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Top 17 Websites You Can Use to Learn a New Language (and the Pros and Cons)

Top 17 Websites You Can Use to Learn a New Language (and the Pros and Cons)
  1.  Duolingo

Duolingo should sound familiar to almost everyone reading this. Known as the most popular app for language hobbyists, Duolingo provides a fun, gamified approach to learn over a dozen languages on your mobile — for free.

Pros: Free.

Cons: Not great if you’re serious about getting results. Recommended for hobbyists.

Main Benefit: The main benefit of using Duolingo is that it’s great if you’re just getting started and want to play around with the basics of the language.

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    1. FluentU

    FluentU helps you learn languages through video content, categorizing them into different levels. Topics can range from ordering at a restaurant, listening to music, movie quotes, etc.

    Pros: Intriguing videos to learn in an engaging manner.

    Cons: No ability to practice with a native speaker nor get immediate feedback.

    Main Benefit: Curated video content in one place.

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      1. Rype

      Rype has re-defined the traditional language learning model, by applying a Netflix/Spotify model for private language lessons. For less than the price of a coffee per day, you can have unlimited number of one-on-one lessons with a professional coach, including live classes and premium video lessons to accelerate your skills.

      Pros: Unlimited one-on-one lessons with a professional coach, live classes, and premium video recordings that you can take at the comforts of your home — anywhere, anytime.

      Cons: Currently limited to only Spanish lessons.

      Main Benefit: The benefit of receiving unlimited one-on-one lessons with a professional coach. It’s like signing up for a gym membership and having full-time access to a professional personal trainer for the same price.

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        1. Conversation Exchange

        If you have the time and lack the budget to work with a professional teacher, conversation exchanges are worth checking out. They allow you to connect with fellow language lovers, looking to practice their skills online.

        Pros: Free to connect.

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        Cons: Takes a lot of time, patience, and dealing with scheduling problems.

        Main Benefit: Great place to meet like-minded language lovers and either practice your speaking skills or simply connect and chat about travel, culture, and languages.

         
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          1. Memrise

          When you’re learning a language, memorization is key. Memrise makes the process easier. Using a gamified approach, Memrise has a set of steps you go through in order to memorize your desired words or concepts.

          Pros: Great for memorization, and can be used as a complementary when you’re working with a professional teacher.

          Cons: Only good as a complementary tool, not as a complete language learning solution.

          Main Benefit: The biggest benefit is that it’s a free way to help you memorize more concepts faster, not just languages.

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            1. Rosetta Stone

            Rosetta Stone has been around for decades. It has faced controversial reviews about its promise and effectiveness by several language experts and journalists. Nevertheless, it’s a popular method that is still being used by many language learners.

            Pros: Easy to use. You can learn in the comfort of your home.

            Cons: Expensive. Effectiveness of its solution has been reviewed negatively amongst many language experts and bloggers.

            Main Benefit: The main benefit is the ability to learn at home.

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              1. BBC Languages

              BBC Languages came up with a new section of their website to provide language learning content focused on 8-10 main languages, and more. It contains video tutorials and written content to guide you through the basics of your target language.

              Pros: Free.

              Cons: Great as a starter, but it can only take you so far without practicing what you’ve learned with a native speaker.

              Main Benefit: The main benefit is that it’s free and a great place to start for someone looking to learn a new language.

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                1. Busuu

                Busuu sits in a similar category as Duolingo and the other free mobile apps out there. It provides a simple, yet interactive method of learning, and can be a useful way to learn basic words and vocabulary for language hobbyists.

                Pros: Free, interactive.

                Cons: Not great if you’re serious about getting results. Recommended for hobbyists.

                Main Benefit: Great for getting familiar with the basics of the language.

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                  1. Babbel

                  Babbel provides a slightly more personalized approach, compared to Duolingo and Busuu, as they have different levels for beginners and intermediates, while understanding what demographic you fit in. At the end of the day, it is a do-it-yourself approach, and unless you’re 100% motivated to using the service on a daily basis, it may be difficult to keep yourself accountable.

                  Pros: Easy to use. You can learn from the comfort of your own home.

                  Cons: Do it yourself mode. Lack of accountability.

                  Main Benefit: The main benefit is the ability to learn and review your target language easily on-the-go, or in the comfort of your home.

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                    1. Fluentin3months

                    Fluentin3months is not necessarily a language solution, but rather a destination created by Benny Lewis. It contains forums, articles, reviews, courses, and a book that you can learn from. What this really comes down to is counting on the expertise of the author, Benny, who is a polyglot fluent in seven languages.

                    Pros: Benny has a great track record of providing unbiased, research-backed information.

                    Cons: You can’t necessarily work with Benny, but rather have to learn from his strategy on your own.

                    Main Benefit: Learn from an expert who has achieved significant results in acquiring languages fluently.

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                      1. Livemocha

                      Livemocha, which was acquired by Rosetta Stone, provides online language courses and has an avid language learning community. The company claims to have a methodology for learning a language, but it’s hard to know if it really works.

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                      Pros: Free and an avid community of language learners.

                      Cons: No ability to speak with a native speaker and seems to focus on upselling to Rosetta Stone.

                      Main Benefit: Great for dipping your feet into the pool and enrolling into some free content.

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                        1. Foreign Services Institute

                        The Foreign Services Institute features extensive text and audio resources for more than 45 languages. Designed by professional linguists for the U.S. government, these free materials are of premium quality. It’s also created with the aim of aiding users gain fluency, as it’s organized into several different lessons.

                        Pros: Free and created by professional linguists.
                        Cons: Traditional method and not interactive.
                        Main Benefit: Focuses on many languages (up to 45), and even targets languages that are not as popular, such as Romanian, Igbo, Serbo-Croatian, and many more.

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                          1. The Polyglot Club

                          The Polyglot Club is essentially Meetup for language learners. It allows you to meet people (online and offline) around the world to practice speaking your target language or simply chat online.

                          Pros: Free, simple to use.

                          Cons: Finding the time, patience, and scheduling coordination to actually meet up or commit to practicing with someone else.

                          Main Benefit: Surrounding yourself with a community of fellow language learners is key, so this website is a great place to start.

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                            1. LingQ

                            LingQ is focused on the text-based approach for learning a language. In summary, it’s a digital flashcard for learning languages. While this can provide some value, it may not be a good fit for visual learners (use Memrise instead).

                            Pros: Many languages available. Good if you’re a text-based learner.

                            Cons: $120/year and similar open-sourced solutions are available here for free.

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                            Main Benefit: Targeted at people who like learning solely through text, rather than visual or audio.

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                              1. Reddit (subreddit: languagelearning)

                              Pros: Free.

                              Cons: Unfiltered advice from individuals who have no proven track record of educating others in language learning.

                              Main Benefit: The main benefit is to get an overall scope of how others are learning languages, what resources they’ve tried, as well as what worked and what didn’t.

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                                1. MosaLingua

                                MosaLingua focuses on helping you memorize words and vocabulary. Here’s the approach explained by a language blogger:

                                1. You listen to the word or sentence and record yourself pronouncing it. You then compare your pronunciation to the native pronunciation.
                                2. Once you know how to pronounce the word, the app shows you a word or sentence and asks you to guess its translation. If you guessed right, you click “correct”, if not you click “incorrect”.
                                3. The app then shows you an English word or sentence and asks you to write the translation.
                                4. Finally, you see the English translation and evaluate how well you know the associated word or sentence.

                                Pros: Good for learning words in sentences.

                                Cons: Limited in scope, and doesn’t help in improving your speaking skills or other facets required to learn a language.

                                Main Benefit: Memorizing words in your target language.

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                                  1. Pimsleur

                                  Pimsleur is an audio-based language program that is taught by native speakers, which means you can hear native accents and pronunciations. It’s a story-based learning system (although it sounds fake), which can be a good way to understand how native speakers talk.

                                  Pros: Good for repetition, taught by native speakers.

                                  Cons: Irrelevant context. It seems far too professional, and many of the materials taught cannot be used in everyday conversations, making it seem too formal.

                                  Main Benefit: The main benefit is the emphasis on audio and pronunciation.

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                                    Conclusion

                                    There’s no best solution that will fit everything you’re looking for. What you’ll need to do from here is to evaluate your goals, and understand what your desires are.

                                    Do you lack the basics of memorizing the most common words? Try Memrise or LingQ.
                                    Are you just looking to play around with the language for fun? Try Duolingo or Busuu.
                                    Do you want to be able to become a fluent speaker and work with a private coach? Try Rype.

                                    Whichever methods you try, just make sure it aligns with your goals, and that alone will help you find the right solution for you.

                                    Good luck!

                                    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 October 12, 2020

                                    10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

                                    10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

                                    The success of our day is largely dependent on the quality of our planning. Not to miss out anything in their to-dos, some people prefer to make a list of upcoming tasks in a notebook, while others have long started using digital technology solutions.

                                    Calendar applications are some of the main tools that are worth using to organize our life and plan your time carefully.

                                    Many people have switched to specific tools; however, there are still some who do not use calendars on a daily basis. They may find some applications uncomfortable to use, non-functional, or expensive.

                                    In this article, we are going to check out the best calendars apps to help you stay organized.

                                    Before You Download

                                    As you are no doubt aware, there are all kinds of calendar apps available. Instead of you sifting through the hundreds of them, we’ve handpicked 10 of the best calendar apps you can get. On top of glowing reviews from each one, we’ve considered the following aspects when creating this list:

                                    • User Interface – How you navigate the app should be smooth and simple. The buttons on the app should be clear, obvious and easy to move through.
                                    • Synchronization – Whether it’s with other calendar apps or with other apps, syncing apps should be easy and enhance your overall experience with the app.
                                    • Additional features – Since there are so many options for calendars, many of these apps offer additional features. These features make the apps stand out from the other apps and provide unique experiences to you.

                                    1. Any.do Calendar

                                      This calendar has direct integration with Any.Do To-Do List, which gives you a unique tandem of two applications.

                                      Apart from its extended functionality, Cal Calendar is easy to use. The creation of events is very simple and fast.

                                      What is more, depending on the name of the event, the application automatically adds contacts and geolocation data to the entry description. You can even import your lists and entries from Any.do.

                                      Any.do Calendar is a great option for any type of user. It is very convenient and doesn’t overcomplicate the mode of display.

                                      Another good thing is that this tool is available for free, so you can use it without spending a dime for the software.

                                      Download Any.do Calendar here!

                                      2. Google Calendar

                                        Google Calendar is the official calendar for Android devices that has been tested out by many users around the globe. If you are right now trying to get away from it, consider changing your mind.

                                        Since this application is installed on most Android devices by default, many users think that there is nothing special in this program. They are wrong.

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                                        Google has been updating its calendar for quite a few years, and now it comes in Material Design with advanced event features, direct integration into other Google services (for example, supports reminders and Google Now), and comes with Exchange support.

                                        The program is super easy and will not cost a dime for you. It is a good thing, right?

                                        Download Google Calendar here.

                                        3. Calendar

                                          Calendar is a relatively new app. It works as a web app and for both iOS and Android devices. It is an intelligent app that learns your contacts, schedule and tasks. It also helps you schedule and arrange meetings according to your available time slots.

                                          A good thing about Calendar is that it allows you to sync up with other calendars you use such as Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. And so you can manage all the calendars you have in one place.

                                          Calendar also gives you analytics of your meetings, giving you a clear picture on how you can improve your time management.

                                          Download Calendar: Meeting & Scheduling here.

                                          4. Business Calendar

                                            Business Calendar is geared towards people who use their calendar for work purposes and business task planning. It offers different modes with wide configuration capabilities.

                                            The application gives a default view mode by months, and events can be marked in different colors. Display modes/ sorting can be adjusted to your needs (by month, day, year, or events).

                                            You can also set a multi-day viewing mode to see how things look for the next few days. Scrolling up and down moves you by month, and if you check a few days, they will be shown in a more detailed form.

                                            The day display mode offers hourly scheduling, and the schedule mode provides a detailed schedule for a single event.

                                            Business Calendar is a great tool for planning/ scheduling cases, tasks, and events. There is a support for recurring events, which can be set up in just a few clicks.

                                            Having purchased software, you can use it to import and export other calendars, delete, copy, or move several events at the same time.

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                                            Android Business Calendar application may seem somewhat chaotic, but it works fine and is easy to work with if you play with it for a while.

                                            A full version of the application is available for $4.99, but you can also find a free version for the app test drive.

                                            Download Business Calendar here.

                                            5. aCalendar

                                              aCalendar opens our collection of top 10 calendar applications available on the market today. With its appealing design, easy navigation, and great functionality, it is one of the most popular calendar apps in our list.

                                              Some of extra functions include color schemes for each case type (48 colors to choose from), different types of demonstrations, different widgets, moon phases, and much more.

                                              Taking into account it functionality, aCalendar is a reliable calendar application that has an easy-to-navigate interface with three display options. Scrolling from side to side allows you to switch between the display modes of the month, week and day.

                                              When scrolling down and up, you are moving through the calendar at intervals in accordance with the selected display mode.

                                              Apart from its time planning feature, aCalendar synchronizes photos from contact lists or social networks to remind you about birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special dates.

                                              The program also supports data transfer through NFC and full-screen widgets, which eases your work with any data.

                                              The program is available for free, but you can also get even more features if you buy the extended version of software for $4.99.

                                              Download aCalendar here.

                                              6. DigiCal Calendar

                                                DigiCal Calendar is very similar to Cal Calendar in the fact that the application focuses on design more than on its functionality. However, this doesn’t mean that the application doesn’t serve the purpose.

                                                With this calendar application, you can synchronize all your calendars and view them in different ways.

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                                                Along with the basic functions, this program comes with support for Google Calendar, Outlook, and includes some unique and interesting features. You can match keywords to the image or set up a dark theme.

                                                The app can even show you the weather forecast for three days. There are many other features that deserve the attention of people who really like to use calendar applications.

                                                Download DigiCal Calendar here.

                                                7. SolCalendar

                                                  SolCalendar can be called a universal application. It claims to be an all-in-one digital solution having a basic calendar functionality combined with some other advanced features, such as weather forecast for a specific day.

                                                  The application supports Google Calendar, as well as tasks, widgets, lunar calendar and even Foursquare.

                                                  Those searching for a calendar application to cover just everything in its functionality, SolCalendar is a program to consider. There are a lot of interesting things in this application; the program does an excellent job working in “all-in-one” mode.

                                                  Test SolCalendar – the application is available for free. You can test it out without purchasing the service.

                                                  Download SolCalendar here.

                                                  8. IRL Event Social Network

                                                    One of the most unique apps on this list is the IRL Event Social Network app. As you can guess from the name, the core focus of this app is social networking. Unlike other social media platforms, you can consider this platform to function similar to Meetup.com. It’s a site where you can connect with other people within your area that share a similar interest.

                                                    IRL is that while also providing a convenient calendar for you to schedule events and plan out your day. Though due to it being a secondary focus, you’re lacking a lot of the syncing aspects that other apps have on this list. Regardless, because of this huge social feature, it’s worth considering for those who want to make more connections.

                                                    Download IRL Event Social Network here.

                                                    9. Today Calendar

                                                      Today Calendar is one of the most hip and edgy calendars in our list. The solution was one of the first ones that really embraced Material Design and remains one of the few that adhere to the neat style.

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                                                      The calendar application offers bold colors, simple controls, and great functionality. This is not as heavy an application as many others; it will not eat all the memory of your device.

                                                      If you are not searching for something complicated and over-functional, Today Calendar is what you need. You can always test the application before paying for it – the program is available for free.

                                                      Download Today Calendar here.

                                                      10. Timepage

                                                        Timepage is an intuitive calendar app that will manage your time in a way that other calendar apps can’t. It offers the same sort of functions that you’d expect from other calendar apps: opportunities to record events, notifications and reminders, weather, and driving duration to a particular event. However, the app goes beyond those functionalities in two ways.

                                                        The first way is that while the app sends you notifications, it also has reminders for you for what is coming up next. That bit of extra time can allow you to prepare and make adjustments to your day if need be.

                                                        The second function – which is more important – is the heat map when you go to see the full view of your calendar. This heat map indicates what days you are most busy and other days where you are freer. This heat map provides a quick glance to determine broadly what days are good to add more events and other tasks.

                                                        Download Timepage here.

                                                        Our Verdict

                                                        Searching for the right application to manage your various calendars and plan your busy day can sometimes turn into a streak of obstacles.

                                                        Most of us need flexible applications that can be easily used to manage our tough schedule. The application should have all necessary time planning functions and be intuitive.

                                                        Stylish design and limitless compatibility also matter. It is not always easy to find such a program.

                                                        The above digital calendar solutions fall under the category “worth” of being used. They are modern, multifunctional, easy, and easy. Pick the one you like!

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                                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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