It's been a week since you resolved to change your life. How are you doing so far? Yeah, me too.
There is a belief that making small, incremental changes is the best way to go about changing your life. This is why big goals like exercising and eating right often fail. While these big goals are always a good idea they're just too disruptive to handle with ease.
How about learning a new language? That may also sound like "too disruptive" of an idea. Learning a language is complex, time-consuming, and schooling and software sounds expensive.
Well thankfully in the past few years a solid group of apps have risen to the challenge of making language learning easy, fun and for the most part, free.
Here is a comprehensive review of what I've tried:
1. DuoLingo â€“ free (Android, iOS, Web)
DuoLingo is a real winner in terms of design, fun and effectiveness. DuoLingo's goal is to immerse users into a language, rather than explain all the stuffy rules. There are reading, listening, and even speaking activities. The app strikes the perfect balance between being quick, productive and fun. There is a point system to compete with friends, a reward system to cash in for prizes and races against the clock. Don't feel competitive? There is still a lot of fun to be had. The designs are cute and the sounds are top notch.
The website also offers additional features over the app, including discussion forums for each lesson and real-world document translation for a tougher challenge.
One of the few drawbacks with this comprehensive system is that they currently only offer six languages to learn (German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English), but there are plans to crowd source many more over time (Russian is next). Another problem is that immersion without rules can be confounding. For instance in German there are four versions of "you" that are never fully explained. It is best to pair your learning with a little online research. This goes for all apps.
DuoLingo was c…Read more...