“If you talk to someone in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to someone in his language, that goes to his heart.” –Nelson Mandela
Speaking foreign languages—or at least knowing some basic conversational phrases—is one of the most important keys to going places, especially if you are a traveller. Especially in non-speaking English countries, it is one of the best ways to get to the local culture. Locals usually tend to treat and respond to you better once they find out that you speak their language, too.
However, people now barely have time to take the conventional courses—they want to learn languages with no boundaries of time and space, so online learning it is. Interactive learning applications give you chance to learn new languages using chats, videos, or even games anywhere and anytime you like. Here are the five best sites interactive language learning for you to explore:
As one of the first online free language learning sites, Duolingo has acquired millions of users since 2011. It has a friendly and interactive interface, and sets of materials that are clear and easy to grasp. Each set of materials are composed of four main language skills, namely reading, listening, writing, and speaking, packed in a game-like learning, in which you can compete with other players, race against the clock, or even dress your owl up.
For most of people, the scariest thing about learning a foreign language is the practice in real-life situations, because sometimes the fabricated materials in language courses aren’t really helpful when it comes to accents and speech pace. That’s why FluentU offers something different—they use authentic videos and transform them into an interactive language learning experience. Through your favourite videos, you can learn new vocabulary by clicking the interactive captions which will show you the definitions and pronunciation.
Using flashcards to help you memorize vocabulary and phrases, Memrise is an excellent study aid. Not only does it provide you with languages to learn, there are also other subjects you can explore, such as mathematics, geography, history, etc. You can create your own course materials, or use the available contents shared by other users of the app. This also means that there are various course materials beyond the basic ones, like Slang Language, Most Common Words, Meet the Natives, and many more.
Unlike other platforms that offer free-access to their materials, Babbel operates solely off paid subscriptions. Rather than crowd-sourced like other free apps, the contents in Babbel are created by experts, educators, and linguists. It provides you with courses and quizzes, such as filling in the blanks, matching pictures and words, repeating the vocabulary into the microphone. The courses are straightforward, short, and easy to use and can be a good companion during the 10-15 minutes break in your busy schedule.
When it comes to interactive language learning, nothing is better in it than to be able to interact directly with the tutors and the natives. Glolingo offers you a different way in language learning, especially in TOEFL or IELTS preparation—it’s a live class. You’ll get to talk face-to-face with the professional tutors and access the courses later anywhere, anytime. Having real conversations with the tutors will really help you to step up your level, as you can personally ask questions at the moment you’re having problems.