Language Learning

In case you didn't know, my biggest hobby after reading is learning foreign languages!

On the following pages I share some language-learning resources for the nine languages I have studied so far. I will try to keep each of the pages updated as and when I come across any good new resources.

You will find there are more resources for some languages than others. For those with fewer resources, this is either because there are limited resources around for that language (I'm looking at you, Icelandic) or because I did most of my study for those languages back in my high school days and am really just maintaining them rather than actively studying them at present, so I don't have as many textbooks or beginner materials to share. Japanese and Korean are by far the biggest listings and that is because they are ones I recently picked up and are the two I have been dedicating the most time to over the last few years. I have therefore acquired and come across a lot of resources along the way for each of them.

Please note that I am not receiving any incentive to recommend any of these resources. Nor can I say they will suit every learner, as everyone's learning style is different. I am sharing only my personal experiences with these assets and cannot guarantee they will be suitable for everyone.


General Resources

Before launching into the pages specific to individual languages below, I also wanted to share a few general resources I have used that are relevant across multiple languages.

Duolingo - Can you learn a language entirely through Duolingo? I would say, no. But it can still be a useful additional resource. I started Japanese, Korean and Chinese all through Duolingo and it gave me a chance to get an initial feel for the language for free before investing money in books and other resources. It also offers an easy way to squeeze an extra bit of practice into the day, say while on the bus or waiting for dinner to cook.

iTalki - I started using iTalki for the first time in 2022. I currently take one class a month for Japanese and one for Korean with community teachers, my focus being conversation practice, as I have no native-speaker friends with whom to converse. I'd love to do conversation practice for my other languages too, but time and money are both factors, so for now I am concentrating on the two languages I consider my current main foci. I like iTalki because you can find a tutor to match your needs and budget and because you book a lesson at a time, so you can fit it in around the rest of your schedule.

Journaly - This is a website where you can post writing (whether just a few sentences or lengthy paragraphs) in your target language and get corrections from a native speaker. Having time to write something has been the biggest factor for me of late, but when I can manage to post something, I find the feedback useful. The only small negative is that feedback will vary according to your target language. Some languages will always attract good feedback (Korean, Japanese, French etc.), but other languages may not get comments, depending on how many native speakers are on there. For example, I tried writing a couple of posts in Danish and Icelandic but never received feedback on those, whereas I did for all the other seven languages I've tried.

Slowly - This is a pen pal app in which you can send electronic letters around the world, with delivery times dependent on how far the other person is located from you. I have chatted to a few people in different languages on this app. The only negative I would say is that people I've met on there are not always consistent, and I've often started a conversation with someone only for them to suddenly lose interest in the app and disappear. Still, I personally find it less stressful than other foreign language exchange apps where messages are instantaneous and there is constant pressure to reply quickly and constant bombardment from people not serious about language learning and only trying to flirt.

Branah Keyboard - If you don't have a keyboard/typing package downloaded for your target language, this website allows you to type in different scripts and you can then copy and paste to where you need it.


Language-Specific Resources

Chinese Czech Danish
French German Icelandic
Italian Japanese Korean

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