Online language courses are useful for students interested in learning a language not offered at Reed, but they're also a good way to keep language skills fresh while taking a break from formal classes. While the language courses listed below will not provide the same level of understanding or fluency that traditional language classes do, they provide enough guidance to prepare learners to get around in a foreign country or review the vocabulary and grammar of a language they already know.
Mango Languages offers basic to advanced courses in over 70 languages, including many non-European languages, although some learners will be disappointed to see that there are only basic lessons for many languages. Users can take a placement test to begin a course at the level appropriate for their knowledge. Mango offers special courses in popular languages, which provide specialized vocabulary for culture, business, or medicine. Mango also has several movies in popular languages that provide several subtitling options and optional plot summaries and comprehension quizzes.
Mango Languages is only available to the Reed community, so you will need to use your Reed email to register. If you are registering from off campus, you will be asked to enter a "library card number." The library card number is "MA" followed by your Reed student ID number. For example, if your Reed ID number is V11111, your library card number is MAV11111. You can also use Mango without creating an account. For off campus users, you can enter your library card number directly to the field and then click Quick Start. For on campus users, you can simply click Guest Access. Mango Languages also offers iOS and Android apps.
Duolingo is one of the most popular free language learning applications. It's currently available in only about 20 mostly European languages and is not available in Arabic or Chinese. You must create a free account to begin. Duolingo is popular because of its easy-to-use-layout and short lessons. Users can connect with other language learners and compete against friends, and the game-like atmosphere of duolingo makes it fun to use. Duolingo also serves as a translation service, and language learns can earn points for translating websites into their target language or reviewing others' translations. Duolingo is also available as an app for iOS, Android, and Windows.
Italki is an online community and marketplace for language learners. It makes it easy to find language partners for a free exchange, in which you speak in your native language to help your partner improve for half the discussion and then speak in your target language, your partner's native language, for the other half. Though joining the community is free, many users also offer their services as language teachers for a fee. Italki provides scheduling tools to make language exchanges easier.
Lang-8 allows language learners to submit writing in their target language to be reviewed by native speakers. In exchange for making writing visible to more native speakers, users can provide feedback to writing in their native language. It's also possible for users to find partners to exchange writing with directly.
Quizlet is a popular online flashcard tool, which requires a free account to use. Once you've created an account, you can either find "study sets" (sets of flashcards) created by other users, or you can create your own. Flashcards can be created in any web-compatible font, and it's also possible to add audio to the cards. Students can share cards with classmates, and many study sets exist for common foreign language textbooks. Quizlet offers a variety of ways to study: a traditional flashcard system; learn mode, which requires you to type the response, thus making you more accountable; spell mode (for cards with audio), in which you hear the word and then type it; test mode, which allow you to create custom tests out of flashcards; scatter, a matching game; and gravity, an arcade-style game. Quizlet is also available as an iOS and Android app.
Forvo is an online pronunciation dictionary where users record words or phrases in their native language to share. Native speakers provide information about their language background. With a free account, you can download recordings to add to your online flashcards (lots of study sets on Quizlet use Forvo recordings, for instance) or request pronunciations of certain words.