If you’ve watched all of Netflix, played every board game in your possession, and baked more bread than you can possibly consume, consider spending some of your newfound miễn phí time learning (or relearning) a language. The prospect of finally mastering, say, French, guarantees hours of indoor entertainment during our seemingly never-ending imperative to stay indoors, but experts say the first step in successful language learning is lớn consider your motivations. “People’s goals for learning another language can vary from something serious, lượt thích they need to lớn move and function in another society, lớn the other extreme, of downloading a phone app và learning a new language just for fun,” says Dr. Julio Torres, assistant professor of applied linguistics at University of California, Irvine, who explains that pedagogical methods differ based on learning goals. Another thing to keep in mind are your “internal factors,” like learning style & interests, because “we tend to emotionally respond to lớn something when it’s meaningful lớn us personally,” says Dr. Laura Baecher of TESOL (Teaching English lớn Speakers of Other Languages) at Hunter College’s School of Education.
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With everything from yoga classes to lớn lectures currently taking place online (often for free), this is a quality moment to lớn learn another language with the help of technology. “Language learning has always happened outside the framework of official learning online, but now you can easily find Zoom calls in other languages to lớn participate in,” says Dr. Sandy Fox, postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University & founder và producer of Vaybertaytsh: A Feminist Podcast in Yiddish. “It’s a very special time for practicing language.”
So, whether you want to converse with your neighbor, or need to practice grammar for a distance-learning exam, we spoke with six language experts — including a director at the Middlebury Language Schools and a polyglot — lớn find the best programs & resources for your at-home language learning.
Best overall language-learning program
All of the experts we spoke to lớn say that traditional online learning programs are the most effective tool for beginning language learners to acquire và practice some vocabulary & grammar. Unlike “pop language apps” like Duolingo, these are often more rigorously researched, combine different learning techniques, và usually cost a good amount of money. Among the different programs on the market, Pimsleur was highly recommended for its conversational methodology by two experts, Fox, & Vincent Perez, a French teacher at the indie travel bookstore Idlewild Books. Whereas other programs can be too repetitive & introduce words nonsensically, Perez says Pimsleur has “a lot of listening, repeating, và practicing conversations with prerecorded clips,” which helps people learn in a conversational context. Fox was introduced to lớn Pimsleur by some of her linguistic-minded và polyglot peers, and says it is “more rigorous” than other programs. In general, she notes that language-learning programs provide a particularly good “baseline” for those learning a new language within a language family that they already know. You can learn over 50 different languages with Pimsleur, but the program’s six most popular languages are priced from $14.95 a month.