Four great apps for learning ‘hard’ languages

May 25, 2016 • Apps & Software, Startups
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Alif Baa

Learning any language can be hard, but some – including Mandarin, Arabic, and Korean – have a reputation for being more difficult than others. With the popularity of apps, however, there has never been an easier time to pick up a new language – even if that includes learning a new alphabet.

The apps below are a great way of learning new languages that might appear to be too much of a challenge. However, considering there are over a billion Mandarin speakers to talk to, or vast corners of Russia to explore, no one wants to limit themselves by being scared of language. Check out the apps below to see where new languages could take you:

Arabic; Alif Baa

Alif Baa is a great app for learning the Arabic alphabet from scratch. The app focuses on the gamification of learning and includes flashcards, score sharing and interactive cards to help “users” learn the Arabic alphabet as easily as possible. We say “users” because, in reality, the app is aimed at helping children learn Arabic. In fact, it even boasts a function that allows parents to monitor and follow their children’s progress. However, what adult hasn’t enjoyed the occasional childish dalliance from time to time? Set aside any concerns and give it a go.

Find it here: Alif Baa

Russian; WordPower

WordPower is an app that provides students eager to learn all things cyrillic with the opportunity to build a foundation in the Russian language. The app contains 1,500 words and has a ‘record voice’ function that allows users to check their pronunciation against real Russian speakers. Flash cards make memory testing easy and fun, meaning that you’ll soon be talking like a true Russian in no time. Молодец!

Find it here: Learn Russian – WordPower

Mandarin; Fluentu

Fluentu is a pretty unique offering for those who want to learn Mandarin Chinese. The app takes a host of cool videos – including commercials, music videos and lectures – and uses them to fully immerse students into the Mandarin language. The app essentially turns traditional ‘textbook learning’ on its head, instead taking eager linguists on a journey that introduces them to real-life language situations. Users watch as real actors – not animations – pronounce words, helping their learning exponentially. However, flashcard fans can rest easy knowing they are available too.

Find it here: Fluentu

Korean; Pop Popping Korean

Another language from the Orient, Pop Popping Korean (PPK) is an app produced by Korea based Hansol Education Co., renowned experts in teaching foreigners about Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. The app is aimed at a demographic of foreigners and beginners, easing them gently into this beautiful language. The app has a few limitations – it is unsuitable for intermediate or advanced levels – but, most importantly, helps Korea fans to study mouth movements and more.

Find it here: Pop Popping Korean

Oliver Griffin

Oliver Griffin is a Staff Writer at Publicize, which is a startup aiming to change the way companies approach PR. Publicize has worked with a dozen+ Y Combinator startups and leading brands such as Hallmark Cards.

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