News: Learn a New Language While Stuck at Home Under Quarantine

Learn a New Language While Stuck at Home Under Quarantine

There's only so much Netflix and TikTok a person can take in quarantine before they've had enough. We've only just started our stay-at-home lifestyle, but already TV and movies are getting old. The COVID-19 lockdown doesn't just have to be a mindless watch party, so why not take the time to learn a new language?

The following apps all have one goal in mind: to get you speaking a brand new language. Some are mostly free, while others require payment, but they're all designed to help you break out from your mother tongue. Hey, maybe when the new coronavirus outbreak is all over, you can go try out your new language skills in another country!

App 1: Duolingo

There's not likely a language learning app better known than Duolingo, and for good reason. The app has offered intensive yet simple language lessons for years without asking for a cent. So long as you're good with some ads here and there, you can learn Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese — you name it — all for free.

You'll find quick lessons that build skills over time, so you aren't entirely thrown into the wilderness right away. The helpful timeline view shows your progress and makes it easy to see which areas you might need to keep working on to reach your language goals.

App 2: Drops

Like Duolingo, Drops is a free language learning app that uses fun, bite-sized lessons to help you learn one of its 36 offered languages. The difference here, however, is that Drops' lessons are five minutes and five minutes only. Once you complete a lesson, that's it. You'll need to wait until the next day (at least for the free version). That might sound limiting, but on the other hand, it could be more encouraging for daily use. (Who doesn't have five minutes to spare during a pandemic?)

Drops' lessons are fun and unique; it puts a word or phrase on the screen and asks you to match it with a corresponding image. That way, you start to associate the language to the visual, which will help cement the language in your brain.

App 3: Babbel

Babbel offers 14 languages for you to learn, more than enough to keep you occupied at home. I really enjoyed the "Past experience" question when starting a new language. It's always great to see an app take into account your existing knowledge of a language, instead of just throwing you right into beginner's status.

Babbel isn't as free as Duolingo or Drops, as you need to subscribe to unlock all of its lessons. But you do get a wide variety for free, likely enough to get you started on your language adventure.

App 4: Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone has long been a titan in the language learning arena. However, it always came with a hefty price tag, and only for one language at a time. Now, you can access all of Rosetta Stone's languages on your phone for free, with a limited plan, of course.

The limited plan isn't even that limited, especially for an app that normally charges an arm and a leg. Instead, you get to choose a "theme" for your language, like "Basics and Beyond" or "Travel." Once you choose a theme, you can practice for 30 minutes a day, five days per week, for six weeks. Not too shabby.

Rosetta Stone is also holding a COVID-19 promotion, where students around the world can get three months of its premium service for free. Sign up on its site.

  • Install Rosetta Stone: Android (free) | iOS (free)

App 5: LingoDeer

LingoDeer is a unique entry on the list because it isn't an all-inclusive learning app. Instead, the app specializes in Asian languages, starting new learners off with languages and grammar they might not be accustomed to with their native language.

The app does a great job offering different tiers of lessons, as well. If you have some experience in one of the supported languages, you don't need to start off from the beginning. You can choose to go more intermediate or even build up your conversations if you're already fluent.

The service is also offering to unlock all premium features during the coronavirus outbreak for 30 days. While it's not free, it will only cost one dollar. Use code "REMOTE" when signing up.

App 6: Beelinguapp

It might have a clever pun for a name, but Beelinguapp is the real deal. The app takes a story, puts it in two languages, then has you read both at the same time. You prioritize reading the language you want to learn, falling back on your native language for any words or phrases you don't understand.

Beelinguapp also comes with narration for stories, so you can listen to how the words are supposed to be pronounced as you read. Glossaries are also included to give you a quick reference to essential words you might not know.

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Cover image and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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