TALKING LE PARLER
I was in Paris on business a couple of weeks ago for a very important meeting. Having spent a few days preparing material, considering potential outcomes and fixes I bowled up ready for action.
I was greeted by my host/potential client and was unpleasantly surprised that his command of English was not brilliant! How arrogant I felt. Although English is regarded as the universal language of commerce it is still many people’s second or indeed third language.
Anyway the meeting and presentation went pretty well, I think, and I came away with the brief to cost up the project. I also came away with the resolution to at least try and learn some French. So I took to Google to see what was the best (let’s face it I mean easiest) online language course.
In the so called global market place Corporate Events have been ahead of the curve on international communication and lots of you guys will probably chat away in a second, or more, languages.
If however you, like me, are keen to learn a language with as little time and effort as possible here’s the top 5 according to www.fluentu.com
1. Babbel ($6.95 – $12.95/month)
Babbel is perfect for fans of Duolingo who want to learn Russian or Norwegian (Babbel currently has 14 languages as compared to Duolingo’s nine). For $12.95 a month you get a fun, game-like structure that is accessible on your smartphone, and access to a learner’s community that can help make your adventure a little more social.
2. Duolingo (Free)
Duolingo is perhaps one of the more well-known options on this list. Designed more like a game than a course, Duolingo is a fun way to squeeze in language learning on your lunch breaks or whenever you would otherwise be playing Candy Crush. Duolingo focuses on making language learning intuitive. Did we mention you can connect with friends and family through Facebook? You are forewarned—things can get strangely competitive with distant cousins and passive-aggressive co-workers.
3. ELanguageSchool (Free)
Another free resource with lessons in 15 languages, ELanguageSchool is also ideal for learners who like to focus on written instruction. Without a doubt the best features of ELanguageSchool are its long lists of commonly used nouns and verbs, and the site’s surprising lack of ads.
4. Fluent in 3 Months ($97)
This is polyglot super-star Benny Lewis’s brainchild. As someone who has learned seven languages and has been traveling the globe for over a decade, he has tons of tricks and resources to help you hack your way through language learning. A premium subscription to his site works best for those who want to learn how to become lifelong language learners rather than learn a specific language.
5. FluentU (Free – $18/month)
FluentU’s unique platform focuses on language immersion, which is something language learners of all levels need. It lets you learn using fun videos and real-world context. Did you ever want to sing along to “Let It Go” in German, or watch a crash course in world geography in Japanese? FluentU makes this entertaining approach personal by integrating new words into its “learn mode,” which uses interactive games to teach vocabulary and track your progress. I bet you never knew learning could be so fun and yet feel so effective!