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6 Places You Can Learn a Language Online For Free

6 Places You Can Learn a Language Online For Free

“It’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with” is a quote we have heard time and again. This could also be taken to mean that the people in each place are what truly make a place special.

When we travel, if we can’t communicate with the people in the places we go, we are missing out on a huge piece of their culture, because, after all, the people of the place are the ones who created it. Here are 6 places that you can learn a language online for free, so you can connect deeper with the people in your destinations:

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1. Duolingo

Duolingo is a free language course that starts from the basics and works its way up to more complex grammatical structures and vocabulary. There are a number of additional resources on the site, including materials like articles in your language of choice and self-quizzing options. The structure of the site is also very organized, allowing you to track your own progress. Duolingo currently offers six European languages.

2. Memrise

Memrise makes use of mnemonic flashcards to help users learn new vocabulary. “Mems” on this site are user-generated, and you can upload your own, so as you learn more you can create the mems that work best for you. On the downside, some mems are inaccurate, so when using this site, sometimes it’s necessary to verify the accuracy using a translation tool. Also, Memrise’s approach of assimilating foreign words to similar-sounding phrases in English may be confusing for some users.

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3. Busuu

Busuu also offers a community-based approach to language learning, while providing content from expert educators, such as writing exercises and recordings. The site offers a wider variety of languages than LiveMocha, including Polish, Japanese, Turkish, and Portuguese. What’s more, you can access Busuu on both Andriod and iOS devices, allowing you to practice no matter where you are.

4. Lingualia

Lingualia is the third site in this list that incorporates a social aspect to help users learn a language. Like Duolingo, Lingualia makes it easy to monitor your language-learning progress. It also includes a wide variety of tools, like audio files, flashcards, exercises, and customized lessons that fit both your personal learning style and schedule.

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5. Byki

Byki takes a very similar approach to Memrise by focusing on memorization of vocabulary and phrases rather than on grammar alone. Byki offers the widest variety of languages of any site in the list, with 74. They offer mobile apps in addition to their desktop software and claim they are the “the fastest possible way to lock foreign words into your long-term memory.” Try combining Byki with another, more traditional-style language learning program, such as Duolingo, in order to expedite your learning.

6. Youtube

By far the most unconventional method on the list, but surprisingly effective, Youtube offers a huge expanse of instructional videos in a wide variety of languages for a wide variety of skill levels. Many videos on Youtube are made by native speakers, as opposed to some automated audio recordings from other programs, which allows for better learning of pronunciation.

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In addition to enhancing your travels, learning a language is a critical skill that could put you ahead it today’s competitive job market. With so many free resources available, there’s no excuse not to!

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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