About Babbel French.
Babbel is a subscription based language learning course available in languages like German, French, Spanish and ten more foreign languages. Material in this course can be accessed via online website or mobile app. This French course can be suitable for complete beginners and a bit more advanced learners. Once you first login to Babbel website you will notice that lessons are being grouped by their difficulty. In case you are a complete beginner at French you can choose Beginner’s Courses and if you have previous learning experience you can choose one of Intermediate Courses. By completing lessons in these two courses learners are expected to achieve B1 level at French language.
Each lesson in Babbel has a clear set of objectives that are highlighted in the beginning. In most cases each topic is divided into 2 parts and then content is being revised in the review lesson. Also after two different topics there is usually some pronunciation lesson included too.
Also there are quite a lot of additional lessons included in Babbel to practice French grammar, speaking & listening, writing & reading, sentences and words, traditions and etc. It is worthwhile to mention that vocabulary or grammar rules are being introduced based on different topics. For example you can choose to do a lesson which would include vocabulary on animals, clothes and etc. Grammar lessons are also being grouped based on different topics. This type of grouping is very useful for users who need to learn specific French vocabulary fast.
Babbel is also quite commonly compared with Duolingo French course. Duolingo has similarities with Babbel since it teaches French through various workouts and repetition, although there are quite a lot of differences between these courses too. Duolingo is a completely free course and you need to pay monthly fee (9.95 EUR or less) in order to use Babbel. Also Babbel includes more explanations on French grammar and language structure so it is easier to progress confidently with this online course.
Review of the Main Pros and Cons.
The Main Pros:
- Registration at Babbel website doesn’t cost anything and you will be able to access some learning material for free before choosing one of subscription plans;
- This course covers all aspects of French language so you can improve your listening, writing, speaking and also reading skills;
- Babbel has advanced tracking, which means that after you will login to this course you will be able to continue where you last left;
- This course has a separate section for traditions where you can get some useful information about France. You will be able to learn some popular slang words, how traditional foods are being called in different regions, what are the most popular places for sightseeing and etc. This type of content can be especially useful for users who are studying French for traveling purposes;
- Babbel course can be very useful for busy French learners since lessons are divided into small parts and you would be able to complete one lesson in 10-15 minutes;
- The number of new French words that users can learn from Babbel is quite high. Throughout the lessons you will be introduced to ~2500 words, which is quite a lot compared with some audio based courses;
- Babbel has some social features available for users of this course. These include ability to message other learners, search for people and create thread in a forum, answer other user questions and etc.;
- In order to keep retention rate higher Babbel has a section called Review Manager. This section includes French vocabulary that you have already learned in this course. By using spaced repetition method this vocabulary is repeated over and over again;
- This course comes together with a mobile app, which is quite useful feature if you want to revise & learn while on the go;
- Babbel course has a few features that can help motivate learners to study French further. Exercises in this program are based on the point system and also there is so called Daily Challenge included too. This particular feature asks a few questions daily related to courses material, although it would be useful if these questions would be a little more challenging;
- Pronunciation of French words in this course are done by different native speakers so you can be sure that you are learning correct pronunciation;
- Most of the vocabulary that you will learn from Babbel can be called essential so you will definitely be able to use them in real life conversations;
- Babbel has quite useful features & material for practicing French speaking skills. These include separate lessons for pronunciation, ability to record your pronunciation and compare it with native French speaker and also Speech Recognition;
- Each lesson in Babbel includes image based workouts that differs from each other so learning is not monotonic;
- It is not too difficult to progress with French while using Babbel course since it gives explanations on grammar and other parts of this language and translations are provided in English too;
- Online subscription of this course is not too expensive (4.95-9.95 USD per month) and it is possible to choose from 4 different pricing plans. Also this course is risk free for 20 days since it is backed by money back guarantee;
The Main Cons:
- Babbel doesn’t include live classes (e-tutoring), which can be found in some other French online courses (Living Language and Rosetta Stone);
- Speech Recognition feature in Babbel doesn’t always work 100% accurately; however it is a common issue in other courses as well;
- Babbel doesn’t have any studying material that could be used offline, so you always need to have internet in order to study French via this program;
- It can be said that this program is more focused on teaching individual French vocabulary rather than full sentences. As a result it might be more difficult to construct your own sentences while using these French words;
- If you want to achieve higher than intermediate level at French, you will need additional programs to Babbel;
- It would be quite useful if some more difficult to pronounce French words would be pronounced syllable by syllable so that you would know how to say them correctly;
To summarize this review it can be said that Babbel can be quite useful course for most French learners. Different types of exercises in this course can help to expand & revise French vocabulary. It can be a bit easier to progress with Babbel when compared with language learning programs like Rosetta Stone, because image based exercises include translations & short explanations in English. Also Babbel divides its vocabulary based on topics and also gives quite a lot of information about French culture & traditions, which makes it a suitable course for travelers.
A few downsides of this online program are that it teaches French through separate words and phrases so it might take time until you will be able to form your own sentences and understand French language structure. Also explanations on French grammar are quite basic so you might need supplementary studying material to learn it properly. Despite these drawbacks, for just 9.95 EUR per month, you can’t go wrong with this course and if you’ll change your mind later you can always cancel your subscription.