Monday, December 18, 2017

10 Resources for Improving Your Language Learning Productivity by Chris Richardson

When learning a new language, you have several essential skills to improve. Most of all, you’re focused on reading, writing, listening, and speaking. That’s what all language learning programs revolve around.

What about productivity? It’s an aspect of the language learning journey we often tend to ignore. We expect the structured program to give everything we need to learn the language. However, the effort we put into this goal on a daily basis is crucial for developing all language skills. 

Productivity is all about learning more in a shorter period of time. How do you boost it? Here are 10 resources that will get you on the right track.

1. Forvo

With Forvo, you listen to the way words are pronounced in your target language. The recordings are by native speakers.

How does this improve your productivity? Forvo gives helps you understand the genuine speech. With regular practice, you’ll master the foreign language much more effectively.

2. Couchsurfing

You will truly become a fluent speaker of a foreign language when you hang out with natives.

Thanks to Couchsurfing, traveling doesn’t have to cost much. You can connect with people from your country of interest as well as welcome other travelers into your home. They will help you learn some of their language, too.

3. Google Calendar

You’ll become a fluent speaker only if you turn language learning in your daily routine. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a student or a worker; you can always find some space for this practice during the day.

Use Google Calendar to plan each day really carefully. You'll need at least half an hour for learning new words, phrases, and grammar rules every single day. This practice should also include writing, listening, and speaking.

This is a book that every foreign language learner should have in their home library. It helps you develop a strategic approach towards this process. The author explores the most common issues that language learners face and provides effective solutions.

5. Amazon

Speaking of books, you have to read more of them. Start with children’s books in your target language. These can help you boost your vocabulary and master grammar in its most essential form. From there on, you can continue with books written by local authors. This can help you understand the culture of the country, too. Where do you get these books? Amazon is the answer.


What about the writing part? How do you get more productive? If you work with professional writers, you’ll understand the essay format easily. Plus, they can clarify grammar and vocabulary issues for you. Essay Geeks puts you in direct contact with talented writers. 

7. Skype

What if you can’t afford to travel? Well, there’s another way to connect with native speakers. Use Skype! Your friends online can make you a more effective learner by correcting your mistakes. You can listen to proper pronunciation and practice with them. Practice is the best way to improve how quickly you learn. 

8. Italki

Do you find it difficult to connect with native speakers via Skype? Are you too shy to introduce yourself and start a conversation? This is where italki can help. This is a platform where language learners from all around the world come together to connect with native speakers. You’ll still use Skype to talk, but connecting with new people is much simpler.

In addition to native speakers for practice, you can also find native language teachers on italki. They will give you one-on-one lessons, which will definitely make you more fluent in your target language.

The Internet is a source of endless distractions. Instead of spending half an hour learning, you end up scrolling through Instagram for an entire hour. That has to stop!

Strict Workflow is a Google Chrome extensions that will block all distracting websites for 25 minutes. You’ll use those 25 minutes for learning. Then, you’ll get a break of 5 minutes. You can use it to scroll to Instagram or do whatever you want before you get back to learning.

10. Duolingo

Duolingo is both a language learning and a productivity tool. When you’re learning a language on your own, you absolutely need a structured program. Duolingo gives you that structure. You get learning modules and practice sessions. It encourage you to work every single day, too. That’s how it makes you a more productive learner. 

Have you ever wondered how your productivity affected the language learning process? It’s crucially important! Your approach helps you learn the language faster and more effectively. Fortunately, there are tools that will amplify your productivity. Have you tried some of them? Do you have another tool to suggest? Share your ideas!                                                                                                           

Chris Richardson is a journalist, editor, and a blogger. He loves to write, learn new things, and meet new outgoing people. Chris is also fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Follow him on Facebook and Google+.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Languages Online: The Best of November 2017

Here are our favourite stories about language from last month. Let's dive straight in...

10: 6 Steps To Listen Your Way To A Better Accent In Any Language on I Will Teach You a Language

If you're struggling with accurately replicating the accent in your foreign language, this article shows you how to do it by just listening. While it only features 4 steps when we first published it on our Facebook Page, two more steps have been added. This article just keeps on giving.

9: Kazakhstan Is Changing Its Alphabet - Here's Why on The Independent

This article covers the news that Kazakhstan is looking to adopt the Latin alphabet. While the country has traditionally used the Russian Cyrillic script, decisions have been made to use the same alphabet as many countries in the West do in order to improve the country's global integration.

8: J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' Translated To Scots, Marking 80th Language on NPR

Harry Potter fans north of the border (if you're in the UK) should rejoice at the news that the first book has been translated into Scots. You should listen to the interview on NPR to hear a sample of it.

There's been a lot of buzz about Google's headphones and how they'll do away with translators by giving everyone access to live interpreting wherever they go. However, as Business Insider found out, they're not ideal.

While you wouldn't say that the Latin alphabet and the Cyrillic script are the same (Kazakhstan is looking to change from the latter to the former, after all), there are a number of characters in both that have very common roots. In this article, you'll find out why there are so many similarities between human writing systems.

5: No more middots: French PM clamps down on gender-neutral language on The Guardian

The French language's latest controversy comes in the form of gender. French is now trying to include gender-neutral versions of words to rectify the problem with middots, a punctuation mark that looks like a full-stop but in the middle of a line. Traditionalists, including the French PM, are not happy.

4: Five languages Brexit Britons should learn on Financial Times

Without trying to speculate on the future of the UK, it's fair to say that it probably wouldn't be able to survive as an isolated nation like North Korea. This means that languages are still going to be useful in the future and here's an interesting article on which languages might be useful for those in the UK.

If you're like me and you hate business English, you should definitely check out this article. Unfortunately, it looks like the ridiculous use of English employed in offices and boardrooms around the country isn't going anywhere, though.

Which is the most spoken language in the world? Should you just count native speakers or should you consider how many people speak it as a foreign language? What about those who learn the language as a foreign language? There are a lot of questions to answer just to answer a seemingly-simple question. This article aims to address a few of them.

1: A ‘critical juncture’ for language learning in the UK on Times Higher Education

Our most popular article this month was on the future of learning languages in the UK. As you may have heard, the UK is leaving the European Union. With a potentially-massive political shift occurring, the UK has a lot of questions to answer about how it's going to conduct itself in the future and how it teaches foreign languages is one of the biggest questions.

Were there any great language articles in November that we missed? Feel free to tell us and our readers about them in the comments below.

Monday, December 4, 2017

How to Get Better at Speaking a Foreign Language by Brenda Berg

Learning a foreign language can be difficult at the best of times and it’s thought that the older we get, the harder it gets. However, thanks to the internet, there are tonnes of resources readily available at the click of the button that can help us learn a new language in ways that was never before possible.
To help you get started, here’s everything you need to know to help you improve your ability to speak a foreign language.

Practice, Practice, Practice

As with anything in life, the only way you’ll be able to learn to speak a language fluently is to set aside the time to practice. This means practising every day, even if it’s only for half an hour some days. Any practice is better than no practice.

Video Conferencing Software

Programs like Skype have never been more accessible to people all over the world so why not use this to your advantage? By using social media and video chat, you can connect with like-minded people from around the world who may speak another language and want to learn yours.

“This is a great way to learn as you can then speak to each other, teaching each other the language as you go. This is a great way to learn about someone else’s culture, and you might even make a new friend!” Martin Dulmer, language tutor at Academized.

Smartphone Apps

To list all the language learning smartphone apps for both Android and iOS would take all day (although the best are listed below). However, there's definitely an app out there that that'll work for you.

Simply head over to the Play Store or the App Store, search ‘language apps’ and simply see what comes up! You can start with the best and easy apps such as HelloTalk and Memrise. But that’s not all great apps you can find.

Watch Foreign Media

Thanks to the internet, you can now have access to all kinds of films, movies and TV series from around the world, directly to your computer. By streaming them to your TV, you can learn how to speak a foreign language.

Imagine watching Spanish TV all day every day instead of English TV? It’s actually a great way to learn, especially if you’re watching something that you know in English because you already know what they’re talking about. With YouTube you can even choose what to watch.

Using Conversation Clubs

Much like searching for an individual online to speak to or using social media, forums, and chatrooms, you’ll also be able to find lots of conversation clubs that you can join to chat with locals from all over the world.

These can be a great way to meet other people, make new friends, learn about a new culture and learn a language!

Using Tools & Resources

As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of resources online to make speaking a new foreign language as easy as possible. Here’s a few to get you started.


This is a comprehensive language learning website with 12 unique languages to get you started. In addition to speaking help, you’ll also be able to practice reading and writing.


Babbel is home to over 15 language training programs and is very heavily in the visual learning styles, using pictures and photos to help you remember words and sentences.


This is a free blog you can use to improve your grammar in English and other languages.


With over 26 languages available, DuoLingo is one of the most popular learning platforms and is used by people all around the world. You can even learn on the go while using the app.

Flashcard Apps

There are plenty of flashcard apps and websites out there that can help you to learn how to speak a language quickly and fluently with flashcards. Write down a sentence that you want to remember or learn and then writing the English version on the other side, making it super easy to have all the information you need in one place.

As you can see, there are so many options available to you when it comes to improving your language speaking skills when using the internet. All you need to do is find the one that works best for you.

Brenda Berg is a professional with over 15 years of experience in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship. Consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs at Oxessays and Paper fellows. Brenda is also a part-time educator and Editor in Chief at Big assignments
She believes that constant learning is the only way to success. You can visit her personal blog at