Learning a new language is a skill many people try to master for various reasons: they're moving to the country in which this language is spoken, providing an edge when applying for a job as well as improving memory and communication skills. I've been recently trying to learn Spanish, a language that is deemed one of the quickest and easiest to learn, since it's the second most common language spoke after English. I've been trying to learn Spanish for years but lost interest as well as not having any time while studying for exams when in secondary school and college. Since I'm now working I have some days free during the week which I now dedicate a few hours from to learn Spanish. Learning Spanish is so much easier when using apps, textbooks don't appeal to me since they're limited in the sense that they usually only focus on certain words such as verbs, nouns, adjectives, phrases or objects. The apps I downloaded alongside with a note pad allow me to learn the word verbally and then learn them by memory by writing them down. By writing down what words I learn this allows me to go back and improve on certain words and phrases I don't understand. I've only been learning Spanish for around a month but I can confidently say that I've mastered the basics.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service for £8.99 per month which allows the user to have no adverts featured as well as receiving a premium service by downloading lessons for offline use)
Duolingo, being one of the most popular apps to learn a new language, is currently used by 200 million users who have access to 30 languages. This app focuses on basic vocabulary then moving towards sentences as well as improving on grammar. This style of language learning is simple but effective as it uses a colourful style of visual learning by using pictures and colours to help the user remember certain words and phrases from this. Duolingo also expands into different sections within the app which focus on reading, writing and speaking which is done through listening and then having conversations back with the Duolingo bot. These conversations will help in real life situations as they include learning how to hail a taxi as well as learning how to order different meals in a restaurant. This saving the hassle and embarrassment of not feeling confident when actually speaking to someone in the language you're learning. My favourite feature of the app is that it focuses on weak words (words you might have got wrong or not have translated properly) so you can improve singularly on areas that you're not confident in. There are a range of different goal settings which go from 'casual' (which I'm currently using) to 'insane' for people who want to learn a range of different words and phrases in a short amount of time by dedicating more time using Duolingo.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service which is £9.99 per month which gives the user full and unlimited access to all courses for that specific language)
Babbel, which is currently used by just over 1 million people, features 14 languages to learn in the app. Babbel features a simplistic format with it translating a sense of calm to the user since it's not overcrowded with images and too much distraction for the user. There are daily lessons featured which focus on building basic conversational skills by allowing the user to quickly memorize key phrases such as how to greet someone as well as learning how to say thank you. The app goes into further detail by explaining grammar concepts and language rules to the user, for me this is interesting since I'm planning to learn in depth about the language and the rules surrounding it. Rather than using this app as a main form of learning Spanish I prefer to use Babbel as a supplement. Babbel uses a form of repetitive learning by first allowing the user to select the word out of a choice of two and then four. This repetitive style of learning is useful but can get a bit tedious, especially for the smaller and easier phrases.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service for £6.99 per month which allows the user to access videos from native speakers as well as featuring an in depth analysis of your learning - which words you're confident in and what words and could use a little more practice)
Memrise, which is used by 30 million users, offers 25 languages within a more engaging and colourful presentation. This app features a range of games which are used to learn and practice different phrases - meaning this app may be suitable for younger users who want to learn the basics of a language. Memrise features a pronunciation guide which allows the user to record themselves and compare it with a local, a feature most apps ignore but is vital for learning a new language. You may learn words and phrases of a language but if you can't pronounce them then you might not be understood or even make yourself more confused. Memrise features a repetition software in which lets users learn and review the different words that might need a little more practice. The best part about this app is that it can be used offline, which allowed me to spend a few hours when travelling to Barcelona learning different key words and phrases (some of which I was able to use). Memrise is very dedicated and tailored to the user, it's not a generic app that has one daily lesson for everyone, the user can learn as little or as much as they want since the app allows the user to carry on.
Price: Free (There's a subscription service which is £9.99 a month which allows the user to unlock 1000 lessons and conversations, 14 conversational modules and includes 365 daily lessons per year)
Mondly, which is used by 25 million users, features 33 languages within the app. The app features basic lessons that focuses on conversational language and practical knowledge (such as asking how someone is as well as learning verbs - past, present and future). Mondly also features MondlyKids which can be used to teach a child the basics to a different language while they're still young. The layout for the children's version is very engaging through the use of child friendly illustrations and topics such as food, family and sports (something they use and see everyday which will help them learn and remember certain words). The fun and interactive style of Mondly suits a range of ages while following a classroom style of watching, learning and then repeating. My favourite part about Mondly is that it's repetitive in different forms, which goes from individual words to complete phrases and pronouns. Another great feature about Mondly is that after each lesson there's a review of the different words and phrases learnt, which can be reviewed at any time regardless of when the lesson was completed.
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