Typical bucket lists include such standard items as ziplining, swimming with dolphins, visiting the Galapagos Island and learning a new language. For Canadians temporarily sequestered under COVID-19 quarantine, learning a new language will have to do for now.
And why not? Learning a new language literally expands the mind — part of the left hemisphere of the brain in particular — while improving memory and creativity. It also pumps up your resumé and expands business opportunities. Learning French, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, German, Japanese, Korean, Hindi or Portuguese can empower you to connect with new business partners, source new products or establish a new business venture in another country.
Here are eight online products and resources you can use to begin speaking, reading and writing a new language for business today:
Language expert Gabriel Wyner won’t teach you a new language, but he’ll offer tried and tested tools that will help you learn and retain a new language and ensure fluency in the shortest time possible. Learn the four essential stages of language acquisition: understanding correct pronunciation; building vocabulary and grammar skills; reading and listening effectively and conversing with native speakers. Just $9.99 allows you to access 31 lectures and 13.5 hours of content for a lifetime.
A $ 159-lifetime subscription to the popular Babbel language product provides more than 10,000 hours of top-quality language education to help you learn 14 languages, including Spanish, French, Italian and German. Babbel begins with developing conversational skills. Instruction is offered in 10 to 15-minute bite-sized lessons, allowing you to access and complete the program at your own pace. Speech recognition technology keeps you honest as you perfect your pronunciation.
While it was never designed to teach us how to speak Basque or Danish, Google’s handy web-based translation tool does a creditable job of translating written text from one language to another. The translations are more objective than subjective, but who can argue with free?
An affordable $99-lifetime subscription to uTalk allows you to access this product’s entire library of 140 languages, and learn those languages from any device, any time. You can learn practical vocabulary and listen to the way that native speakers actually sound, so you can be easily understood anywhere. Slow down selections from native speakers until you perfect your pronunciation. You’re not limited to lessons in English. Select your language of instruction and pick your target language of choice.
Hola! Cómo estás? Everybody learns a language at a different pace. Language Zen’s unique approach involves adapting to your unique learning style as it packs the equivalent of an entire semester of post-secondary Spanish language education into just 25 hours. ¡Ay, caramba! Just $79 gets you a lifetime subscription to personalized Spanish language training.
Open Culture aggregates free cultural and educational material from around the globe, including links to resources for learning 48 languages, including Icelandic, Dutch and Japanese.
Presto, presto! The Complete 30-Day Italian Language Learning Bundle provides hours of instruction in lessons as short as three minutes to help you learn Italian quickly. And it costs only $25.99, less than the price of a gourmet Neapolitan pizza.
MosaLingua promises to help you to learn a foreign language in as little as 10 minutes a day, concentrating on the most important keywords and expressions and helping you commit them to long-term memory. A $77-lifetime subscription allows you to access instruction in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Russian forever. Ace these lessons like a boss and MosaLingua will even offer you a printable certificate of fluency in your language of choice.
Ziad Youssef Fasah, who was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, claims to speak 59 languages from Albanian to Vietnamese. While few of us have the chops to challenge him for the language crown, a few weeks well spent with one of these resources should help you develop the skills you need to ask him how he did it in the language of your choice.
Prices subject to change.
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