Written by Sophie Cuttiford • Published 2nd June 2020 • 3 minute read
There are myriad advantages to learning a foreign language; not only has language learning been cited as enhancing problem-solving, creative thinking, memory ability and verbal skills, there is also a direct correlation between being multilingual and increased pay.
According to job site Adzuna, learning a new language can enhance your pay by around 10% and for languages that are less commonly learnt in British schools, the salary boost can be even bigger.
With lockdowns across the globe meaning most of us are spending a lot more time at home, now is an opportune time to make use of your free time to enhance your skills. With language learning having proven cognitive benefits and a resulting improvement in academic and professional domains, using a language learning application could help to propel the growth of your career.
If you’re ready to get going, here are five brilliant language-learning solutions to consider:
HelloTalk is a mobile social network which focusses on language learning and culture sharing for global audiences. The app matches users who want to learn one another’s language so they can practice together in real-time. For example, if you’re a native English speaker and you want to learn Mandarin, you’ll be paired with someone who speaks fluent Mandarin and wants to learn English. It has over 150 languages to choose from and you can chat using text, voice recordings, or video, and you can choose to chat with just one individual or as part of a group. HelloTalk also has a public feed called ‘moments’, which is similar to Twitter but for language learning topics. During the pandemic, the ‘moments’ feed has seen a huge surge of activity, with users posting language-related questions, daily routines, cultural explorations and more.
Lingoda is an online language school which allows you to learn languages digitally at a pace which suits you. It offers various products such as month-to-month, language sprint and language marathon, depending on your ability and the speed at which you want to learn. You can then build your own timetable depending on your availability, with video classes available 24/7 in many languages thanks to an international network of professional teachers and students. Unlike other apps, Lingoda recreates an educational environment with ongoing communication with a teacher. Classes have an average of three students – a small enough number for the kind of meaningful interactions you get in a physical school and lessons cover writing, reading, speaking, listening, learning grammar and pronunciation practice.
uTalk is perfect for both beginners and intermediates, with exercises focussing on teaching practical vocabulary and phrases which you’ll actually use in real-life situations. It offers fun yet challenging games and the ability to listen to natives speak and record your pronunciation progress. You can choose from over 140 languages, with more languages being added all the time. uTalk has also developed a classroom learning package called uTalk Classroom, which can be used to get students of all ages engaged in language learning lessons. Perfect for digital lessons during lockdown, students can access from any device and then watch their progress on the dashboard, bringing an element of competition and fun into learning.
Mango is a digital language learning solution for both individuals and organisations such as higher-education institutions, businesses, libraries and government bodies worldwide. The app teaches languages and culture in more than 70 languages and dialects and even has courses for specific situations such as ordering a beer at Germany’s Oktoberfest, or discussing wine and cheese in France.
Boasting five million users globally, Tandem scooped €2 million in seed funding in 2016. Similar to HelloTalk, Tandem is a language exchange community which offers learners a means to practice their language for free via text, audio and video chat. It also has a built-in translation feature which assists you when conversing with your partner, all to build your confidence until you are at a point where you no longer need that backup. If you want to speed your progress up, there’s also an option to work with a professional tutor to take lessons at a time which suits you.
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