Language app?

Old Feb 28th, 2014, 07:07 PM
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Language app?

The last time we went to Italy I listened to a CD in my car on the way to work to learn some of the language before our trip. Well now I'm not so sure that is the best option for me (iit was 10 years ago)

Are there any good apps to lean italian from? Willing to pay of course for a good one

Thank you!
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Old Mar 1st, 2014, 08:56 AM
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I don't think an app is the best thing for learning a language. I think CDs or DVDs are still best for that. There are language apps, such as Google Translate, that can be very useful for translating things once you're there. You can even take a photo of a sign (or menu, or label) with your phone and have it translated. I found it moderately useful in France. I can read French fairly well, but my vocabulary is a bit on the literary side, so I encounter lots of words related to related to daily life that I don't know. Most, but not all, of the time, Google Translate was able to help out.

You can have Google Translate pronounce a phrase, so it would be possible to type in, "Do you have any waterproof boots for sale?" and have your phone speak the question to the sales clerk. A bit unwieldy, I would think, and I've never tried it.
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Old Mar 1st, 2014, 09:02 AM
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I think I would feel the same way about an app as I do about those hand-held translation gizmos - just looking up words and phrases, fine...but using one for some kind of personal interaction, ridiculous. For me, the only way to learn a language has been classes, supplemented by audio on CDs or DVDs, plus watching the country's news station and movies without subtitles.
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Old Mar 1st, 2014, 09:39 AM
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I think the best I have found is Duolingo:

https://www.duolingo.com/mobile

I heard about it on NPR-the guy sold his first company to google for millions and this one uses a game like approach to encourage people to continue learning and also "big data" via crowd sourcing model to keep improving the lessons. The founder is a professor from Carnegie Mellon and a MacArthur Fellowship

It is free. It is the best I have found so far and much better than most things I have used perhaps aside from a class.

Here is a great article about it on wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duolingo
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Old Mar 1st, 2014, 02:16 PM
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I have been using Pimsleur's. Years ago you could buy very expensive boxes of Pimsleur's cassette tapes in many languages in the Harvard Coop. Now, of course, you can download the lessons. I have been buying them from iTunes and listening to them on my iPod Touch. You don't have to make a major investment anymore; you can buy a few lessons to try it out. There is also a free lesson available on the Pimsleur web site. The method is not for everyone. It involves lots and lots of repetition and you don't learn a lot of vocabulary very quickly. I have been supplementing the lessons with Duolingo, which jpie recommended above.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2014, 04:28 PM
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Thanks!!! CD's just seem so obsolete. I think the only place I could play one would be the car! I will look I to the recommendations
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Old Mar 3rd, 2014, 04:35 PM
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Here's another free website - I personally like it better than Duolingo.

http://www.learnitalianpod.com/
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Old Mar 3rd, 2014, 05:20 PM
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I know I'm a luddite, but we have a Berlitz menu translator that is a litle bitty BOOK. It has 16 languages in it - and we dividied it into sections and take those appropriata for each trip.

And it doesn't translate the names of ingredients - it lists propular dishes and describes their ingredients and how prepared. Also has everything else you need to dining, from making reservations to ordering wine to paying.

We couldn't live without it - even though after quite a few trips there are a lot of menu items I can read without it - it's nice to have.
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Old Mar 6th, 2014, 02:33 PM
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We have a travel phrases app that works offline. It's not for learning a language, but helps you with useful phrases depending on the situation. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id536624091?mt=8
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Old Mar 6th, 2014, 02:35 PM
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Sure doesn't get good reviews.
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Old Sep 28th, 2021, 07:51 AM
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Thinking of reviving this thread cause I can't find similar active threads on language learning. Is there anyone using this travel down time to learn a new language? Would love to hear your thoughts on some language apps that I can use. Planning to study either Mandarin or Korean. Please share what tools or courses have you used before. Thanks!
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Old Sep 28th, 2021, 08:36 AM
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For Asian languages, I can certainly suggest the Lingo Deer app. It was initially designed towards learning Asian languages, but have since added a few more. I had studied Japanese for a few years a while back, but was quite rusty through lack of use opportunities. I found Lingo Deer to be a great tool to review and advance further in the language (I have the free version). I am not sure how it would be for someone starting from scratch.

In any case, for serious study I would not rely solely on one single ressource and would seek out other didactic material in parallel, and in particular look for speaking opportunities.
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Old Sep 28th, 2021, 08:46 AM
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I used italki to find native speakers who I chat with on a twice a week basis. They will also connect you to a native teacher, prices range widely per hour but that is useful if you want to make a step in your understanding, but most teachers need to know what level you are trying to reach, while the basic native speaker lacks that sort of teaching skill.

I've used duolingo and it is great to learn the language as if it were a sort of version of duolingo. Unfortunatly real life is not duolingo, real life is real life. I also listen to youtube in my language of choice when I want to learn the info on the youtube and read books in the language from Kindle.

But honestly being forced to chat to a native for 30 minutes is the greatest learning exercise ever, you will panic, you will have a little crisis but it works very very well.
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 08:30 PM
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Hi kanadajin! Thanks for the tip! Will definitely add that to my list of resources to check out. I agree too, there's really not much speaking opportunities to practice it on. I've been trying to learn through movies and television shows as well but was thinking if perhaps, joining language forums can count as a 'speaking engagement'. Lol. Anyway, thanks again!
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 08:45 PM
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Hi @bilboburglar! Thanks for the tip!! I've actually haven't considered that before but yeah that definitely makes sense! I've checked some blogs and articles too and apparently, there are a lot of sites similar to italki and duolingo. May I ask, if you've tried them already how much did they charge you?

YouTube looks useful as well. For the past few days, I've been trying different techniques and hoping at least a few sticks. Recently, a friend suggested that I try this spaced repetition technique, much like flashcards. So far, I feel like I'm having progress. However, the site was hackchinese.com which obv was only for Mandarin so I was also looking for a similar thing for Korean.

By the way, what language were you trying to learn?
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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 12:11 AM
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I was learning Italian and relearning French.

I find flip card as more or less useless, but I do find the whole memory palace and "words like" approach more affective. However the best, by far, is to use the words coming out of my mouth in a conversation. So if I want to learn about Mechanical bits I chat to my Italian friends about Mechanical bits.

Both Duolingo and italki are free. You can pay duolingo for some of their extra features and if you want to talk to teachers on italki they cost between $10 and $35 for an hour. I struggle to imagine that $10 gets you a great teacher and $35 tends to get you teachers of native languages where the minimum pay is high, so for learning Swedish and highly qualified teachers.

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Old Oct 1st, 2021, 01:02 AM
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Best apps for language translate:
Mem Rise
Busuu
Babbel
Mondly
Rosetta Stone
Drops
Clozemaster
Rype
LingoDeer
Lingvist
Duolingo

Cd and Dvd is also the best option for you, try to listen these most of the time.
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