Learning a foreign language takes time and often money. You have to be up for that. Are you unsure whether you really want to learn a foreign language? Then you can also start with an app first. Nowadays there are many tools for your smartphone and tablet to learn a language cheaply. We list the best apps.
Using a language app brings many advantages. For example, there are many apps that you can use for free or try out for a while, and you can do everything from home. You download the app on your phone or tablet and you can get started right away. These apps also make it as easy and fun as possible to learn your language of choice by means of all kinds of handy options.
Tip 01: Duolingo
Duolingo is by far the most well-known app and helps immensely in learning a new language. If you only speak Dutch, you can only follow an English course via Duolingo. However, if you speak English well enough, you have many more options. For example, Spanish, French, German and Italian are offered, as well as unusual languages such as Turkish, Norwegian and Russian. Duolingo starts with the basics and first teaches you simple words and grammatical constructions that are useful when you are on vacation. When you complete a level, you score points. The things learned are repeated over and over again. In the app you can set goals by pressing Profile / Set Goal to tap and at Settings / Notifications indicate whether Duolingo can message you when it's time to practice. This is recommended to help your self-discipline a bit. Duolingo is completely free, each language consists of a lot of lessons and provides you with enough information to order something fluently on a terrace during your holiday or to start a conversation with someone. Of course, the app also pronounces words and sentences so that you can immediately practice the pronunciation. Also read: The 10 Best Apps To Kill 5 Minutes.
Tip 02: Memrise
Memrise is another good app. Not only can you learn languages with the app, you can also improve your knowledge of, for example, topography with Memrise. The concept of Memrise is to teach smaller lessons instead of offering a large course. In the app you choose a course and just like with Duolingo you are questioned by the app. You can listen to the pronunciation of a word or phrase and if you need a mnemonic, tap Help me learn this. A so-called 'mem', a mnemonic or an image will then appear to help you remember the phrase or word. These mems are made by users and therefore differ in quality. The app is free to use and offers many courses. You can upgrade to a Pro subscription, but with the free version you are also a bit sweet.
Tip 03: Chat
The languages are offered at Babbel in English, so you must understand English well to use the app. Go through the configuration options and choose the right level for Beginner or Advanced to choose. Much like the expensive Rosetta Stone curriculum, Babbel doesn't start with boring sequences and lessons, but instead shows you an image that requires you to pick the right word without ever learning the word. The longer you use the app, you will make fewer mistakes and ultimately remember words better because you see the images. Babbel also pronounces the answer so that you immediately know the sound. The first lesson of each language is free, after that it costs 4.95 euros per month if you opt for an annual subscription. In addition to French, German, Italian and Spanish, you can also learn languages such as Indonesian and Russian with Babbel.
Tip 04: Google Translate
Google Translate is not only a useful website, the app can also help you learn a language. You must have an active internet connection to translate sentences and words. you can also choose to download a file to translate it offline. You need to download this file per language. The app can recognize the source language itself, but you can of course also indicate from which language you want to translate a word or sentence. A smart function is also that you can use the camera of your smartphone to translate a text. Tap the camera icon and point your camera at the text you want to translate. Tap the red button and the app will scan the text. Then you can highlight part of the text and if you tap on the blue arrow, you will see the translation appear. As with normal translations with Google Translate, the result is not always perfect, but to quickly translate a menu abroad, the app is a welcome help. For languages with a different script, you can use the right-hand icon in Google Translate. For example, draw a Chinese character with your finger to translate it into Dutch or English.
Tip 05: SayHi
You can also translate spoken texts with Google Translate, but this is easier with the SayHi app. The app uses Google's algorithms and database, but is completely focused on being able to quickly translate spoken text. At the bottom you see two buttons for two different languages. Set one language to Dutch and the other language to the target language by choosing another language at the top. For example, if you want to start a conversation with a Frenchman, make sure the green box is set to French and the blue box to Dutch. Tap the blue box, wait for the beeps and speak something in Dutch. The app connects to the internet and speaks the text in French. In addition, you see the translation in the large field. Your French interlocutor can then tap the green box and say something in French after the beeps. This will then be translated back into Dutch. SayHi supports many languages and can speak not only French, English and Spanish, but also languages like Hebrew, Korean and Swedish.
Tip 06: HiNative
HiNative is used to ask questions to speakers of a certain language. Tap on Profile and give below native language which language is your native language. below Languages of interest, you choose which language or languages you are also fluent in. Here you can also indicate your level of this language. Then, when you tap Home again, you can swipe left and right at the top to see questions about the selected languages. For example, someone asks how to count from 1 to 10 in Dutch. As a native speaker, you can give the correct answer. If you want to ask something yourself, tap the big button Q and choose one of the options. For example, tap How do you say this in, choose the source language and type in your question Write a word, phrase or sentence. Tap on Post to ask your question. In most cases you will get an answer from someone within a few hours. The app also has a premium version. You can try this for free for 30 days, after that it costs about 4.50 to 10 euros per month, depending on which subscription period you choose.