series in several different languages, if you so wish. You can even watch with the original subtitles while listening to the translations. So, head over to the audio and subtitles section and start learning that new language with your Netflix app.
Netflix even has a Language Learning Chrome Extension for your computer that allows you to see both the original and the translated version at the same time. WHOA! This is pretty cool and we highly recommend it for learning new vocabulary, or, if you’re intermediate, it really helps with syntax and grammar used in context, while not being boring.
It costs a bit to learn here. A ‘Basic Plan’ on Netflix is $8.99 per month. That’s of course if you’re not concerned about not seeing your new favorite movie in HD quality. And you can only stream one device at a time. For an HD plan, with an account you can share, you’ll pay $12.99 per month, that’s the ‘Standard Plan’. But if you want to go big with Netflix, where a number of people can watch whatever on their own device, then the Premium Plan for $15.99 a month is perfect. Try learning a new language binge watching your favorite series from a range of languages, including Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
Let’s Babbel a Bit, Shall We?
Babbel is a software application that allows users to choose from learning up to 14 different languages. It is hailed as one of the best overall language learning software, with courses that are comprehensive and self-paced, and lessons that are applicable to real-life situations. Whether on the go or in the comfort of your own space, you can start learning a new language with this app on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer.
And just for a little over $12 a month, you can get access to an app that’s fashioned with a speech recognition tool that analyzes your pronunciations. Now that’s a friendly price for all the babbling you’re guaranteed to be doing after. And besides, the per month price decreases when you pay for several months access in advance. Pretty much, you can buy 3 months for $26.85 – talk about value for money. If you do decide to do away with this user-friendly app, you may leave knowing how to speak a bit of:
- and even Polish!
But that’s enough babbling from us, go ahead and try it!
Technology has given us many ways to learn and grow while crossing sea and airways. If today you want to learn a new language without wasting time, there are many apps and software that can help. We get it, some may cost, while others are free, but explore the offerings. Besides, they’re all created to help you become a much better speaker in the language you wish to learn. If you want to take it a step further and have TruFluency tutors by your side, we will walk you through immersing yourself in a new language with a professional, native-speaker that has 5-plus years of experience getting people like you fluent.