By Manuel Pulido
Whether you are currently learning a language, are the parent of a foreign language learner, or you are simply thinking of brushing up your L2/L3/Ln, you are surely aware that practice is a key component of language acquisition. You may also be aware that the more input you are exposed to the better. But is there an easy way to accomplish all of this? Here are some useful apps and resources that may help, just a few taps away on your smartphone screen.
Words, words, words. Research shows that people need to be exposed to new words multiple times in order to learn them (and spacing repetition is also important [1, 2]), so you will need to make sure you know where to find those words. Websites like quizlet.com and flashcardstash.com let you not just create your own lists, but also use those created by others. They also let you practice using a variety of formats and games.
Read real texts more easily. A common frustration for any non-proficient reader is that of encountering a steady flow of indecipherable words as they read in another language. Lingro.com is a free tool that helps make reading an easier task. Simply insert a web address you would like to read, and you can click on any word in text to see its meaning in any of the 11 languages available.
Exposure to real-world language for learners: While texts in learner-oriented materials are helpful, the content is rarely up to date or may not be very appealing to one’s particular interests. Some news agencies provide text and audio versions of their content adapted for learners, such as Voice of America for learners of English (learningenglish.voanews.com/), or the EFE agency for Spanish (practicaespanol.com).
Appealing apps for children. To make practice more appealing, some apps include stories and games popular among younger learners, and are available for several languages and operating systems. Some popular ones are Gus on the Go, Pacca Alpaca, Teach Kids Languages, and Studycat.
Websites like flashcardstash.com allow learners to practice through games, such as the word-picture matching game in this photo.
 Ausubel, D. P., & Youssef, M. (1965). The effect of spaced repetition on meaningful retention. Journal of General Psychology, 73, 147–50.
 Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger, H. L. (2007). “Expanding Retrieval Practice Promotes Short-Term Retention, but Equally Spaced Retrieval Enhances Long-Term Retention”. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33(4), 704-719.