Ironically, my last post was on taking some tech-free time. For a change, I did somewhat heed my own advice, at least as far as the blog went. I did many of the suggestions from that post…I connected to loved ones through graduations, parties, and celebrations, I networked with and became inspired by colleagues at workshops, I read books, I got back into an exercise routine, and I even danced when no one was watching. One other thing I did was explore some tools to learn a language. I haven’t decided yet if I will learn a new language or brush up on my German. Perhaps both! While I am deciding, I will share some tools I think are worth exploring to learn a new language. (Just in time for the Tour de France!)
BBC Languages is one of the most comprehensive and easy to use websites, featuring a large selection of languages where you can learn simply key phrases for travel or advance through lessons from beginner to advanced. Loaded with audio, video, worksheets, quizzes, tips, and much more, you’ll find learning languages through the BBC site is fun and easy.
Mango Languages is also an online learning system not meant to make you fluent in a language, but to learn enough to be comfortable in conversation and in the culture of the language. You can try your first lesson for free at their website; however, this company has worked hard with libraries so you may also be able to access lessons online through your library. Check out Mango’s library locator to see if your library offers Mango Languages.
Learning a language should be a social endeavor, yet many opt to learn a language on their own, rarely conversing with others. LiveMocha helps take learning a language to a social level. Membership is free and offers some basic lessons, flashcards, chat, and messaging. Native speakers can help you learn and you can help others learn as well.
There are several apps out there for learning languages on the go. Both BBC Languages and Mango Languages have mobile options and LiveMocha hopes to release a mobile app in the very near future. Then there is Trip Lingo. Trip Lingo is definitely not going to make you fluent, but it is geared for those who wish to learn what they may need when traveling. Trip Lingo offers a dictionary, flash cards, and even a slang slider so you can determine how you want to learn your language. Trip Lingo is also not free, but it is on sale right now for $2.99.
These are just a few useful sites and tools to help you get started in learning a language. I’ve included more sites and tools on Diigo under the ‘language’ tag. It’s summer, so have a little fun and learn a new language, even if you aren’t traveling anywhere this summer!