In this world, there are more bilingual people – people who speak two languages – than there are people who don’t. In fact, 43% of the world speaks more than one language, while only 40% speak just their native language. For those of us who only speak one, this stat is extremely impressive.
Learning a second language – or improving your own – has never been easier, though. Thanks to the internet, there are almost endless learning resources available to us. In this article you’ll find all the top ways to improve your vocabulary online, whether that vocabulary is in your native tongue or a second language.
With 60% of the world currently having access to the internet, the rate at which new resources are created and discovered is beyond fast. Whatever you want to learn, there’s probably a video, an app, or an online course out there to help you. Whether it’s free or paid for, there is so much out there. All you really need to do is want to learn! So, get yourself a good sleep, get your mind in gear, and start learning. You certainly won’t regret it once you do.
One of the best ways to learn and develop skills in a new language is to play word games. Online, you can play versions of popular games like Scrabble and Boggle, with friends or against random opponents. This can be done on a desktop or mobile device. More often than not, simple word games are free, making it a super-easy way to dive into a language.
The best bit? If you get stuck, there’s no need to panic. It doesn’t matter that you are writing in another language, because tools like the word unscrambler over at unscramble.org just saved the day! With tools like this, you can put in a selection of jumbled letters or words and the site will return a whole load of possible words that you can create. Even better, when you find a word, the system will tell you exactly what it means and how to use it. A perfect way to play games and learn at the same time.
A simple hack but one worth mentioning nonetheless. If you are stuck on a word in conversation, feeling repetitive, or getting confused, the internet has your back. Every decent search engine has a built-in dictionary and thesaurus – completely for free! All you need to do is type in a word and follow it by “definition” for a dictionary definition of the word. Alternatively, type a word followed by “thesaurus” to receive alternative words that mean similar things. This is a great way of understanding new words and also developing your vocabulary.
Remember when people used to have daily calendars and planners on their desks before everything went digital? One of the most popular daily calendar formats was a “word of the day” calendar. On these little flip calendars, each day had a different word and its definition.
Nowadays, you can get exactly the same thing directly to your desktop, phone or email inbox. This is a really fun way to discover a brand new word or phrase every day. Usually, the word of the day will come with an explanation of what it means along with an example of how to use it in a sentence. Free online teaching!
There are millions of online learning sites. Some are paid and some are free. In the world of languages, the free sites are fine for basic learning, but you may have to pay a premium for advanced learning sites.
Either way, these pages will be full of educational quizzes and revision techniques to help you learn languages and extra words. They will include a mix of flashcard style learning, pop quizzes, and general knowledge questions to help you read and write in more detail.
Many people say that some of the best ways they learned new language and vocabulary was by watching TV shows and movies. Since we’re focussing on the world of online learning, there are plenty of alternatives. For example, many YouTube videos contain captions, meaning you can read the words as they are spoken by the presenter or videographer. Alternatively, you can just watch Netflix or any other streamed show with captions.
Simply listening and immersing yourself in a language is a great way to pick things up. Plus, if there’s something you don’t fully understand, you can pause and use the aforementioned dictionary and thesaurus trick to help you get a better understanding.
There are plenty of great language learning apps available on all devices. Most of them offer a free trial period or a few free courses, but if you want to get deep into a language, you’ll probably need to pay. However, plenty of people would argue that these apps are totally worth it. The in-depth learning you’ll receive from a properly curated educational app will be the absolute best lessons you could get without going to an actual school. This, though, due to the price, is probably geared towards someone trying to become really fluent in a new language.
Chat rooms and forums are also awesome ways to read and absorb languages. Get onto some friendly forums and just start chatting with people. If the community is nice, you’ll be able to find people willing to advise and help you with any mistakes you’ve made with your vocabulary. On sites like Reddit, you can even find subforums completely dedicated to language and helping each other learn. Totally free peer-to-peer learning. Ask for advice, make friends, and learn a language along the way.
As you can clearly see, there are myriad options when it comes to expanding your vocabulary and language understanding online. Any and all of these methods can help you develop your language skills, while a combination of all of them will quickly make you a master of your chosen language. Whichever you choose, it will certainly help.