How many languages can you speak? For most people, they can only speak their native and national languages. Some adults master foreign languages to advance their careers or to make traveling more enjoyable. You probably don’t know this, but learning a second language is one of the most effective brain training that you can do. Your brain thrives on learning about things that are fresh and complex. If you can only speak one or two languages, you will be surprised at the number of languages some people have mastered. The current Guinness World Record Holder for the highest number of languages spoken is held by 64 years old Ziad Fazah who can read and write 58 different languages. Mind blowing, right? When it comes to reaping the benefits of learning another language, there is no age limit.
It is quite an interesting topic to learn the relationship between languages and cognitive functioning. Languages are gateways to new cultures, and they let us connect with other people in ways more meaningful than before. In recent years, you might have recognized a surfeit of blog posts covering topics to do with bilingualism. The language centers located in the brain are flexible, and learning a second language can strengthen the brain’s ability to process info, focus and develop new areas of your mind. Bilingual adults have better concentration and are able to ignore extraneous stimuli better than their counterparts who only speak one language.
Researchers, linguists and psychologists, point out the health benefits of learning many languages. The main benefit of bilingualism as given by experts is that it helps the brain manage and control your focus and attention equally and helping you plan appropriately. When you switch between two languages, in essence this means that you can manage two separate ways of thinking. The result is better task and conflict management. Research shows that learning at least two languages may delay the onset of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by up to 5 years.
There are a number of programs and apps developed for those interested in mastering this art. You no longer have to listen to long hours of CDs or stack a library of books just to learn a new language. We compile for you some of the best apps that will help you in this new and exciting experience!
If learning new and fun vocabularies is the approach you like, then Memrise is the app for you. The app takes learning to a whole new different level by employing use of games and memes. Fun games and funny memes are used to help users recall the vocabularies they learnt. Users are even allowed to create their own memes and points are given for each meme created. This makes the users climb a higher position in the Memrise hierarchy, down from Membryo to overload levels.
Another cool feature with this app is the use of spaced repetition and mnemonics in learning. The space repetition tells you how often you ought to review a word and sends you timely notifications as a reminder.
In addition, there are lots of courses offered for every language available, others even invented by the devoted users. There are lots of standardized courses based on vocabularies and textbooks. Memrise is one of the best apps currently available. Download it today for free on Google Playstore and App Store.
Duolingo lets you start with simple words and phrases, gradually moving to more complex ones. At each stage help is provided; you are pointed out to your mistakes and also praised for your efforts. All this is done at your own pace. The app allows you to master new languages by providing you with a range of fun activities to engage in. You are also able to revisit your lessons later for revisions. Courses available in Duolingo are specifically created by native speakers of the language itself. Developers of the app aim at providing quality and perfect services to its users. There are more than 81 courses offered, all in different languages.
LinguaLift is a language program that was developed by Oxford University experts. The app provides tutoring for Hebrew, Japanese and Russian languages. Courses in Chinese and French languages are scheduled to be released soon. The app is the best place to begin learning as a novice or intermediate learner. Explanations to vocabularies and grammar texts are provided. Fascinating cultural insights are also included along the learning courses with professionals being present to guide you in every step of the way.
LinguaLift contains complete language courses with textbooks and professionals to tutor you. This makes it more than just an app. The courses take durations of 15 to 20 minutes and assignments may be given after the lessons.
Having problems conversing with people of different languages? HelloTalk is here to provide you with a solution. The app is designed like WhatsApp messaging platform with users being able to send texts and voice notes to their fellow native speakers. The App contains an in-built correction tool where users get to correct each other, transforming the chats into tutoring sessions. There is also a translation system for when you lack the right vocabulary in the desired language.
Busuu is a language app that offers training in 12 different languages. Learning here is done through mastering individual words, engaging in simple dialogues, answering questions to the dialogues and finally listening to audios to learn the pronunciation of certain words. Lessons are organized according to topics and different skills learnt at the different topics. Also, there is a separate mini travel course for those who want to learn the basics before embarking on a trip to a location speaking the language.
A special feature with Busuu is that you’re able to interact with native speakers of the languages real time during your personal learning sessions. Learners are also allowed to correct texts created by other learners of the native languages. This earns them points known as ‘berries’ and ranks them based on their activities. By changing the learner to a teacher, you are more likely to master the language faster and better.
Just like Memrise, Mindsnacks takes gaming and learning to a whole different level. There are 7 languages offered in Mindsnacks with each having 8/9 games designed to help you master the vocabularies, grammar and listening skills. The app gives simple lessons thereafter providing games to test on what you’ve learned. Your progress is closely monitored to ensure you master each of the skills needed. The games are fun and you could always go back to play even after you’ve fully mastered the game.
This app allows you to learn the desired language by reading texts written by native speakers of the languages. The contents are obtained from the internet and thus vast niches available. When reading the texts and you come across words you are not familiar with, you click on it and it will show you its meaning, how it is pronounced and the app adds it to your list of vocabularies. Based on these words, the app evaluates your level and matches it to your future texts. The study sessions take 5 to 15 minutes. You have the privilege of choosing your interests and don’t have to read through boring blocks of texts. There are 10 languages offered in Lingua.ly. With this app, you have total control over what you learn.
Regardless of age, learning new languages is a surefire way to upgrade your life, and insure your brain for old age. Learning a foreign language gives you a greater command of your brain power and concentration levels. As mentioned earlier, mastering a second language wards off symptoms of conditions such as dementia. With more than 6500 languages available, you are free to choose that which suites you best. Mandarin Chinese is the most popular language in the world with over 1.2 billion speakers. Join the millions of bilinguals by learning a second language today!