5 Apps to Make Learning Languages a Breeze in 2020
According to Meticulous Research’s report, the online language learning market is estimated to be worth $5.13 billion by 2024.
Today, there isn’t much that you cannot do with a phone – whether it’s ordering for food or doing your taxes. Language learning is no different. Language learning apps have fast become the go-to method of picking up new languages.
While some argue that language learning apps lack the collaborative experience of a classroom, it does enable you to learn on-the-go. You have the liberty to set your own learning pace and experiment with multiple learning methods – flashcards, videos, games, and more. If you are considering using an app to learn a language, we’ve prepared the ultimate list of language learning apps for you – check out their learning methods and how they’ve helped their customers achieve their life goals.
Over 9,000,000 have been learning languages with the MOSA (Motivating Optimised System for Adaptive Learning) method, which is based on several cognitive science and psychology concepts like the Spaced Repetition System, active recall, metacognition, the Pareto Principle, the motivation level and psyche of the learner.
The Spaced Reception System says that you’re more likely to remember a concept if you space out the review sessions – repeat the process in definite time intervals. Active recall helps you in extracting information from your memory efficiently through flashcards, as opposed to just passively selecting the right answer in multiple-choice questions.
Additionally, you’ll have the audio of native speakers to understand the correct pronunciation and an online dictionary to help you look up new words.
Luca Sadurny, who co-founded MosaLingua, says that a majority of their customers are travellers and corporate professionals. “For the senior users, MosaLingua helps them while travelling and in keeping their brain in shape. For younger users, professional reasons are more important,” he says.
On being asked about their most special customers, Luca says, “An Italian customer thanked us for helping him learn English, which made it possible for him to travel and meet the love of his life. Another special customer is a young executive who was able to improve her English-speaking skills and get promoted to the international role she had always dreamed of achieving.”
Words are not just static sets of symbols – they are dynamic labels for things that we hear, see, taste, smell and touch, and ideas that we can think, feel, and consider. So, a black and white textbook full of definitions won’t do when it comes to getting a language anchored in your memory.
And that’s why FlashAcademy uses a combination of adaptive, multi-modal flashcards that combine images, videos, audio, and text with helping you learn and retain new words through input to multiple sensory channels.
What’s more? FlashAcademy has also created the world’s first Object Translator. You can use this unique, in-app tool to point your phone at an object and get it machine-translated instantly into 59 different languages.
Sophie Holman, Marketing Communication Assistant at FlashAcademy, says, “They are a mix of linguists, travellers, and language enthusiasts. We also have a platform for schools designed for age five and onwards. The platform helps both – students learning a language apart from English and students learning English as an additional language (EAL) based in UK schools.”
Great Barr Academy, the second-largest school in Europe with an EAL (English as an Additional Language) population of around 600 students, has been a loyal customer of FlashAcademy. “One of their students is a shy kid from Syria who is illiterate even in his home language. For him, learning English was a real challenge – what with having no schooling whatsoever before coming to the UK. FlashAcademy’s platform enabled the student to become an independent learner and have the confidence to speak to other children by practising with the app and copying our speaker videos,” says Sophie.
The Pimsleur Method, based on the work of leading researcher and professor Dr Paul Pimsleur, is uniquely focused on conversational skills and is hands-free so you can learn to speak a new language on-the-go – while driving to work, cooking, or at the gym.
Haven’t you experienced that tongue-tied feeling when you’re asked to respond to a question in a foreign language? Minutes tick by as you rack your brain for the right words. Dr Pimsleur has developed an arrangement for each lesson consisting of “mini-step challenges,” he calls “anticipation.” This particular technique erases the “fear factor” in conversing and makes it possible to respond naturally in a foreign language.
Also, did you know that you only need to know about 1,500 words of a language to hold a basic conversation and sound like a native speaker? Make that 5,000, and you’ll become fluent. Pimsleur’s courses focus on these “core vocabulary” words.
Every Pimsleur course is available in an audio-only version. For top languages, you can try out the Premium version, which adds a variety of practice elements – digital flashcards, a quiz, interactive conversation transcripts, skills categories and a fast-paced word game.
“I don’t know that we have one story that stands out, but the thing we hear most often from our customers is how the Pimsleur Method lets them finally enjoy learning a language that they’ve tried unsuccessfully for years to learn,” says Mary E Green, Executive Editor at Pimsleur.
The Mondly curriculum focuses on the inductive method: learn by doing, context and example, and extrapolate to rules.
“We wanted to make language learning easy, and the endless rules and interminable conjugation tables that lacked context were not the answer we were looking for. So we switched to practical topics and real conversations – words and phrases people get to use in real life,” says Diana Lăpușneanu, Content Manager at Mondly.
As a result, Mondly helps you think directly in the language you want to learn rather than construct phrases in your native languages, struggle to apply the rules, and then translate.
From travellers who want to learn languages to talk to the natives, corporate professionals who are relocating or looking for new opportunities, people who have found love in a different country, seniors who want to keep their brains young and yes, even language enthusiasts – Mondly’s customer base is highly diverse.
One of Mondly’s favourite customers is an 80-year-old retired judge from Bucharest who learns English and French because his nephews who live in Canada don’t speak Romanian at all. Naturally, as any loving grandfather would, he wants to tell them stories, so he learns their languages with Mondly. Besides, he also uses Mondly to brush up on the Russian he learned in school. “He’s such an inspiration to all of us! He fills our hearts with joy every time we hear from him,” says Diana.
Busuu helps you learn 12 languages from CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) levels A1 (beginner) to B2 (upper-intermediate) through self-paced courses that allow you to study at times that suit you and towards whatever goal it is that they want to achieve. Set by the Council of Europe, CEFR is the internationally recognised standard to determine a person’s language ability.
Busuu effectively teaches languages with a variety of interactive exercises that train reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Additionally, the app has features like AI-powered Vocabulary Trainer and Grammar Review, which use spaced repetition models and machine learning algorithms to present you with words or a grammar point before you forget them.
“People use Busuu for a mixture of reasons – from travel, fun, and culture, or family, to education and professional development. On the other hand, companies like Puma, DHL, and Inditex utilise Busuu for Business to help their employees learn languages,” says Adon Lawley, Social Media & PR Manager at Busuu.
One of Busuu’s top learners in the UK is a ten-year-old boy, Caleb. This aspiring polyglot is currently learning Spanish and plans to pick up Chinese, Japanese, German, and Italian soon. Caleb has contributed hundreds of corrections in Busuu to help people improve their English language skills.
The Budget For Language Learning
All the above-mentioned language learning apps offer free and premium plans. If you need some help communicating in a language on-the-go, their free plans will have limited features to help you. On the other hand, their premium plans are apt for individuals, small businesses, and enterprises looking to conduct language learning programs for their employees on a large scale.
If you choose their premium plans, you’ll be spending anywhere between $8.99 to $64.99 per month. You can avail of their free trials to use the app for a few days and see if it fulfils all your language learning requirements.