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Best App to Learn a Foreign Language

There was a point in time when exposure to a foreign language was limited to travel and the books at your local library. Those days are ancient history. Mobile apps now permeate the language learning landscape. Here we’ll discuss some of the advantages of language learning apps, and list some of the top choices for would-be language learners.

Benefits of mobile apps in language learning

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Engagement

Foreign language acquisition is no longer limited to the classroom. One of the chief benefits of using apps to learn a language is that they allow you to use the language in ways that simply weren’t possible before. You can easily read news and print media, or watch videos from anywhere in the world. You can use games and other activities to review grammar and vocabulary. You can quickly translate text and even in some cases audio. It’s even possible to speak with native speakers of your target language, even if they’re on the other side of the globe.

Time

Apps allow you to set aside more time for language learning than would otherwise be possible. Whether you’re waiting in line, riding the bus, or perhaps on a lunch break, apps put language study in the palm of your hand. You can practice and develop your learning skills anytime and anywhere.

Top apps

Google Translate

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Of all the apps on this list Google Translate is perhaps the most essential. The translations on the app aren’t always accurate. Google Translate especially struggles with correctly translating longer portions of text or speech. Still, an app that can instantly translate basic words and sentences is a powerful learning tool.

Oftentimes it’s only a word or two that makes a sentence hard to understand when studying a foreign language. Google Translate is a quick, easy, and natural remedy to this problem. The app also comes in handy when a foreign word is on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t remember it.

The accuracy of the translation will differ depending on which language you’re learning. Google Translate does better when the language is more closely related to English, and it struggles when language is far removed from the English language.

Italki

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Italki is the most popular entry in a long line of online tutoring apps for foreign languages. Italki functions as a global online marketplace, where language students can shop around and book lessons with a language teacher or tutor. Italki teachers are classified as anyone who holds some sort of certification to teach a foreign language. A tutor is simply a native speaker who teaches a language, but doesn’t hold any certification or formal education related to teaching. There are over 130 languages taught on Italki. Users can use the app to book one on one video lessons which range from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Teachers and tutors follow their own programs and curriculum, so learners may want to browse the site for the teacher that’s best for them. Lesson prices are charged per hour, and the rates depend largely on where a teacher is from. Teachers from countries with a higher cost of living tend to charge more than those who live somewhere with a lower cost of living.

Babbel

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With Babbel users learn a foreign language through lessons centered around quiz-like exercises. In a typical Babbel lesson, you are taught new material and then you take a quiz to review and practice what you’ve learned.

The level of material ranges from absolute beginners (those who have little to knowledge of their target language, up to intermediate (those who can hold basic conversations in a foreign language). Courses for less popular languages sometimes have less lessons that course for more popular languages (like Spanish and French for example).

The Babbel app does a great job teaching core grammar and vocabulary. After working through the app, users won’t be fluent, but they will have a strong foundation in their target language. There are 14 languages available on Babbel. Asian and most middle eastern languages fail to make an appearance on the app.

Duolingo

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Duolingo is without question the most popular app on this list. There are over 30 foreign languages on the app, including many minority languages, and even a couple fictitious ones like Klingon and High Valyrian. The Duolingo method teaches language in the form of a game. The app starts off by giving users a placement test. Based on their score the user can skip ahead over some of the preliminary lessons.

Each lesson focuses on either vocabulary or grammar. The apps show example phrases and users are then required to complete a range of activities using the vocabulary and grammar from those examples. Each time a user answers an exercise incorrectly he or she loses a life. The activities and exercises range from fill in the blank, listening comprehension, pronunciation, word matching, and more.

The effectiveness of Duolingo varies based on which language you are learning. An independent study found that a fully completed Spanish or French course on Duolingo is comparable to four semesters of a college level university course. However the app struggles with languages which aren’t closely related to English. Their Japanese course is a prime example, which you can read about here.

Memrise

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Memrise takes the idea of a language learning game and applies it to flashcards. Memrise starts out by showing users flashcards for basic phrases and vocabulary. Gradually the app incorporates more difficult vocabulary, and the user’s proficiency in the language goes up. While Memrise offers lessons tailored to specific lessons, users also have the option of creating their flashcard decks using images and audio. You can also browse flashcard decks other users have created and then published.

One of the most powerful features of Memrise is that it’s a spaced repetition platform. This means the app uses an algorithm to show more difficult cards more often than cards you easily remember. This allows users to study their flashcards in the most efficient way possible. The main drawback of Memrise is that it doesn’t teach much grammar. Users who regularly use the app will walk away knowing a lot of words and phrases, but they may not understand how to form sentences on their own, due to the lack of grammar taught in the app.

8 Important Things to do Before Traveling to Europe – 2020 Travel Guide

Exploring Europe is probably one of the most exciting ways to spend your holiday. Surely, this is on everyone’s wish list. As you know, Europe is one of the busiest places in the world when it comes to tourism. Every year, millions of people from all over the world are making tours through a couple of European countries. One thing that’s really impressive about Europe is that you can meet new people, their culture, mentality, tradition, dishes, etc. Moreover, when it comes to culture, pretty much all of the counties are very different, so you will have the opportunity to learn about all of them.

It doesn’t matter if you are visiting beautiful Paris, culturally rich Italy or Greece, or mesmerizing hills of Switzerland, you will have the time of your life. If you are thinking about doing that in the nearest future, there are a couple of things you need to do before you start your adventure. Preparing all of the essential things will make your trip much more pleasant and smoother. In order to help you with preparing for your Europe tour, we’ve come up with a list of the important things you need to do before your adventure starts.

Valid Passport

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If you are planning to leave the country during summer days for a trip, you need to make sure that your passport is valid. You need to remember that a high number of counties require your passport to be valid for six months, even though some countries require three months after you arrive. This is important even if you are staying just one day or a few months, the principle is the same. On the contrary, if your passport is not valid for six months, that country could deny you entry. This is a pretty strict rule and that’s why it is important to check your passport before you leave your country. If you would like to learn more about it, check this website.

When traveling across Europe, you will not require a visa, unlike the United States, where a visa is a must. In case you need a visa, check here. In the EU for instance, the borders between the countries, for those in the Schengen Zone are basically inexistent. For example, you can travel from France to Germany and you will only see a board that you have entered a new country. You will not need any documents. However, if  you plan to visit some other European countries, you should check if a visa is required.

Packing

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Packing is probably the most stressful thing you need to do before traveling. There are not many stressful things than this one. Packing just the right amount of clothes is going to lead you a long way. Bringing a high number of unnecessary things to your trip could ruin the whole experience. Probably the best thing you can do is packing light. That way, you can avoid paying for checked luggage, there is no need to show up too much early on the airport, and avoid staying in the line for checking your bags. Therefore, you will prevent yourself from worrying about losing your bags. While in Europe, your light packing will make your bus or train transportation much easier.

Extra Bag

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In case you think about going shopping during your trip, it wouldn’t hurt you to bring an extra bag. You can pack light and then store all of the new things you will acquire on your trip into that bag. Sometimes it could happen that we buy too much on our trip. This is a hardship that is not easy to overcome while you are on a trip. So, being careful and having an extra bag could lead you a long way.

Calling a Credit Card Company

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Before you leave the country, you need to call your credit card company and let them know that you are going to be out of the country. Letting them know where you are going and on what date is essential because there is a chance of them blocking your card and this can cause you some serious trouble. In order to prevent this, make sure that you make a quick call to them and explain the situation.

Use Local Currency

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During your trip to Europe, you should always pay in local currencies. At the same time, try not to exchange your money at the airport because you will end up losing some money. Naturally, you can use your American Express, Diners, MasterCard, or Visa since they are widely accepted all over Europe. However, we recommend that you should exchange your money into local currencies. That way you will be able to protect yourself from potential scams. Moreover, you will have a much better experience if you are trying to cope with a new currency, and why not, save some of them as a souvenir.

Avoid ATM Fees

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Before you leave your country, we recommend you to check with your local bank what ATM fees you can expect in Europe. When you are in a foreign country, local ATMs could charge you a wide array of fees. We are going to name a few of those. You can be charged with non-bank ATM usage fees, international transactions to from your currency to a local one, and ATM operator access fees. There are a couple of ways you can limit these fees. You can either use only your bank’s ATMs if possible or you can use the debit card at your bank’s international partners’ ATMs. That way you will prevent being charged with a $5 usage fee for each withdrawal.

Prepare Google Translate and Google Maps

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These days we have so many possibilities for communication and you don’t need to worry about communicating with people in foreign countries. You can start using Google Translate application in case you face some hardships with communicating with people. However, we feel that a lot of people in Europe are speaking very good English, so you shouldn’t have too many problems. Anyway, you need to be prepared just in case. Also, you should use Google Maps. With that app, you will never get lost since the maps are frequently updated for every country.

Check your Phone Plan

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Before you start using your apps, you need to make sure that your cell provider will not go out on you. You need to call your provider and ask them if you are covered for the countries you plan to visit. In case they don’t have for some of them for some reason, you can either switch your phone to airplane mode or you can just turn it off, and just use Wi-Fi. In case you have T-Mobile, there are chances that you will be able to get some inexpensive calls, for about $0.20 per minute and some free data.