Learning a language is a skill that can be highly rewarding, not just for school children and students traveling abroad but for anybody looking to make the most of our multicultural world. So many countries have duel languages and citizens who are at least bi-lingual, so the chance to learn languages online is worth taking. The question is which option should you take? Here are eight examples that people use to help you decide.
1. Can you really learn a language from an online translator?
Let’s begin with the most simple and ineffective of them all. Some people would say that using an online translator is all they need in order to learn languages online; you simply type in a word or a phrase and the computer gives you the result – no fuss, no cost no problem. Well, actually there is a problem, by simply being given a set of words on a screen and an automated pronunciation you are not really learning anything at all. There are much better options to consider.
2. Learning to speak a new language with an online phrase book
Online phrase books are a great alternative to buying their printed counterparts because they provide a quick an easy guide for free. SmartPhrase.com categorizes useful phrases by language and subject for simplistic access, however there is no indication of pronunciation. Lingvozone.com, on the other hand, provides audio with the translation but is difficult to navigate. These sites are fine for people looking for simple phrases and basics for a holiday but cannot provide the detailed, comprehensive understanding required for learning a language.
3. Immersing yourself in the online world of foreign cinema and television
This is an option where pronunciation definitely is not an issue because you are watching and listening to native speakers using the language naturally. This is a brilliant, if slightly unconventional tool for learning languages, because not only can you hear the language as it is meant to sound, you can enjoy some of the country’s culture at the same time and there is a wealth of free material out there thanks to the increasing numbers of free streaming websites and of course the universal Youtube. The downside to this option is that is it not recommended for beginners, only people with a good, basic grasp of the language should attempt to aid their education this way.
4. Engage with other amateur and native speakers on forums and other communities
Forums and other social, online environments are perhaps a more beneficial way to learn from native speakers if you are a beginner. Talking with people online through chat-rooms provides the opportunity to test your phrases and spelling on those more familiar with the language, and you can do so at your own pace. Alternatively, you can use video chats to engage with them and practice your pronunciation. Again this option is more of a tool to use alongside a language course than a method to be used on its own, but it can be rewarding and speed up the learning process.
5. Make some worthwhile purchases at your app store
It’s true what they say, there really is an app for everything and the ability to learn languages is one of them. Many language sites and software makers have brought out mobile versions of the product and convenient, fun to use phrasebooks to make learning a language for your holiday easier, and also mean the resource is right at your fingertips for those tricky situations abroad. With so many people taking advantage of this new market, there is a lot of choice so users need to beware of the quality of what they are purchasing. It may be the case that the best apps with the most useful content are also the most expensive.
6. Take part in some free, online lessons
The key word that has captured your interest here is undoubtedly the word free. There are websites on the internet that offer people lessons in languages with no charge, and before you assume that they are sub par because of the cost it is worth noting that reputable brands and companies – such as the BBC – are offering this opportunity. Of course the lack of a fee and on-going tuition does mean the knowledge gained is a little limited, but it could provide a great starting block for further study.
7. Enrol to a course with an online school
Distance learning is a popular way of earning a degree or other higher form of qualification these days, because the courses allow people to study and earn at the same time, and there are a number of institutions that offer options in languages. Learning a language this way can provide the best in tuition and formal understanding of your chosen subject, but there are other considerations to bear in mind. Cost, commitment and time are big factors of online education, you may get a formal qualification for your efforts but you will have to invest a lot of time and money before you achieve it.
8. Invest in some language software
The final option, and one that has become increasing popular in recent years, is using software from companies such as Rosetta Stone or Rocket Languages. This method is a recommended way to learn languages because it provides many different learning tools and forms of support for a fraction of the cost of distance learning. These companies and many others provide learning tools, access to native speakers and interactive quizzes as part of their comprehensive package and offer it for either a course fee or a monthly rate. Rosetta Stone is one of the more popular because of its reputation and wide range of languages, however it is criticized for its lack of written material and teaching of grammar. Citing following review: Rocket Languages may have fewer languages to learn at the moment but it does look at grammar, has a greater range of materials, provides certification equal to a European A’ Level and is better value for money – therefore making it the better option.
Rosetta Stone: http://www.languagelearningsoftware.com/reviews/rosetta-stone/
Rocket Languages: http://www.languagelearningsoftware.com/reviews/rocket-languages/
There is a whole world of languages on the internet waiting to be discovered
As you can see, there are many different options available dependent on your budget, commitment and reasons for wanting to learn. No one method is perfect for everyone, but the software programs – in particular Rocket Languages – can provide the most convenient, cost effective and rewarding language learning experience of them all.
Happy language learning to everyone!
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