How I Learn Languages

As an aspiring polyglot, it’s important that I have a bunch of resources at my disposal for language learning. I use a variety of resources for my learning, such as books, websites, apps, T.V. shows, movies, etc. Almost all of these resources are free too! These are some of my resources!


-Websites-

1. Omniglot

This website is more for finding information about languages and finding languages to learn. It has a very comprehensive list of languages and you can find plenty of secondary resources for learning the language. You can find tutors for that language, and even songs in your target language. I can just about guarantee you that no matter what language you’re looking for, it will be documented here. It is absolutely amazing, and it is a FANTASTIC resource for the dedicated linguist. Price- Free

http://www.omniglot.com/

2. Duolingo

This is both a website AND an app, however, I tend to use the website more frequently, mainly because I’m always on my laptop anyway. The learning system that this website uses makes out very easy to stay motivated, and the lessons are organized amazingly. Currently, the website offers about 27 different language courses for English speakers, and various language courses for speakers of languages other than English. You can set goals for yourself, take multiple courses, be involved in discussions, and even do translating activities. Beware though, it gets VERY addicting. Price- Free

https://www.duolingo.com

3. Memrise

Also a website AND an app, this is my all time favorite resource for learning languages. It has SO many languages to choose from, and it even offers subjects other than languages, although foreign language learning is its primary appeal factor. Price- Free

http://www.memrise.com/home/

4. BBC Languages

Although this sector of BBC has been archived and is no longer updated, it still contains some valuable information. It includes some useful phrases, alphabet guides, and jokes in many languages. You’re bound to learn something new there, so check it out! Price- Free

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/

5. Foreign Service Institute (FSI)

This website offers language courses constructed by the U.S. government, and relies heavily on audio-based learning. However, many of the language courses include lessons in the form of pdf. There is a very large selection of languages to choose from, so this resource is very good for getting an excellent introduction to your target language. Price- Free

https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/

6. Live Lingua Project

Claiming to be the internet’s largest collection of free public domain language learning materials, this website is a MUST for language learners. It contains the FSI courses, Peace Corps language learning materials, and the DLI (military) language courses. It also offers Skype sessions for language learners in several different languages! The main appeal of this website, however, is the Peace Corps language material archive. There are SO many different languages to choose from, and there are many ebooks and audio files to take advantage of here. Price- Free

https://www.livelingua.com/#project

7. Languages On the Web

This website offers texts that translate English texts into 55 other languages. It is not a translator, it merely provides reading material in foreign languages to learners. It is a very useful website, especially for analyzing how sentences are formed in other languages. Price- Free

http://www.lonweb.org/

8. Learn 101

This website is really helpful for explaining grammatical concepts and for learning general stuff about languages, such as verbs, vocabulary, nouns, adjectives, basic phrases, foods, etc. There are quite alot of languages offered on this website, so it’s a great resource! Price- Free (for certain features)

http://learn101.org/

9. Clozemaster

This website is great for learning languages through a sentence based, contextual experience. It’s a bit like Duolingo in that sense, and it requires you to fill in missing words from sentences. In my opinion, it’s better for people with a background in their target language, and they offer many different options for languages. It’s also good for speakers of a native language other than English! Price- Free

https://www.clozemaster.com/

10. Lexicity

This is a great website for ancient language learners, and it provides resources for Egyptian, Mayan, Hittite, Latin, Old English, Etruscan, Gaulish, and several others. I have found the majority of resources that I have looked through helpful to my learning efforts. They have dictionaries, grammars, charts, and texts, and it is a very comprehensive resource. Price- Free

http://lexicity.com/

11. Book2

This is a good resource for learners looking for audio files to help them practice their listening. I haven’t used it all too much, but there are many language options, so you’re bound to find a language that you find interesting on here. Price- Free

http://www.goethe-verlag.com/book2/

12. Lang-8

This is a great resource for getting feedback on your writing in your target language. You can post things in your target language, and native speakers of that language will correct it, and you can do the same for other people! It’s very helpful, and is a great resource if you have to write in your target language often. Price- Free

http://lang-8.com/

13. Bilinguis

This website offers a few books to read in different languages and is good for comparing different languages of the same book. This makes for good practice for reading in your target language. Price- Free

http://bilinguis.com/

14. Udemy

There are quite a few languages courses on this website, although several of them cost money. However, there are quite a few courses that are free, and are good for introducing you to your language of choice. Price- Varies depending on the course, however, there are some free ones

https://www.udemy.com/courses/


-Apps- [For this, I can only give the price for iPhones, however, I am relatively sure that these should be the same price in the Android store]

1. Memrise

As mentioned above in the websites section, this app is so amazing for on-the-go language learning, as well as for subjects other than languages! It helps users memorize concepts with “meme” which are pictures that will remind you of what the word or concept means, and it’s such a unique and fun learning experience! It has the feel of using flashcards, but I just love using this app so much. Price- Free

2. Duolingo

Also mentioned in the websites section, this app is great for both learning new words and reviewing words that you have either memorized or have just been exposed to. There are grammar lessons available, translation activities, groups that you can join, and Duolingo makes it fun to learn a language with it’s reward system. Price- Free

3. HelloTalk

This is my absolute FAVORITE app to talk to native speakers of my target language(s). You can become language partners with people, help others with translations, video/voice call, send voice messages, and have as many partners as you want! It’s an absolutely amazing app, and I highly recommend it to everyone! Warning- If you’re a native English speaker looking for a native Chinese speaker, you will get HUNDREDS of requests. It might overwhelm you for a second. Price- Free

4. TuneIn Radio

This is really great for finding stations in your target language, and it helps with practicing both comprehension of spoken language as well as introduces you to awesome music in your target language! Price- Free

5. Tigercards

This app presents words in the form of lists, and gives you vocab so that you can review it. Not the best presentation of words and it doesn’t really offer a memorization technique like Memrise, but it’s still helpful! Price- Free

6. Busuu

This app is a bit like Duolingo, and it offers German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, Italian, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Japanese, and Chinese! Price- Free

7. uTalk

This app offers so many different languages, it’s pretty incredible. There are games that you can play, phrasebooks, and several other features. The interface is also really awesome and simple, so it makes learning easier than usual. Definitely a must have. Price- Free

8. Innovative Language

I haven’t used this app much, but I have heard that the lessons on this app are very good, and you can download the lessons so that you can view them offline. Price- Free

9. FlashSticks

This has been super helpful to me, in addition to the games and flashcards that it offers, it also provides an object scanner, which uses your camera to scan objects and then tells you what it’s called in your target language! Price- Free

10. Mondly

This has been an awesome resource for me since it’s a bit like Duolingo, only with more unique language options. I’m currently using it to learn Hindi, however, there are tons of other language options. The interface is awesome, and I love using it. Price- Free

11. MindSnacks

This company makes several different language apps, and currently I’m using the Mandarin, Japanese, and French ones. So far, I’ve really enjoyed these apps! Price- Free

12. Spotify

Through Spotify’s “Word” category, there are many different playlists dedicated to language learning, such as for Arabic, Mandarin, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, and Swedish! Price- Free

13. Quizlet

This is more of a diy language learning resource. It is not an inherent language learning resource, however, if you learn best through lists and/or flashcards, then this app allows you to make cards and review vocab that way! I use it all the time for exams! Price- Free

14. FluentU

This is an awesome app for watching videos in your target language, and is really good for learning new words. Price- the app is free, but the service is $15 per month or $120 per year


-Books-

1. Teach Yourself

This series offers an astounding number of languages, and I have found them to be pretty effective in helping me learn languages. I have used the Russian, Arabic, Mandarin, and Irish ones.

2. Barron’s Grammar and Verb books

I really like the way Barron’s does language books, so far I have used their Japanese grammar book and their Russian verbs book, and I really like the layout of them, especially the grammar book!

3. Dk Visual Bilingual Dictionaries

These are so helpful for me, I’ve been using the Mandarin and Japanese dictionaries for a long time, and they are so comprehensive and awesome!

4. Ethnologue

These aren’t language “learning” materials, but rather they help me find new languages to learn. These are more for the linguistic lovers, since they catalog almost every living language in the world in every country, and provide language maps and statistics. There’s really fascinating stuff in those books, so I highly recommend purchasing them. 

5. The “Dirty” books

So far, I have only used the Japanese version, however, I really like what the book includes, and it’s great for learning slang in your target language, and things that traditional textbooks wouldn’t teach you.

6. Living Language

I LOVE these books so much, I’ve used the Russian, Mandarin, and French ones and I’ve found them very helpful! The layout of these are very nice, and they’re pretty comprehensive.

7. Tuttle books

Tuttle offers several different language books, and they all are very good in my opinion. I have used their books for Arabic, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, and Hindi.


That’s all that I have right now, but if you all would like more resources than I will definitely make a second one!

Color and Language

Many people are surprised to learn that different languages do not consider the basic colors to be the same. Some New Guinea Highland languages, for example, still have terms only for black and white (perhaps better translated as “dark” and “light”). Hanuno'o language, spoken in the Philippines, has only four basic color words: black, white, red and green. Pirahã language, spoken by an Amazonian tribe, is said to have no fixed words for colors. According to linguist Dan Everett, if you show them a red cup, they’re likely to say, “This looks like blood”. Some languages have color distinctions which are, well, foreign to native English speakers:

  • Latin originally lacked a generic color word for “gray” and “brown” and had to borrow its words from Germanic language sources.
  • Biblical Hebrew had no word for blue.
  • Navajo has one word for both grey and brown and one for blue and green. It has two for black, however, distinguishing the color of “coal” from that of “darkness”.
  • Russian, Italian, and Greek  have different basic words for darker and lighter shades of blue. 
  • Hungarian has two different basic red words – bordó (darker reds) and piros (lighter reds.)
  • Shona language (a Bantu language from Southern Africa) has no one word for our “green” concept; they have one word for yellowish-green, and a different word for bluish-green.
  • Hindi has no standard word for the color “gray”. However, lists for child or foreigner Hindi language learning include “saffron” [केसर] as a basic color.
  • In Gaelic glas can mean both “grey” and “green”– glasbheinn is “green mountain”; glais-fheur is “green grass.”

جب تک اس محبت کا پھول نہ کھلے ؛ تب تک اس
دل کو سکون نہ ملے

जब तक मोहब्बत का फूल न खिले ,
तब तक इस दिल को सुकून ना मिले|

Until the flower of love blooms,
This heart won’t find relief.

—  ZAYN//mind of mine
Thank you Zayn from all of us who speak and understand Urdu/Hindi because representation matters.

woahwoahwoahwoah LOOK AT THIS

PDFS OF GRAMMAR BOOKS FOR THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGES:

  • Hindi-Urdu
  • Gujarati
  • Sanskrit
  • Panjabi 
  • Nepali
  • Sinhala
  • Tamil

you’re probably like psh what’s the big deal BUT THE COLLOQUIAL SERIES AND THE TEACH YOURSELF SERIES FOR HINDI, URDU, GUJARATI, PANJABI AND TAMIL ARE ALL ON HERE. DO YOU REALIZE HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND THE COLLOQUIAL SERIES SOMETIMES? ALSO SANSKRIT RESOURCES???

please just check this out omg

5

These are photos from my favourite bookshop in London: Foyles.
This is the foreign language floor! Yes, floor not section 😁 The last photo shows the Italian and German grammar, vocabulary, etc., not including the literature! There is another full side for Italian alone. You can also see Portuguese, Russian and Greek, plus the aisle for Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.
Not featured: the Nordic languages section, Ancient Greek, Latin, Polish, French, Spanish, English, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Afrikaans… And so on and so on. Too many for me to remember.

If you visit London and you love languages, I really recommend that you visit.

Disney Songs in their Cultural Languages - MasterPost

*Placed in two categories due to the internet being unable to agree on anything

French
Hunchback of Notre Dame
A Guy Like You
The Bells of Notre Dome 
God Help the Outcasts 
Hellfire
Out There 
Beauty and the Beast
Something There 
Be Our Guest 
Belle 
Beauty and the Beast
Gaston 
Cinderella*
The Work Song 
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo 
So This is Love 
Oh, Sing Sweet Nightingale 
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes 

German
Snow White
I’m Wishing/One Song 
A Smile and a Song 
Heigh-Ho 
Whistle While You Work 
Tangled
Mother Knows Best 
I see the Light 
When Will My Life Begin 
I’ve Got a Dream 
Cinderella*
The Work Song 
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo 
Oh, Sing Sweet Nightingale 
So This is Love 
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes 
Sleeping Beauty*
I Wonder 
Once Upon a Dream

Danish
The Little Mermaid
Kiss the Girl 
Under the Sea 
Poor Unfortunate Souls 
Part of Your World 
Frozen
Love is an Open Door 
Fixer Upper 
For the First Time in Forever 
Do You Wanna Build a Snowman 
Let it Go 

Greek - Hercules (sorry I couldn’t find Ancient Greek ;)
One Last Hope 
Zero to Hero
Go The Distance
The Gospel Truth 
I Won’t Say (I’m in Love) 

Italian
Pinocchio
I’ve Got No Strings 
Give a Little Whistle 
When You Wish Upon a Star 
Sleeping Beauty*
I Wonder 
Once Upon a Dream 

Mandarin - Mulan
A Girl Worth Fighting For 
Bring Honor to Us All 
I’ll Make a Man Out of You 
Reflection  

Arabic - Aladdin
Friend Like Me 
One Jump Ahead 
Prince Ali 
A Whole New World 
Arabian Nights 

Hindi - The Jungle Book
Bare Necessities

Zulu - The Lion King
Hakuna Matata 
Circle of Life 
I Just Can’t Wait to be King 
Can You Feel the Love Tonight