Everybody wants to be a polyglot, but don't nobody wanna train like one.
Doesn't matter how many Chinese For Dummies books you pick up in the hopes of absorbing them in your sleep: the fact is, language learning is generally hard work. There's no way to cram it all in the night before the exam. No, it takes a certain amount of hours invested into verb conjugation, pronunciation practice, and orthographical details in order to claim actual mastery over a second (or a third or a fourth) language.
Everyone knows the actual best way to learn is total immersion; feel free to hitch a plane to immerse yourself totally in your target language, if you've got money to burn and no responsibilities. Alternatively, sure, you could sign yourself up for a semester of classes back home, but there's little more boring than endless hours of language homework drudgery. So: where do you find the requisite hours needed to master the difference between poison and poisson?
The answer's in the palm of your hand. The average adult these days spends at least 3 hours and 16 minutes a day on his or her mobile phone (curious how you stack up against the average? The QualityTime app will track your usage and let you know just how many precious minutes you're losing to Candy Crush) - why not use a slice of that time to effortlessly pick up a new language?
Equip your Android with a selection of these five Android apps to quickly, easily learn a second language and you'll be bantering with the locals over a nice cold Bier (or pivo, or øl, or garagardoa, or cervesa, or...) in no time.
The Semper devs claim that the average smartphone user unlocks their device at least 32 times daily; Locket devs put it at a much higher 110 unlocks each and every day. Regardless of the exact number, why not take advantage of the half-a-second action to quickly learn or review a word in your new language?
Tell Semper your language of choice and you'll get a mini vocabulary puzzle to solve every time you unlock your phone, making language learning something you're doing constantly throughout your day. The app also offers math and general knowledge practice.
The standout feature: you can create your own study packs so that you can review specific material, share those packs with friends, and search packs that other users have created spanning everything from Esperanto to Euskara.
Duolingo is a classic, included on practically every digital language learning for very good reason. It requires more active participation than some of the other apps on this list, but the effort is way more fun than musty old textbooks ever were.
Duolingo is gamification of language learning. Acquiring language skills becomes fun via playing games and leveling up. You lose hearts à la video games for incorrect answers and rack up points for correct ones. Mastering prepositions becomes a quest for a badge.
Tons of language-lovers worldwide are constantly contributing to making it better, and it's completely, totally, 100% free.
Over 300,000 courses. Over 100 languages. If it's not on Memrise, it's (probably) not worth learning.
Memrise combines a professionally designed system to help you learn, review, and retain vast bodies of knowledge (like languages) with crowdsourced study programs. That means an enormous range of fields of study, all ranked by the huge userbase so you know which courses are the best of the bunch.
No need to keep a complicated set of flashcards; the app's got your back so you don't forget anything you've already learned. The Memrise team uses science to ping you with already acquired words just as they're about to go rusty.
Podcasts are the ultimate in fun, effort-free learning, and Pocket Casts is head and shoulders the best player app out there.
If you've never popped your head into the world of podcasts before, you're in for a treat. There is almost certainly a program out there in your target language that hits precisely your field of interest. Whether it's the French techno scene or Thai pop culture, there are podcasts for it ripe for practicing your listening skills.
Pocket Casts is both podcast search engine and player. Load it up with a selection of cool shows in your language of choice and learn through absorption as you go about your day.
Even if you do successfully study in a classroom, you'll likely end up with great Reading and Writing skills - but you'll get little to no Speaking practice. That's where Hello Pal comes in.
Get instantly connected with real users around the world to speak to them in their native language, starting from the very first moment. Use Hello Pal's phrasebook to help you build meaningful interchanges even if you're starting with the very basics.
Connecting with actual native speakers is by far the most effective way to learn a language. And don't panic: conversations aren't in real time, so you have as long as you need to respond. Think of it like Words With Friends for language learning: a turn-by-turn challenge to figure out what to say next.