Learning a new language, in addition to the obvious consequence of allowing you to communicate with people from other countries, brings a number of science-backed benefits. Among these are an increase in cognitive functions, the development of certain areas of the brain, memory improvements and, according to some, it would even counteract the onset of Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, learning a new language opens our minds and give us new perspectives on the world. For those who would like to dust off their French skills acquired in middle school, practice English to be finally able to watch a TV series in the original language or find out how to say “slipper” in Russian, there are several apps that allow you to have a language teacher at your fingertips. Here are a few.
It is a totally free app that allows you to learn up to 23 different languages. The Wall Street Journal described it as “the best free foreign language learning app”. The interface is simple and colorful, and it almost looks like a children’s book. It has different levels of learning. When a module is completed, the next one is unlocked. Its teaching methods are mainly based on dictation and written lessons. There are translation tests that requires you to translate fromo your own language to the one you are learning and vice versa. The approach is that of implicit learning, which tries to simulate the natural way of learning your own language when you are a kid, without paying too much attention to grammar rules.
It is a real international community with millions of users all over the world, it is a sort of social network for learning languages. Lessons are designed by experts and they use machine learning to create customized study plans. Courses include levels A1, A2, B1, B2 and cover more than 150 topics. One of the most interesting features is the possibility of speaking with native speakers. The combination of lessons and conversation with native speakers seems to have surprising results. An independent study conducted by the City University of New York would even claim that 22 hours spent on Busuu would give the same resutls of a full semester studying languages at university.
With this app, you can learn a new language and read exciting stories at the same time. The text of a novel, fairytale or other is shown in two languages, allowing the user to read it in the foreign language and using the one in their mother tongue as a reference. In addition to the side reading, there is also the audiobook feature, with a karaoke-style animation, so while the audio is playing, the user can follow the reading, knowing precisely what is being said. You can also listen to the audio in standby mode, so that it doesn’t affect the battery runtime. The app is available in 13 languages: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Hindi, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Italian, Japanese, Turkish, Swedish.