Hello! Bonjour! 你好！こんにちわ! ¡Hola!
Welcome to my favorite part of traveling the world: learning languages! Learning even the most basic phrases has the ability to change the way your adventure goes. Not only are locals more willing to help a traveler attempting to speak their language, but it opens you to new opportunities that may never have been available to you. Our smart phones can be a huge asset to us in our venture to learn new languages. I have spent a lot of time testing out various language learning apps and have found three that I would highly recommend.
Duolingo offers 22 different languages to learn in a game-style setting. You have the ability to play match words, find meanings, create sentences, have conversations with fictional characters, and so much more. Duolingo is my go to app for all of my language needs, except Chinese. Duolingo has yet to add in the Chinese language. Japanese was just recently added but only in the app, not through your computer. In Duolingo, you earn lingots while you learn and those lingots can be used in the duolingo shop to buy different things that help you in your “game” atmosphere. With your ingots, you can also unlock extra lessons. Duolingo truly is the best language-learning tool out there, in my opinion, and I highly recommend that you give it a try!
Apple & Android (free)
ChineseSkill is very similar to Duolingo in the way that it is laid out however it only teaches Mandarin Chinese. The style is the same, you are still able to create and translate sentences, match, and learn the new phrases. ChineseSkill does have something Duolingo doesn’t. Instead of talking to fictional characters, it allows you to test your speaking skill and lets you know which words you need to work on! This is extremely helpful as tones are so important in Mandarin! The Chinese language may seem daunting but using this app helps you learn in small, fun doses.
I cannot begin to describe to you the love I have for ChinesePod! It is one website / app that I find myself going to every single day for their easy-to-follow video lessons. The language here is Mandarin Chinese and Fiona, the main teacher, is so likeable and helpful throughout all of her lessons. You can choose videos from Newbie to Advanced, check the lesson notes, listen to dialogues, and even watch the separate segment of Qǐng Wèn! ChinesePod also gives you the added advantage, if you choose to use it, to have a video class with a teacher one on one. Fiona, Gwilem, and Constance feel like friendly guests in your home when you are watching their videos and they make you want to come back more and more!
It can be insanely helpful to learn even a few phrases in another language. It helps ease my anxiety knowing that I may be able to communicate one or two of my needs in the country I am visiting. Test out these apps before your next trip and enjoy traveling with your new language-based knowledge.
See you later! À plus tard! 再見！じゃあまたね!
Do you use any language-learning apps not listed here? Share them with us in the comments below!