With so much going on each day, how can you find the time to learn a new language? But even the busiest of us can spare five minutes for language learning using the Drops (download for iOS and Android) app.
The idea behind Drops -- voted Google's "Best App of 2018" and used by over 10 million learners -- is that if you're "studying" for just five minutes a day, you will be able to devote your full attention to the lesson, which, according to developers, helps increase memorization and decrease the chance of burnout. Also, it's easier to commit to it on the daily, if you're only asked to sacrifice five minutes.
Drop's short, engaging word games, which make learning a new language fun and exciting, provide additional incentive to keep going.
To start, select your language of choice. There are over 30 to choose from -- from English, French, Italian, Spanish and Chinese to Danish, Esperanto, Hindi, Polish and Tagalog.
The app also breaks up languages by region. For example, there's both American English and British English, Spanish and Latin-American Spanish, European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese.
And Drops has been making a point to add endangered indigenous languages, such as Hawaiian and Icelandic. It also just became the first multi-language app to launch Māori lessons and plans to add more endangered and indigenous languages in the coming months.
Drops provides a helpful tutorial to take you through the app's basic features. Drag a word down to learn it or up to skip it. Then you'll demonstrate your mastery of the word -- one of 2,600 across 100 topics that experts deem most necessary -- by matching it to its corresponding illustration.
For example, you'll drag the word rain to the rainy cloud image. This, according to developers, is also faster to complete than connecting a new word to its written translation, helps your mind store memories more efficiently and puts less strain on your eyes.
To build your new language-learning habit, you'll want to set up a daily practice reminder. Choose a time when you're most likely to be able to devote five minutes to your new endeavor. You can change this (or turn it off) at any time in your profile settings.
Then jump back into gameplay. Merge words you've learned with drawings. Pull down floating letters to a row of Hangman-style dashes to create a word. You can also match floating bubbles of words with their corresponding illustrations. Swipes and taps make lesson completion even faster.
No matter which game you play, you'll always hear the pronunciation of the words delivered perfectly clear by professional voice actors.
As you successfully complete lessons, you'll go from being a Newcomer, who's just starting out, to a Novice, who's getting the basics down and is able to communicate a little, to a Tourist, who can handle basic interactions, to a Conversationalist, who's able to use your knowledge to express things in your own words and comprehend familiar topics.
You can see your progress as you learn more words. When you tap the icon in the upper left, you can see your current milestone based on the number of words you've learned. Once you've completed a certain number of words, you'll gain access to the Tough Word Dojo feature, where you'll be tested on the words you have struggled with the most.
You can go through all the content for free and collect rewards while you're at it. For example, if you use Drops for five days in a row, you'll get a reward of extra practice time. Otherwise, you'll have to wait 10 hours between five-minute lessons.
To go beyond the five minutes a day, which Drops believes will enable users to build the habit necessary to learn a new language, you'll need to pay for a premium subscription.
For $9.99 per month, $69.99 per year or $159.99 for a lifetime membership, you can remove ads and unlock all 98 topics (categories of words like food, weather and sports), which you would normally have to unlock one by one in a set order.
You'll also be able to view all your previously learned words and restart topics you've already completed as well as study offline.
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- The Drops app helps teach users a new language with lessons that take just five minutes a day.
- With over 30 new languages to choose from and interactive lessons that play like fun games, you'll certainly keep coming back for more.
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