What Language Should I Learn? [Quiz]

What language should I learn

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What language should I learn?” There are so many unique and beautiful languages you can learn, that choosing just one can be a challenge.

Some individuals are a perfect match for the romantic tones of la langue française (the French language), while others are more suited for the staccato rhythms of modern Italian. Are you up for the challenge of learning a new alphabet for Korean and Japanese, or would you prefer a more accessible language like Spanish?

This helpful quiz will show you which language best suits your interests and personality. Keep reading after the quiz for more helpful tips on how to decide which language you should learn!

What Language Should I Learn?

There are over 6,900 living languages spoken in the world today, which means when you’re considering which one you’d like to learn, you are definitely spoiled for choice!

Some of the most common languages for English speakers to study are the Romance tongues – Spanish, French, and Italian. That’s because there’s a long tradition of contact between the speakers of these European languages and English culture.

Languages from Asia, including Japanese and Korean, are also growing in popularity as more Westerners consider living and working abroad.

Deciding which of these exciting languages to learn is a process that involves some inward reflection on your goals and interests, as well as how much time you can realistically commit to studying. Keep reading to learn more about five of the most popular languages to learn and discover which one is the best fit for you.  

5 Popular Languages to Learn

Spanish

What language should I learn - Spanish

Spanish is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. There are a number of reasons for this, including the prevalence of Spanish speakers in the world. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, and the second most spoken language in North America! So you’ll always be able to find a native speaker to practice with.

You should be aware that there are two main dialects of Spanish – the language spoken in Spain, and Latin American Spanish. The two are broadly similar in grammatical structure but the accent and vocabulary can be quite different. Decide early on where you hope to use your Spanish and choose a tutor accordingly.

The Spanish culture is famous for being extremely open to foreigners. No matter where you travel, the locals will appreciate your willingness to learn their mother tongue. 

French

What language should I learn - French

One advantage of learning French is that about 25% of our English vocabulary comes from French, so you’ll have a big head start if you choose this language! Even as a complete beginner, you’ll already know the meaning of a number of words such as intelligent (intelligent), liberté (liberty), thé (tea), and more.

What’s tricky about French is that there are some complicated word-endings and new vowel sounds. However, you won’t be complaining when you’re indulging in the abundance of wine, cheese, and delicious croissants in France! If that sounds wonderful to you, French just might be the answer to your question – What language should I learn? 

If you’re lucky enough to visit France, you will find the locals think very highly of their language. If you show them you love it too and are willing to learn, they’ll appreciate your effort. Bonus tip: Kissing on the cheeks in France is called faire la bise and it’s how they say “hello”! 

Italian

What language should I learn - Italian

Unlike English, the Italian language is pronounced exactly how it is written. It really requires you to get your mouth muscles moving in order to form the different sounds – think of “bru-sche-tta,” where the “ch” sounds like a “k.”

Italian has a sing-songy rhythm that people either love or hate – but almost everyone falls head over heels for it! It helps that Italy is a country rich with history (Rome – the capital of the Roman Empire), beauty (the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s “David”), and pasta (there are over 250 different, locally-produced types).

Remember that if you decide to learn Italian you will probably only be able to use it in Italy. But there is so much to see in Italy, from the fashion runways of Milan to the canals of Venice. Just don’t forget to learn a few hand gestures along with vocabulary as they can make a big difference in getting your point across to the locals.

Korean

What language should I learn - Korean

Korean may seem difficult from the outside, but at heart, it’s a made-to-order language for eager learners. That’s because its alphabet was developed back in the 15th century with the primary goal of being easy to learn. It only contains 24 letters and is entirely phonetic, so if you can read a word, you can pronounce it correctly 100% of the time.

Yes, there are Chinese characters to master and politeness is a big deal so you need to make sure you understand how to show respect, but that’s just a part of the fun of learning this new language.

There are about 80 million people in the world who speak Korean. Korea is also home to Samsung technologies and some US military bases, so there are plenty of expats around if you decide to go abroad for work or travel.

Japanese

What language should I learn - Japanese

People who like a challenge will love learning Japanese. That’s because it has not one, not two, but three different writing systems (including those ever-present Chinese characters). The good news is that unlike Chinese, Japanese is a lot easier to speak. In fact, Japanese only has five vowel sounds and the consonants generally overlap with English sounds.

Japanese grammar is different, but not nearly as complicated as some Romance languages can be. Another benefit of learning Japanese is that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your listening skills, as Japan exports the famous Manga and Anime programs that make for great learning material.

Japan itself is full of variety, from the modern city of Tokyo to the ancient temples of Kyoto and the snow-capped tip of Mount Fuji. It’s also very fun to visit because your Japanese will surely come in handy, unlike other countries where you can get by with just knowing English.

We hope this article helped you answer the question, “What language should I learn?” Now that you know which language suits you best, leave us a comment to let us know what you decided. Still haven’t made up your mind? Consider signing up for TakeLessons Live where you can sample beginner-level classes in a variety of languages for free!

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Guest Post Author: Meredith C. is a linguist and polyglot who has spent the last 10 years in various roles from teaching to curriculum development. She holds a Master’s in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition from the University of Oxford.

How to say Cheers in different languages

How to Say “Cheers” in Different Languages [Video Tutorials]

How to say Cheers in different languages

Have you ever wondered how to say “cheers” in different languages? Think of all the situations in which the word “cheers” is used and you’ll quickly realize the versatility of this common expression that spans across cultures and nations.  

Whether you’re traveling, studying abroad, or simply making new friends of another culture, being able to say “cheers” in their language shows that you respect their traditions enough to make an effort to learn something new.

Keep reading to learn how to say “cheers” in different languages, 20 to be exact, and use this new vocabulary when you celebrate graduations, milestones at work, weddings, birthdays, holidays, and more!

How to Say “Cheers” in Different Languages

How to Say “Cheers” in Chinese (Mandarin): 干杯

  • Pronounced: Gon-bay
  • Meaning: Dry cup

China has an entire drinking etiquette and respect plays a huge role in the society.

How to Say “Cheers” in Russian: На здоровье

  • Pronounced: Nah-zda-rov-yeh
  • Meaning: To health

If you’ve ever heard about Russians being heavy drinkers, this is not a stereotype but reality!

How to Say “Cheers” in Spanish: Salud

  • Pronounced: Sah-lud
  • Meaning: Health

People in Spain start to drink very late, but they also party longer than you can imagine!

How to Say “Cheers” in Japanese: 乾杯

  • Pronounced: Kan-pie
  • Meaning: Dry glass

In Japan, it’s impolite to turn down a drink. If you’re traveling there soon, make sure to try the national drink – Sake!

How to Say “Cheers” in Arabic:  في صحتكم

  • Pronounced: Fe-sah-ḥe-tek
  • Meaning: Good luck

In general, Arabic countries share an under-the-table drinking culture since most religions prohibit the consumption of alcohol.  

How to Say “Cheers” in German: Prost 

  • Pronounced: Prohst 
  • Meaning: May it be good for you

Did you know that Oktoberfest originated in Germany? If you haven’t been to one of these festivities yet, you’re missing out!

How to Say “Cheers” in Portuguese: Saúde

  • Pronounced: Saw-OO-de
  • Meaning: Health

Many Portuguese drink slowly and steadily throughout the entire day. It’s not uncommon for the party to start around 3 PM and continue onto an after party.  

How to Say “Cheers” in French: Santé

  • Pronounced: Sahn-tay 
  • Meaning: To your health

One bonus about drinking in France – you can find an exquisite glass of local wine for only three euros!

How to Say “Cheers” in Vietnamese: Một hai ba, yo

  • Pronounced: Moat hi bah yo
  • Meaning: One, two, three, cheers

Vietnam is one of the top countries for beer consumption. Sometimes beer is served with ice and if one person drinks, everyone has to!

How to Say “Cheers” in Korean: 건배

  • Pronounced: Gun-beh
  • Meaning: Empty glass

Korea is home to some unique hangover cures from soups to spas to specially made beverages.

How to Say “Cheers” in Polish: Na zdrowie

  • Pronounced: Naz-droh-vee-ay
  • Meaning: To health

Zubrowka is the most famous brand of vodka in Poland. It’s served chilled and in 50 milliliter shots.

SEE ALSO: How to Say “I Love You” in Different Languages

How to Say “Cheers” in Italian: Salute 

  • Pronounced: Saw-lu-tay 
  • Meaning: To health

In Italy, an aperitivo is a pre-meal drink similar to our “happy hour.” Its purpose is to stimulate your appetite!

How to Say “Cheers” in Thai:  ชนแก้ว

  • Pronounced: Chai-yo
  • Meaning: Hit glass

Fun fact – In Thailand, alcohol can only be purchased or served between 11 AM to 2 PM, or 5 PM to midnight.

How to Say “Cheers” in Turkish: Şerefe

  • Pronounced: Sher-i-feh
  • Meaning: Honor

Raki is the national distillated drink in Turkey. Istanbul has an incredible nightlife, but be careful – it’s not cheap!

How to Say “Cheers” in Dutch: Proost

  • Pronounced: Prohst
  • Meaning: May it be good for you

In Belgium the legal drinking age to drink wine and beer is 16, however the age for spirits is 18!

How to Say “Cheers” in Afrikaans: Gesondheid

  • Pronounced: Ge-sund-hate
  • Meaning: Health

Have you ever tried Amarula? This creamy liqueur is made from the fruit of African marula trees which surprisingly, elephants also enjoy!

How to Say “Cheers” in Greek: ΥΓΕΙΑ

  • Pronounced: Yah-mas
  • Meaning: Health

The Greeks love their wine! If you’re traveling there soon, try Retsina. It’s a unique wine that gets its flavor from pine trees.  

How to Say “Cheers” in Swedish: Skål

  • Pronounced: Skawl
  • Meaning: Good health

Alcohol is very expensive in Sweden. There is only one chain store in the country that sells alcohol and it closes at 3 PM on Saturdays!

“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.” – Chinese Proverb

Learning a new language improves your travel experiences, helps you build cross-cultural friendships, and develops an appreciation of other cultures. You’ve made a great start by learning how to say “cheers” in different languages.

Want to learn more useful phrases in the language of your choice? TakeLessons Live offers the chance to try out a variety of languages with access to 300+ online classes. Find out how you can improve your conversational French, Spanish, Korean and more today!

Guest Post Author: Michaela F. from Study Abroad Apartments.

free language lessons

Looking for Free Language Lessons? 3 Reasons to Try TakeLessons Live

free language lessons

There are many places to find free language lessons on the internet, from YouTube videos to apps like Duolingo, but they’re not all the best way to learn a foreign language. In fact, some of these free apps and sites can hinder your progress in conversational skills and proper pronunciation.

Without face-to-face interaction with other speakers of your target language, and a knowledgeable teacher to guide you, the road to fluency will be a lot longer. Wondering if there are any free resources that combine quality instruction and speaking practice? Keep reading.   

Free Language Lessons That Actually Work

TakeLessons Live is a great place to start if you’re looking for free lessons that will be truly beneficial for your language studies. With a free month-long trial, you have access to more than 200 live classes.

Classes are held online in a virtual classroom, where you can ask a teacher questions, get feedback on your accent, and practice your speaking skills in a group of other students from around the world. You also have the freedom to try out multiple different languages (as well as teachers), and learn on your own terms.

Free language lessons

There are many reasons to take advantage of the free language lessons offered at TakeLessons Live. Keep reading to find out more.

3 Reasons to Try TakeLessons Live

Flexibility to try out multiple languages

Perhaps you’re not sure where to start in your language learning journey and you’re torn between two languages. TakeLessons Live is the perfect solution for these kinds of students as it allows you to try out multiple languages, all at no cost.

For example, you could try out a French class Tuesday morning and a Korean class Wednesday afternoon. Having the flexibility to sample a few different languages will help you make a more informed decision about which one you’d like to learn.

No matter where you’re at in your language studies, there is a class for everyone at TakeLessons Live. You can learn about the basics, get conversation practice, or fine tune your grammar. There are also classes for travelers, those in the healthcare, or the business field. Classes are currently available in Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, and Sign Language.

Finding the right teacher for youfree language lessons

Everyone has a unique learning style. Another great part about TakeLessons Live is that you have the opportunity to work with many different teachers. Instead of paying for a private tutor you might not mesh well with, you can use your first month of free language lessons to interact with a variety of teachers.

Each subject has multiple teachers with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise so you can determine which is the best fit for you and if you’d like, continue taking private language lessons with him or her.  

SEE ALSO: 30 Incredibly Effective Tips & Tricks to Learn a New Language

Convenience of learning anytime, anywhere

The best feature of TakeLessons Live is that you can access your free language lessons whenever, wherever. With more than 200 weekly classes available, it’s easy to fit learning into a busy schedule. Plus, you never even have to leave your house!

Our virtual classroom allows you to take a class wherever you feel most comfortable, whether that’s in your living room or a local cafe. All you need is a webcam and internet access. This feature is most convenient for students who live in rural areas. It also benefits homeschooling parents as an educational and fun extra-curricular activity for their children.

free language lessons

While TakeLessons Live is only free for your first month of classes, the subsequent months cost much less than hiring a personal tutor. At only $19.95 a month, you get unlimited access to all of our weekly language classes.

Speaking another language opens up a world of new opportunities from jobs, to travel, to new friends. Pre-recorded videos and apps can help you get there over time, but working with a knowledgeable tutor and interacting with other speakers of your target language is the quickest way to reach your goals.

How to Learn a Language Quickly with 3 Foolproof Steps

how to learn a language quickly

Fact: a native Spanish speaker will have an easier time learning French than they would learning Japanese.

According to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, one of the biggest factors affecting the speed of language acquisition is how different your target language is from your native tongue. Languages in the same “family” typically have similar alphabets and tones, making it easier to branch out as long as you stay within the same grouping.

No matter what language you’re learning though – whether it’s French, Korean, or Spanish – there are a few foolproof steps you can take to get fluent faster. Keep reading to find out how to learn a language quickly and effectively in three simple steps.

How to Learn a Language Quickly

Step 1: Find a Language Teacher

how to learn a language quickly

Yes, learning how to introduce yourself is important, but to quickly progress past the basics it’s highly beneficial to work with a language teacher. A language tutor can cater to your individual needs and learning style.

A teacher can also catch mistakes you’re making in pronunciation and help you work on your accent – something no app or software can do. Face time with a quality teacher gives you the personal attention you need to quickly master and move past concepts that are particularly challenging to you.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the best language teacher for you. Here are some questions to ask about a prospective language tutor’s background:

  • Did they study the language in college?
  • Have they lived in a country where the language is spoken?
  • Are they a native speaker?
  • How much teaching experience do they have?

Answering each of these questions will help you narrow down your options. You should also consider a few logistics when looking for a teacher. Would you rather take online lessons or in-person? How often would you like to meet and when?  

Many students find it beneficial to take hour-long lessons twice a week. Browse through the language teachers at TakeLessons to get the help you need to meet your language goals as quickly as possible.

SEE ALSO: 8 Questions to Help you Find the Right Private Teacher

Step 2: Practice. Practice. Practice.

how to learn a language quickly

To become fluent faster, you’ll need more than weekly lessons. It’s necessary to reinforce all you’re learning in lessons by practicing every day as much as you can. Constant practice throughout your day will help you successfully develop speaking, reading, and writing skills.

There are dozens of fun apps that can help you memorize common phrases quicker with games and quizzes. Use apps to brush up on your skills during your commute or on lunch breaks. Some even have a hands-free option to help you learn while driving.

Another way to learn quicker is to label items around your house with their names in your target language. Before you know it, you’ll be able to make shopping lists in your new language!

Here are a few more fun ways to take advantage of your free time and practice your target language throughout the day. Remember, it’s important to practice both with others and on your own.

  • Read books and magazines in your target language
  • Subscribe to a blog
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Record yourself and listen to how you sound
  • Write to a penpal in another country
  • Write in a language journal
  • Call up a friend who speaks your target language
  • Teach someone else what you know

Step 3: Immerse Yourself

how to learn a language quickly

The final step you should take to learn a language quickly is to immerse yourself as much as possible – surround yourself with the language! There are a few incredibly easy ways to do this.

First, change the language settings on your phone and laptop. This will allow you to get familiar with everyday vocabulary and actually think in the language throughout the day.

Swap out your usual radio stations or shows and listen to music or watch movies in your target language. Experts agree that music aids memorization, and movies allow you to see and hear conversations in your target language. Put on the subtitles so you can follow along!

Another way to immerse yourself while practicing conversational skills is to find a language partner near you. Pick a time to meet up regularly and agree to only speak in your target language. If there isn’t anyone available locally, there are many online language partners to choose from.  

If you have the resources, the best way to learn a new language is complete immersion. Any amount of time in the country of origin will be well worth the effort, as long as you make a commitment to speak only your target language with the locals. Being surrounded by the new language and forced to speak it will help you become fluent much faster.

Now you know how to learn a language quickly! How fast do you think you can pick up your new language? Be sure to set goals for yourself along the way that are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

Each of the steps mentioned above are fundamental to becoming fluent in a language and they should be done simultaneously for the best results. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Take lessons from a private tutor to ensure you’re learning the best way possible
  • Make practice a part of your daily routine
  • Lastly, try to immerse yourself as much as possible

Follow these steps and you’ll be speaking like a native before you know it!

Need Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Language learning games

Top 10 Language Learning Games for Students of All Ages

language learning games

No matter what language you’re learning, games make the journey to fluency more fun and exciting! Board games, apps, and group activities also help you practice your skills more efficiently in between private language lessons.

For memorizing those vocabulary words and mastering your grammar, here is a list of the top 10 language learning games available today.

Top 10 Language Learning Games

Language Learning Games to Play on Your Phone

language learning games for your phone

1. Languages By Lyrics

  • Cost: Free, with a Pro Version available for $9.99
  • Student Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Requirements: OS X 10.11 or later

Memorizing phrases in your target language is easier with the help of a little rhyme and rhythm. With this fun app, you get to select songs in the language of your choice, see the lyrics translated, and learn to sing along. The Pro Version of the app comes with more advanced exercises.

2. Star Languages

  • Cost: Free
  • Student Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Requirements: Windows 10, OS X 10.8 or later

For more comprehensive practice, this app allows you to choose from a variety of learning games such as spelling tests, crosswords, and hangman. Each game tests a different skill, so you can apply your knowledge about spelling, vocabulary, sentence structure, and more.

3. Vocabulary Games

  • Cost: Free
  • Student Level: Beginner
  • Requirements: Works best on Chrome web browser

These vocabulary games are another great way to boost your memorization skills. Choose from several games including Letter Blocks, Unscramble, and Slang Game. You can play on a computer at home, a tablet, or a mobile phone.

SEE ALSO: 30 Incredibly Effective Tips and Tricks to Learn a New Language

4. MindSnacks

  • Cost: Free for one lesson, with 50 lessons available for $4.99
  • Student Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

With its addictive quests and challenges, the MindSnacks app helps you practice vocabulary, grammar skills, basic verb conjugation, and spelling. This game is available in multiple languages and will keep you motivated as you learn.

5. Lingo Arcade

  • Cost: Free for one level, with more than 150 levels available for $0.99
  • Student Level: Beginner or intermediate
  • Requirements:  iOS 8.0 or later

If you’re a visual learner, this app is perfect for you. Lingo Arcade will help you with word identification and sentence structure using over 3000 visual aids. The app is currently available in Spanish, French, German, and English.

6. Drops

  • Cost: Free, with optional in-app purchases
  • Student Level: Beginner
  • Requirements: iOS 9.0 or later

How much can you learn in five minutes? With this app, you get the chance to test your vocabulary knowledge by matching words and swiping as you learn. As you increase your speed and accuracy, the game will “drop” more new vocabulary words.

Fun Board Games for Language Learning

language learning board games

7. Kloo

  • Cost: Retails for around $16
  • Student Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Requirements: Kloo deck of cards and 2 or more players

Practice how to build sentences with these unique color-coded cards. To play the game, you’ll match cards with different words until you create a grammatically correct sentence. Each card correctly matched is worth one point.

8. Scrabble

  • Cost: Retails for around $18
  • Student Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Requirements: Scrabble board game and 2 or more players

Scrabble is a fantastic way to practice your spelling and vocabulary skills. Have a friend join you for this fun game where small, lettered tiles are placed onto a board to form new words. Scrabble is available in multiple different languages.

Language Learning Games for Groups

language learning games for groups

9. Bingo

  • Cost: $5-$10
  • Student Level: Beginner
  • Requirements: Bingo cards, game chips or coins, index cards, and vocabulary words

To make your own Bingo game in the language of your choice, create a set of vocabulary-themed Bingo cards in a 6×6 pattern. In each box, include the vocabulary words you want to practice. Next, write the vocabulary words on a set of smaller cards. Choose a player to call out the words. The person who completes their card first wins the game!

10. Jeopardy

  • Cost: $5-$10
  • Student Level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Requirements: Poster board with 4-5 columns, markers, and buzzers or bells

To play Jeopardy with a group of others who are learning a language, choose 4-5 categories you’re familiar with such as food, people, places, and animals. Each of these categories will be its own column on a board with five rows. Fill in the boxes with the answers to a set of predetermined questions. Remember, one player will need to be the host.

Each of these interactive games will help you improve your language comprehension skills. You can play these games in between language classes to review and reinforce all you’re learning in a fun way.

 

BarbaraSPost Author: Barbara S.
Barbara S. has been teaching Spanish since 2011 and is a native speaker from Argentina. Her teaching style is flexible, cooperative, and understanding. Learn more about Barbara here!

The 8 Best Language Learning Apps To Boost Your Progress

Best Language Learning Apps

Whether you’re an intermediate to advanced student, or are just beginning the journey to fluency in a foreign language, congratulations! Picking up a new language is great for your career and mental health. It’s also a fun way to make new friends.

With advancements in modern technology, it’s never been easier to speed up the language acquisition process. Here are some of the best language learning apps available for download today. To set yourself up for success, try combining any of these apps along with private tutoring sessions for a fun and effective way to get fluent faster!

The 8 Best Language Learning Apps

1. TakeLessons Best Language Learning Apps - TakeLessons

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free!
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: Apple App Store, Google Play

With the TakeLessons language learning app, you can access private, one-on-one lessons with an experienced language tutor, or online group classes to work on your conversation skills with other students at your level. The app not only helps you find a language tutor or class, but it allows you to connect through a virtual classroom – so you can learn anywhere, any time. 

2. Memrise

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free!
  • Levels: Best for beginners
  • Available At: Apple App Store, Google Play

The Memrise app boasts accessibility to over 200 languages. It combines audio, visual, and chat features to help students memorize vocabulary faster and tackle grammar more efficiently. It can also be used offline, which makes it an excellent way to keep your language skills sharp while you’re off the grid – perfect to use when traveling!

3. Busuu

Best Language Learning Apps - Busuu

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free!
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: Apple App Store, Google Play

Busuu calls itself a social network for language learners, and that is its biggest draw. It offers 12 languages including Russian, Chinese, and Arabic. You can use this helpful app to connect with a native speaker for a quick chat and put your speaking skills to good use. You can also ask questions and get feedback on your accent and pronunciation! All skills levels can benefit from this hands-on practice.

4. MindSnacks

  • Supported Devices: iPhone
  • Cost: $4.99 – $19.99
  • Levels: Beginning to intermediate
  • Available At: Apple App Store

If you love to play games on your iPhone, MindSnacks may be the perfect app for you! (An Android version of the app is reportedly in the works). With its bright colors and cartoon characters, the MindSnacks app makes language basics like grammar and vocabulary fun and easy. Replace Candy Crush with MindSnacks and impress your friends with all you’ve learned!

SEE ALSO: 9 Great Places to Practice a Language with Real People

5. FluentU

Best Language Learning Apps - FluentU

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free version available
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: fluentu.com, Google Play, Apple App Store

Are you a visual learner? FluentU sends you to entertaining YouTube videos in the language you’re trying to learn, complete with subtitles and translations. Language immersion is key to advancing to fluency faster! If questions come up as you’re watching videos, write them down and ask your TakeLessons language tutor about them in your next lesson.

6. Anki

  • Supported Devices: Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
  • Cost: Free for computers and Androids; $25 for iPhone
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: apps.ankiweb.net, Apple App Store, Google Play

To learn a language, your memorization skills need to be sharp. Anki is an excellent tool for learning anything that requires memorization. It allows you to make over 100,000 flashcards using audio, video, and images, so no matter your learning style you’re set up for success! Flashcards synchronize across devices, so you can access or edit your decks using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

7. Tandem

Best Language Learning Apps - Tandem

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android
  • Cost: $19.95
  • Levels: All
  • Available At: Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Store

Like Busuu, Tandem puts you in touch with an international community of people who are willing to chat with you in whatever language you’re trying to learn. While anyone can benefit from this, it’s especially valuable for intermediate to advanced students who need to practice speaking in real time. This is a great way to become more confident and comfortable in your conversational skills.

8. Babbel

  • Supported Devices: Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
  • Cost: $6.95-$12.95 per month
  • Levels: Beginning to intermediate
  • Available At: babbel.com, Apple App Store, Google Play

This app is designed to focus on useful phrases and vocabulary that you would use in everyday conversations, such as at a restaurant or social event. If you’re planning to take a trip where your target language is spoken, use Babbel to practice forming some common sentences and phrases. Babbel is an effective tool to supplement private tutoring sessions and can help you practice in between lessons.

Bonus: Mondly

  • Supported Devices: iPhone, Android, Desktop
  • Cost: Free!
  • Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Available at www.mondly.com, Apple App Store, Google Play, Oculus Store

Mondly is probably the most innovative language app in the world being the first to launch a language Chatbot and a Virtual Reality language app with speech recognition. It offers 33 languages to learn from the most common (English, German, or Spanish) to the most exotic (Afrikaans, Japanese, or Thai). It’s bite-sized lessons, awesome graphics, and gamified approach makes learning fun and easy while preparing you for real life conversations.

It’s fantastic that some of the best language learning apps aren’t just fun to use, but they can help students expedite their language endeavors as well. In addition to using apps to boost your progress, never underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction. Nothing beats practicing your language skills with another person (such as your TakeLessons language teacher) to learn the nuances of a spoken language!

Interested in Private Lessons?

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Post Author: Elaina R.
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ypsilanti, MI, and is also available for online lessons. She received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

 

Expert tips on how to become fluent

9 Language Experts Share Their Secrets on How to Become Fluent

Expert tips about how to become fluent

Whether you’re studying Spanish, Korean, or Arabic, every language learner dreams of the day when they can easily have fluid conversations in their target language.

But sometimes, achieving this goal can seem so far off in the distance that it becomes discouraging. Need some inspiration? Check out these 9 language experts, from polyglots to presidential translators, and their best advice on how to become fluent.

9 Expert Tips on How to Become Fluent

“Learn Chunks of a Language” – Seonaid Beckwith

Seonaid Beckwith on how to become fluent“I think it’s really helpful to memorize short phrases or chunks of language rather than single words. This lets you sound much more natural when you speak or write, because you don’t make strange combinations of words so much, and you automatically know which preposition or article to use.

It’s also more relaxing because you don’t need to think about every word when you’re speaking – instead you can concentrate on connecting two or three phrases.”

About the Expert

Seonaid Beckwith is an author, English teacher, and the Founder of Perfect English Grammar. She has a Master’s in English and Linguistics from Cambridge University and is very passionate about learning new languages.

“Don’t be Afraid of Failing” – David Recine

David Recine on how to become fluent“My best advice on how to become fluent in a language is to use the language. And by this, I mean use your second language freely, naturally, and without fear of failure. Don’t wait until you think you’re fluent enough to use the language well.

You can’t actually become fluent unless you start using your second language from the beginning of your studies. Anytime you learn new words and phrases, go out and use the new language in conversation, text messages, and so on.

Don’t worry if you aren’t understood, or if you don’t understand what people say in reply; the first step toward real communication is to try to use what you’ve learned and see what happens.”

About the Expert

David Recine has worked as a language teacher since 2007. He has a Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and works as the TOEFL and IELTS expert for Magoosh. He’s also currently studying Korean!

“Follow 6 Important Steps” – Iñaki Hernández-Lasa

Iñaki Hernández-Lasa on how to become fluentLearning a language takes effort and commitment. It is a slow process whereby simple language structures and vocabulary gradually expand. There are a number of important elements to bear in mind when deciding to embark into learning a new language:

1. Immerse yourself – Make sure that you jump into very basic structures and vocabulary from the very outset. Social interaction, progress, and sharing experiences with other people and native speakers of the language is critical.

2. Set small goals – You will not be able to master the subjunctive after a week. Start slowly, with gradual steps, and set clear objectives in mind: short term, medium term, long term.

3. Get friends and family behind you – It is very important that you receive support and acknowledgment for your continued efforts.

4. Try not to use your mother tongue during classes – Once you progress into a more advanced level, rather than using your mother tongue, use descriptions to define terms if you don’t know them in the language you are learning.

5. Read and listen – Nowadays the possibilities are endless compared to many years ago – the Internet, online films, programs, eBooks, documentaries. Start with something that you like. If you are into nature, watch nature documentaries in that language.

6. Visit the country – I firmly believe that for someone to be fully bilingual, they also need to be fully bi-cultural. It is very important not only to speak the language, but also to follow the rules and customs of the country.”

About the Expert

Iñaki Hernández-Lasa has 24 years of experience in the localization industry and currently works at Sajan. He has a Master’s in Translation Studies and previously worked as the Official Translator of Speeches for former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.

“Practice Using the Language” – Judith Meyer

Judith Meyer on how to become fluent“Attitude often makes all the difference. Many people study a language and wait for the day when they will finally have to use the language. That is wrong. The idea of using the language you’re studying should make you giddy with excitement, to the point that you go out of your way to create occasions to use the language.

For example, if you live near two supermarkets and one of them has a Mexican cashier, it should be the obvious choice to go to that supermarket, so that you might speak a few sentences of Spanish. The cashier probably also speaks English, but who cares, you’re on a mission – use every minute you can wring out of the day.”  

About the Expert

Judith Meyer is a computational linguist who speaks 13 languages. She’s the founder of LearnYu, the author of numerous language books, and is currently on the team over at Amikumu – an app that helps you find language partners near you.

“Immerse Yourself” – Sean Hopwood

Sean Hopwood on how to become fluent“I believe that the best way to learn a language is to totally immerse yourself in it and one way of doing that is by listening to their local music. If you want to learn Spanish, start listening to Flamenco, Salsa, or other Spanish music.

If you want to learn Mandarin, start listening to Chinese music. Music puts you and your brain into a state of passion and receptivity. Therefore, listening to the music while translating the lyrics will help you learn faster.”

About the Expert

Sean Hopwood is the President of Day Translations. He is a polyglot, speaking four languages, and he founded Day Translations out of his immense passion for languages and cultures. Sean is currently working on learning three more languages!

SEE ALSO: 5 Common Mistakes New Language Learners Make

“Stay Committed Daily” – Kristoffer Broholm

Kristoffer Broholm on how to become fluent“Learning a language is a wonderful experience and a great way to experience the world, make new friends, and discover other cultures. However, it’s also a long and strenuous process of studying and learning that many people find very difficult.

In order to successfully learn a language, you have to commit to hundreds and maybe thousands of hours of studying to get where you want to be. You can’t give up after a few weeks because the initial buzz has worn off. Keep going, do something every day, and I’m sure you’ll find yourself progressing much faster than you’d imagine.

Once you’ve got a solid daily routine (15-60 minutes) then I’d suggest looking into tactics and strategies to take your learning to the next level. But make sure the routine is there first, as nothing happens without a solid habit. Enjoy the journey – it’s a great one!”

About the Expert

Kristoffer Broholm is the Founder of Actual Fluency. He’s interviewed over 100 successful language learners on the Actual Fluency Podcast and he speaks six languages to various degrees.

“Understand That it’s a Process” – Laura Lawless

Laura Lawless on how to become fluent“It’s important to understand that fluency is a gradual process. You won’t wake up one day and suddenly be fluent – you’ll get closer in fits and starts, and eventually you’ll realize you’re fluent without knowing exactly when it happened.

So my best advice is to not worry about fluency: just study and practice every day, in a variety of ways – verb drills, reading novels, watching movies, and talking to people. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel with the language, and that will eventually turn into fluency.

But don’t wait until then to visit a country where the language is spoken – there’s nothing more motivating than using however much or little you know right now in real-life situations.”

About the Expert

Laura K. Lawless is the Founder of Lawless French and has been a language teacher for 18 years. She’s an expert in French linguistics and has authored several books, including Intermediate French for Dummies.

“Interact with Native Speakers” – John Elkhoury

John Elkhoury on how to become fluent“I believe the best way to become fluent in a language is to interact with natives when you’re abroad, and to form lasting friendships. I know it might be daunting to speak with others, but there’s no substitute to a good conversation in a foreign language.

I also see a lot of benefit for those who listen to music, watch films, and read the news in their foreign language. All of these things have colloquial speech and they’re a low-pressure way to improve your skills. I still listen to a ton of French music to help myself!

Over time your skills improve and your confidence grows. It’s a long process, but once the journey is complete, it’s very rewarding.”

About the Expert

John Elkhoury founded FrenchCrazy out of his fascination of the French language and culture. He majored in French at Penn State, worked as a teacher in France, and enjoys traveling to the country annually.  

“Enjoy the Journey” – Conor Clyne

Conor Clyne on how to become fluent“Learning a language is a long-term undertaking with many obstacles along the way. Maintaining motivation and being consistent is key but more importantly, enjoy the journey, savor overcoming its trials and tribulations, and reaching your goal will be all the more rewarding when it ultimately comes.”

About the Expert

Conor Clyne speaks over 10 languages including French, Italian, German, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. He has a YouTube channel and website, Language Tsar, where he shares methods to help people learn languages for travel.

Put these nine tips into action and you’ll be on your way to fluency faster than you thought possible. Above all, remember to make learning your target language fun – as it should be!

Try joining an interactive group class for a fun, online learning experience. Watch movies and listen to music, all in your target language. Becoming fluent is a process – but it is worth it!

How long does it take to learn a language

How Long Does it Take to Learn a Language? Find Out Here.

How long does it take to learn a language

These days, almost everyone has an excellent reason to learn a language. International business, cross-cultural friendships, and multi-country travel have made language proficiency a common goal.

Many people on the path to fluency find themselves asking, “How long does it take to learn a language?” In this blog post, we’ll share some interesting statistics, but also a few reasons why there might not be a clear-cut answer.

How Long Does it Take to Learn a Language?

What the Experts Say

First, let’s take a look at the statistics. The U.S. Foreign Service Institute conducted a study to determine the answer. The result: the key factor in determining how long it will take you to learn is how different your target language is from your native language.

For languages like French, Spanish, and Italian, which are among the most similar to English, it will take between 575-600 hours to achieve a level of “General professional proficiency.” On the other end of the spectrum, languages like Arabic and Japanese will take around 2,200 hours.

While these numbers might seem intimidating, they are actually completely within reach with the right tools, plan, and some determination!

Factors that Affect Language Learning

While the statistics above are helpful references, the fact is that the speed of your language acquisition is affected by a number of factors. Language learning is highly personal based on your previous knowledge, your learning style, your preferences (group classes, individual lessons, online, or in-person), and more.

Here are some of the main factors that will affect how long it takes you to learn a language.

Your Learning Style

Some students learn quicker than others, either because they’re on a timeline or, they might just be better at striking up conversations with native speakers. Other students prefer to study at a slower pace, attending weekly classes and completing homework in between. And of course, every student’s level of motivation and determination is different.

Your Experience With Languages

Are you already bilingual? If so, you’re probably already familiar with how to study a new language, and it will come more naturally to you. Bonus points if you’re learning a language that’s in the same “family” or category of languages.

For example, if you already know Spanish, then French and Italian will be easier for you. If you already know Hebrew, then Arabic will be much more familiar.

Method of Learning

For as many reasons as there are to learn a language, there are easily as many ways to learn a language. Language learning methods are exponentially growing, and that’s a good thing!

The method you choose can greatly affect your pace of learning. If you choose an in-person, intensive course, you’ll make rapid progress. On the other hand, less frequent group classes or simply using a language learning app will likely take longer to yield the same result.

SEE ALSO: How to Make Learning a Language Easier and Faster

Amount of Time Spent

Language learning takes practice. The more time you’re able to dedicate to it, the quicker you’ll learn. Keep in mind that language learning doesn’t only occur in the classroom. You’ll also need time for practice exercises or homework, listening to audio recordings or music, watching videos, and interacting with speakers of the language through immersion or travel.

The Language You’re Learning

As noted above, the language you’re learning can be the difference between 24 weeks and 88 weeks of language instruction to reach the same level of proficiency. While it’s not the only thing you should take into consideration, it’s an important fact to consider when choosing a language to learn.

Now, Here’s the Fastest Way to Learn a Language…

Now that you know approximately how long it will take you to learn a language, here are a few tips to further minimize the time you’ll spend on the path to fluency. We’ll also share some things to avoid that will actually prolong your language learning.

Tips & Tricks to Learn Faster

  • Be Consistent – Create a regular schedule for study time, and stick to it! Languages require constant reinforcement, so to progress faster, don’t let your study time slide.
  • Find the Right Teacher – Choosing a teacher who understands your unique learning style makes a big difference.
  • Stay Motivated – Remind yourself why you’re learning the language often, and keep it in your mind as you work toward your goal.
  • Have Some Variety – Instead of just sticking to your textbook, embrace the variety of opportunities there are to practice your language – including movies, music, and apps!
  • Plan Ahead – With a clear plan right from the get-go, you’ll be able to avoid distraction or forgetfulness in your study sessions.

What NOT To Do

  • On and Off Language Learning – Many language learners lose momentum in their learning because they start and stop too often. Don’t let that be you! Commit to your language study and you won’t regret it.
  • Neglecting Homework or Practice – Lessons or classes will greatly aid your learning, but don’t forget to do your homework! Regular practice outside of class is essential to make quicker progress.
  • Getting Stuck in Beginner’s Land – Hesitation is a common feeling among beginners, but in order to advance, you can’t be afraid to strike up conversations with native speakers, speak up in class, or look for other opportunities to engage in your target language.

Language learning is a unique journey for everyone, but by following these suggestions, you should be able to learn faster. The best way to get started today is with the guidance of an experienced language teacher. Learning on your own can yield some progress, but without someone to listen to and correct you, you’ll be making errors you can’t identify on your own.

A competent, qualified teacher can guide you in the right direction and introduce concepts, vocabulary, and grammar at just the right time for you. Check out TakeLessons Live for a month’s worth of free online classes. Get started today and you’ll be speaking your target language before you know it!

Joan BPost Author: Joan B.
Joan B. lives in Carmichael, CA and has been teaching high school Spanish for more than 18 years. A lover of language, she’s studied French, Arabic, and Italian and spent time living in Spain. Learn more about Joan here!
how to make your resume stand out

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Crowd

how to make your resume stand out

Whether you’re about to graduate or are on the lookout for a new employer, it’s important that you know how to make your resume stand out. Competition in the job market is fierce, but here are a few tips and tricks you can implement to give yourself an advantage over your peers.

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Use a Unique Resume Template

The number one way to make your resume stand out from all the rest is to make it look different than all the rest. If you’re still using the standard format your high school teacher taught you, your resume is most likely long overdue for an upgrade.

Rather than simply listing your education and experience in a plain and boring document, try using a unique and modern resume template like one of these from Design Shack. Consider adding a professional photo of yourself to the top to make it more personal.  

Emphasize Your Accomplishments

Another thing that is sure to impress a hiring manager is emphasizing your accomplishments. Capture your potential employer’s attention by highlighting what you’re most proud of on your resume.

Have you been a part of any specific, successful projects? What were the results of that project? Did you create something many people were impacted by? Did you lead a large team in doing so? Answering these kinds of questions will reveal what’s special about your unique work history.  

Keep it to One Page 

how to make your resume stand out with a unique template

Crisp and clean resumes are much more convenient for the busy, examining interviewer. That’s why keeping your resume to one page is a good idea. Hone down all of your incredible attributes to the ones that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Instead of listing out every minor detail of the previous positions you’ve held, focus on the tasks and responsibilities that show you’re a good fit for the available role. With the little that you do write, your goal should be to express why you deserve to get invited in for an interview.

SEE ALSO: Resume Writing Tips

Include a Link to an Online Portfolio

Just because you’re limited on space in the actual resume doesn’t mean you can’t include a link to an online portfolio. A personal website is an excellent place to further discuss and display your accomplishments.

A few helpful hints – your online portfolio should not simply rehash everything you already listed on your resume. Instead, use it as an opportunity to show off samples of your work (if applicable) and share some additional information about yourself.

List a Second Language

Speaking a second language is a requirement for a growing number of jobs, and when it’s not an absolute must-have, it’s still very often a preferred trait. If you’re fluent in multiple languages, you should absolutely list them on your resume.

Still on your way to becoming bilingual, but not quite there yet? Don’t neglect this highly beneficial skill. You can easily take online language lessons to become a more proficient speaker and/or writer. A small investment in private lessons to improve your skills will be well worth the reward!

RELATED POST: How To Decide Which Foreign Language You Should Learn

Now you know how to make your resume stand out. By following these five simple guidelines, you’ll be one step closer to nailing an interview for your dream job. Good luck, and happy job hunting!

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making time for hobbies

Here’s the Secret to Finding “Hidden” Time for Your Hobbies

making time for hobbies

“If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend your time?”

Your answer to that question can tell you a lot about yourself, and it’s fun to think about.

But the reality is: 24 hours is all you get. (Sorry!)

You can’t quit your job. You can’t ignore family commitments and responsibilities. If you want to learn a new skill, improve your current talents, or work toward a big learning goal, it’s up to you to make that happen. So how do you balance that with a busy schedule?

It’s simple: learn to budget your time the same way you budget your money.

Here are the steps you can take if you feel like you’re too busy to learn or take up a new hobby, proven to work by some of our top students.

1. Decide you WANT to learn.

find time to learn

The first step to financial success is deciding to have a budget. And that budget is often dictated by your short- and long-term goals. Maybe you want to pay off your student loans or mortgage within five years. Or maybe you just want that new jacket you saw at Nordstrom.

Now let’s translate that into learning: what are your goals there? Do you want to be able to sing confidently in front of a group? Play guitar at a friend’s wedding? Speak Spanish fluently on an upcoming vacation? Write these down, and put them somewhere you can see them every day.

Excuses will always come up. And heck, life will sometimes get in the way. But if you’re excited about improving your skills, that’s the first step.

2. Be realistic.

finding time in your schedule for music lessons

You wouldn’t set a $300 budget for going out to eat if you only had $50 discretionary cash per week. Similarly, be realistic about the time you can commit to practicing and taking lessons.

If you’re juggling a busy schedule, a 30-minute lesson once per week may be all you can find time for. Or maybe you can’t even commit to that — fortunately, you can find teachers who are more flexible week-to-week, and rescheduling is always an option if something comes up.

Once you have your lesson time penciled in, then it’s time to schedule your practice time. But be realistic about that, too! You may not be able to practice for hours every day, and that’s OK. Even a short practice session will help you stay on track, if you make it efficient.

3. Find the right hacks.

skype with language exchange partner

If you’re a super-budgeter, you probably know all the tricks. You hold out for great deals, look for coupons and discount codes, and so on.

Same goes for budgeting your time. If you break down your schedule, you may find you have extra time in your day for your hobbies. And yes, that may mean skipping the Netflix marathons, or cutting back on the time you spend browsing social media.

You were probably expecting that advice, right? But look: there are even more hacks you can try. Here are some ways TakeLessons students have made time for their hobbies:

  • Take online lessons. Ordering takeout for dinner is a great time saver. What if you could get music or language lessons delivered to the comfort of your home, too? Turn on your computer, pull up the TakeLessons Classroom, and you can meet with your teacher instantly — no travel time required.
  • Take advantage of your workspace. If your company allows it, consider taking your online lessons during your lunch break. If you prefer in-person lessons, find a teacher close by your work, so it’s not a hassle to get to. You can also use your time going to and from work. As a language learner, for example, you can practice listening to your target language during your commute!
  • Find a flexible teacher. If you need to reschedule a lesson every now and then, don’t stress. While a designated lesson time each week will help you stay accountable, we understand that things come up! If you have unique scheduling needs, feel free to use our Ask a Question feature before booking your lessons, to find a teacher who can accommodate.
  • Use your guilty pleasures to your advantage. Learning a new skill doesn’t have to be all work, no play! Musicians: jamming with community groups or going to karaoke is a fun way to add music to your day. Language students, consider changing the language settings when you’re watching TV, or pick a foreign movie with subtitles.

4. Adjust as needed.

practice guitar

Budgets ebb and flow — unplanned bills show up, salaries go up and down, and can’t-miss opportunities arise. The best financial advice is to stay flexible and adjust your budget often.

Similarly, sometimes the time you’ve budgeted doesn’t go as planned. We get it: life gets busy. So don’t beat yourself up if you need to reschedule a lesson or if you miss a practice session. Stay positive, and fit in what you can!

Planning ahead can help, as well. Work with your teacher to create a 15-minute practice routine, if you’re short on time one week. Or, make a list of ways to fit practice into your everyday life.

Even the most successful people have “off” days. Get back on track when you can, review your goals again, and envision where you’d like your skills to be in one year.

5. Pay yourself first.

pay yourself first

One of the best money tips out there is to pay yourself first.

What does that mean, exactly? In terms of finances, it means setting aside funds for your future self before anything else. (Think: emergency funds, retirement accounts, and so on.)

So, apply the same strategy to how you’re spending your free time. Want to stay sharp? Learning a musical instrument is linked to improved memory, concentration, and IQ. Want to get ahead in your career? In today’s job market, learning a second language will make you a more valuable employee, and may even lead to a higher salary.

Or maybe it’s a more personal goal. Many of the adult students we talk to mention they took music lessons as a kid, and wanted to bring that joy back into their lives.

So the question is… do you want to invest in yourself? When you think of it that way, making time for your hobbies seems like a no-brainer.

Readers, how do you make time for yourself? Have you ever felt like you were too busy to learn something new? Leave a comment below and share your experience! 

Photo by Will Foster

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