Bonjour, Hola, and Welcome to our look at the best four language-learning apps you can acquire on the iPhone. Perhaps we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves? What we should be starting with is why you want to learn a new language in the first place.
The reasons are many, but primarily people like yourselves wish to learn new languages to broaden their minds and travel prospects, to increase their potential value to an employer, or just for the hell of it. Learning a new language is difficult for most, however. Your brain is currently hardwired for a single language (unless you grew up bilingual), and so learning a new lingo can be a hard and arduous process. Don’t let that put you off, though. These iPhone apps are guaranteed to make the right smoother. Let’s take a look.
Making smart use of the connection potential of the internet, this app puts you in touch with native speakers of the language you’re looking to learn from across the globe. This crowdsourced approach to language learning is a two-way street. You can have your language proficiency put under the scrutiny of locals, while likewise offering feedback to those looking to learn your mother tongue.
HiNative has a secondary function that makes it ideal for travelers too. If you’re planning a backpacking holiday or the like, you can scour the app for locals to your travel destinations and give them a gentle grilling about the best way to enjoy your trip to their country. You know what travel guides always say about living like a local? Well, now you get a little helping hand that should make you blend in more than the average tourist.
Depending on how you learn, individual language learning apps may work better than others. If you’re more relaxed towards your approach, MindSnacks is an excellent way to turn language learning from chore-like to more of a game. While remaining simple like a children’s book, Mindsnacks provides several puzzles that help you piece together the rules that will assist you in learning the language you want.
The downside is that this content needs to be created with a lot of attention paid to it, and so the app currently only offers major languages. If you’re looking to learn a rarer or more obscure language, then you might be out of luck for now. Sorry, hipsters!
iStart is for the opposite type of person to those who would enjoy and benefit from MindSnacks. iStart is kind of like school, in that it has a rigorous and fleshed out curriculum to help you learn a language. Don’t let the sound of it intimidate you, though. The lessons are broken down into simple bite-size chunks that utilize visual imagery and sound clips to help build those important audio/visual cues that form how we react through language.
Although it is a paid app, you get quite a lot for your money. Each of the language courses is comprised of very robust teach regimes, and you don’t have to pay additional fees to “add-on” languages. Many of the major worldwide languages are included from the outset.
Duolingo is another type of language learning app where the developers have made learning a language into a game of sorts. Where competitor MindSnacks veers more towards a colorful children’s game, Duolingo is more of a “role-playing game” where students can earn experience points based on their successes in the app.
The more successful the students are in their repetition and memorization of their chosen language, then the higher their level goes and the further they can go towards more complicated verbal challenges. While an interesting approach, Duolingo is not as intensive when it comes to the grammar of a language, and so is better if you’re aiming to learn at a conversational level rather than fluency.