Can You Really Learn a Language Through an App?

The promise of learning a language in a super easy and fast way seems alluring. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to learn a new language from this new app you downloaded on your smartphone?

Babbel, Duolingo, Memrise – just to name a few – promise to deliver exactly that. But we should ask ourselves this question: is it feasible? Can you become fluent in a foreign language simply by spending few minutes a day using online exercises and flashcards?

The answer might not be very optimistic. The internet is flooded with language learning apps that promise fast results, and to be fair these apps are fun, can teach some vocabulary, and help you to prepare for that trip to Spain by teaching some useful travel phrases so you’d be able to at least say: “hola, ¿cómo estás?” and order a meal in a restaurant. If that is your goal, great! But if you want to achieve conversational fluency, these apps simply won’t do it.

In a recent article published by the New York Times, Duolingo has been put to a test and after 500 days of online exercises, the conclusion was that “it’s feasible to learn every sound and symbol in a new writing system. You won’t be able to understand every word you can read, but you’ll be a lot closer than if you started from scratch. However, that’s only part of learning a language. Understanding the alphabet used in English doesn’t inherently mean you can understand French or Spanish, for example.”

Learning a language is a process that requires willingness and dedication and human interaction is an essential part of it. Without communicating and engaging with a native speaker/instructor and immersing yourself in the language, it would be hard to understand the nuances of the language. According to experts, the bottom line is: no app has the ability to make you linguistically and culturally proficient in a language. They are a great add on, but don’t replace an instructor-led class.

Whether you want to learn Spanish, Portuguese or Mandarin, BRIC Language can help you to achieve fluency. We utilize blendTech method, which provides an even blend of traditional teacher-led classroom methods and state of the art modern technology with customized and interactive lessons. Sign up for a free trial to see what we mean!