The Best Language Learning Tools of Autumn/Winter 2016

This episode of the Creative Language Learning Podcast is as fun as ever, covering the ultimate Good, Bad and Struggling and our Top 5 Language Learning Tools of 2016/17.

So The Podcast is Taking a Break..

Yes, the rumours are true. The Creative Language Learning Podcast is taking a break for a while, going on hiatus and there will not be regular episodes after number 52.

BUT!

That does not mean you're going to miss us too much. Lindsay and I have gone through the archives together, selecting our own favourite episodes for you to try - check them out at the end of this article.

And remember to stay subscribed to your podcast feed in iTunes because we will be producing some one-off episodes for you.

Our Favourite Language Learning Tools for Autumn/Winter 2016

Listen to the show to get the detailed recommendations, and here is a quick index.

lyrics fluent

1) Lyricstraining.com

This website is awesome!! It pulls in music videos from YouTube and VEVO, adds the lyrics and converts the whole thing into a game. Teachers might call it a "cloze exercise", I call it "fill in the gap", and anyone would call this one a whole lot of fun.

2) Gus on The Go

A language learning collection created by parents for children. It's fun, it's beautiful, it's available as an app for your smartphone and tablet. In a sea of language learning apps, Gus on the Go stands out for its design and layout. There are apps available in 28 languages. Highly recommended for getting any young person started in a new language!

3) TuneIn Radio

tunein radio.png

A language learner's classic for natural input. This app and website lets you listen to radio stations from all around the world. It's perfect if you're at that stage where you're looking for a way to "level up" in your language. There are also podcasts, or you could search by favourite music style. The diverse voices of radio DJs and exciting foreign language music will give you a great new challenge.

4) Tiny Cards

This is a new app from the team behind Duolingo. It's all about adorable flashcards helping you review and check your knowledge on anything, from language vocab to colour theory. This promises to take the Duolingo design excellence to a new level. Great if you're looking for a new flashcard app.

5) Eggbun

Yes, it's another super cute app! This innovative little app works like a text chat, where you're chatting with your new friend "Eggbun", who is teaching you the Korean alphabet and language. If you're addicted to texting on your phone, here's an AI teacher who will reply anytime.

  • The app is out for Korean (iOS/Android), Japanese (iOS coming soon, but already out on Android), and soon coming out soon in Chinese. Get your preferred version from the lovely Eggbun website.

Honorary Mention

The All 4 App now has a wonderful "Walter Presents" range, bringing in comedies, dramas and crime shows in a really wide range of languages. If you're in the UK, you go and have a look.

Learn more about how to use TV to learn a language in podcast episode 31.

The Best Creative Language Learning Podcast Episodes

Here are our essential Creative Language Learning Podcast episodes you should not miss. It'll be a while before you're bored!

  • Futurelearn - free online courses provided by UK universities and organisations. They offer some language courses, including Dutch, Danish, Spanish, and Catalan Sign Language (!)
  • News in Slow French

Episode 38: The Best Tools for Language Learning in Spring/Summer 2016

Episode 38 is brought to you with friendly support from italki. Do visit their site and check out the awesome Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer to learn from native speakers today.

Kerstin and Lindsay bring you the ultimate Spring/Summer collection of language learning tools. We each nominated three things we regularly use for learning languages and discussed how to make them teach you a language.

"I'm not as good as I think I am - but that's a good thing because it motivates me to work harder." - Lindsay

And if that's not enough, we then went ahead and created our own language learning chart for you.

Listen to the show to find out our absolute top recommendation.

Here's a quick run-down of the charts:

1) Forvo

Forvo

This is the place you can go if you want to know how to pronounce a word in any language. It's even useful for finding out how to say a word (or a name) in your own language. Forvo's top pronounced words of March 2016 were Cruyff, Slaínte and Leicester.

This one is absolutely perfect for people who are curious and excited about language and how it works. In other words, language geeks like us. If you don't know it, forvo it.

2) Spotify

spotifylogo

Do you like one artist in your target language and want to explore more? Then Spotify is your best tool.

Here is our podcast's own Spotify Language Chart, created for the European Day of Languages 2015 live show.

3) Workflow and Evernote (IOS devices)

workflow

The app Workflow is a way for you to connect different apps on your IOS device to each other. Use it to save audio from anywhere on the internet and save it, so that you can access it offline no matter where you are.

We recommend Workflow for anyone who loves to tinker and build their own little systems for language learning.

Workflow also talks to the Apple watch - have you used it with the watch for flashcards or uploads? I'd love to hear your stories.

3) Snapchat

snapchat

Snapchat is a social network that allows you to use your phone's camera and create your day's story with videos and photos. Use it to practice speaking or snap new words in your target language.

This one is perfect if you're embarrassed to speak, because whatever you upload into Snapchat will disappear after 24 hours. We recommend Snapchat for younger learners, and anyone who loves using the camera on their smartphone.

4) Readlang

readlang

Readlang is an extension for your browser or an app for your mobile device, and it translates any website. With Readlang you can just tap on any word and it will translate it for you - and then you can save it for later or add to your flashcard system.

It makes language learning so much more interesting because you can look at anything that's relevant to YOUR life. We recommend this one for learners who are intermediate to advanced and want to maintain their language levels.

If you're a Welsh learner, there's a similar system built into the BBC Cymru website ("Vocab" button in the top right).

5) Google Sheets Translate

This is the best for anyone wanting to build word lists in several languages. Google Translate has now been added to Google Sheets, so what you can do is build a simple vocab list in a spreadsheet, then set all those words to auto-translate into another language.

Here's the detailed Google article explaining how to use this function.

If you have a csv file, you can even export from your favourite flashcard app and add it back in to google. It's perfect for polyglot learners who are working on several languages.

Honorary Mentions

Welsh-specific:

Everlasting Classics

italki, Memrise (Anki/Quizlet), HelloTalk

Do You Agree With Our Language Chart?

You can get in touch with us and tell us what you thought by

1) leaving us an iTunes review by visiting our itunes page and clicking "Ratings and Reviews"

2) using hashtag #cllp (or #kerstinyouold) on Twitter (I am @kerstinhammes and Lindsay is @ldlanguages).

And once again, thanks so much to our sponsors Italki - please support our show by visiting them today.

Language Learning Website AudioLingua Provides Free Audio In 10 Languages

Hey guys, it's Kerstin here - your new editor at Fluent! Well, really I'm still just Kerstin from Fluent, the Language Learning Blog, but I want to take a second and celebrate our new writers. I hope you like their contributions so far!

Today I just want to share a website with you that I've recently discovered. It's called AudioLingua and offers free native speaker audio on everyday topics and in 10 languages. What an absolute gem.

You can search the tracks by language, level, gender of the speaker, age of the speaker and their length. They are all submitted by real people, so that means natural language content and relevant topics and expressions. Here's an example in German at B1 level:

Using AudioLingua As A Tutor

In my own sessions, I've used the A1 content from different examples to practice listening with students. I left them to listen to various examples a few times, and then asked:

What do you know about the speaker?

When working with a student in 1 to 1, I have the great advantage that I can figure out exactly what they understood. I repeat difficult sections as many times as necessary and focus on specific words, giving hints and explaining as we go along. This way I can try and help students to find as much of the meaning as possible.

After discussing the text, I also put in some comprehension exercises such as "Did the speaker say she lives in Berlin?" and so on.

Depending on the level you're working with, these can also be great prompts for writing homework or for asking a student to prepare a spoken response.

How to Use AudioLingua As An Independent Learner

If you haven't got a teacher or language partner on hand, the most important thing is to remember that you have time - this means no skimming and no "I get the gist".

A few suggestions:

  • Select tracks at your level on the CEFR
  • Before you listen to a track, look at the description and note the themes, try and remember words you know about this subject and say them out loud
  • Have the first listen
  • Listen again, this time pausing the track and trying to make notes
  • On your third listen, things should start coming together. Now, I'd recommend that you type up your notes in a transcript and post them to a native speaking friend, a teacher or the community on italki to check yourself

Of course there is also a great option of downloading every track, so you'll be able to use them as podcasts on the go. Repeat the input more than you think is necessary - this sounds odd, but trust me that you should begin to get bored before you have really learnt the language.

Get Involved

Any native speaker can become a language teacher with AudioLingua. You can support this great project by recording yourself as you read out a simple text in your native language, and sending it to the AudioLingua project. Please go to this page to read the manual and the submission form. For such a great resource, I hope you'll find the time to submit a recording. I know I definitely will!

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent - The Language Learning Blog. Don't forget - if you sign up to our newsletter, you will receive a free Guide to the Best Language Learning Resources!