Back in November, we covered Duolingo for iOS, and were impressed. The app is great for learning a new language, and I have been personally using it (with varying frequency) for the past few months. Thanks to Duolingo, I can now understand Spanish to a certain degree, but the app is surely not for you if you want to learn a new language just for a single trip, where only the basics will suffice. In this case, you need something like Babbel – a service that has been around on the web, iOS and Android for quite a while. It is quite refreshing to see that Babbel now has a presence on Windows Phone as well. The virtual tutor has just released separate apps for 11 languages in the WP Store. All these apps work offline, and can be useful for both quick or detailed learning.
The Babbel apps have been released to help users learn the following languages.
All the apps have the same modus operandi and interface. There are a lot of categories, dealing with different aspects of everyday life. You can start learning words from any category you want, but the preferred order is to go for ‘The 100 Most Important Words’ first and then proceed from there. To get the most out of Babbel apps and keep all your progress preserved, don’t forget to create an account for the service for free from the app’s menu.
The lessons listed under each category follow roughly the same pattern. There are three parts of a lesson, including the visual-aided basics, practice sentences and advanced vocabulary. If you are confident about your skills, you can pick the lesson sections in any order you want, but beginners should commence the lessons with ‘Learn and Remember’.
The actual learning process is usually carried out by showing users pictures of certain objects along with their names. You can also listen to the correct pronunciation of each word by tapping its photo. To assess your progress and aid the learning process, the app then asks you to identify certain words from an object’s photo, or pick the correct word from among multiple choices. You might also be asked to translate phrases in advanced lessons. At the end of each session, Babbel presents you with a summary that shows the total number of mistakes you have made.
As already mentioned, the apps don’t need an internet connection to function, but that makes each of them around 170MB in size. So, make sure you are on a good Wi-Fi connection before trying to download any Babbel app. All the 11 apps, along with their complete content, are completely free and work with all Windows Phone 8 devices.