/ best online learning for languages?

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ClimberEd - on 14 Feb 2018

Tapping the UKC mind.

Has anyone any good suggestions, or experiences, with online learning?

Contextually, I mean for function, to go to that country and be able to converse (and probably write, fill out forms etc.) not to get a degree in French literature or whatever.


Thank you.

megamonkeyman on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

6 month I've been learning German so far and the best app in my opinion is "Hellotalk". A mirror to Facebook but for learning, you get to speak with natives throughout the day. You get out what you put in however, be sociable! Use the 'record a message' function to talk as soon as you can string a sentence together.

I've now got 2 penpals from that app and met one of them late last year. Good for swapping magazines ect. through the post.


Other apps worth looking at are:




Use them all for the complete exerience.


An effective resourse however is Youtube. Every time I am in the car, on goes a 60 minute lesson, conversations or German channel. 

Have a dictionary/online translator handy for looking up words as you think of them.


When you get bamboozled by some gramatic rule, simply Google it and read up on it.


Work diary, now written in German. Phone language, German. Every little helps ;)


That's everything I have used so far. Not paid a penny for online courses, only recently premium membership on Hellotalk. It's safe to say, the internet is king when it comes to this sort of thing.

Prost! Internet


Post edited at 13:28
ClimberEd - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to megamonkeyman:

Thank you - really appreciate the detailed reply.

elsewhere on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

megamonkeyman's reply is really good - lot's of things I wasn't aware of

My only tip is DVDs with subtitles* in the original language.

*look carefully at the DVD box, they often don't have the subtitles for deaf viewers.

I'm showing my age not mentioning blu-ray but at least  I didn't mention VHS

PS internet radio - vast number of stations worldwide


Post edited at 14:05
wurzelinzummerset on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

> Has anyone any good suggestions, or experiences, with online learning?

A few years back I thought I'd make an attempt at French. I've used Duolingo to remind myself of the basics I learnt 30+ years ago at School, then very easy books on Kindle where you can just tap a word to get a translation if you're stuck. Then gradually progressed to more complicated stuff. For listening, radio news is good, as they speak clearly (generally), and in the case of French you can even find programmes specifically for learners (all on the internet, too, of course). I watch all my Netflix stuff in French if the option is there, or if not in audio then with French subtitles, so sometimes it'll be something like Portuguese, but with French subtitles. I have my car sat nav set to French, too. So, nothing in a formal online sense, but there's plenty there to teach yourself. The key is to be regular. I did something every day for several years and still do -- I do most of my recreational reading in French. I can now pick up a book or newspaper in French and read it, or listen to a news programme and get the general picture. But fast colloquial conversation in films I'm lost on -- so use the French subtitles. It is easier if you did the basics at school, though, as I've being doing Spanish for a while, too, from scratch, on Duolingo and it's hard going. 

ClimberEd - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

Thanks again everyone, really appreciate the info. Lots to have a crack at. I have a year to be conversational in french and german!

elsewhere on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

Goethe Institut - highly recommended for classes at all levels taught by native speakers and I see you're in London where there is one.


Toerag - on 16 Feb 2018
In reply to megamonkeyman:

How's your speaking it though? I find understanding Ok but speaking it tricky due to the words being in the wrong order .

Nic on 17 Feb 2018
In reply to elsewhere:

Top tip - be careful what DVD/Netflix etc you watch...I have been watching far too much El Chapo, with the result that I now speak fluent very rude Spanish with a filthy Mexican accent!

Pete Pozman - on 17 Feb 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

Try Memrise and Duo Lingo. I've been using duo Lingo to back up a German course I did last year and now I am addicted to learning languages. 

mbh - on 17 Feb 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

In my youth I spent four years in Zurich, then a year in Grenoble, having only done French O level over a decade before that. I made a real effort to learn German and was eventually able to read novels, be mistaken for a native (once!) and deliver classes in the language. It was never easy though, and even at the end, the hubbub at lunch with colleagues largely flew past me. I think you never quite escape the feeling of having an inarticulate dolt via whom you have to convey your messages to the rest of the world. 

The new internet resources are amazing so I would explore them all. But still, you need to work at it. My method was to methodically expand my vocabulary as rapidly as I could. That meant learning many words a day, writing lists of words I came across and using all the revision techniques that had  got me through exams to keep them in memory. I went out and practised at work and around and didn't mind if I made mistakes. Before work, I learnt grammar from Hammer's german Grammar and Usage. That combination of practice, more grammar and more words eventually paid dividends, but it took years before I could hear whether my cases and so on were right as I spoke them and still, at the end, I was keenly aware of how inarticulate I was in a language that was, still, foreign. 

megamonkeyman on 17 Feb 2018
In reply to Toerag:

Better than listening at the minute. 

For the  past week my youtube time in the work van has been listening to deutsche geschichten to improve that hopefully.


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