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Learning a new language is a long and challenging process. Even if you stick to the course for months, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be fluent.
Language immersion is a more proven and natural alternative. Instead of relying on memorizing translations, these techniques teach you by integrating lessons in your routine activities. For instance, when you’re reading the news. This enables you to better understand how you can put the language’s fundamentals to use in real-life conversations.
Here are the best language immersion apps and services you can try.
1. Language Learning With Netflix (Chrome)
Netflix is home to a vast catalog of shows and movies from different countries. A browser extension called Language Learning With Netflix takes advantage of that to teach you new languages while you’re watching foreign content.
The app does so by actively translating a show or movie’s subtitles to the language you are trying to learn. You can read both versions and hover over words you don’t know to reveal their meaning as well as usage. There’s also a handy sidebar which lists all the dialogues. You can click any entry to view its translation, jump to the scene where it appears, and bookmark it.
Language Learning With Netflix supports nearly every major language and has a host of other features you’ll find handy. It can automatically pause the playback after each line so that you have enough time to process it. It adds a handful of keyboard shortcuts for controlling the playback. On its website, you can easily find content depending on the language you’d like to learn.
Download: Language Learning With Netflix (Free, premium upgrade available)
Language Learning With Netflix is just one of the tools for learning a new language on Netflix. If you find its features lacking, there are a handful of more ways to watch Netflix and still learn a new language.
2. Flowlingo (Android, iOS)
Flowlingo lets you study languages by reading the news as well as books, watching online videos, and listening to music.
On Flowlingo, you can browse a range of content in the language you’re trying to learn. The app automatically surfaces the country’s local publications, clips, and music. When you tap one, Flowlingo loads a special web page where you can highlight words to quickly translate and log them.
For videos and songs, it comes with a multi-window interface. The media plays in the top section, and you can read lyrics both in your native and foreign languages in the bottom one. Lastly, Flowlingo offers a book section and you can upload your own files too.
In addition, Flowlingo turns your starred translations into flashcards. You can participate in tests, and review your vocabulary through them.
You can read online articles for free on Flowlingo. But for the other features, you will have to pay a monthly subscription.
3. TenWords (Chrome)
TenWords brings some of Flowlingo’s best features to your computer. The browser extension allows you to sharpen your language skills while catching up on the news.
Like Flowlingo, TenWords interprets foreign articles to your native language. You can hover over words for their translations and tell TenWords whether you already knew it or not. The service uses this data to build flashcards so that you can practice later.
Plus, TenWords’ little widget has a text field. Before unlocking the translation, you can try to guess and enter it yourself based on the sentence’s context and your existing knowledge. TenWords has a few more nifty tools such as daily goals and vocabulary stats.
TenWords supports about 10 languages including Italian, Spanish, Russian, Lithuanian, and French.
Download: TenWords (Free)
4. Beelinguapp (Android, iOS)
Beelinguapp is another language immersion app for Android and iOS. However, it’s especially for those who want to learn a new tongue through audio. It houses a wider selection of audiobooks and music in a variety of languages.
While listening, Beelinguapp displays the audio’s text and its translation into the language you’re familiar with.
On top of that, the app offers precise controls to focus on a specific sentence or word. You can bookmark it, repeat the pronunciation, adjust the speaker’s pace, and manually scroll through the book or lyrics.
Beelinguapp also has a News tab. But unlike Flowlingo which lets you pick a story from any publication you like, Beelinguapp curates a limited set of articles.
5. Woodpecker Learning (Android, iOS)
Similarly, Woodpecker specializes in language immersion through videos. You can watch local programs and videos and understand the dialogues via on-screen subtitles.
Woodpecker clearly lists the lines as they disappear and you have the option to tap any of them to translate them. You can also have subtitles in more than one languages run simultaneously.
In addition, Woodpecker features a web browser integrated with a translator. It allows you to learn a foreign word’s meaning simply by tapping it. The app gives you a few more tools like a bookmarking tool and practice tests.
6. Try a Dual-Language Storybook
If you’re overwhelmed with these apps and services, try a good-ol’ dual-language storybook. As the name suggests, dual-language storybooks come with a set of stories written in multiple languages. You can read one in your home language first and then attempt to translate the other.
Most of them don’t have a side-by-side comparison and require you to thoroughly read as well as take notes. While this may sound cumbersome, it can be more productive depending on how you tend to study.
You can find dual-language storybooks on popular marketplaces like Amazon in both paperback and digital formats. Search for “bilingual books” or “dual language books”.
Boost Your Memory to Learn New Languages
Mastering a new language takes months of dedication. There’s a lot to take in when you’re trying to learn a new language. Most importantly, you need a strong memory to be able to converse in a foreign language initially. So take advantage of a couple of ways to boost your memory.