So, I’m trying a new thing this year. Each Monday I intend to highlight a fun or interesting app that I’ve found.
Today I actually have two apps that are related. In honor of the announcement of this summer’s trip to France, I thought it might be nice to start the year out with some language learning apps.
The first is Duolingo. This is a game-based language learning app. You can download the app for both iPhone and Android, or you can play on-line. The program uses immersion-style teaching, meaning that it has you jump right in with sentences and pronunciation. You’ll start out with some basics, then move into “themed” lessons, like food and animals. The further you go into the game, the more complex the lessons will get. For each lesson you have three or four “hearts.” Get a question wrong, lose a heart. Lose all of your hearts and you’ll have to start the lesson over. Finishing lessons and working consecutive days earns you points (“lingots”) to spend in the store which will get you extra lessons or some cool outfits for your owl.
Duolingo also gives you a chance to review what you’ve learned so that you don’t forget things from lesson 1 when you’re in lesson 20. And you can use the microphone feature on your phone to practice your pronunciation.
This is a fun app, and at times can be a little silly. A friend of mine used it before a trip to Italy, but was concerned that she wouldn’t have an opportunity to ask, “Whose penguin is that?”
If you want a more traditional language learning experience, check out Mango Languages. Like Duolingo, you can access Mango from your computer or your iOS or Android device. Mango provides more traditional course through learning the language. Most lessons start with how to say hello, thank you, and good bye and move through more practical scenarios. Mango does give you time in the lessons to practice your pronunciation, but it does not use the microphone to give you feedback or correct you the way Duolingo does.
Mango does have some fun with their language lessons. You can learn some key Portugese phrases for watching soccer in Brazil. Or, perfect for this coming Friday, brush up on your pirate!
Both apps are free, however, to use Mango for free you need to sign in through your local library,so you’ll need a library card (and since September is Library Card Sign Up Month, now’s the perfect time to get one if you don’t already have one).
I’m always open to suggestions for apps to feature, so if you know of some great ones, stop by and let me know or drop me an email.