You may want to learn a new language for fun, or because a significant other speaks it. Maybe you plan to go on vacation overseas when that’s a thing humans do again. You may also have heard it’s healthy for your brain to learn a new language. There are plenty of reasons to want to experience a new language and thousands of apps and strategies to help, so let’s get to the good stuff.
A Few Helpful Tips
The first thing you need to do when you start is to make sure you really want to learn the language you will study. That means digging deep and deciding if you’re ready to commit the time and discipline needed. If you don’t have at least one good reason to learn a new language, you’ll quickly get bored and frustrated. Learning a new language is quite a lot of work, and without strong motivation, you might not see the results you want.
It helps to pick a language that has a lot of material available to help you learn. As an English speaker, there are plenty of French, Spanish, and German resources but fewer resources for Navajo, Swahili, and Sanskrit. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of joy in learning a lesser spoken language — there definitely is, and if you want to, go for it. Just know there will be fewer books, movies, and internet sites devoted to learning that language.
Start listening to the language from the beginning. Even before you’ve taken a single lesson, it’s fine to watch French movies, if you want to learn French. You may not “learn” much from it, but you will start to develop a feel for the language, how it is spoken, and its cadence and accent.
A Few Helpful Apps
Duolingo is probably the best-known language learning app out there today. They game-ified the experience, which helps you to stick with it. Duolingo has a complete and free version and offers more languages than you could ever learn. The paid version gets rid of ads and gives you a few more functions. There are dozens of languages available on the app, some have better voice actors and more material than others.
Babbel is another popular language learning app. A German company makes the app. We all know Europeans are famous for being more skilled at speaking different languages than Americans. It takes a more classroom approach to language learning, and it has about half of the languages available that Duolingo has. There is no free version, but there are lots of sales and discounts available.
LingoDeer is a lesser-known app that is supposed to be the best at teaching languages from Asia like Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. It has a sparse free version.
It’s never been easier to learn a new language in today’s technology-driven world. Just get committed and pick your learning method. Good luck! ¡Buena suerte!