In today’s globalized business world, being bilingual is becoming increasingly important. Many companies expanding their operations to overseas markets are seeking employees that are bilingual. Therefore, being able to speak a second language can give you a competitive edge when applying for such jobs. However, learning a new language takes a lot of dedication and time. Fortunately, there are several tools out there that can make learning much easier:
Anki is Japanese for ‘memorizing’. Just like the name suggests, Anki is a flashcard program which can help you learn languages by memorization. It will display an image, sound, phrase or word, and then allow you to interpret it and repeat it until it sticks in your memory. Anki is not only useful for learning languages but also for studying faces, names, diagrams, and equations. It comes with a wide range of custom card sets which you can download and begin memorizing immediately. This tool is free and compatible with different operating systems.
This is another flashcard-style program that enables you to learn new languages through memorization. However, unlike Anki, Memrise incorporates some games in the learning process. You get the opportunity to compete with other users as you learn and earn points. This web-based tool is free and also comes with Android and iOS apps which allow you to learn using mobile devices. You can choose from one of the many courses on Memrise which are mainly crowdsourced.
Unlike other learning methods which focus on flashcards and memorization, Pimsleur uses an audio-based approach where participants engage in sound and speaking exercises. Though it also has vocabulary and reading exercises, this method mainly focuses on learning how to speak a language out loud. It comes with short exercises where new phrases and words are introduced progressively. Available in over 50 languages, Pimsleur is a commercial product. The payment required varies depending on the kind of program you want to take. However, it comes with a 30-minute free lesson which allows you test it.
Livemocha is a comprehensive learning program which offers instruction in more than 30 languages. It mainly uses a web-based approach which involves tutorial videos, conversations with native speakers, and live classes. If you wish, you could also choose the option of private tutoring. One of the best things about this program is that you get the chance to interact with and learn from native speakers. Livemocha allows you to take a limited number of lessons for free, after which you will be required to pay up to continue.
Duolingo does not just use the approach of memorizing or reciting phrases and words. Instead, this tool enables you to learn new languages as you translate sites online. Spending time reading and translating content from native speakers makes it much easier to learn. However, Duolingo lessons also involve some speech exercises. The lessons are structured like games where you earn points or ‘lose lives’.
Do you know of any other tools not mentioned here? Feel free to share with us in the comments section below.