TerraTalk is changing how Japan’s students learn English

With increasing classroom sizes, more paperwork than ever and new mandates from the ministry of education, Japanese teachers face an uphill battle in their mission to teach their students. 

Yoshiyuki Kakihara wanted to use technology to figure out a solution, with an emphasis on English language education. He created TerraTalk, an AI-powered app that allows students to have audio conversations. TerraTalk’s artificial intelligence can hear and process what the students say and give feedback, removing this burden from teachers, and reinvigorating the classroom by creating an atmosphere filled with conversation and English learning games. TerraTalk was recently part of Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator, a program that provides mentorship and support to early-stage startups.

With nine acceleration programs and 341 startup alumni, we at Launchpadhave seen firsthand how  entrepreneurs around the world are using technology and startup innovation to solve the world’s biggest problems. In the third installment of our series, “Ideas to Reality,” we talked to Yoshiyuki about why he started TerraTalk, and where he hopes it will be in the next few years. 

TerraTalk app

A look at the TerraTalk English learning app.

When did you realize you wanted to make an impact on the education field? 

I grew up on the outskirts of Tokyo as a science-savvy kid and became super interested in foreign culture. I ended up leaving my high school to study in the United Kingdom. I did well academically back home, so it was quite a shock how my English fell short of being comprehensible at all abroad. It turns out that I wasn’t alone; in Japan, very few people reach conversational level at the end of secondary or university curriculum.

I feel that this is the result of an outdated methodology where too much emphasis is placed on explaining the grammar and little to no attention on putting the language into use. To make matters worse,  80 percent of teachers in Japan are putting 100 hours of overtime per month. They don’t have time to investigate, experiment with and transform the way they teach. When I learned this, I realized that I could help by creating a new technology to ease the burden on teachers, and make learning English more engaging for students.  

Who are your customers? How is your company positively affecting them?  

We do business directly with education institutions and local education councils. With our TerraTalk app, students can engage in role-playing style conversation lessons with their mobile devices. This enables teachers to ensure their students get enough speaking time, which is difficult to achieve with conventional classroom methodologies.

We are seeing students teach each other on how to tackle the exercises, sometimes creating their own competition out of it. In some ways, the technology we are bringing is humanizing classrooms, as it frees teachers from the standard lecture format.

How did you use Google products to make TerraTalk? 

BigQuery has helped us crunch massive user data to discover how people are using our app. Google Analytics is our go-to tool for marketing and search engine analysis. We use the TensorFlow family of machine learning tools and other numerous open source projects maintained by Google. We also use G Suite as a primary business tool, because of its reliability, security and ease of use.

Why did you choose to participate in Google Launchpad?

Google is a leading company in machine learning and cloud technology applications, which we heavily rely on. The prospect of receiving support in these areas was extremely appealing, especially when you are running a startup and saving time is everything.

What was the most memorable moment from Launchpad? 

We attended Launchpad Tokyo, which had seven startups in total. In a session called Founders Circle, founders from the startups got together and shared their biggest failures to date in a fireside-chat style. It was the moment where we became a true community, and many of us are still in touch after the program.

What advice do you have for future entrepreneurs? 

Don’t quit. Find a business or market where you have a natural advantage over other people. Whether your competition is other startups or established companies, it is the people you work with who make the difference.

This content was originally published here.

Blue Canoe raises $2.5M to help people learn English with the assistance of artificial intelligence

The Blue Canoe team. (Blue Canoe Photo

Blue Canoe, a Bellevue, Wash. startup that makes an app for learning English, just raised $2.5 million in seed funding.

Lots of tools help people learn English, but Blue Canoe says it is a little different. It sells to companies with global workforces that need their employees to be strong English speakers. Blue Canoe’s customers include multi-national corporations and English training institutions across the U.S., Japan and China.

The app shows how people progress. (Blue Canoe Photo)

To help with the “last mile” of pronunciation learning, Blue Canoe incorporates the Color Vowel System, a method used by top institutions like Harvard and the Peace Corps that focuses on visual, kinesthetic, musical, and rhythmic parts of the brain to train language skills. The startup digitized the system to create a “virtual AI teacher” in its mobile app with machine learning and speech recognition capabilities. Users only need to spend 10 minutes a day on the app and get personalized feedback, “rewiring their brains to allow them to learn how to correctly pronounce English,” the company said.

“Learning to speak English clearly is much harder than learning to read or write it, and for millions of people around the world it is a barrier to greater economic success,” Sarah Daniels, Blue Canoe CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. She continued: “English language training companies can now expand their business and be more successful in graduating students who are fluent speakers, and multi-national corporations can help their employees be more productive team members.”

Leading the round was Tsingyuan Ventures, with participation from Qualcomm Ventures LLC, Fantail Ventures and others. The 10-person company has now raised $3.9 million in its lifetime.

Blue Canoe is backed by Seattle startup studio Kernel Labs, and it was the first startup accepted to the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence Accelerator. Daniels is a former marketing executive at companies like DreamBox Learning, Market Leader, and Story2.

Blue Canoe cited data from TESOL International Association, which found more than 1.5 billion people worldwide are currently learning English as a second language, with 400 million in China alone. Executives called the English language learning market a $40 billion business opportunity.

“Blue Canoe is addressing a critical gap in the $40 billion global market for English language training, and their AI solution is unique and effective,” said Eric Rosenblum, partner with Tsingyuan Ventures. “We’re excited about Blue Canoe’s team and solution, which combines AI technology, a proven methodology, and valuable data.”

This content was originally published here.

The Real Reasons Why You CAN’t Learn English

The REAL Reasons Why People Can’t Learn English

English is the most popular language to study on planet Earth. Fact!

Many business professionals see English as the ‘business language of the world’, university students may come across words in their own language that originate from English i.e. ‘marketing’ or maybe you just love to watch American movies. English can, and probably does, affect us all in some way. So how come not everybody studies English?

Here are the top reasons we uncovered from our research;

The Price

Studying anything can be expensive! Whether you are learning to drive or studying at university, it always costs more money than we would like. However, the reason we justify paying for driving lessons etc. is because we see it as an investment into ourselves. It will bring positive results! Just like English will, but it doesn’t need to be so expensive. 13% of our survey answers stated that the price of learning English was causing a problem.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS There are multiple methods and techniques that can teach you English for free! Although studying with an English teacher can help keep you motivated and progressing consistently, some people benefit more from teaching themselves. Here are some examples of how you can do this as well: 3 Ways to Teach Yourself English

No Time

Life in the 21st century is fast, stressful and hectic for many people! How do you have a career, family and then enough time for studying? A big challenge. Over 24% of our survey participants claimed that there are simply ‘not enough hours in the day’! So how can you use your time more wisely?

POSSIBLE SOLUTION – Organisation is the key! Creating a study plan can help you allocate time to studying English and provides you a structure to follow. Think of your work schedule. You know what you have to do and when you need to do it by. It can be the same for English … except more enjoyable!

No Teachers or Language Partners

Sometimes, the reason why people cannot study English is not their own fault. In certain parts of the world, there may simply be a lack of English teachers, or a lack of native English teachers in particular. From our research, we found that around 63% of participants said that having no teacher or language partner was the main element stopping them learning English.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION Over the last few years, there has been an emergence of online tutors, language exchange sites and various ways to learn English in your own home! Not only do you have the flexibility of where you study, but also a greater of choice of who you study with!

Despite the many challenges that you and other English learners have to deal with when learning English, there is always a solution!

Thanks for reading and please let me know what problems you have when learning English in the Comments below.

Bye for now!

This content was originally published here.

Learn English Online Free with These 9 Incredible Digital Classes | FluentU English

Want to have your cake and eat it too?

That’s how English speakers say, “have all the good stuff, all at once.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with cake. Once you eat the cake, you don’t have it anymore. You’ve got to go out and buy more, or deal with the sugar cravings.

But we’re not here to talk about cake.

We’re here to talk about how you can learn English. And . And do it on your own schedule.

The nine incredible English courses in this article will get you started. They offer classroom-quality English learning, for free online.

There are options for all levels and learning goals, including some opportunities to earn an English certificate for your resume.

You can truly have your (metaphorical) cake and eat it too.

Ask Yourself: Is an Online English Class Right for You?

Online learning has lots of unique benefits for many types of English learners. Ask yourself these questions to find out if you should consider signing up for an online class:

Again, you can access these whenever you’d like, whereas a traditional classroom wouldn’t be able to offer 24/7 access to learning tools and information.

Of course, many of these courses also focus on more general English learning goals. So if you just want to advance to the next level, you can learn English online free, too.

Once you get in the habit of studying online and feel yourself progressing in English, it’ll be easier and easier to make time for online lessons every day. You may even find that you get hooked on online English learning and want to graduate from beyond just free classes.

If that’s the case, the first tool to check out is FluentU. This innovative platform will take you beyond your initial online English learning into a world of authentic English speech, vocabulary and culture.

FluentU provides real-world English videos—like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring speeches and more—which have been transformed into personalized English lessons. Each video comes with clickable captions. Just click any word for an in-context definition and pronunciation while you watch. FluentU also creates flashcards and exercises from the vocabulary in each video to test you on what you’ve just watched.

It’s an awesome way to learn English the way native speakers really use it, while also actively building your language skills. Plus, you don’t just have to learn from your laptop! Take FluentU anywhere with the mobile app for iOS or Android.

Ready to find out what other great English lessons are available to you online?

Learn English Online Free with These 9 Incredible Digital Classes

This OpenLearning course is perfect for the beginner or intermediate English learner who wants to learn the most important and immediately usable aspects of English.

You’ll learn English grammar, but the course isn’t just designed to teach you rules. The purpose is to help you apply those grammar rules in real life English communication.

You’ll use multimedia games, quizzes and exercises to memorize grammar concepts easily.

This course is split into nine units and the notes are downloadable for your convenience. You can start this class at any time, go at your own pace and hang out with an online community of over a thousand past and present students. You’ll also receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course. How cool is that?

If you need to learn basic English language skills for travel and business, this course on the online learning platform Alison is one you need to try! Before you enroll, you should be able to understand basic grammar concepts in English.

You’ll learn specific English skills for the workplace, such as how to answer a business call vs. a personal call in English. There’s also an emphasis on vocabulary for working at a hotel front desk.

This course provides an online assessment of your progress and a certification of completion.

There are 12 modules, each divided up into practical English business situations. This course takes about six to 10 hours to complete.

While there may not be a lot of options on this site for advanced English learners who want to take free online English lessons, beginner and intermediate learners have hit the jackpot.

This site has some of the most useful and real-world practical English courses you can find online for free, including courses aimed at immigrants preparing for their naturalization interview. All of the lessons are activity-based, meaning you’ll listen to or read a story before doing an activity, such as defining various words and phrases within the story.

Are you an intermediate learner who prefers to learn English with videos and audio? This course may be the one!

The course has 40 video lessons, each covering a different topic. The focus is primarily on grammar and vocabulary. You’ll pick up 2,000 new vocabulary words by the end of this course. You’ll also get introduced to complex grammar concepts such as conditionals or difficult sentence structures.

Planning to take the IELTS test in the future? This course promises to raise your score to 5.

Intermediate learners who’ve just passed the “beginner” mark of learning English should try this course out. If you’re not sure what level you are, try the first few lessons to see if you’re really behind. It’s free, after all!

Are you sick of English courses that are split up into boring, unoriginal and predictable lessons? Luckily for you, ESOL Courses has a ton of lessons that are far from what you normally expect from a traditional English course.

Each lesson focuses on a very specific subject, from eating a healthy diet to Nelson Mandela. As you follow these lessons you’ll practice individual English skills, such as listening or reading.

You can find mini quizzes and activities to try out on the site for free as well.

Oxford Online English is a premium English-teaching service that does cost money to use. However, they also have free courses available for anyone to try on their website!

There’s quite a bit of content available here, mostly in the form of short-and-sweet video lessons. Each lesson focuses on a particular topic, from the pronunciation of contractions, to common IELTS mistakes, to pronouncing strange English vowel sounds.

Each video is also accompanied by a script, various exercises and quizzes.

Are you on the cusp of being an advanced English learner? Congratulations! We know it wasn’t easy.

If you’re stuck in this spot and don’t know how to further your fluency in English, this course from BBC LearningEnglish is absolutely worth checking out.

You can pick-and-choose the topics that are most interesting to you and follow the lessons at your own pace. There’s tons of material here—click “Open Unit Selector” and choose from 30 course units to study. Each unit also comes with a convenient “Vocabulary Reference” and “Grammar Reference” so you can see the important topics.

The lessons are video-based, so you won’t get bored stiff learning complicated concepts.

Have you ever heard of MOOCs? Massive Open Online Courses are free-to-join open access courses in just about any subject you can imagine. They’re the best option if you want the flexibility of an online course plus the structure of a traditional class.

MOOEC.com specializes in MOOCs in English and their Elementary English Course is a fantastic place to start for English beginners.

Each lesson is timed to give you a healthy sense of urgency and to simulate a real-life classroom. This course will go over basic real-world interactions you may experience in an English-speaking place with practical vocabulary and simple grammar techniques.

Talkenglish.com is a very popular ESL website, and for good reason! There are a ton of English resources available for free here, in addition to well-crafted courses and lessons. We’d suggest starting out with their English Speaking Basics course.

There are 90 lessons and 900 hours of audio files to listen to. Each lesson is focused on a very specific, basic English topic (such as how to use the phrase “I feel like”).

The lessons are divided into three sections that get harder as you go.

Ready to kick your ESL journey up a notch? These classes are seriously awesome and you can pretty much just pick an aspect of English that you’re struggling with and use the appropriate course to perfect it. Good luck out there and enjoy learning English online free!

Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you’ll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.

This content was originally published here.

Learn Spanish, French, German using Netflix with this Website

This article covers a free website that helps you learn Spanish, French, and German using Netflix. Learning a new language is not an easy task; you need lots and lots of practice for that. There are several tools that make the process of learning and practicing new language fun by combining it with entertainment. Like there is a dual-caption on Netflix Chrome extension that shows subtitles in 2 languages simultaneously. But just watching an episode in a different language is not that much help; we have to do some homework so we can understand and learn.

is a free website that gamified the process of learning new languages. As of now, this website is available in English and offers Spanish, French, and German lessons. It teaches you lessons based on Netflix content.

The website lists many popular titles from Netflix which are available in either Spanish, French, or German. Instead of just taking you right to the episode, it helps you do your homework before that. It has lessons for each episode of a series and teaches you 10 sentences and 5 words per episode. Each lesson is hardly 5 minutes long and you can take up to 3 lessons per day.

The lessons first teach words then ask questions such as translation, fill in the blank, etc. And, if you answer something wrong, it won’t just leave that. Once you complete all the questions, the questions you answered incorrectly appear again. This way, you can first do some homework on an episode and then watch it on Netflix in that language.

Learn Spanish, French, German using Netflix with this Website

Langolin gamifies the process of learning new languages using Netflix. It keeps a record of the days you spend and the number of new words you learn or get familiar with. You can take a demo lesson to check out how it works. And, if you find it useful then you can create an account and let the learning begin.

When you create an account, this website asks you to select how many lessons you want to take daily; 1, 2, or 3. Each lesson is hardly 5 minutes long so if you take 3 lessons that’s roughly around 15 minutes of your time.

This website has a catalog of Netflix series which are available in Spanish, French, or German language. It highlights the language of each series on the top so you can pick one as per your needs. Langolin has one lesson per episode of those series.

When you pick a series, it takes you to the first lesson which is relevant to the words and sentences used in the corresponding episode in the series. First, it teaches you a word or a translation. It shows the meaning of the words in English. In case of a sentence, it uses color codes to highlight the respective words in both languages.

After teaching you words and translation, it follows with a question. The questions are either complete sentence translation or fill in the blank translation. In each case, you get scrambled options which you have to place in the right position. This way, you 5 words and 10 sentences per lesson.

This website also has a gaming reward system where you get 10 points upon successfully completing a lesson. You can check your progress, learning stats, and points from the dashboard. It also keeps a track of the days and marks the days when you take a lesson. After finishing a lesson, you can go to Netflix and watch that episode.

Give it a try .

Closing Words

Langolin offers an interesting way to learn new languages that involve you in the learning process. It could not be the fastest way to learn a new language but it is fun and entertaining, and chances are that you might gonna remember most of it. Instead of starting with the basics, it takes you right into it. It teaches you just what you need to know to understand each episode. You can also join the Langolin Discord community to keep an eye on the updates and interact with other learners. Also, when you watch the episode on Netflix, you can use the dual-caption extension to get a live translation of the episode.

This content was originally published here.

Lionel Messi news: How Barcelona captain tried to save Ousmane Dembele from red card by telling ref he can’t speak Spanish well | Goal.com

Lionel Messi did his best to save Ousmane Dembele from a red card in Barcelona’s clash with Sevilla as he explained to the referee that his team-mate doesn’t speak Spanish very well.

Dembele was dismissed during the latter stages of the  Liga fixture on Sunday.

There were just two minutes left on the clock when the France international winger was given his marching orders and it came just 60 seconds after debutant Ronald Araujo was also dismissed in Barca’s 4-0 win.

Messi had hoped to avoid seeing Dembele join Araujo in heading down the tunnel, with the World Cup winner accused of verbally abusing match referee Miguel Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

The 22-year-old is said to have told the match official “you’re very bad”, with a red card then flashed in his direction.

Messi was among the first on the scene to remonstrate with Lahoz, with the Argentine claiming there had been a misunderstanding.

He suggested that Dembele does not know how to express himself properly in Spanish and deserved to be let off the hook as a result.

📰 — Messi tried to save Dembélé by telling the referee that Ousmane cannot express himself in Spanish.

Messi (to Lahoz): “He can’t speak.”

[marca] pic.twitter.com/FJPSj34ZXd

— Barca Universal (@BarcaUniversal)

Messi’s argument fell on deaf ears, with Dembele now facing the threat of missing out on a Clasico clash with Real Madrid on October 26.

The length of his ban is yet to be determined, but Barca have only one more Liga outing to take in – against Eibar – before welcoming their arch-rivals from the Spanish capital to Catalunya.

Gerard Pique was another who tried to prevent the Frenchman from being stung with a suspension.

He joined the protests alongside Messi, with the experienced centre-half claiming that Dembele had said “very badly” rather than calling Lahoz “bad”.

No leniency was shown, though, much to the frustration of those in the Barcelona ranks.

Article continues below

He told reporters: “The red cards? It’s the referee’s decision. Everyone has their opinion. I’ve seen a pretty clean game.

“I don’t know what Dembele may have said to the referee but I don’t think it’s a long sentence because it’s hard to hear him speak Spanish.”

This content was originally published here.

Border Patrol Entering Stores And Interrogating People Who Speak Spanish

By MassPrivateI

In New England, undercover federal agents are following people into stores and interrogating them simply because they are speaking a foreign language.

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit claiming that the U.S. Border Patrol is sending undercover agents into stores to interrogate and arrest suspected illegal immigrants because they were speaking Spanish.

Exhibit C of the complaint gives a detailed account of how two Border Patrol agents, James Loomis and Brendan Burns, followed a few alleged illegal immigrants from Vermont into a thrift shop in West Lebanon, New Hampshire.

On March 20th, 2019, agents Loomis and Burns were in an unmarked service vehicle in plain clothes with no badges or weapons visible when they followed Carlos Avila-Lucas and his friends into a thrift shop and interrogated them.

Loomis asked Avila, how are you today? Avila responded in broken English, Good, thank you. Loomis then responded to the subject saying, They have some good stuff in here don’t they? Avila appeared confused as if he didn’t quite understand what Loomis had said.

DHS claims that Avila, “appeared uninterested with conversing with Loomis so the conversation ended.” And that should have been the end of it right?

But it wasn’t.

According to Exhibit C, Loomis moved over to another part of the store and began to question the second subject (later identified as Batz-Tzul) whom he had seen exit the Chevrolet Suburban.

Loomis observed Batz pick up a small speaker and asked Batz, Hey sir, is that a speaker?  Batz replied in very broken English, Yes, this speaks. As he motioned his hand to imply a mouth talking. Loomis then asked Batz, I’m looking for a microwave, do you know where they keep those? Batz looked confused and stated, No speak English. Loomis then asked Batz, You don’t speak English, what language do you speak? Batz replied, Spanish.  Loomis then asked Batz, Where are you from? Batz replied, Guatemala.

In the Exhibit, DHS referred to these interrogations as “consensual encounters”,

At approximately 1330 hours, James Loomis informed me that he had engaged in a consensual encounter with two (2) adult males (later identified as Avila-Lucas, Florentin ****, Batz-Tzul, Miguel Antonio ****.

How are these “consensual encounters” with law enforcement?  How would anyone know that they are really Federal Agents masquerading as everyday people asking questions?

Is this what it means to be a part of law enforcement today?  Hiding one’s identity hoping to get someone to admit that they are here illegally?

Border Patrol follows people into stores for speaking Spanish

According to the New York Times, Border Patrol agents have been following people into stores for speaking Spanish since at least 2018.

Ana Suda does not recall what they discussed while they browsed the store, but she knows they conversed in Spanish.

That was all it took for a Border Patrol agent also in the store to interject. “He looked at us and said, Where are you guys born? ” Ms. Suda said. (To find out about Suda’s lawsuit click here.)

As recently as four days ago, WGME 13 in Bangor, Maine revealed that Border Patrol agents followed a family into a store because they looked Central-American.

The family “appeared to be of Central-American origin,” a Border Patrol agent wrote in federal court records, and the agents “overheard several people speaking Spanish” inside the store. Then, the agents approached the people and asked where they were from.

Undercover federal agents following people into stores based solely on speaking a foreign language turns America into a quasi-police state.

If DHS is allowed to use the Patriot Act to target people for speaking a foreign language, what’s to stop them from taking it a step further?

What’s to stop federal agents from targeting activists and anti-government protesters or anyone else the government wants to make an example of?

How long before Border Patrol agents start targeting journalists and accuse them of being propaganda writers?  Oh right, that is already happening.

Papers Please: “Daily Citizenship Checks” on Buses Across Maine Highlight Constitution-Free Zone

New York’s Constitution-Free Zone Leading to Warrantless Bus Searches and Detentions

Citizenship Checkpoints Start to Spread Across The Constitution-Free Zone

You can read more at the MassPrivateI blog, where this article first appeared.

Top image: US Border Patrol Logo (MGN)

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This content was originally published here.

Learn English and Grammar Skills with Google Home Assistant

Learn English and Grammar Skills with Google Home Assistant

Would you like to learn English and improve your grammar without getting off the sofa and without cracking open a textbook?

could be just what you need. It’s a device a bit like Amazon’s Echo (though created by Google, not Amazon) that connects to the Google Assistant to let you get answers and run apps using just your voice. 

You can use it to control your lights, turn cameras on and off, use your TV, and much more. 

If you want to try out Google Assistant without buying the Google Home device, you can use it through your smartphone (Android 5.0+ / iOS 10.0+) and various other devices, too. 

To learn English and improve your grammar, you’ll need to use some of Google Home’s (many!) apps. If you’re not sure how to add and use these, take a look at .

Seven English and Grammar Apps to Try

Here are some of the English and grammar apps you can try out through Google Home (these apps are the equivalent of ). Some of these are from Google itself; others are from third-parties. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order:

#1: (from Google)

This app, also known as “Tell me a story” after one of the key commands it uses, lets you listen to a number of classic and more modern short stories. 

It’s geared up for children in particular, with stories like Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, plus some newer ones about characters like . Even if you’re a bit older, though, if you’re looking to improve your English – particularly your listening skills – it could be a great way to expose yourself to more English texts. 

#2: (from Punchcut)

Creative Coach is designed to enhance your creativity. You can use it for a number of different things (like photos and drawings), but if you’re looking to work on your written English, use the command “Ask Creative Coach for a writing prompt”. Because you can respond to the prompt in any way you like, this app is suitable for English learners who are already writing at a fluent/native level, as well as newer English learners. 

Each creative exercise prompts you to expand your mind and stretch your creative muscles. Integrate it into your routine and watch your creative energy and insight bloom. Be ready to tackle new life challenges and feel inspired.

#3: (from Google)

The dictionary app does what you’d expect: it lets you find out what words mean. If you come across an unfamiliar English word when you’re reading or listening to an English podcast or TV show, you can simply ask Google Home “what does [word] mean?” or “define [word]”.

If you want to try out other dictionary apps, there are plenty of highly rated ones available, including and

#4: (from Google)

As well as building your listening skills through hearing stories, you can use all sorts of other apps to listen to English and learn new words in context.

A great one to try out is Google’s Fun Facts, which will tell you thousands of interesting things. You never know what you’ll get, and the facts are quite short, so this is an enjoyable way to get used to listening to English. 

#5: (from Vocab Assistant) 

If you’re looking to improve your vocabulary, Mr Vocab is a great app to use. It’s particularly geared up for people taking exams such as the GRE, but you can use it just for fun. It offers a range of vocabulary games and can help you build your vocabulary. It can also test you on the vocabulary you’ve already covered. 

Phunka has , covering the main features plus a key drawback (the unnatural voice the app uses).

#6: (from Anisha Sethi)

If you’re looking to improve your grammar, My Grammar Guru is a handy app to use. It simply gives you a sentence, and you answer whether or not the sentence is grammatically correct. While it’s not the most feature-rich app out there, it’s a good way to brush up on your English grammar.

#7: (from Google)

Listening to the news in English can introduce you to new vocabulary and help you practice your listening skills. Google’s news app offers a lot of different options, so you can choose what source you want to get the news from (e.g. “What’s the news from BBC?” or “News from Financial Times”). 

#8: (from Google)

Do you find it difficult to set aside time to learn new vocabulary or to brush up your English skills? Then use Google’s “Reminders” app to get Google Home to set reminders for you. That way, you’ll be prompted at the time you choose, so you can start studying.

#9: (from Google)

Sometimes, you might find that you know how to say an English word … but you’re not so sure how to spell it. The Spell Check app, provided by Google, lets you check the spelling of any word: simply ask “How do you spell [word]?” or tell Google Home to “Spell [word]”.

While it’s not a substitute for learning words accurately, Spell Check is a great tool for helping you to get confident about new vocabulary.

#10: (from Maildover LLC)

You can use Vocal Notes if you want to dictate rather than write in English: you can speak the words and they’ll be transcribed for you. This might be useful if you want to send messages in English, or if you want to improve your confidence with using both spoken and written English.

Ultimately, no Google Home app is likely to completely replace other sources of English learning (like online courses, in-person tuition, and conversations with native speakers). 

Using Google Home to support you in improving your English vocabulary and grammar, though, could be a great way to learn faster and to become more confident. 

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Learn English with News: What to Watch After VOA Learning English | FluentU English

Breaking news!

Just watch English news videos!

That’s right. You can learn English by news with the 15 great sites we’ll show in this article. All of them have interesting English news videos (as well as articles and audio clips) covering the latest current events.

Watching news in English can improve multiple language skills (like listening and speaking), teach you new vocabulary, keep you informed of current events and introduce you to cultural aspects of English-speaking countries.

Several of these news sources are specifically designed for English learners, with built-in transcripts, exercises and other helpful tools.

We’ve got the scoop on the best sites to learn English by news. Check out the insider information below!

Tips to Learn English Through News

Before you jump into our list of awesome English news resources, consider the following tips to help you get the most out of watching English news videos.

Your vocabulary journal can also be used to keep track of words you don’t understand. Look them up after the news video is finished.

You’ll find transcripts with several of the news sources in our list below.

Our list of English news resources below includes options from across the English-speaking world.

You can apply these tips to any news video you decide to watch. Check out the following resources for some great places to get started!

Learn English News: The Best News Video Sites for Language Learners

Steven French has created tons of videos on how to learn various languages. These include his series of videos entitled “News in Simple English.”

This playlist features English news told in 60 seconds. These brief lessons include the transcript displayed on the screen, so you can follow along while listening.

Each news video briefly covers the biggest world news stories. They’re narrated slowly and clearly and feature language that’s geared toward English learners. That means it’s less difficult than language from authentic news sources.

The only downside to this YouTube series is that new videos aren’t uploaded as frequently as the other resources listed in this article. However, new videos do appear from time to time.

Simple English News is a site created for English learners. Each news story is specifically selected with language learners in mind.

Each story comes with an audio summary that’s spoken slowly and clearly, making it easier for lower-level learners to understand. They use appropriate vocabulary so that you can follow along with the story.

There’s also a written version of the summary. The original English news video will be below the written summary (not all stories come with a video).

The site’s news is conveniently divided into interesting subjects like travel, food, jokes, history, books and fashion.

The site has both shorter videos and longer ones in the form of 35-minute news documentaries. In addition to world news and lifestyle news, there are also videos specifically related to learning English. These videos cover everything from language tips to English idioms and proverbs.

While the focus of this article is video news, I do want to mention that, as a bonus, Simple English News also has wonderful written articles that are accompanied by audio clips.

Looking for an overview of the latest English news, all in one place? MSN News is a fantastic option. They gather their news videos from top U.S. news outlets (news sources) such as CNN, CBS, the Associated Press (AP), USA Today, The Washington Post and NBC.

You’ll find tons of videos on world news, U.S. news, politics, technology and more. Since their videos come from the major players (top companies) in the news industry, their videos are usually high-quality.

Access to the site, along with all of the videos, is completely free, and you can easily sort through the news by topic.

With such a wide variety of subjects, you can easily add new vocabulary to your repertoire (set of skills). Plus, you’ll never run out of videos to watch since the site adds new content daily.

FluentU provides language learners with real-world English videos, including tons of news videos.

The news videos can be divided by language level, so they’re easy to search through and find one that matches your needs. There are six levels to choose from (Beginner 1, Beginner 2, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2).

But FluentU isn’t just a video player. Every FluentU video comes with built-in learning tools that transform the videos into personalized language lessons.

For example, there are interactive subtitles. Just click on any word for an instant definition and grammar info. This means you’ll naturally learn new words while you immerse yourself in English.

There are also fun quizzes and flashcards to practice or test your knowledge of words you learned from the news videos.

Need a break from news? Watch authentic English music videos, movie trailers, inspiring speeches and lots more fun content—all with the same learning features.

Best of all, just like a newspaper, you can take FluentU anywhere with the mobile apps for iOS or Android.

Another wonderful free resource is BBC News, a division of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Specifically, their YouTube channel is a great place to find useful content. It’s updated with new videos every few hours, providing learners with plenty of fresh content.

What makes them great for English learners is that they have playlists of related news stories. For example, if you wanted to focus on learning more nature-themed English vocabulary, you could simply click on their playlist about saving the Leuser rainforest. That way, you can keep watching similar content and practicing related language without having to search for it.

Additionally, BBC News’ YouTube channel offers English news videos in a variety of formats. They have short videos of around one to three minutes for those of you who are in a hurry or just trying to squeeze in a quick English lesson. They also have longer documentaries of around 25 minutes to give you a fuller, more in-depth English lesson.

A final perk (positive aspect) of watching BBC News’ videos on YouTube is that you won’t have to sort through written news articles to find the videos. Many news sites have both videos and written news articles to read. Since BBC News has a YouTube channel, they can provide all of their videos in one place.

Global News provides the latest English news stories divided into categories, such as entertainment, health, politics, world news and more. There are both English news articles and videos. As you’re browsing, just look for the “Play video” button on the righthand images for the video news stories.

Global News is a Canadian outlet, which gives language learners an opportunity to practice an English accent that’s a bit different from British or American accents.

While they do provide a lot of local and national news, they also have plenty of videos on worldwide current events.

One of the best sections on their site is their trending news page. It has tons of popular videos on trending news and covers both serious and cute stories.

Another tool to take advantage of is Global News’ live broadcast, where you can watch in real time as the news is reported. This may be one of the best ways to put your English listening skills to the test as you watch the news while it unfolds.

ESL Video is another site made specifically for English learners.

They feature a range of English videos including news clips, which are accompanied by content made by teachers.

The site is free to use, and the additional content includes quizzes to test your knowledge of the videos.

The news videos sometimes have transcripts available as well, so you can read along with what’s being said during the video.

As we mentioned above, ESL Video’s content covers a wide range of subjects, and not all of their videos are news videos. However, the ones that are can be divided into categories like “science and technology,” if you want to practice specific vocabulary.

This ESL resource comes from CBC Radio Canada. The site is geared toward English language learners and has plenty of news videos—and some audio clips—from which to choose.

The videos are labeled by English level, so you can choose the video that perfectly suits your study needs.

News subjects cover everything from Canadian news to sports to children’s news.

Each video is meant to help learners practice English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation while learning about current events around the world and cultural facts about English speaking countries.

In addition to the many recent news videos, the site also has an extensive archive of stories from 2017 and earlier. These include both news interviews and longer stories.

Politico is an American newspaper and journalism company dedicated to sharing political news. They’re non-partisan, which means they tend to stick to the facts rather than twisting the story to suit their political beliefs.

They’re one of the top American news sites when it comes to political news, and they’re constantly adding new videos to their website.

Politico focuses on American politics, so it’s very specific in terms of subject matter. This makes it a great source to use if you’re looking to become more familiar with how the U.S. government works.

It’s also a great place to learn about American politics and foreign policy, which can affect countries around the world.

Additionally, you can expect to learn a ton of great vocabulary by studying words related to government, economics, policy, etc.

The Good News Network gives you a break from all of the sad and serious news in the world.

This site is dedicated to sharing positive, uplifting (happy) news stories from around the globe. Their news categories include happier options, such as “inspiring” and “laughs.”

You can expect to watch videos about animals, families and kids.

In addition to getting in your English lesson while watching happy news, the Good News Network typically provides slightly more in-depth written summaries to go along with their news videos.

In other words, there’s a longer summary of each video’s content to help you understand what’s happening if you have trouble following the story.

The Irish Times offers English learners listening practice with yet another English accent.

Despite being based in Ireland and focusing on local and national news, The Irish Times also supplies plenty of videos covering international news.

Their news covers everything from sports to politics to culture, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

What makes these videos nice for English learners is that each news segment is quite short. Videos can last as little as 30 seconds and typically don’t run much past two minutes.

This makes them a perfect, bite-sized English lesson for learners who have busy schedules.

TechCrunch is a great site that specializes in international news related to technology. That includes stories about the latest electronics, cars, apps, robotics and startups.

This news site will introduce you to tons of great vocabulary, and the topics covered by the videos are super interesting.

You can easily divide news videos by subject, such as interviews, reviews and gadgets (tech tools).

The best thing is that some of the videos have captions available in a number of languages, not just English. That means that you may be able to find subtitles in your native language, which can be a big help when it comes to understanding the English videos.

Some of the caption options I’ve seen include Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch and Japanese.

CTV News is a Canada-based news site that has tons of videos.

Their news videos cover both national and international stories. You’ll have access to just about any type of vocabulary you can think of, as there’s also extensive coverage of lifestyle news, such as pop culture, health and entertainment.

The best thing about this news source is that English captions are available with most of the videos. That means that you can check your understanding of pronunciation, learn how to spell a word or use the subtitles to help you know what words to look up in a dictionary.

SBS News is based in Australia, exposing English learners to yet another unique English accent.

This is another resource that provides tons of opportunities to expand your vocabulary, as it covers a wide array of topics like small businesses, sports and cultural news.

While many of SBS News’ videos are focused on Australian news, there are tons of them that talk about world news as well.

New videos are added every few hours, so you’ll never run out of stories to watch.

Plus, just about every story is accompanied by a longer summary and additional photographs to provide you with more insight into what’s happening in the video.

While most videos are short, there are occasionally longer options that provide you with a deeper look at a story, which is perfect if you’re looking for a longer English lesson.

“The Daily Show” is an American news TV show with a comical twist.

The show is currently hosted by Trevor Noah and pokes fun at current affairs, politicians and various types of news stories.

Watching “The Daily Show” provides you with a source of news, as well as insight into American comedy. By watching Noah’s intonation and how he sets up jokes, you’ll start to be able to better understand how to deliver humor in English.

Additionally, you’ll learn a lot about American culture and how different news is perceived and interpreted by U.S. citizens.

The great thing about this site is that there are thousands of shorter video clips to choose from, as well as hundreds of full-length episodes available for free online.

Finally, if you’re able to follow along with the news videos, you’re sure to have a good laugh!

Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on where to find the best English news videos, you’re all set to start watching!

is an experienced writer and ESL teacher.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you’ll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.

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