Want to brush up on language skills? Here are the best apps


Courtesy of Piqsels

Farah Javed, Managing Editor

With the start of a new year and decade, 2020 brings the opportunity to make a New Year’s resolution and actually follow through with it. One resolution people should consider is learning a new language.

It gives the chance to communicate one’s ideas, learn about a foreign culture and can also be useful in a future job.

The task of learning a new language may seem daunting, however, it doesn’t have to be like a high school Spanish class.

By taking language courses online, the student can control their pace and the amount of time they wish to allocate in their day towards learning. In the long run, learning a language pays off, as studies have shown it can increase attention spans, improve memory, multitasking skills and even strengthen one’s native language. Studies also have shown that just 20 minutes a day is enough to learn a new language.

One program geared towards teaching Spanish is Language Zen. Although it is ordinarily $500, the lifetime subscription is on sale for $79. Language Zen acts as a tutor, assessing and targeting weaknesses while also teaching college level Spanish in the span of 25 hours. The more the program is used, the faster it is able to adapt to each student in order to teach them in a way that best suits them, as well as create challenges for them as they climb literacy levels.

For those who want more intensive courses specifically for beginners, there is the fast-track Spanish language learning bundle. The bundle is broken down into 65 three-minute lessons, which focus on grammar, sentence structure and learning the basics of Spanish. The course takes 15 hours to complete, with an online chat active 24/7 in case the user has questions or needs clarification. Normally $995, the bundle is now $19.99.

If French is of more interest, there is also the fast-track french language learning bundle. Similar to the previous bundle, this course aims to teach basic French in the span of 13 hours through 273 lessons.

This one also includes more videos than the Spanish bundle, which is useful for those that consider themselves to be visual learners.

For the same price of $19.99, users can learn to have conversations, how to write and, in culmination of the course, read a story in French.

Some people want to go beyond 13 hours of French because the more one hears and familiarizes themselves with a language, the faster they learn it. That’s why there is the complete learn French in 30 days bundle. It is identical to the previous French bundle in content and price, except there are 720 lessons to make learning the language last the whole month.

Some students don’t thrive in a classroom setting, so there are alternative approaches to learning. HelloTalk VIP’s lifetime subscription provides a unique language experience by allowing users to teach other languages. For instance, someone who knows English can learn Arabic from a native speaker, while in turn teaching them English.

According to their website, this barter-esque system also includes more non-traditional ways of learning, like through “text, voice recordings, voice calls, video calls, and even doodles to help.” If one wants to help someone while acquiring another bullet for their resume, this $29.99 program is perfect for that.

Another unconventional approach to language learning is the Earworms MBT language learning bundle. This is especially enticing for individuals who choose audiobooks over reading physical books.

Following a similar principle, the program takes common words and phrases and makes them into songs so that the language gets stuck in one’s head. This bundle comes with a phrasebook, allowing language learners to translate the words they learn. The list of languages is broader, including Latin American Spanish, European Spanish, Italian, German and French.

Another resource called uTalk language education includes a lifetime subscription and Babbel Language. The lifetime subscription is a program that is focused on teaching vocabulary and phrases to make users more conversational, rather than formal.

They strive to make confident speakers through repetition and making individuals capable of conversing in a language casually. Though these programs introduce a focus on speaking, Mondly is a program better suited for correcting speech and speaking fluently. The app actually only provides feedback when a user speaks correctly.

In this same category, there’s also Rosetta Stone. Amassing thousands of popular reviews, it is also used by organizations like NASA and Calvin Klein.

This program offers 24 languages such as Spanish, English, Italian, Hebrew, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese and Irish.

 The only difference between this program and the others is that it utilizes speech recognition technology, allowing users to not just learn to read and write, but also practice speaking.

Like Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart,” so why not take a few minutes this year to learn a language?