Babbel - Learn A Language With This Interactive App
The Good
  • Easy interactive way to learn a language of your choice
  • Huge amount of languages and courses to choose from
  • Very easy to understand app layout
The Bad
  • Courses are a little expensive so be sure you want to invest and use app
  • Voice recognition technology is really inaccurate
4.1Overall Score

I started learning the German language in school. I spent three years repeating back to my teacher what she had said to me. I was pretty good at it, which makes me giving it up when GCSE time came around a big regret looking back now. A second language is a hugely useful skill to have, and very lucrative to employers in the working world. So now, after Babbel reached out to me to take a look at their new language learning app, I thought this was my chance to jump back into it.

By no means is this going to be a biased review, even though I must state that Babbel provided me with six months access to their service. I have been using it for just over a month so far, of course choosing German as my chosen language to learn, and I am slowly picking it up again.

So first off, Babbel is initially a free download from the Play Store on Android or App Store on iOS. From fresh download you have entry level access to the app meaning there is a basic beginner course for your desired language you can work through for free. However, be warned, most content is behind a paywall.

So content is laid out into various groups. These start with beginner courses all the way through to intermediate and grammar teachings. It’s a great way to introduce even the most inexperienced person to be able to start learning. The beginner courses which I’m working through now are very basic phrases to learn such as ‘hello’, ‘how are you?’, ‘I’m fine thankyou’ and ‘Are you Mr Doe?’.

Intermediate courses give you sentencing structures as well as more complex phrases to learn. I’m nowhere near that level at the moment and it does get progressively harder as you work your way through the courses.

During the courses you get the chance to either type or use voice recognition software that your mobile phone has to answer and repeat the phrases or words you are learning. I opt for typing, as my experience with voice recognition has been awful. Whether I have terrible pronunciation or what I’m not sure, but I can never get the app to recognise what I am saying in a foreign language. This needs some attention from the app developers I feel to give some leeway to those learning to pronounce the particular words.

The actual app has been designed very well, with big giant buttons that are clear to read. I never once felt lost when exploring the various menus you’re given for the different level courses.I signed in using Facebook which made the account creation process very easy. Going through to buy a course uses your Play Store or App Store accounts, so if you have a debit or credit card hooked up to them, then purchasing courses is easy.

Bear with it though. Learning a new language is tough I’m not going to say it isn’t, and even using apps like Babbel need some kind of personal will to want to learn. So before purchasing a course, as they can be quite pricey, ask yourself if it’s something you really want to do.

Babbel, although behind a paywall I found to be useful. Course lengths are pretty long, and repetition is always happening, but it helps me ot learn various words or phrases. I’m about halfway through the beginner course right now and I can’t see myself stopping. If you got some headphones, then when you have some downtime on a train or bus, or even on your lunch break at work, start up the app and kill some time while learning a new language.

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Stef Murphy

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