Conjugemos is a website that drills verb conjugations, vocabulary, and grammar. You can choose to either drill different skills through typing the answers in a flashcard-like system, or through various games such as crosswords, memory, word search, and multiplayer games.
While it is free for anyone to use, additional resources are available to teachers through a paid plan.
It should be noted that although the site technically supports Korean learners, the Korean section only has one activity in the present tense.
Language learning with Netflix
If you want to make language learning more accessible while watching Netflix, this chrome extension is for you.
The free version allows you to skip subtitles forward and backward in case you didn’t catch what was said, and you can also choose to automatically pause the movie or show after each subtitle. The full transcript is also displayed on the side. By hovering over a word you can see a short translation and hear an audio pronunciation, or you can click on the word for more context and further links to various dictionary sites.
With a Pro membership you can save words or phrases, receive translations that are closer to the meaning in the original language, and create subtitles for dubbed movies.
LLN’s catalogue can help you find Netflix movies or shows with high-quality subtitles to improve your experience,
Brainscape is a flashcard app that uses a Spaced Repetition System, also often referred to as ‘adaptive flashcards’, to help you memorize new vocabulary and facts. It has a team of scientists, engineers, and education experts working to optimize their program for effective learning.
Brainscape is quite similar to Anki, but has a more modern and colourful interface. They also have Certified Classes, which are decks that seem to have been developed by experts in the chosen topic. The app adds what they call Intelligent Cumulative Exposure (ICE) to some of their Certified Classes; it seems to combine a Spaced Repetition System with gradually introducing new concepts, increasing the difficulty of the concepts, and providing context so you can build your own sentences.
It has several Certified Classes for various languages (and other topics), and many more decks created by users. Unlike Anki, edits that creators make to user decks seem to sync up even after you have downloaded the deck.
With the free version, you have limited access to premium decks but unlimited access to user-made decks.
Cooljugator is a free online verb conjugation dictionary for over 40 languages, with special attention to languages without existing free resources. Besides conjugated forms, the website also provides examples, English translations, pronunciation hints, related verbs, and more. On each page, you can also read the translation for your chosen verb into every other language available on the site. Unfortunately, there are no audio files to help you with pronunciation, but maybe that will change in the future.
You can directly search for conjugations, or if you’re looking for inspiration, every language has a list of the most common verbs to choose from. On that same page, you can read some facts and a brief overview of what verb conjugation looks like in your chosen language.
Although Cooljugator is 100% free, you can purchase the creator’s other project, Interlinear Books, to learn languages through stories.
If you would like to practice verb conjugations for some common languages, check out Conjuguemos, another free resource with verb conjugation games. Also, SpanishDict is probably more appropriate for Spanish learners because of the extensive resources and activities that accompany their sections on verb conjugation.
iTranslate is a dictionary, thesaurus, and phrasebook. At first glance, it seems similar to Google Translate’s free app, but a couple of extra paid features make a big difference.
Like with Google Translate, you can take pictures of text in your surroundings, such as signs or newspapers, and receive instant translations into your native language. It differs in that you can also take pictures of objects in your surroundings and receive translations into your target language (although it’s not clear what the boundaries are on this function).
Two people who don’t speak the same language can use iTranslate Converse as a mediator between them, translating each sentence to create a transcript on their phone (with a slight delay). You can also use the iTranslate Keyboard in any texting app to receive instant translations.
To get the most out of your subscription, iTranslate includes five different apps that can support language learning and communication through text, voice, and games. Although iTranslate translates into over 100 languages, check the website to verify which languages are supported in the other apps.
iTranslate seems suitable for traveling and communication in different languages. If all you need is a dictionary to support your studies, try WordReference and Linguee, or Pleco for Chinese and SpanishDict for Spanish.
The Portuguese Lab Academy has step-by-step online courses, beginner and intermediate podcasts, and YouTube videos to support you in learning European Portuguese.
The Academy is a thorough, self-paced course that will teach you reading, listening, speaking and writing. There is a section dedicated to pronunciation, plus additional sections on vocabulary, listening comprehension, dialogues, verb conjugation, and A1-B2 content. The course uses a variety of mediums, such as articles, short stories, videos, and audio recordings to keep you engaged. Portuguese Lab is one of the few online courses that gives you in-depth previews of its contents. If you are already interested, the website will help you make an informed decision.
Many of the free podcast episodes tell engaging stories and reenact interesting dialogues, but others are limited to lists of new vocabulary without much context or integration into something memorable. Nevertheless, it’s worth doing some digging to find the category of podcasts that works for you. The YouTube videos are essentially podcasts accompanied by a transcript, and some of them are samples from the Academy courses.
If you want to learn practical European Portuguese that you can use in everyday communication, the Portuguese Lab has comprehensive tools to help you achieve your goal. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive, so you may want to check out Practice Portuguese as an equally high-quality alternative.
YouGlish is a website that has indexed millions of video clips to put words in context for language learners. After searching for a word in your target language, you will see a YouTube video with subtitles and your target word highlighted in yellow. When you have heard the word, you can continue listening to the video or move on to the next example. You can also slow down the speed of the audio, click on a sentence in the transcript to replay it, or skip backwards 5 seconds to listen again. Sometimes you can watch over 1000 videos with your target word, other times there may only be a couple dozen available.
Some languages also allow you to choose between different regional dialects, such as: French from Canada or France; Chinese from Taiwan or China; and Spanish from Spain or Latin America.
You will need to search for the word in your target language, so you can check out WordReference or Linguee to get a translation. Forvo also provides audio clips of native speaker pronunciation, but with YouGlish, you can practice listening to these words in context.
If you want help with reading the subtitles, you can download Readlang for on-screen translations. The Zhongwen Chrome extension will be better for Chinese learners, as it provides the pronunciation of each character as well as a definition.
Olly Richards Short Stories
Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language, has written a series of short stories for high-beginners to improve their reading skills in several languages. He also has a 101 Conversations series, but this review focuses on his Short Stories.
Most of the languages use the most common words in your target language, with natural phrases that you would overhear locals using while conversing amongst each other. In every language, the plot follows the same characters and adventures, with some adjustments for cultural differences.
The intro to each book provides a practical overview of how to maximize your learning. At the end of each chapter, you will see a summary of the plot, a vocabulary list of new words (that are also bolded in the stories), and comprehension questions. The comprehension questions are simple, allowing you to find the responses directly in the text.
Overall, the Kindle version of Olly’s short stories seems worth the investment for upper beginners to improve their language abilities. If you’re learning Chinese, check out the Mandarin Companion series. Also, A1 – A2 Spanish learners can enjoy several short novels in the ESLC and Read It! series.
For learners of languages that use unfamiliar writing systems, the Lang Workbooks series can be a helpful and practical way to master the intricacies of writing in their target languages. Among numerous other writing systems, the series includes the Korean, Russian Cyrillic, and Armenian alphabets; Persian and Thai script; the Hindi Devanāgarī abugida; Chinese characters; and Japanese Hiragana and Katakana. The series also covers languages that use the Latin alphabet with diacritical (accent) marks, such as French, German, and Portuguese.
Many books in the series have been translated into other languages, such as Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. The series also covers writing systems that may have fewer available resources for learners, such as Lao script and the Cherokee syllabary.
Each book in the series presents its featured writing system with suggested pronunciations. The practice pages in each workbook have useful features for each letter, symbol, or character, such as a recommended stroke order, font variations, example words, and a “Trace and Learn” section.
Each workbook is relatively inexpensive. In addition, the publishers of the series have granted teachers and students a license to make photocopies of the workbook pages for personal use, so you can get unlimited chances to practice. Considering the depth of information in each language’s workbook, the books in this series can provide great value for learners.
Drops is a phone app for iPhone and Android that covers 33 languages. Daily games test the user on thousands of vocabulary words, and many of these words are ideal for everyday use. Drops has an entertaining, user-friendly interface, but it also lacks grammar lessons, and it works better for some languages than others. For anyone looking to supplement their vocab lessons, this app is worth considering; however, the free version might be more worthwhile than the paid version.