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- Babbel is a subscription-based app and website that offers affordable and flexible language learning classes in 13 different languages for native English speakers.
- However, not all the language classes are designed the same, and some languages have better programs than others.
- Today through July 6 you can save up to 50% on a subscription as part of Babbel's Fourth of July Sale.
- Read more: The best cheap or free online resources to learn a new language
Many of us are spending more time at home right now due to the novel coronavirus and are looking for ways to stay entertained from baking bread and mixing up cocktails to taking up knitting and challenging puzzles.
At the same time, the travel industry has been heavily impacted. While states and countries are slowly starting to reopen, many people are still wary when it comes to nonessential travel. If your overseas plans are on pause but you still want to prepare for post-pandemic travel, consider using this time to keep your mind sharp and learn a new skill, such as a new language. We recently wrote about the best cheap and free online resources to learn a new language, and Babbel was one of our top picks for its affordable language lessons and easy-to-use app. Courses are tailored to your native tongue and interests from food to travel, and Babbel builds on the grammar and vocabulary you already know, with programs created by experts and voiced by native speakers.
Even better, there's currently a Fourth of July sale available until July 6 and you can save up to 50% on a subscription. But before you dive into class and start saying "Hola" or "Bonjour," there are some key factors you'll want to know about and consider to decide if Babbel is the right language learning tool for your goals.
What is Babbel
Babbel is a language learning app that was developed in 2007 and among the first to pioneer online language learning. Babbel currently offers 13 languages English speakers can learn including:
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
The app prides itself on turning to experts to create high-quality content and Babbel works with more than 150 linguists, language teachers, polyglots, editors, researchers, and instructional designers. It works on a subscription-based model and leads users through short daily lessons. You can customize your experience by choosing the level you're at, why you're interested in learning a new language, how many minutes you want to learn per day, and more factors.
However, it's extremely important to note that not every language course is the same, and some are far superior to others. Spanish, German, and French have the most robust and engaging programs, while other languages don't feel as comprehensive.
Where to access Babbel
While Babbel is primarily an app you can download and use on your Android and iPhone devices, you can also access lessons on your desktop computer. The app itself is free to download, though you will have to pay for the monthly subscription once you've created an account to access all the classes. You can also access all of Babbel's content offline through the app.
To use Babbel on your computer, just visit babbel.com and login or sign up in the top right corner. You don't have to download any additional software and all you need is a reliable internet connection. You can also switch between using the app and using a computer as long as you're logged into the same account.
How Babbel works
You can customize Babbel to fit your specific needs by choosing how many minutes per day you want to learn (ranging from five minutes to over an hour), as well as by the level you're at. However, the classes are really best for new learners or those who want to brush up on their skills. If you are already an intermediate or advanced speaker, this might not be the right app for you.
The classes use a mixture of techniques to teach vocabulary and sentence structure, including quizzes and matching games, repeating phrases, audio lessons, and review sessions. Babbel also smartly uses real native speakers for all recordings instead of awkward computer voices for more authentic pronunciations. Some lessons include speech recognition to test users' pronunciation, too.
Babbel helps jumpstart learning by diving into key phrases beginners would need right away. For example, in part one of the first lesson of the Spanish language class, you learn standard greetings, as well as phrases like "I'm learning Spanish," "I don't understand," and "can you repeat that?"
However, surprisingly, not all of 13 language classes follow the same format. Course one of lesson one in Spanish uses a great mix of games and audio conversations to teach the most necessary beginner phrases in an engaging way. But the exact same course and lesson in Portuguese, for example, focuses far more heavily on learning masculine over feminine use and relies more on fill in the blank learning that feels harder to grasp right off the bat.
Even stranger, the same lesson in Danish is extremely short and also asks odd questions that don't have much to do with learning actual phrases, like having users guess how many native Dutch speakers there are.
Many users have noted that they find Spanish, French, and German to be the best languages worth the money on Babbel. I suggest trying out the short first lesson of a language you're interested in learning (which you can do for free) before committing to purchasing a subscription.
How much does Babbel cost?
You can try Lesson One: Course One for any language for free. After that, it's a subscription model with pricing that varies based on how many months you sign up for at a time. The best deal is a one-year subscription that starts at $6.95 per month, while one month starts at $12.95. Babbel also offers a 20-day money-back guarantee, so if you aren't happy after trying it out for a couple of weeks, you can receive a full refund.
Each language requires its own subscription, so if you want to learn multiple languages you will have to pay for each one.
Does Babbel have any deals?
Yes! Babbel's Fourth of July sale is currently running until July 6, 2020. Here's what the current sale is offering:
- Save up to 50% on a 12-month subscription
- Save up to 30% on a 6-month subscription
- Save up to 10% on a 3-month subscription
Sign up for up to 50% off a Babbel subscription here
The bottom line
For beginners and those looking to brush up on language skills, Babbel offers an affordable way to access engaging lessons in 13 different languages. The ability to choose how long daily sessions are and go at your own pace is ideal for flexibility. Additionally, the use of native speakers for all spoken content and the pronunciation checks for learners makes for a more authentic experience than some other online language learning programs.
However, not all the languages offered have the same thoughtful level of programming and instruction, despite all costing the same amount. This app is at its best for Spanish, German, and French learners. While the other languages offered still have decent instruction and learning opportunities, users may not find them as engaging or worth the price.
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