How do you learn a language? Studying. Studying. Studying.
That being said, what things can be done to make your studying easier or more efficient? As I mentioned in other posts, whether it’s about studying for five minutes or about how living in another country won’t naturally improve your English (and their are cheaper alternatives), there are a few ways to help utilize your study time more effectively. Below I will discuss some different websites and products that I have used to either help teach English or help study another language:
- iTalki – When it comes to speaking and conversing in English (or any other language), this Shanghai-based company is a great resource. iTalki offers online one-on-one classes with a native teacher. And you can learn almost any topic in a language. There are two types of teachers available at iTalki: a professional teacher, who have a teaching licence in their home country and community teachers. Professional teachers can help teach grammar and important rules of English, while community teachers might be useful language partners. In addition, if you sign up using the link provided, you will get an extra $10 credit to start your studying.
- Quizlet – While many people like to use the anki app for studying, I tend to prefer quizlet, which is very similar. However, they offer a lot more options for teachers and students that make it really worthwhile. It is a great way to practice vocabulary and review. You can make your own flashcards, and quizlet will generate several different ways to study, either by creating matching games, spelling activities, and even tests. And for teachers, you can create online learning games for your students to participate in.
- Duolingo – Many people make fun of Duolingo because sometimes the sentences are a little weird or awkward, some sentences like “I want to become a computer,” or “I will steal the cheese” [coming from personal experience]. That being said, it’s a great way to learn new vocabulary as well as practice grammar. Duolingo will introduce new materials in small lessons that take 10-20 minutes depending on the level. Each lesson will give you experience points (xp) which can be used to upgrade your Duolingo experience. Duolingo is using gamification to help encourage people to teach, meaning it uses ideas and concepts used in video games and apply them to learning in order to encourage people to work harder. Duolingo is also nice in that it sends daily reminders through both your phone and by email to remind you to study.
- Memrise – another great website to use for reviewing vocabulary as well as learning new vocabulary. Memrise has many courses that are user generated and cover a wide range of topics and materials, so if you want to cover any ESP (English for specific purposes), you can certainly find it. Memrise works by word association; a word will be shown and you must match it with the correct definition, or write the correct choice, before time runs up. Memrise will also periodically show words you have learned in order to test your memory on that word. Like Duolingo and Lingq (listed below), Memrise has a daily goal that you can adjust depending on how much you want to study.
- Lingq – if you want to practice some more reading, listening, as well as speaking, Lingq is a great resource. This is the newest website I’ve started using, and don’t have as much experience with it as I do with the others. I have mostly only used the reading sections. That being said so far, I have found it very helpful. As a student, I find it particularly helpful for learning and practicing my Korean. You will be given a sample text and any words you don’t know, you can click on and find the meaning to. Lingq will then memorize the word and bring them up in future practice in order to strengthen your memory of it.
gamification – (n.) (business) the concept of using the principles of gaming and video games and applying it to non-video game activities, particularly to education
that being said – (phrase) “to think about what was just said,” implying that the next bit of information will contradict or add to what was just said.
ESP – (acronym.) “English for Specific purposes” used to talk about English language material that is used in a specific field or purpose; not general grammar or vocabulary.