Whether it’s for an overseas holiday or to communicate better at home, these language websites and apps will help
Read more: 8 ways to get promoted this year
1. Best designed site: duolingo.com
With over 25 major languages covered, it’s convenient to dip in and out. The user-friendly site allows you to build knowledge with simple steps, so you won’t be overwhelmed.
With daily reminders to do some learning every day and goals and targets to meet, you’ll soon be ordering dinner with ease. The Duolingo apps for iPhone and Android are also amazing and they make learning fun.
2. Most fun: babbel.com
Cost: The site has fab features you can use for free, and more advanced courses are available from around R180 a month or R1150 a year.
Simple interactive lessons to teach you the basics — and more — quickly. Access it on your PC or use the app and study wherever you go. Perfect if you want to start slowly and get better fast. The longer you sign up for, the cheaper it is.
Read more: 12 smart ways to save money in your own home
3. Best for Zulu: learnzulu.co.za
Cost: R1200 for the online course.
Alongside tutored and hands-on classes, Learn Zulu offers an online course. Use the rich resources on the site — including videos, word games, word lists, a pronunciation guide, a forum and assessments — and you’ll be speaking in no time. It’ll help with the tricky sounds, and guide you to a complete cultural and conversational understanding of the language.
If you’re looking for a free basic introduction to learning Zulu online, we like learn101.org/zulu.
4. Best for Xhosa: learnxhosa.co.za
Cost: from R200
Learn Xhosa offers basic and advanced digital courses to help you learn Xhosa. Resources like electronic textbooks and digital recordings will make learning Xhosa much easier than you think.
Read more: How to keep children busy while travelling
5. Best for younger kids: Gus on the Go
Cost: A few languages are free, some cost around R49,99
Kids between 3 and 7 will love learning a new language from this brilliant app. A cute animated owl takes them through the basics of over 25 major languages (you must download a new app for each language you’d like your kids to learn). From French and German to Mandarin and Hebrew, these language apps are highly recommended if you want your kids to start learning from a young age.
You definitely need to check out the free language printables on the site too.
6. Best for making new friends: Hello Talk
We love the idea of the Hello Talk language app — it connects people who speak different languages with people who want to learn those languages. So you can practice your French via text and voice messages exchanged with a native French speaker, who will correct your spelling and grammar as you go. Genius!
Bonus — Best app translator: Google Translate
With over 90 languages in the database, Google Translate means you don’t have to panic if you find yourself overseas and confused. There’s even a feature where you can point your phone camera at text and it will translate for you.
It’s best for translating words and short phrases — long sentences can get a bit garbled.