While we are all stuck at home, why not use this time to brush up on your foreign language skills or start studying a new language you’ve always wanted to learn?
In the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine period, many organizations and cultural institutions have made their content freely accessible online. There are so many resources, where do you even start? The Adults at Home series highlights some of the best resources for adults and seniors on a variety of topics.
Language Learning With Apps
Mango Languages, available for free with your library card, is a conversation-based app ideal for beginner and intermediate learners.
Mango incorporates native speakers, voice comparison, and repetition to help you learn and retain a new language. When you choose a program, you are presented with a list of goals and topics to be covered in each lesson. Vocabulary, grammar, culture, pronunciation, are broken into small, manageable pieces. Mango offers 72 languages, many of which are non-European and rarely covered on other apps, like Pashto and Azerbaijani. It is beautifully designed and easy to navigate.
Duolingo is a free language learning platform that offers 23 languages.
Lessons are presented as a skill tree incorporating reading, writing, listening, and speaking drills. It is straightforward and easy to use, and the playful gamified nature of the app encourages you to keep coming back daily for more lessons.
Learning through apps is a great option for beginners and intermediate learners but you probably won’t become fluent using apps alone. Think of the apps as just one tool in your language toolbox.
If you are learning Spanish, RBDigital (an e-magazine app free with your library card) offers a few magazines like Elle España, Cocina Fácil, and High Five Bilingue that will enrich your Spanish skills. Turning the visually sumptuous pages of an e-magazine is a fun and rewarding break from drills and exercises, and will allow you to immerse yourself in both a new language and a new culture.
Streaming TV shows and Movies
If you have a Netflix account, there are TV shows in a variety of different languages like Korean (Crash Landing on You, Kingdom), Spanish (Las Chicas del Cable, La Casa de la Flores), and French (Dix Pour Cent, Plan Coeur). Also check out the children’s shows because they are a lot easier to understand for language learners.
Hulu also has many familiar American TV shows available to enjoy overdubbed in Spanish, like Blackish en español. Watching American TV in Spanish won’t help you learn about Latin culture but it is a convenient way to practice your Spanish vocabulary and grammar.
Kanopy, an on-demand movie screening service free to all MCFL cardholders, has language learning videos (for example Great Courses Spanish, Latin 101, and BBC’s Muzzy, a kids’ language learning series available in all sorts of languages, are all ) and also tons of international movies and documentaries.
Try this! Find a film that interests in you in the language you are learning and watch it all the way through with English subtitles to gain an understanding of the characters and plot, then watch it again in small segments to break down the dialogue and turn on the native language subtitles. Use a notebook to record new words and phrases you hear and then watch it again and repeat them aloud.
Instagram is a great tool for language learning.
Try following a language learning account like daysofdeutsch (German), finkingcap (Finnish), ohlalajadore (French), 72kilos or spanish_english_rosie (Spanish) or follow some users who speak your target language. For Italian language learners, try A Casa de Cindy.
You can also search for accounts with hashtags, like #learnspanish, #learnjapanese, #languagelearning. Follow cultural institutions like Le Musée d’Orsay or The Vatican Museums which usually post their information in both their local language and English.
A simple way to practice your language skills on Facebook is to change the interface language to your target language instead of English. Or just search for groups like Learn Spanish and you will be connected to many pages and groups that will connect you other language learners.
Good luck! Bonne chance! iBuena suerte! In bocca al lupo!
Writing and research: April
Editing and formatting: Ana