One of the interesting aspects of an increasingly mobile and connected world population is the changes in language. Anthony Burgess was one of the first to predict this trend in his book A Clockwork Orange, in which many of the characters routinely used Russian terms in their otherwise typically British conversations. In the TransferGo blog we’ve highlighted a number of colourful and fun foreign phrases that we’ve come across in our dealings with users from all over the world.
Another result of an increasingly globalised population and the need for businesses, including small to medium sized enterprises, to operate internationally is the number of people who speak more than one language. The demand for multi-language workers is growing all over the world. This combination of business and cultural changes has resulted in a phenomenal growth in the number of people seeking to learn another language.
Until recently learning a second, or third, language required enrolling in a class and often adjusting work and personal schedules. Now, there are a number of highly rated apps which make learning a new language easy, convenient, and inexpensive. Here are five of the best.
Of all of the languages apps on the market, Duolingo stands out based on its high ratings from experts and users alike. The free app is at the forefront of mobile language learning due to the founder merging gameplay with learning. The app features over 81 courses with many created by native speakers and includes a number of unusual and less familiar languages. Duolingo has more than 100 million users.
Babbel teaches 13 different languages. The app is easy to use and follows a fairly natural learning curve. Each class starts by teaching vocabulary words using pictures and then uses the words in common phrases and dialogues. The first 40 classes on Babbel are free, which allows the user to get a decent feel for the language without making a purchase.
In addition to beginner’s courses, Babble offers separate packages designed to help improve specific skills such as vocabulary and grammar. The classes can be downloaded and allow students to study offline on both desktops and mobile devices.
- Fluent Panda
Fluent Panda is a language learning app that was specifically designed for mobile platforms and to fit into a busy lifestyle with a series of fun, quick lessons.
Each Fluent Panda mini-lesson focuses on words and expressions. The app has a familiar game-like feature where you collect “leaves” and “shoots” as your skill increases. The app has high quality native audio which helps with pronunciation and usages as well as tips and hints designed to correct mistakes and increase your confidence in using the language.
Lingua.ly takes an interesting approach to language learning as it uses text pulled from the internet written by native speakers from the very first lesson, which makes the app very similar to an immersive course.
Lingua.ly starts off by accessing your skills in the language, if any, and then presenting lessons which range from 5 to 15 minutes. Each lesson includes a bit of text that builds on your knowledge of the language. Clicking on an unfamiliar word gives you the pronunciation and translation and adds it to your vocabulary database. As your ability grows, so does the complexity of the text.
The app allows you to select areas of interests so that the text offered is interesting and engaging rather than just a random, and potentially boring, topic.
TripLingo is designed for those who are about to go on holiday or a quick business trip to another country and want to learn a few basic phrases. The app can be adjusted to show different levels of conversation from business formal to casual.
The app has a couple of really nice features. The built in voice translator renders your spoken phrases to the selected languages. It also has a feature that allows you contact a live translator at the touch of a button.