You want to learn a language but you’re determined not to give up your social life by going to an evening class. And, if possible, you’d rather not spend an arm and a leg on getting a stuffy private tutor who’s determined to teach you according to his rules. So what’s the alternative? Is there a way for you to learn a language at the time of day that suits you, learning the content and topics that you want to learn? (Spoiler alert — there is).
The best way to learn is to take control of your own language learning journey. If you’re not going to class, then you’ve already turned your back on traditional hierarchies. So why not become the true anarchist language learner (and have more fun at the same time) by starting with Babbel?
1. Make your own program
Babbel grants you full access to a whole host of lessons on more subjects than you could shake a multilingual stick at. If you’re looking to brush up on your French for a holiday, then you can skip forward to the handcrafted holiday lesson. Alternatively, if you’re about to meet your German girlfriend’s parents for the first time, you can bypass the grammar lessons and head directly for Babbel’s purpose-built lessons on getting to know the relatives. At Babbel, we’ve got you covered, whatever your needs!
2. Choose the lessons which match your level
Complete beginners are full of wonder at the endless possibilities a new language can offer them. They gobble up vocabulary, chuckle at their first attempts to form strange new sounds, and bask in the glow of the rapid progress they make. More advanced learners, on the other hand — those who have already flirted with languages before — are more suspicious when it comes to assessing the usefulness of language apps. Babbel is a sophisticated app that has been tailored by linguistic experts to take beginners by the hand and challenge even the most capable of language learners.
It might sound like sacrilege, but you don’t have to start with the basic stuff if you don’t want to. You’re free to jump back and forth across the entire range of beginner and intermediate lessons, and you can even challenge yourself right from the start with the more advanced lessons that focus entirely on grammar, pronunciation and sentence structure. We give you the control to start learning whichever lesson you wish — even the more challenging ones. The most difficult levels aren’t “locked” from the start because this is a language-learning app, not Super Mario Kart.
With access to the complete range of lessons on Babbel, you can choose to start afresh, fine-tune what you already know, or push yourself to the next level.
3. Learn the language as it’s actually spoken
Babbel prides itself on teaching you language that, you know, might actually come in handy when you talk to real people in real situations. Take dialects for example. As a Brit who has lived in Germany for almost 7 years, I can tell you that no matter how good your der, die and das is, nothing can prepare you for the first time you meet dialect speakers in the flesh.
I still remember the first time a drunk Berliner gruffly said to me, “Watt kiekst’n so?” (“What are you looking at?”) at 3am on a tram ride back home from a night out. Luckily, I’d done the Babbel lesson on Berlinerisch (the Berlin dialect) and was thus able to understand the guy, conquer my fight-or-flight mechanism, offer him a swig of my beer and defuse the situation with my own mock Berlinerisch. He laughed, we shared the beer and I survived. My future grandchildren thank you, Babbel.
4. Bite-sized lessons for busy people
Don’t fancy the thought of spending two hours after work stuck inside an airless language school classroom when you’d rather go home, have dinner with your sweet pea and pop on an episode of Narcos instead? Nowadays, people juggle full-time jobs and a busy social life, and struggle to find the time to cook, clean and go to the gym, so dedicating anything more than a few minutes each day to language learning may well seem impossible. That’s why the Babbel lessons are designed for you to blitz through them in short 10-15 minute bursts, allowing you to take control and pack your language learning into whatever small amounts of free time you have available.
Haven’t got a seat on the packed-out train to work? Well stop staring at the route map and dip into a lesson on Italian holiday essentials instead. Stuck at the end of the world’s longest queue at the supermarket? Time for a short burst of Spanish idioms to take your mind off the screaming kids. You choose where and when you want to learn. It’s as simple as that.
5. Practice the areas you need to practice
In the Babbel app, there is a built-in “Review Manager” that allows you to decide which areas of your linguistic repertoire need strengthening the most. Whether it’s reading, writing or speaking, you can dip into the Review Manager and repeat whichever types of exercise you want. Oh, and there are even snazzy virtual flashcards, too.
As you work your way through our lessons, the Review Manager quietly (but handily) works away in the background, building up a list of the most important vocabulary you’ve encountered along the way. This vocab overview lists each word or key phrase and sentence, along with an accompanying translation and pronunciation. You have to admit: that’s a little more effective than writing down everything you learn on sticky notes (cue a nosedive in the value of sticky note companies on the stock exchange).
The coolest thing about all this is that our app learns from your progress. Words that you’ve consistently remembered correctly appear less frequently in your Review Manager lessons, and words that you always seem to have trouble remembering are thrown at you more often. This helps ensure our app tests you only on the stuff that you really need to work on.
6. We won’t let you get lazy
In contrast to traditional classroom-based approaches to learning, apps give you a dizzying amount of freedom. We realize that this freedom can result in the tendrils of laziness creeping up on you, so we make sure your newly-found language skills stick by sending you well-timed messages to remind you to keep up with your lessons.
We promise not to nag, but we know that a-little-each-day approach is what keeps things fresh in the mind, ensures that you progress quickly and, quite simply, is more enjoyable (because there’s no fun in forgetting everything you’ve learned). We won’t give you boring homework, but we will set you fun daily challenges, and that’s oodles more fun.
7. Language teachers (usually) don’t have funky magazines and Instagram
Because Babbel is run out of a Berlin office, staffed almost exclusively by achingly-cool hipsters language geeks, we like to think that we’re doing a decent job of churning out inspiring content that keeps language learners entertained on their new language-learning journey.
From our language challenges on Youtube and our amateur improv-inspired Instagram stories to our chin-stroking articles about language and culture on our Magazine and our quirky pop quizzes on Facebook, we try to share our passion for learning in loads of different ways because we want to keep it all interesting and fun. We want to inspire as many people as possible to learn a language, and if we can make you laugh while we do so then we all go home happy at the end of the day.
Say what you want about language schools, but most of them wouldn’t parachute a hapless Gringo into Rio De Janiero armed only with a few words of Portuguese, a winning smile and some Babbel vouchers.