Are you interested in expanding your horizons? Have you ever wanted to learn another language? It can be hard to wade through the myriad language-learning websites, programs, and apps available online, to decide which option is best for you. Luckily, the library can help! We’ve rounded up a few of the best resources, available for free or through the library, that will get you on the path to language fluency (or at least, familiarity!) in no time.
LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
First, check out the library database Mango Languages. All you need is your library card number and PIN to create a login for this comprehensive, easy-to-use site with 70+ languages offered, as well as movies and specialty courses such as “Carnival of Venice” in Italian, “Feng Shui” in Chinese, or “Oktoberfest” in German. And speaking of foreign languages, if you think you don’t have the time to learn a new language, try the Pomodoro Technique. A proven productivity hack, the Pomodoro Technique simply breaks down your work into timed intervals (“Pomodoros”) spaced out by short breaks, helping you to stay focused on your task. The timer used by the developer of this method is shaped like a tomato (“pomodoro” means “tomato” in Italian), but any timer works. You can even use an app on your phone or tablet. See, you’re already learning!
Another important aspect of language learning is practicing every day, as the homepage of the free program Duolingo points out. The free app that you can install on your phone or tablet reminds every day to practice and lowers acquired skill levels he longer you ignore it so you lose "fluency" with every day you don't practice your chosen language. Although it can feel odd to be chided by an app for ignoring it, it's remarkably effective. It also has a fun design that is especially useful for short blocks of time like a bus ride or a wait in a doctor's office. Instead of just sitting around, you can check off your daily language practice with some quick vocabulary review, anywhere you find yourself.
For the more video-inclined, don’t forget about YouTube - there are thousands of free online videos created by native language speakers that present short conversations and vocabulary tips or delve more deeply into grammatical points. Find a few and subscribe, then see which ones work for you.
TRAVEL THE WORLD
Finally, before you head off to your glamorous foreign vacation, make sure you learn a bit about the country you’re visiting. The library has tons of travel guidebooks, and if we don’t have what you’re looking for, request it! Or maybe you just want some basic info. In that case, check out our country guides database Global Road Warrior for accurate facts and in-depth articles about almost any country in the world, including cultural courtesies, human rights reports, national cuisine (with recipes!), embassy locations, and much more. Even if you don’t have your plane ticket yet, this database is a great source for inspiration and exploration. Just like the library!