9 Informative Language Learning Resources
Many people put learning a language on their bucket lists. While you may or may not have the ability to take private lessons or spend time in another country, there are plenty of podcasts, apps, and other sources of educational material that can help. Here, in no particular order, are resources designed to aid aspiring language learners.
Starting off the list at #1 is Sofie To Korea, which follows Danish economist Sofie Brodersen and her daily life in South Korea. She explores the language through the self-study resources at Talk To Me In Korean and Italki, which hosts regular Skype lessons with native speakers in order to improve conversational skills. In addition, she is also fluent in English, German, and Swedish.
She offers recommendations for aspiring learners, such as KLEAR textbooks and the Sogang University series of texts. Brodersen also provides updates on Korean dramas, beauty products, performing arts, and culture. Among the media outlets that have covered her are The Copenhagen Post, ATK magazine, and Naeil Shinmun.
Entering the list at #2 is The Mezzofanti Guild, which offers extensive how-to articles and guides on many different aspects of polyglottery, as well as learning tools geared toward specific languages. Its recommended resources include the phrasebook alternative Earworms Musical Brain Trainer, and Glossika, which improves fluency through a repetitive "listen and repeat" approach.
A native of Australia, founder Donovan Nagel holds a master's in applied linguistics and has studied French, Italian, and Russian. He hosts the Language Learning Made Simple podcast where he offers study advice and tips. His sister project, Talk In Arabic, focuses on spoken Arabic in the most common dialects.
Coming in at #3 is Hacking Chinese, which teaches Mandarin through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It provides essential articles on a variety of topics, including how to use TV shows to improve language skills, the best methods for learning characters, and tools for benchmarking progress. Self-paced courses for beginners and advanced learners are also available.
Founder Olle Linge has studied in Sweden and Taiwan, and offers private language coaching in addition to his lectures on learning approaches and consulting work on textbooks and software. His complimentary crash course, How to Learn Chinese, provides tips, goals, and study techniques.
At #4 is the Zabaan School for Languages, an independent language school that offers training at all proficiency levels at its center in New Delhi. It provides instruction in English, Persian, Tamil, Punjabi, Pashto, and Sanskrit. Through its curated tour of Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, participants visit the Taj Mahal, sample local cuisine, and practice shopping and bargaining skills in Hindi and Urdu.
Students include diplomats from many high commissions and embassies in New Delhi and Mumbai, Fulbright Scholars, and companies such as Sony. The school's director of education and training, Ali Taqi, hosts The Zabaan Show on YouTube. He interviews staff and students about their work, interests, and language learning journeys.
In the #5 spot is Yoyo Chinese, led by Yangyang Cheng, a former adjunct professor at Pepperdine University, whose private students include Hollywood celebrities and Fortune 500 CEOs. The curriculum encompasses video lessons with flashcards and quizzes and courses that span beginner and intermediate levels, as well as the study of Chinese characters. The One-Step Self-Study Program helps students learn, practice, test, and review Chinese in a single place.
Its popular YouTube channel features practical videos on grammar, tips for mastering Mandarin tones, and profiles of current and past students. Yoyo Chinese has been featured in such media outlets as Mashable and Global Times.
Up next at #6 is Speak Confident English, an online fluency training company created to educate and coach international women on how to build the courage and confidence to be successful in English for work and daily life. Among its resources is the Expert Series, which covers strategies for such everyday situations as job interviews, networking and socializing, and grocery shopping.
Designed for shy English speakers, the Fluency School is an intensive course that provides group sessions and feedback on grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Founder Annemarie Fowler served as deputy director of a language college in Washington, D.C., and has worked as a teacher and coach in Pakistan, Germany, the Czech Republic, and France.
The #7 slot goes to Language Trainers, which provides individually-tailored training on a one-on-one or small group basis for busy people who need language skills for business, family, and travel needs. Personalized learning plans based on individual skill levels and goals are available, and students receive a certificate of completion.
Users are given the opportunity to improve language skills via specialized games, such as Guess the Flag and Fancy a Coffee, which features the names of unique ways to prepare java from multiple countries. Among the complimentary resources Language Trainers offers are listening tests and song, film, and book reviews.
At #8 is Language Acts and Worldmaking, a flagship project funded by the AHRC Open World Research Initiative. Its work follows the movement of people and languages across time and place, with a particular focus on the Iberian Peninsula. The six key topics it explores are Travelling Concepts, Translation Acts, Digital Mediations, Loaded Meanings, Diasporic Identities and the Politics of Language Teaching, and Language Transitions.
Its popular Digital Modern Languages seminar series brings together research and teaching to discuss digital culture, media, and technology. It also explores such themes as multilingualism and intercultural awareness. Among the organization's ongoing collaborators for conferences and programming are King's College London and the University of Westminster.
Wrapping up the list at #9 is Rype, an app that provides personalized one on one lessons with professional teachers twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Membership offers access to such languages as English, French, Spanish, and German. It is designed for beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced speakers aiming for fluency.
Rype's magazine offers a variety of lifestyle and professional tips, such as how to talk about activities in Spanish, the basics of food and drinks, and recommendations of movies in French for beginners. The app has garnered praise from users as well as media coverage in Forbes, HuffPost, Fast Company, and Digital Trends.