The Best Language Learning Tools for Summer 2017

language tools 2017

Welcome to Creative Language Learning Podcast episode 56, with our popular roundup of this season's hottest language learning resources and tools.

Pop Culture Moment

Lindsay has been watching Terrace House, a Japanese reality tv show.

Vocab shown right on the screen

Neis iawn!

I found Bore Da, a Welsh breakfast show that displays key vocab right on the screen. Its app even gives you individual items with associated vocab lists.

Anyone remember pop-up video? How could would it be to have pop-up vocab video?!

And now for the top tools

Grab your sunglasses, get out into the sunshine, and try these brand new language learning resources. This season, we're not all about online learning anymore as you'll hear how Lindsay and I are applying our best tips outside too.

1) Prettier Notes

Enough of boring notebooks! Enhance your language learning and release creative instincts by engaging in prettier notemaking. No matter if you're a bullet journal artist or simply want to doodle on your vocab, pretty notes are a must-have for summer 2017.

2) Clozemaster

Do you like arcade games? Then Clozemaster's retro arcade style is going to be right up your street. This addictive desktop app shows you sentences and asks you to fill in the gap, and even allows for language pairs other than [target language] + English. Only downside: No audio. Great range of languages including Georgian, Kazakh, Welsh, Galician, name it!

3) Charity Shops and Library Sales

Who needs screens when you can browse so many affordable shelves right nearby? If you're after a big brand textbook like Teach Yourself or Pimsleur, or if you simply need a little inspiration away from your computer, take a tenner out to the charity shop and see what you come back with.

And when you're done, you can donate your own resources to other upcoming polyglots.

And here's what's awesome too.

Live Lingua Project

This site brings together a huge archive of language courses for free. The courses are from the American Peace Corps, Foreign Services Institute, and Defense Language Institute.

Dubbed YouTube Videos

Watching a familiar scene from a show with audio in your target language is fun and super useful for learners of any language. Of course you can get lots of DVDs in other languages, but if you're on an exotic language like Guaraní you might draw a blank there. YouTube can help, so have a look and see if you can find out dubbed channels for your target language.

You can enjoy everything from Powerpuff Girls in Finnish to Gossip Girl in Portuguese.

  • Need inspiration? Start your search with disney classic "Let It Go"
  • Type your favourite show + your target language into the YouTube search bar

Subasub and Subscene

See and hear how words in your target language are used in context with these huge subtitle directories.

Subasub lets you search over 750,000 dialogues in movies and compare different language versions side by side.

Subscene is a directory of subtitles for tv shows, films, and even music videos...and its range of languages is impressive. Advanced geeks can even create their own Anki cards using the subtitles on offer (we saw a talk about this at the Polyglot Gathering, but it kinda went over my head -- if you want to go for it, start here.

  • Search for a word or watch a movie while following the script to get the most out of this for learning languages
  • Check out this example of scripts mentioning Twin Peaks in English and Spanish

Have you tried any of these tools and tips? Are your notes a sight for sore eyes? And how is your local library or charity shop delivering?

We can't wait to hear from you, so go ahead and share your pictures and stories in the comments!