Worldwide wednesday| 2019-10-02 Triebl Zsuzsanna

Learning languages in ways you wouldn’t even dream about

We have gathered a few options how you can learn languages by making the most out of the Internet and without spending money on it -only spending your time, but without that it is not possible at all. 

A mother from Kecskemét has learned English in 3 days !!44!4!!

Of course, the doctors were frightened (like in spam advertisements) in case someone have lost 20 kg in one week or realized how to improve his hearing… (What a terribly scared population is the medical community…)

Learning languages beyond our studies at Semmelweis University can seem like a dream, but with a little energy invested and a lot of self-discipline, it can still be achieved. Below you can read about websites and applications, that can help you with this.

Duolingo

Who doesn’t want to learn languages without obsessing over memorizing grammer and words? That’s what Duolingo’s founder’s tried to and succesfully achieved. You can learn by „playing” on the website/app -the words and grammatical turns are interactively taught by Duo, the green owl. Each topic consists of lessons, in the lessons you have to solve about ten tasks,and you earn points for completing these.

It follows which words you have learned, the days you used the app, there is a dictionary in it too. In addition to the usual tasks, there is a podcast in a few languages. Upon completing tasks you are rewarded with stickers of a cultural icon collection. Once you view these stickers you can read a short story about it. Another new option is ‘stories’, where you have to solve tasks by following a fascinating story.

As of now we can only learn English in Hungarian, but with English 34 languages ​​are waiting for us, whereas extra tasks like Stories or Cultural-icons are only available in German, French and Spanish. We can even support our Latin studies with Duolingo every day! If we forget to do so, then the app will remind us for sure…

Duolingo’s freestanding applications, Tinycards, or Memrise can help you in learning even more words. With Memrise, you can create smart word cards, and with Tinycards, you can practice words taught by Duolingo.

Tumblr

As surprising as it may sound, Tumblr can be used for learning languages- it has a lot of sophisticated „studyblr” and „langblr threads”. List of words, grammatical examples and short texts are shared in these blogs. In a ‘masterpost’ many other blog posts are linked by bloggers, so this can even serve as a textbook. There are blogs, even on instagram, that contribute to our language learning with just one word a day: posting a nice picture alongside the word of the day, so that we can smuggle a little learning into the social media scrolling.

Wikipedia

It shouldn’t come as a surprise: Wikipedia articles can help too! 

It can replace textbooks if we have the desire to explore interesting or hard grammatical rules -for example there are long Wikipedia pages on the grammar of the most common languages in English,but even in Hungarian.

Simplified readings

It is extremely important to practice the learnt language since this is the only way to maintain the level a knowledge and that’s how we succed and it serves as motivation too. Simplified readings do the job perfectly -these can also be found online- or a lyrics of a well-known song in a different language. The latter is useful because it is easier to memorize often heard lyrics,also, it can help us pick up a couple of new expressions. Certain browser’s add-ons can aid us when it comes to reading in a different language online, with these it’s enough to just click on a word to get the translation -eg. with Google Chrome or Mate Translate.

Movies

The most common suggestion when someone decides to start learning a new language – although to grasp the entirety of a film or a TV show even with subtitles, one has to have a basic knowledge of the spoken language. That being said, not all hope is lost for complete beginners who would like to utilise the joy of watching movies: there is a huge amount of content designed to help beginners on youtube, more so, an entire sitcom,that is easy to understand even after a few weeks of learning. This sitcom is extr@ and it is available in Spanish, German, French and English. It isn’t exactly Oscar worthy, but definitely is worth a try.

The Uni’s language classes

It is not online, but still completely free of charge: the university runs language courses on terminology each year in many languages, These classes usually aim to help students who already possess a good command of the given language (intermediate and above), however the introductory classes are also available for students who just started learning their chosen language. Both of these modules are optional, therefor they are credit-bearing.

Why bother getting started?

It wouldn’t be too hard to write pages or maybe even books about the benefits of learning languages, but when we begin, that is hardly what seems most relevant. More likely, what comes to mind is that eventually we might fail because of lack of time, energy or motivation. Once you learn something, no one can ever take that away from you – at least not by violence, but of course time might just do that, slowly and subtly. It is always exciting to start getting to know a new language, it would be a pity to sacrifice this ecstatic and optimistic period because of pessimism. 

It’s worth trying to see how much easier it is now compared to when we made our first attempts in elementary school. They say we are most capable of learning new languages at a young age, but it would be outright outrageous to say young adults can not obtain new information – not to mention young adults’ advantage over children in terms of having a better understanding of grammar in general and previous experience with foreign languages. Of course, this only becomes a true advantage in case we choose a language similar to something we’ve already encountered – eg. speaking fluent Italian won’t help much when it comes to learning Japanese, then again it might mean the world when studying French.