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10 Great Platforms To Learn Languages For Free

10 Great Platforms To Learn Languages For Free

I honestly feel quite insecure every time someone tells me that they can speak more than one language. One of the disadvantages of English being your first language is that you’re more likely to be a “monolingual” unlike countless others around the world who can speak at least two languages—if not more.

What’s more is that in the diverse, multicultural, and relatively global marketplace these days, knowing more than one language always puts you at an advantage in businesses that are not defined by geographic boundaries—which is characteristic of most businesses. Hey, even the United States (within its boundaries) is one of the most multicultural places you can work in today!

With more and more research proving bilinguals are more likely to get a job, earn more, and score better on standardized tests, we’re only wondering what we need to do learn another lingo!

Luckily, unlike the past we don’t have to read through piles of books in a library or take expensive courses to learn a language. Thanks to the internet and the vast array of resources available on various platforms, there are plenty of ways we can do this whenever and where ever we like!

So, here’s a list of 10 platforms where we can not only learn a lingo, but also do it for free!

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DuoLingo:

Learn Language Free

    Duolingo is a fairly new platform that has won several awards including iPhone App of the Year 2013 and Google’s Best of the Best 2014. Currently, it offers lessons on 19 different languages. The platform will take users through a unique experience with a game-like interface where you can earn points, track your days, and get tips on how to improve. The app is available on iPhone, Android and Windows phone, so if you own a Blackberry or Linux-based device, you’ll have to resort to the computer.

    Busuu

    Learn Language Free

      Busuu is also a lot like Duolingo, except it offer only 12 languages, but some very unique ones. Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese can be hard to learn and few platforms offer these languages, but Busuu does. Busuu also has a very large community of over 50 million speakers. The great part is that you can easily sign in through your Facebook and Google account. However, the app is only available for Android and Apple devices.

      Live Mocha

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      Learn Language Free

        Live Mocha was one of the first online platforms to offer language learning for free since its launch in 2007. One of the coolest things about Livemocha is that it gives you access to natives speakers, teachers, language enthusiasts, and language experts around the world from over 190 countries. The community encourages language learning through interaction, which is excellent! So, you get to practice your conversation with people around the globe through comments on practice exercises, lessons with feedback, text or video chats, and more. The only people who will have a problem with this website are those who transitioned from the old Live Mocha account to the new one.

        LingQ.com

        image 4

          This platform has also come a long way since its days of basic language learning and reading lessons. Although it has cartoonish, children’s-type interface, it can be used by any language learner of any age — and at any stage of language learner (beginner to advanced). The video on the front page sums up how to use the platform and get started for free. This is a great resource for teachers and classrooms. The only downside is that you won’t get access to unlimited vocabulary or extra features unless you sign up for the premium accounts.

          Byki

          Learn Language Free

            Byki is best if you have a love for flashcards. The platform can be used to learn 74 different languages. Since Byki claims itself to be one of “leading in language research”, it’s easy to understand why they advise against learning a language starting with grammar. Byki focuses on teaching adults vocabulary first since “adults learn foreign languages by collecting words and phrases first”. The free version will get you 15 lists in any language. I’d say this website is worth a try, with the confusing interface being the only downside to the platform.

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            Lang 8

            Learn Language Free

              What this platform offers is pretty simple: a community of native speakers who connect with you and correct what you write. So, clearly, this is a platform for those speakers who are already proficient in writing and reading a foreign language. For example, masters dissertation will help you write in your native language and you can translate it to a foreign language and get it checked on Lang 8.You can return the favor by correcting those who are learning your native language. This one’s best if you’re working on improving how you write in a certain language.

              Lingulia

              Learn Language Free

                Lingualia is a pretty cool platform that is largely focused on “social networking” for learning a language. One of the best features of Lingualia is the artificially intelligent bot called “Lingu” who will treat you like a student. Lingu will make sure that you improve on areas that are challenging for you and stay motivated to learning your language. For those of you who need consistent motivation, this is a great feature. Even though this platform sadly serves only two languages: English and Spanish, I’d definitely give it a try!

                Papora

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                Learn Language Free

                  Papora will allow you to register for free and learn English, Spanish, French, or German. Rather than focusing purely on vocabulary, Papora will also incorporate grammar so that you can form proper sentences. The “bite-sized” lessons are very easy with excellent audio. The mobile app takes users through 60 real life situations has over 2,000 keywords and phrases with audio content. This app is great for busy learners!

                  Digital Dialects

                  Learn Language Free

                    This is fantastic platform where language leaning is made fun and easy. Digital Dialect is focused on providing users with games to learn a new language with the help of phrases, vocabulary, numbers, spelling, verb conjugations, and alphabets. You’ll need Macromedia Flash to run the website, but I really love how responsive the website is, overall. The downside to using this platform is that it’s not available as an app and most languages cover only basic beginner-level language skills.

                    Memrise

                    Learn Language Free

                      Memrise uses three simple ingredients to make it one an effective language learning tool: science, fun, and community. When it comes to science, the team addresses the fact that the brain learns faster with the help of mnemonic flashcards. These flashcards are called “mems” and they help aid retention. With the help of games and videos, learning is also made fun.

                      Memrise has over 300,000 courses which is pretty extensive and has a large range of languages to choose from. The coolest part is that language is not the only thing you can learn on this website. If you’re also interested in learning more about a specific country’s history, culture, or geography, Memrise will give you a free course on that too! You can get this as an app on Android and Apple devices.

                      Alright, that pretty much sums up our favorite list of language learning platforms that are available for free! It’s amazing how the increasing demand of bilingualism has also made learning a new language pretty easy. Well, not easy, but pretty convenient nonetheless!

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                      Last Updated on April 11, 2019

                      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

                      I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

                      I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

                      Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                      How Communication Skills Help Your Success

                      Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

                      Create a Positive Experience

                      Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

                      When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

                      What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

                      Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

                      As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

                      Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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                      Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

                      Help Leadership Skills

                      It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

                      Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

                      As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

                      Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

                      If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

                      Build Better Teams

                      Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

                      In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

                      If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

                      When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

                      Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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                      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                      There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

                      Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

                      1. Listen

                      Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

                      Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

                      People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

                      Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

                      Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

                      2. Know Your Audience

                      Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

                      Here is a good way to think about it:

                      Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

                      You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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                      3. Minimize

                      I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

                      He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

                      Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

                      State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

                      The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

                      4. Over Communicate

                      So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

                      What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

                      Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

                      Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

                      Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

                      There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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                      5. Body Language

                      The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

                      When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

                      In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

                      When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

                      Conclusion

                      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

                      Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

                      There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                      Now go communicate your way to success.

                      More Resources About Effective Communication

                      Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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