Learn a Language This Summer

by GRACE LEBER - During our stay-at-home summer, language learning is a great way to stay occupied and learn something new.


Whatever the reason is that you want to learn a language--whether it is to connect to ancestors, sharpen your brain, or immerse yourself in a culture--you have come to the right place. This article will hopefully inspire you to continue with your language studies from the classroom, or to start a new language from scratch.


A Few Words of Encouragement

Learning a language is not an easy task, but it is fun to do and super rewarding after some practice. Not all of my advice may work for you and at the same time what works for you may not work for me. We all learn differently, and it is important to know what inspires you in the learning process. Nevertheless, I hope my recommendations will help you. Just remember that you can do whatever you set your mind to!


Apps

1. Duolingo

Duolingo is a good way to refresh skills in a language that you are familiar with. For instance, you can complete placement tests so that you can complete lessons at your own skill level. My favorite aspect of Duolingo, however, is the “Stories” option, where a story is read and you have to answer comprehension and vocabulary questions. Unlike the lessons which provide randomized sentences, the stories are more relevant to what you may experience in the language in real life.


For beginners in a language, Duolingo is a good way to get a taste of a language, but I do not recommend it as the primary resource to learn from because even though it provides “exercises,” it does a poor job teaching necessary grammar and vocabulary skills.


2. Memrise

Memrise is perfect for a newbie to load up on vocabulary through timed drills. It not only is good for learning new words, but also for learning new alphabets and scripts. I do not recommend this for more advanced speakers because there are no placement tests. You can pace yourself, learning new words or doing review sessions.


There are also fun things you can learn on Memrise such Egyptian hieroglyphs, or even Aurebesh, the writing system used in the Star Wars universe.

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