Babbel: leading the way in language-learning for beginners

When you are about to learn a new language it is very difficult to know where to start. At school we go through topics and grammar one by one, and we’re provided with a lot of resources. But when you’re starting off alone, it’s impossible to know what to tackle first, what order to do things in and how much time to spend on anything. Today I’m going to speak about Babbel, the company solving all these problems for you.

This is a language learning company providing courses in 13 languages, covering all the main European languages and some more niche ones too such as Bahasa Indonesia and Danish. The focus of their courses is to make sure that from the start you learn words and phrases that can be used in everyday conversation instead of just learning all the vocabulary that relates to a particular topic at the same time, which I think is vital to promote in language learning across the board.

You are able to choose the lessons which most interest you and aren’t forced to complete a particular sequence. This means that if you want to you can complete every lesson from the initial beginner’s course until the end, or you can pick those you think will contain the phrases you need to know, especially useful if you are pressed for time before travelling to a country where your chosen language is spoken.

They also put a huge focus on making sure that the lessons don’t demand too much on your time. Each lesson is crafted to be 15 minutes on average, meaning you can slip a lesson into those small gaps of time you have throughout the day and come out of it that bit wiser.

I really like how in each lesson there is a mixture of learning new words, explanations of grammar points, practising this grammar, listening exercises and also speaking practice, meaning the lessons are kept exciting and fresh. The speaking practice, where you’re made to repeat words after hearing a native speaker say them, is fantastic for helping with pronunciation, because if you don’t say it correctly you have to continue trying, and this is something which most other services are unable to offer.

On top of the desktop version of the platform there is also an app. This allows you to learn from wherever you are, and you can even download lessons on this app, so if you’re on the tube and without Internet you’re still able to study!

Babbel is a subscription service language learning platform where you pay a certain amount a month and get unlimited access to the lessons for the language you’ve signed up for (NB. if you want to learn more than one language at a time, you will have to pay more, but I think learning one language at a time alone is more than enough). And what’s great is you can also buy 3 month, 6 month or year long subscriptions which end up saving you a lot of money. Even better, Babbel often have deals on their subscriptions, such as when I recently got 12 months for the price of 6 for the Portuguese course I started.

All in all, this is a fantastic service and one that I would recommend to anybody starting to learn a language. Check Babbel out here!

4 great benefits of learning a language

There are roughly 4,500 languages in the world that have more than 1,000 speakers. Yet many people go their whole lives only knowing one of these: the one they’re brought up with. How can somebody benefit from learning a new language? Here are four benefits that we think will inspire you to take up some language practice

Allow yourself to fully experience the world & other cultures

Without being able to speak the language of a country, you can often feel like a passenger and complete outsider, experiencing things on the surface but never fully getting involved in what is going on. Even when the people there can speak English, meaning often doesn’t fully or accurately come across and you lose out.

Being able to speak the local language gets rid of all of these barriers and means you can fully integrate into the culture and achieve a whole new level of experience. From experience I can say that on my Year Abroad, living in Spanish-speaking countries and knowing how to speak Spanish allowed me to take part in activities and go to places that I would not have at all been able to had I not studied Spanish for years prior.

This is the main motivation for most people to learn a language, and the one that leads to the best experiences.

Child wearing indigenous clothing

Open up a whole new world of entertainment

There are already a ridiculously large number of books, TV shows and films out there which you can spend your time consuming. And in our current age, with the likes of Kindle and Netflix around, it’s never been easier to access all of these. However, by speaking another language this pool of great content and entertainment can grow to be even bigger.

Some of the greatest works come from other languages, and although most of them have now been translated into English you’ll never get the true feel of a text through a translation, or of a film through a dubbed version. Although this can be difficult at the early stages of learning a language, I will never stop encouraging people to try to fully immerse themselves in entertainment in their chosen language.

And I’ve said all of this without even mentioning music, the way so many people are easily able to access a new language! With the help of Spotify you can easily listen to music from around the world, and participate in waves of music such as that of reggaet├│n at the moment!

Pile of books

Future job opportunities

In a world that is ever more globalised, there is an increasing demand for workers highly skilled in foreign languages to be able to maintain relationships with other countries and to carry out business overseas. Learning a language doesn’t close any doors on what you will be able to do in the future, but it will certainly open up lots of opportunity, with companies looking at you to be the Spanish guy or girl in the office or even potentially to live abroad in countries where your chosen language is spoken.

Aeroplane with pink sky in the background

Give your brain a real workout

Regardless of all of the above, one of the best reasons to learn a language is the stimulation that your brain receives from it. Having to switch between two languages and think in another language pushes your brain to a new level, one that will assist you in any other learning you have to do.