What if I told you that language learning can be the complete opposite of that experience you had sitting in a classroom? Yes. That was not a typo. It’s pretty evident that many of you may have stopped studying another language as soon as the opportunity came your way to select your subject focus at secondary school, high school or whatever you may call it. At the end of this article, I hope to not only enlighten you but also to motivate you to renew that passport for your language journey.
Every language learner has their own style of learning. That is, a method directly linked to their personality. For example, if you are an introvert that enjoys quiet nights with a book and a cup of chai (I personally prefer vodka 😅) then Whatsapp groups and language communities may not be your thing. However, if you love the idea of bonfires at the beach delighting in smores with your best friends, then the latter would definitely be your niche.
The great thing about language learning is that there isn’t “an only way” to become fluent in your target language. For instance, I have never willingly decided to read a book when it came to learning Spanish, French or Portuguese and look at me now.😎 And I’m not discrediting reading as a method. Now, without further ado, let’s jump into talking about 3 items that you should always ensure to pack on your language learning journey.
italki can be described as your cell phone. That is, it’s the first thing I’m that you would ensure to pack before travelling. In fact, some of you are using your cell phone to read this article.
In my opinion, italki is the best language exchange website there is as the interface is very user-friendly and signing up is easy and FREE. In addition, there is a feature that enables you to know which members may be of the most help to you if you started a language exchange. Basically, this feature involves a point system which ties into the other features of the website. As a member of this community, you can earn points by not only taking part in discussions about certain language topics but also, asking or answering questions, and posting notebook entries or correcting the entries of others. In other words, the more points one has in relation to the duration of their membership gives you an idea of their purpose for joining the community and their ability to help you.
Another excellent feature of italki is the core of this language learning tool and it goes by the name of Language Partner. This feature allows you to start language exchanges with persons whom are natives of your target language(s) and are studying your mother tongue. All you have to do is send them a friend request or a private message indicating your interest. With that being said, if you want to try your hand at this amazing tool you can click here.
Yes, there is a lot more to Youtube than just music, sports highlights and makeup tutorials (unless it’s in your target language). In fact, I would say that this tool is your cell phone charger. The second item that you would never think of leaving behind on your travels.
There are many YouTubers and YouTube Channels out there that dedicate their channels to explaining features about their mother tongue in a very fun, humorous manner, and also others that you can use to train your ear (improve your listening skills). That is, music, movies and interviews among others. As YouTube is a website that the vast majority of us would be familiar with, it would be insignificant if I explained it any further. As a result, what I’m going now is list a couple of YouTubers and YouTube Channels that may help you if you improve in your target language(s):
- TED Talks
- Geography Now
- Learn Spanish with SpanishPod101.com, Learn French with FrenchPod101.com (you catch my drift)
- Easy Languages
- Juliana Selem
- Joanna Hausmann
and many others that are dependent on your interests. If your target language is Portuguese and you already possess knowledge of Spanish, below is a video from Juliana Selem that will prove quite useful.
Another tool that one of my friends from Tangerine introduced me to is Mondly. Mondly is the map that you should ensure to download before you begin roaming the cities once you’ve touched down (landed) in your destination. This awesome app is a language learning application like no other. In fact, it is the best application that I have ever used since I started to implement language learning apps on my polyglot journey.
If I were to describe Mondly to persons who already use language learning apps like Duolingo and Memrise, I would say that it is a mixture of them both with most of the bugs and limitations improved upon. For example, the voice recognition software is EXTREMELY better as there is a feature that allows you to have thematic conversations with a language bot. In addition, the voice samples are much more accurate and of better quality, and finally, the sequence of the content is quite logical and natural.
On the other hand, if I had to explain this app to persons who haven’t used a language learning app before, I won’t. I want you to try it out now. Yes, now. As I guarantee that you would not regret it. This is one of the best tools you can have as an aspiring bilinguist, multi-linguist or polyglot.
With all the above being said, these 3 tools are just a fraction of the resources and methods out there that you can use to make your language learning journey a lot more fun and purposeful. Just do it. Open your web browser or app store and you’ll be well on your way to mastering your target language(s).
– Un saludo afectusoso, Jer.