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6 Amazing Websites to Learn a Language If You’re Too Busy

6 Amazing Websites to Learn a Language If You’re Too Busy

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re a busy person.

Either you’ve got a job you work hard at, a business you run yourself, or perhaps you’re out traveling the world (congrats!).
…But your goal is to learn a new language this year, and you have no idea how you’ll fit it into your schedule.

No problem. There are great time-saving language learning websites today that allows you to effectively learn a new language on your own time, without comprising your busy schedule. This way, you can keep working hard (or traveling hard if you’re the lucky), while expanding your cultural and language knowledge.

Here are 7 websites to learn a new language if you’re a busy person.

The 7 Best Language Learning Websites For the Busy Person

When it comes to finding the best language learning websites, I’ve found there are a handful of areas worth investigating and experimenting.

First, it’s the method of learning, there are 4 main categories:

1. Algorithm learning

2. Textbook learning

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3. Course learning

4. Human learning

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    Second, we need to dig deeper and measure the 4 important factors for each method:

    a) Time commitment

    b) Engagement

    c) Personalization

    d) Effectiveness

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    1. Michel Thomas

    Time commitment: Low
    Engagement: Medium
    Personalization: Low
    Effectiveness: Medium

    Michel Thomas is an audio tape course and a great teacher, that provides everything from beginner to advanced lessons.

    Although it’s a one-sided conversation, it’s not only Michel speaking in the audio tape. Michel provides a real-life conversation scenario by bringing on students to speak with each other, and correcting them along the way.

    Michel Thomas is a paid program ranging from $100 USD to $150 USD.

    michel

      2. Duolingo

      Time commitment: Low
      Engagement: Medium
      Personalization: Low
      Effectiveness: Low

      With over 50M downloads and increasing quickly, Duolingo is the most popular language learning mobile app.

      The gamification of the app is great for keeping you entertained and engaged while learning. The app is recommended for anyone who has zero knowledge and want to focus on learning the basic vocabulary and grammar.

      From personal experience, you will get what you pay, and if you want to see real, lasting results, Duolingo will only get you so far.

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      duolingo

        3. Lonely Planet

        Time commitment: Medium
        Engagement: Low
        Personalization: Medium
        Effectiveness: Medium

        Lonely Planet is one of the largest travel websites online. They also provide books on language learning, targeted at travelers who want to learn the basic conversation phrases before and during their trip.

        Because of the targeted focus, if you’re a traveler wanting to learn basic phrases in a language, it can be a simple and easy way to accomplish your goal.

        lonely

          4. Conversation Exchange

          Time commitment: High
          Engagement: Medium
          Personalization: Medium
          Effectiveness: Low

          Conversation Exchange is a place where language lovers meet online to help each other learn their native language.

          For example, a fluent person in German looking to learn English can pair up with a native English speaker looking to speak German. Conversation exchanges can take place in-person, over Skype, or through text over Whatsapp or their chat software.

          Although the concept is great, finding the right partner is a challenge due to the lack of personalization, matchmaking system, and schedule coordination. Most students will not be as dedicated because of the lack of commitment involved, and it can take some time before you discover the partner you like.

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          If you’re lacking budget and have the patience and time to go on the journey, this is a great, free way to learn conversation skills!

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            5. Memrise

            Time commitment: Low
            Engagement: Low
            Personalization: Low
            Effectiveness: Medium

            Memrise is great for one purpose: memorization. If you read our blog post on How to Learn Any Language in 90 Days, you can memorize 30 words/day for 90 days and recognize 70-80% of the language.

            You’ll have to face a lot of memorization obstacles when learning a language, and when that time comes, Memrise is a great tool to help you overcome them.

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              6. Fluentin3months

              Time commitment: Low
              Engagement: Medium
              Personalization: Low
              Effectiveness: Medium

              Fluentin3months.com is a language learning website started by Benny Lewis. As stated, he’s well known for learning languages in 3 months, and has courses available teaching you his methodology. Fluentin3months also has an avid community of fellow language learners that you can meet, which makes the website stand out above others.

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                Your Turn

                Which of these time-saving language websites will you try out?
                If there’s any tips that we may have missed, please let us know in the comments below!

                More by this author

                Sean Kim

                Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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                Last Updated on August 6, 2020

                6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

                6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

                We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

                “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

                Are we speaking the same language?

                My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

                When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

                Am I being lazy?

                When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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                Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

                Early in the relationship:

                “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

                When the relationship is established:

                “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

                It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

                Have I actually got anything to say?

                When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

                A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

                When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

                Am I painting an accurate picture?

                One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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                How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

                Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

                What words am I using?

                It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

                Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

                Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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                Is the map really the territory?

                Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

                A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

                I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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