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21/05 Tuesday 06:02PM

Learn Language On The Go

It is entirely possible to learn a language online and these days, there's a site or app to suit every level of enthusiasm.
Main image courtesy of www.futureofeducation.com

Learn a language in 2016. It’s 100% free.  That’s the warm welcome you get when you visit Duolinguo.com, where language learning is all fun and games.  The major languages are there – English, German, French, Spanish.  You can play on all your favourite devices, and with a points system to get those competitive juices going, consider yourself forewarned - there is much to love and get addicted to.  But is it the best of the bunch?

A quick Google search provides ample alternatives for inspection.

There appears to be something out there for everybody (thank you Internet!) but we've test-run a few that pass the bar.

There are the language lessons you’d expect and on top of that there’s a whole community of native speakers and language enthusiasts who are happy to interact with you in the language of your choice.  A sweet two in one deal!

This site has a respectable choice of languages.  As a beginner in the chosen vernacular,you’ll need to guess the right answer based on a picture, which has little to nothing to do with the actual answer. Perhaps this is deliberate, and I developed a sudden compassion for babies.  The choices are easy though, so the learning is as uncomplicated as promised but ranks lower on the fun factor.

The site is chock-full of videos which will ‘bring language learning to life’.  After signing up, you receive a friendly note from the User Happiness Team.  Testing out their Basic Chinese, I found the videos efficient but rather flat.  This may be the site for people who are actually serious about learning a new language.  Sorry, User Happiness Team.  It’s not personal.

Learning a language on this site could be a hilarious experience.  For this trial, I clicked at useful Russian phrases and was presented with a list.  The two first Russian phrases they teach mean ‘What a shame’ and ‘I can’t believe it’. What a way to pique your interest in the culture behind the language!  The next two phrases got me rolling on the floor.  Kotoryy chas? and Yaopazdyyayu mean ‘What time is it?’ and ‘I’m running late’, respectively.  The site is great for people who need the absolute freedom to pace themselves, because it isn't interactive and promises no such thing.  It's there.  The ball is always and entirely on your court.

So after all the traipsing, what’s the verdict? I’m back on team Duolingo.  This program was definitely created for the instant gratification, fun-seeking generation.  New languages are being introduced all the time.  Like Russian, for example, which is currently in beta stage.  The module was touted for release last September, but it’s just running a little late which is a shame.

Have you got any other language apps that didn't make it into the list? Share and email to us!

Learn Language On The Go
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