Five fun ways to learn a new language during Covid 19 lockdown
We might not be heading abroad this summer but that doesn’t mean that we can’t pick up a new language, right here in Blighty!
Statistics show that the number of people learning international languages has increased since the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. Many language service providers and language apps have reported an increase in users, including US language app, Duolingo, which had an 67% global increase compared to 2019. In the UK, users have increased by a whopping 132%, almost double Duolingo’s average worldwide.
Today, there are around 13 million language app users in general across the UK. This is great news for businesses who currently have apps in the market or make use of service apps like Amazon or Ebay and others. We at Vandu have launched our own language service app InterpretManager where you can instantly connect with interpreters and our clients can download the app for free for iOS or Android to help them manage their language needs.
If you are looking for flexible, fun and low-cost/free options to learn a new language, we recommend the following top 5 platforms:
1. Mobile/Desktop Apps
Language learning apps are a convenient and interactive way to learn a new language. From the comfort of your phone or computer you can tailor your learning, you can complete bite-sized lessons and play games to make learning a new language easier to digest. Some of the most popular apps include Duolingo, Bussu and Babbel — which have similar features including personal study plans and goal-setting but with a slightly different approach.
Each of these apps gives users motivation by sending daily reminders and it encourages users to build the habit of repetition by using them every day. It’s also possible to tailor learning to an individual’s level and speed. The best apps offer the opportunity to connect with native speakers so you can ask or answer specific questions.
2. Films and TV Shows
If you ever needed an excuse to binge-watch Netflix, here is one! The ‘Language Learning with Netflix’ extension on Chrome allows you to tune into your favourite shows and movies while reading subtitles in a range of languages. Another option is to simply browse through the many Netflix Original titles and change the audio and/or subtitles to the preferred language you want to learn. You can even challenge yourself by watching a film or TV show you know and switching both the audio and subtitles to your target language. If Netflix isn’t for you, there are also dedicated platforms such as Lingopie specifically designed for people who want to watch TV and films and learn a language of their choice. Minimum effort if you’re a movie addict, however, you need to do it regularly to really benefit.
3. Online Conversation Classes
Chatting with native speakers is the most effective and engaging way of learning foreign languages. It enables you to learn practically by hearing and speaking your target language in a real-life context, with a clear communication objective in mind. We believe there’s no substitute for this type of communication and learning. With online conversation classes, not only can you practice your speech and hear from native speakers, you can also build connections with new people and discuss a range of interesting real-life topics. Networking sites like Eventbrite and Meetup offer many casual language exchange sessions that welcome people of all levels.
If you prefer the idea of learning a language whilst going about your daily activities, then audiobooks is another option. There are a variety of audiobooks for language learners on platforms like, Audible or Scribd. Both of these services offer a free trial so you can see if they work for you before signing up to a monthly cost. It’s also worth checking your local library to find out which audiobooks may be available to borrow.
Podcasts, like audiobooks, are another commitment-free option for people that prefer to learn languages on the go. Spotify streams a wide range of podcasts including ‘Coffee Break Languages’, one of their most popular. An added benefit of using Spotify is being able to search their libraries for music to listen to in your target language.
There are many reasons why people might want to learn a language, whether it’s for work, travel, family, personal achievement or to be able to connect with others and there’s never been a better time to get started than now.
At Vandu, we are in the business of using languages to communicate, instruct and make personal and business connections. We have a pool of over 1,500 talented multilingual interpreters that help our clients with their individual or organization’s language needs. Feel free to contact us to learn about our translation, interpreting, and bilingual advocacy services.