Vacation preparation: Learn a new language on your smartphone

·2-min read
Some applications let users learn new languages via their smartphones.

With the vacation season upon us, it's time to start organizing your trip, starting with learning a few key words and phrases in the local lingo. For a few years now, several applications have been giving users the opportunity to learn new languages online on their smartphones. Here's a look at three of the options out there.

Babbel: The pioneer

Founded in 2007 in Germany, the Berlin-based start-up lets users learn up to 14 different languages from seven display languages (Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Italian and German) through various media (photos, videos, audio files), and on various themes (local culture, travel, etc.). Plus, Babbel lets users learn a language at their own pace.

The application has different pricing options, with a monthly, quarterly, six-month or annual subscription available. The longer the subscription, the cheaper it works out. With a 4.7 out of 5-star rating on the Apple App Store, Babbel has excellent reviews.

Duolingo: Keeping it fun

Duolingo has become the most popular language learning application on the market. With fun lessons in the form of games, the platform offers a free way to learn 35 different languages. However, a paid-for subscription unlocks more advanced lessons.

The lessons are progressive, in that each one builds on the previous. Plus, access to the next lesson is conditional on users achieving a sufficient number of correct answers. Duolingo can even help you keep up your skills. If you don't use the application for a while, it will make you repeat certain lessons that you've already done to make sure you haven't forgotten anything. The reviews are as excellent as for its competitor, with 4.7 out of 5 stars on the App Store.

Memrise: The real-world solution

When learning a language, there's always a risk that you'll struggle to use it in real-world situations. Sometimes, the vocabulary and formal structures taught are too far removed from the everyday language spoken by locals. Memrise has solved this problem by using content filled with real-life phrases.

Through different media, the application lets users learn a slew of languages from native speakers, speaking in real-life situations. Memrise is highly rated by users, with 4.6 stars on Apple's App Store.

Mattias Corrasco

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