The Importance of Learning Languages
Learning new languages opens up worlds of opportunities. Speaking to someone in his or her native tongue allows for rich professional and cultural exchanges. Yet, at the end of the day, learning a language can be hard work!
Schools around the world use lots of resources to try to teach foreign languages. In the United States this resource allocation is looking pretty grim. According to the Atlantic:
“Less than 1 percent of American adults today are proficient in a foreign language that they studied in a U.S. classroom.
That’s noteworthy considering that in 2008 almost all high schools in the country -- ninety-three percent -- offered foreign language, according to a national survey.”
Think of all of those hours and years of students studying and teachers teaching, and the result is that most people still don’t know another language!
Besides the general skills afforded by being multi-lingual, being proficient in another language is key for becoming a global citizen -- for being able to break out of your bubble, and to think globally. At Knovva Academy, we think technology is helping to make language learning more efficient, and -- better yet -- more fun! Thanks to smartphone apps, language learning can now be integrated into day-to-day life.
Free Language Learning Tools
Here are our three favorite free apps for language learning:
Memrise offers so many options that it’s difficult to think where to begin. The Memrise team develops its own language programs, providing many options for courses or themes to focus on vocabulary building. When you pick a language there will be more programs for each language than you’ll have to time to learn! Memrise does an effective job of repeating vocabulary so that you keep reviewing as you progress, instead of learning a word and then never seeing it again. Plus, a fun feature of Memrise is the gamification through badges you win, and the ability to track the progress of your friends. Try challenging a friend to see who can win more badges and watch how you both effortlessly learn a new language!
Duolingo is known for being fun and game-like. Using this app, you can learn to read, write, listen, and even speak another language. They claim that 34 hours on Duolingo is equivalent to a college course! That can save a lot of time and money! This app boasts simplicity, breaking the time-intensive task of learning a new language into bite-sized lessons.
Google Translate is the ultimate translation tool. It doesn’t offer any programs of study, so it differs from the other apps on this list. But once you’re trying to read text in another language, the Google Translate app will become your go-to tool. It’s intuitive use offers you a text box to type in, or even paste into from other sources -- plus, you can put as much text as you want, either single words, or whole phrases. Then, the app will automatically try to identify what language has been inputted, and offer a translation. Users are also welcome to pick the languages themselves, and, for the more advanced users, there are often multiple translations offered, providing synonyms and proverbial phrases.
Knovva Academy & Global Citizens
Now there's no excuse not to start mastering another language! Check out one of our multi-cultural programs, and show off your language skills: