It is said “The more languages you know, the more you are human” ~~ Tomas Garrigue Masaryk
I may nor may not agree with this; to be honest I just don’t know. What i do know is that learning a foreign language takes a lot of time and dedication. This isn’t something that happens overnight; to be sure there are great benefits that can come from learning another language (or three) but it won’t be easy. At least with a couple of these apps, it can be at least a little fun though, right?
I admit to being a lover of languages myself; growing up I spent time overseas in Germany. I learned a bit of Russian and French long ago; once I spoke German fluently. I have recently been trying to brush up on my German (its in a pretty sad state to be honest!) and my oldest son has been dabbling in French and Chinese (since we had our exchange students from France and then China!). Add to that some friends he has who speak Spanish and there are a lot of different things going on around here. If only I knew which language he is speaking in some days! haha
My oldest is very visual so we were super excited to find Memrise; we mostly use this for languages (I use it for German and Hebrew and my son uses it for French and Chinese). This is a super simple and very fun program (there is an app for it too!) This program uses mems to help you learn and remember material as you go along. So as you are learning and you come across a phrase that you just cannot remember, there is a mem to help you remember it. Its amazing how some of the visual cues really do make a difference. The lessons are short and simple; you can set goals for your learning too. They have tons of courses to choose from, so while we use this for language learning there really is so much more you can learn with this.
Duolingo is another one we really enjoy; my children refer to this as a game than a tool for school. Points or lingots are earned that can be used to “buy” items from the virtual store (there isn’t much in there though unfortunately). Regardless, with this the language is learned through lots of repetition; a nice mix of speaking, reading and writing used as you learn. The lessons slowly become harder, keeping it challenging but also at a level that is not discouraging, as you progress in your learning. On the downside there isn’t a ton of grammar used with this one; some of the phrases it teaches, I dont know how or when I would use them (the cat is wearing her dress?) but it is fun. Plus its a great way to better all areas of your language learning.
Anki is another one; newer to us but definitely one that is a keeper! Anki is actually Japanese for “memorizing,” so as you can imagine this program utilizes flashcards to help you learn. The main focus is memorization of words, phrases, etc. As you work in Anki you will be presented with a word, phrase, image, maybe even a sound. You are then to connect it, repeat it, interpret it, and in the process store it in your memory. This is great for languages (What we use it for), but like another we use it can be used for so much more—you can have a wide range of card sets (custom or shared) depending on what topic you are at work on. But there are so many shared decks available in the app you can get started right now! Anki is totally free too (donations are appreciated) and you can read a really awesome story of how Gabriel Wyner learned four languages in a few years. Learn how to make it work for you too!
If you are looking to learn sign language; Sign Language: Fun Learning for Kids app, features lots of great videos to get you signing in no time at all. This also teaches how to sign some of those really fun songs kids just love, like “5 Little Monkeys,” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” As you learn the signs you also learn how to combine facial expressions with signs. What a neat way for your kids to learn a bit or a ton of American Sign Language. There are letters, numbers, animals, family members, transportation modes, nature scenes, and salutations….Very fun!
Did you know that Little Pim has an app? We have enjoyed the show, on Amazon Prime, for some time now. The app is full of interactive and fun learning for little ones just as their other materials are. My daughter is four and enjoys using this to learn a few words of French now and then. My son is six and he will play around on it a bit: hunting for balloons while discovering new words, and then some “quizzes” that help to reinforce the words they are learning while also teaching basic sentence structure. Thats definitely a bit help! You are even able to track your child’s language progress as they learn new words and phrases from the learning videos. There is a flash card game, hand-drawn illustrations, 8 different languages (with audio) and for kids what seems like a never-ending amount of words for your little one to learn!