If back in the days learning English was not too exciting, now, thanks to technology and smartphones, students and non-native English speakers alike can learn our language in a fun and entertaining way. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of learning a foreign language, such as memory improvement, reduced risked of age-related cognitive decline, longer attention span and much more.
You’d be pleased to hear that there are numerous apps that you can use to improve your skills and learn English faster and better. Here are five apps that both students and teachers can use to build English skills anywhere and anytime using their mobile devices.
1. Merriam Websters Learner’s Dictionary
The Merriam Websters Learner’s Dictionary is perfect for an English learner. You can look for any word you want, the definitions are easy to understand, and it also gives you examples of sentences in which you can use a specific word. You can also choose to listen to the pronunciation of the word.
What is great about this application is the ‘speak to text’ feature which allows you to do a voice search for the words that you do not know the spelling of. Another feature, ‘the word of the day’ will give you new words to learn each day so that you can enrich your vocabulary.
Duolingo is a very efficient app that will help you learn English quickly. Even if you used this app for only 20 minutes each day, you would be able to speak English at a beginner level in a very short time. In each lesson, you will be taught seven new words based on a certain topic, such as school, education, adjectives, science, etc. You have a specific number of exercises to do in each lesson, such as matching new words with a picture, translating an English phrase into your native language or repeating a phrase in English.
To keep you from forgetting what you learn, at the end of the week you will have an exercise to practice the words you had problems with. By spending 20 minutes per day you will be able to complete all the lessons offered by Duolingo in about three months. This app is highly recommended for beginners, and you will learn about 1,500 new words in English.
3. Word Whizzle
Word Whizzle is a fun game that will make you an expert in word recognition and spelling. Each level has a theme so that you will learn vocabulary more effectively and in an organized way. For example, you are given the hint WET, and the letters you get are PDAM to create the word DAMP. If you are not sure what the word is you can check the Merriam Websters Learner’s Dictionary. Simply type the word ‘wet’ and you will find ‘damp’ as a synonym for this word. This game helps you to learn new vocabulary, practice spelling and identify synonyms.
What better way to learn English than having a chat with a native speaker? With Busuu you can learn English by having live conversations with people from English speaking countries. You have a video recording system, so that you can exchange video conversations with your new friend. This is an interactive method that is not only fun, but it also helps to improve your pronunciation skills faster compared to other methods because your language partner will correct you when you’re wrong.
The app gives you the opportunity of having live conversations, but with the premium package, you can also benefit from grammar lessons. With all these features, you can practice reading, speaking, writing, and listen, so you’ll get a balanced way to learn English.
You are already familiar with Instagram, and you use it to share your best pictures. But did you also know that it’s very useful in learning English? You can access videos, infographics and real life pictures, as well as mini-lessons and daily tips. You can learn real, every-day English from native speakers so that you will become familiar with slang, grammar, pronunciation, idioms and much more.
So how exactly can you learn English on Instagram? You can use the #hasthtag search feature to find information that is relevant to you. You can use for example #englishgrammar to find pictures and users posting about the topic. Or use the word ‘English’ to find those with this word in their names. Some of the accounts that you can check are:
#Better English – where you can find teacher Dan who offers various videos on grammar, idioms or phrasal verbs to improve your language
#Elena Mutonono – she will help you understand the English pronunciation and speak better with real pictures, whiteboards lessons, infographics, and videos.
#BubbleBeeTV – if you are a visual learner you can find on this account videos and infographics with English tips and a variety of vocabulary on various topics.
The best way to learn English is to go to an English speaking country. But when this is not possible or if you want to gain a little confidence before going there, these apps are a good way to start. They are created to different needs, depending on the level that you want to achieve. Some help you learn English at a basic level, while others help you expand your vocabulary and brush up on the verbs. These apps are cheaper that having a tutor, taking a course or investing in textbooks, so why not give them a try?