I like learning languages. I'm not saying I'm good at it, or that it's something I spend loads of time on, but from time to time I like to sit down and learn new words in a foreign language. Unfortunately, I can't afford (or sometimes even find) a teacher, so I have to do it myself. This post will give you an overview of tools you can use to learn a language. I used Chinese as an example because that's what I'm focused on right now, but you can apply it for any language.
Most people know Duolingo. I have used Duolingo in the past, but I found that I didn't learn the things I wanted to learn and that it also often didn't offer the languages I was looking for. So I found Memrise. It's very similar to Duolingo but it offers way more courses. It even has a course for sign language! It has a website as well as an app, so you can use it on multiple platforms.
For Chinese, I found a handy offline dictionary that I used a lot when I was in China. It has an Chinese to English and English to Chinese function. When I needed something and didn't know the Chinese word, I just typed it in and showed it to the other person. Apart from using an (offline) dictionary for travelling, you can also use it to look up words for your study. I think every language has a dictionary app. It's a very good idea to add one of your target language. I also use it to translate words I come across so I can learn them. For those learning Chinese, this app is called Pleco.
Tumblr is actually a really good source for language knowledge. I simply typed in "learn Chinese" and I found hundreds of posts with lists of words and their translations, as well as grammar lessons from people who are fluent in Chinese. Sometimes there are even blogs dedicated to a language.
HiNative is an app where you can ask questions about a language to natives and other learners. Simply add your target language and ask a question. Usually you get an answer within an hour. You can also do voice questions, asking for opinions about your pronunciation. Other than that, you can also answer questions from people learning a language you're fluent in. It's kind of a community forum and it's very helpful!
5. Popular media
A very important one is to listen to songs in your target language and watch films and series that are in that language. By listening you can pick up a lot of things, especially, if you have lyrics or subtitles on hand so you can connect words you hear to their meaning. What I do for Chinese is to watch live streams in an app called UpLive. Live streaming is very big in China and some people are making a living with it. I usually just watch the live streamers and try to pick up words. Right now I don't understand 95% of what they're saying but I did learn a few new words just by watching live streams for like 4 hours. Also the chat box in the app helps me learn Chinese characters.
This is a website made for making friends to learn languages with and write letters to. I have made a couple friends here, one of which I ended up meeting in real life! You can make a profile and add which languages you know and which ones you want to learn. You can search for people by things like age, gender, country and language. If you find someone who you want to connect with you can send them a message. Having native speakers to turn to when you have questions is very helpful, so if you don't know any native speakers, this site can help! I do have to add a warning to this, though. I usually search for females (or at least people who are not male) because 8/10 males that come into my inbox are just looking for a relationship. There are exceptions, as I have made some male friends too. Luckily you can add a setting where you can filter who can message you. But don't let it stop you, because this website has a lot to offer.
Do you have any platforms to add? Let me know in the comments!