7 Of The Best Language Apps For Travelers
I have struggled with speaking French for most of my life. While I aced all my quizzes in grade school, as a backpacker I was unprepared for the fact that French people do not go around using phrases like “The teacher asked the student for chalk” or “Jimmy saw the clock on the wall.” It was equally distressing to learn that these phrases didn’t exactly come in handy when I visited a cafe in Arras or need to make inquiries at a hostel in Menton. And all those hours writing out lists of conjugated verbs didn’t exactly have my back when I was asking railroad staff in Carcassonne “Is there a train for Paris?” instead of “Is this the train to Paris?” (Spoiler: I got on the train to Rome.)
Confidence shaken, I took class after class at the community center upon my return. My vocabulary would improve for a few months — only to plummet once again during the summer break. I convinced myself that I was just bad at languages and that it didn’t matter that much, really, in an inter-connected world where everyone carried smartphones.
But now I have COVID-19 to thank for my renewed efforts to learn French. When the global pandemic canceled my month-long stay in Paris, I decided I would add on an extra week for each subsequent year the trip was delayed. It’s now looking like I’ll be enjoying a six-week sojourn in 2022, and I figure it’s now or never to finally improve my language skills — and my confidence.
There are now language apps for every possible style of learning, and I tried to reflect that in this list. Whether you prefer lessons in five-minute bursts, enjoy the traditional structure of an in-depth lesson, or would rather listen than study, there’s a little something for everyone. Including me, I hope. Bonne chance!