Babbel – a new way to learn a foreign language

Babbel is a new way of learning a foreign language. A comprehensive training system combines effective training methods with the most modern technologies. Interactive online courses will instantly improve your grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation skills. You will make rapid progress and enjoy it.

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Babbel is an online subscription language learning service with courses in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Swedish, as well as English and Business English. A subscription gives you access to one language, each taught through a series of courses that cover everything from basic greetings to more complex situational conversations and advanced grammar. Individual courses are grouped into guided thematic lessons. For example, the Spanish for Beginners course is divided into sixteen thematic lessons, each of which is divided into two parts and supplemented by an additional review session and an introduction to the complex aspects of Spanish pronunciation. Each individual component is designed to be completed in 10 to 15 minutes.

There is no set pattern for individual lessons as they cater for a wide range of needs and abilities. However, each uses a mixture of repetition and interaction to reinforce lesson content. The exercises focus equally on the writing, understanding and pronunciation of small sets of words and/or phrases, usually represented by illustrative pictures. At each stage of the course, your pronunciation is monitored, so you will need a microphone. Every phrase you repeat is analyzed and scored, and your progress in the course depends on clear repetition. This should mean that you have pronounced each word correctly at least once during the course. In practice, the grading system is generous enough to make sure you’re not disappointed, but strict enough to make sure native speakers can understand you.

Babbel provides a mobile application that complements the main online service. This allows you to review words and phrases when you have a spare minute. However, it is only available for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. There is also a social aspect to the service. Babbel started out as a social networking site dedicated to language, and it’s still an active component. You can connect with other users who might be interested in your help, and with a wide and diverse user base, there’s a good chance you’ll find someone to act as a tutor in exchange for help with their English. There’s no built-in voice communication, but you can email and text chat with other users and post questions in active forums. We suspect that most users will prefer this slightly less personal approach to online communication.

Learning a new language is never easy, but Babbel makes the process convenient and fun. While beginners and those needing a refresher will undoubtedly benefit more from the service than those closer to fluency, Babbel is an ideal and affordable way to incorporate language learning into your everyday life.

What Languages Can You Learn With Babbel?

Babbel offers programs in 13 languages, assuming your language of instruction is English. You can learn Danish, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. There’s also a course for learning English, with instruction available in French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, or Swedish.

If you already have experience in the language, you can take a brief placement test, and Babbel will start you out at the right point in the program, based on your knowledge.

Babbel Features: Podcasts

For some languages, Babbel offers podcasts to help you improve your listening skills. These podcasts are for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners. Not all languages have podcasts available, and podcast choices are limited for the languages that do have them. The more common languages have a few options, like Spanish, German, and Italian. Less common languages like Swedish, Turkish, and Dutch don’t have any.

Babbel Features: 2-Minute Stories

Another feature available for some languages is 2-Minute Stories. These stories are short and their purpose is to teach you useful phrases. These are a bit of a missed opportunity in my opinion. The useful phrases are bolded, but the rest of the stories are in English. I think this feature would be much more useful if the stories were in the target language, not my native language.

Babbel Features: Culture Bites

Babbel’s Culture Bites are designed to help you learn cultural aspects of your target language. They’re quick descriptions of unique characteristics of your target language, like how people introduce themselves, different celebrations, and important artists and historical figures. Like the 2-Minute Stories, the Culture Bites are in English. They don’t offer that much value to a Babbel subscription, but they’re available if you’re interested in reading through them.

Babbel review culture bites

The most interesting and useful feature Babbel offers outside of its courses is Babbel Live. With Babbel Live, you can take 60-minute live classes with experienced language teachers. The classes cover a variety of topics and are available for all levels. Currently, Babbel Live is available for Spanish, French, and German.

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