Language-Learning Apps

One of the biggest perks today, aided by readily available technology, is the sheer amount of knowledge at our very fingertips.


If we seek to know something, we find it in the blink of an eye. We Google it, search it on YouTube. Etc..





One could argue you no longer need a formal education to become a true savant on a subject or trade. It’s all right there.


In the same vein, the capability of learning foreign languages has become easier thanks to applications devoted to teaching us the process. Today, we will examine some of the top applications on the market to conquer a new language. Slacked off in high school Spanish or French? Here is your chance at redemption.


Babel


Out of all these sleek apps, Babel is arguably the most mundane. Experts liken the language-learning application to learning a language in school… but only online.


Hey, at least you can do it at your own pace without getting flak from your teacher like in school.





Each lesson is comprised of translations through pictures and phrases – with some of the letters included to help you out. Much like you may see on your typical school homework while studying a language.


The language lessons average 15 minutes – making it quite feasible to fit into your assuredly busy day.


Cost: A three-month subscription is $27, six months costs $46, and one year is $75.


Mondly


Mondly is designed by combining principles of neuroscience along with cutting edge technologies. The main allure of the app is the diverse ways one can learn – course materials, augmented reality and chat bots.

Another plus: 41 languages can be learned in any combination. That means that you don’t have to learn Spanish through English. You can learn Spanish through French or whatever best suits you.




There is also MondlyKIDS – which is like the main platform but more kid-friendly through the usage of illustrations.


Now, Mondly isn’t perfect. This is evident through the lack of grammar rules on the site pertaining to the language you are studying. But, overall, Mondly offers a variety of learning experiences and is definitely technologically-advanced.


Busuu


Busuu preaches that the key to learning a language is to speak it out loud. The site uses its speech recognition tool to aid its students in their learning process.


While there is a free version, it is very limited. The paid premium option is the way to go. Don’t like Busuu after 14 days? They will give you your money back. Smart customer service.




When you join Busuu, you first choose a level (Beginner A1, Elementary A2, Intermediate B1, Upper Intermediate B2). These are based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), which establishes exactly how fluent an individual is in a specific language.


Another cool feature of Busuu is that you can get feedback on your learning and progress from their community. The community is filled with knowledgeable speakers of all its languages. By speaking or writing in your new language, you can get feedback on how to improve from native speakers. A great asset.


Duolingo


A free app. That’s right. Duolingo was the first free language-learning app to rival expensive paid programs.


According to experts, Duolingo is up there even with the best paid language-learning programs.


Duolingo offers plenty of options – podcasts, and live video chats with other learners – for marquee languages like Spanish. The downside is that if you are not attempting to learn a common language, there aren’t as many options for you.




Duolingo also offers a placement test when you sign up. This makes sense. Perhaps you are like me – someone who has limited Spanish experience and dabbled a bit in grade school and college. When you first get started there may be a placement test if you already have some knowledge of the languages. By taking the placement test, you may be able to skip some of the more elementary lessons, like learning simple words and verb conjugations.


Duolingo is big on structure and proper grammar.


Rosetta Stone


The granddaddy of them all. Chances are you have heard of Rosetta Stone. And for good reason. It has been around for 25-plus years and still sits on the Mount Rushmore of language-learning apps.


You have three options payment wise: 3-months ($36), 12-months ($96), or lifetime ($299).




Online reviewers look favorably upon Rosetta Stone’s prices, stating that they are a good bit below the average language-learning site. In addition, Rosetta Stone does come with a 3-day trial period, as well as a 30-day money back guarantee.


The standard course for Rosetta Stone is made up of 20 learning units. Each unit covers a different topic or category, such as greetings and introductions, or professions and hobbies. Then within each unit, there are 4 overarching lessons.




Each lesson gives you a 30-minute learning module on the task at hand. Following this, there are between 3 and 5 drills associated with the module that take around 5 minutes each. So, it isn’t outlandish to try to tackle one a day.


Rosetta Stone lessons are essentially a combination of images and recorded audio.

You’ll spend most of your time listening to a word or phrase, repeating that word or phrase, and then matching it up to a corresponding image.


Lastly, a very cool feature offered by Aunt Rosetta is their TruAccent voice recognition technology. This is something that has recently been developed. It is mandatory in their learning experience for their students. While not perfect, it is a great tool to master the language you are studying. In this segment, you answer certain questions in the language you are studying by actually speaking out loud – not writing it or matching it up.




Conclusion


Well, there you have it. Hopefully this summary of these language-learning outlets was informative and sparked your interest to learn a new language. Learning a new language is easier than ever. We have technology to thank for that. We have everything right at our very fingertips. Some outlets are even free. As evident from the summaries above, many programs offer lessons that take only a few minutes of your time per day. No more excuses!


 

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