A new item has been added to my to-do list. I’m attempting to learn a new language, Greek. I’m fully aware it’s not the easiest language to learn, but my Greek boyfriend claims it’s well worth it (we can all agree that he’s a bit biased – no?). We do make it out to Greece every summer, so it’s not like I wouldn’t put it to use…plus, many English words stem from Greek (insert scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “Give me a word, any word, and I show you that the root of that word is GREEK”), so maybe I’ll expand my vocabulary a bit.
Learning a new language is a time investment, and between my full-time job and blogging, I have to make the most of every minute. I figured an easy way to start is by using the time I spend commuting to the office. There are SO many language apps out there, and having access on my phone when I’m on the go allows for more practice & better time management (it’ll cut down the time I spend scrolling through Instagram, checking Facebook or reading email). There are the 3 language apps I’ve found to be most effective:
1. Duolingo makes learning a new language interactive & fun. You can set a daily goal you’d like to achieve (called daily “XP”) so that you can hold yourself accountable. If you just need to freshen up on a language, Duolingo has a placement test you can take, and it will adjust the curriculum based on what you already know. Sadly, after 7 years of middle & high school Spanish, I didn’t test out of any skills – my memory is clearly subpar. Anyway, Duolingo is super easy to use, and makes learning entertaining by gamifying the experience. One drawback is that it only offers about 20 languages, so make sure the one you are interested in is included.
2. Anki is actually a memorization app, but it comes loaded with different decks of cards, some of which are language focused. The program keeps track of which cards were memorized and which ones need extra attention, so it’s ideal for learning the vocabulary & grammar of a new language. They have a series of decks available that differ by language. I see Anki as a supplementary resource – I use it to help with memorization, but an app like Duolingo is still required to help lay the foundation.
3. Google Translate is the perfect resource for translating on the go. It’s more useful for those reactive vs. proactive moments, when you hear a new word or phrase and you’re not sure how to respond. It’s not always accurate, but it’ll at least give you a general idea of what’s going on. The app has a voice feature which is extremely helpful, so you can hear the pronunciation of words as well as translate live. Recently, they added a “Camera” feature that translates images & photos too.
Here’s a resourceful article (from LifeHacker) that sets expectations on amount of time it takes to learn a new language.
What language do you want to learn? Would love to hear some of the resources you use as well!