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5 ways to learn new languages

by James Dorian

Learning a new language has never been easier, thanks to the Internet. More people than ever want to embrace the freedom to speak, read and write in a new language. Whether that is Spanish, to speak to classmates and colleagues, or German or Japanese to speak to important clients, learning a language is something anyone can do.

With an abundance of apps and devices we can use, learning a new language is more popular than ever, whether you are learning one for school, your career, or for fun. Learning a language keeps our minds agile and challenges us.

1. Use screenshots

One way to do this, if you are a Mac user, is taking screenshots on a Mac of foreign language websites and news articles. Take a screenshot, either of part of your Mac desktop, or the whole screen, and then when you have time use Google Translate to understand the words and phrases you want to learn.

2. Mobile screenshots

When you are out and about, and not using a desktop, you can just as easily take mobile screenshots on your smartphone. If you want to study these in more detail later, connect to your laptop or tablet via iCloud or another cloud-based storage solution, such as Dropbox, and share the screenshots with your other device.

This way, you can use a translation service or app to translate what you were reading. Now you can study this in more detail and add more words and phrases to the knowledge of the language you are learning.

Another way to translate words when reading in a new language - either on your phone or laptop - is to copy and paste the words and phrases into a translation app or website, such as iTranslate, Google Translate or TripLingo.

3. Read print materials

When learning a new language, it increases the breadth and depth of your knowledge to engage with the words in print. Whenever you can, subscribe or buy foreign language newspapers and magazines. Buy books. Read them alongside a translator app, or take pictures of the translations, and share them with a cloud-storage service to spend more time on the translations on your laptop. Using a PDF scanner, such as PDFpen, you can extract the text from any screenshot or picture of a page, then copy the text into a translator app.

Whenever you get the chance to read or write in a new language, it is always worth recording that and transferring it to the main device you use for studying or working.

4. Watch & Listen

Whether you use YouTube, TV or online streaming services, you need to engage with a new language verbally. Keep subtitles on until you feel confident and while they are running, take screenshots of words and phrases that are new or you aren't sure of. This way, after hearing them, you can read them back, practice saying new words and phrases, and these can be integrated into your language skills.

5. Interact online and visit a country

Get to know native speakers online, if there aren't many in your local area. Practice speaking to them online through social networks and email. Always take screenshots when you are learning new words and phrases that don't come as easily as others.

And whenever you can, always visit a country where the language is spoken to broaden your knowledge and put it into practice. When you are in the country, take more pictures and screenshots, and use translator apps, to reinforce this learning.

Learning a new language is a wonderful and challenging experience. It can open new doors and change the ways we think. Luckily, we have technology that makes this easier.

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