Now that the New Year is well underway, I have a question for all of you. How are things going with those resolutions?
At the turn of the New Year, much of the world makes resolutions and sets goals that they hope to accomplish in the following twelve months. Personally, I’ve never been much of a fan of these types of resolutions. I’m much fonder of making multiple short term goals as opposed to a single, massive goal to span the year. However, with that being said, there is one particular goal of mine that does require a long term commitment – language.
While I do know some of the basics in a handful of languages, I am not fluent by any means. Over the years, I’ve always remembered the most random bits and pieces of other languages:
- I know colors in Spanish thanks to a song we used to sing in elementary school.
- I have memorized an odd Spanish greeting of sorts because it was the intro piece for a series of weekly videos we watched in middle school.
- I can sing the Barney song in French after having seen a junior high school teacher use it as a disciplinary tactic.
- I know that “Prego” in Italian translates to “You’re welcome.” Apparently, the folks at the sauce company thought that their product was so good that people would thank them so they named it “You’re welcome.”
- I can speak German only enough to command a dog.
- I can sing “Happy Birthday” in Polish.
- I know of a single lullaby in traditional Gaelic.
- I’ve mastered the translation of the French verse from the “Lady Marmalade” song.
- I’m the queen of one-liners, usually in Latin or Greek. “Carpe diem!” “Semper fidelis!”
I could go on and on if I sat here long enough. As fun as it is to have the ability and knowledge to let these words roll off my tongue, they are not helpful in any sense when it comes to actually conversing with someone. In many languages, I can get myself out of a jam by uttering the important things such as introducing myself, saying hello and goodbye, explaining that I am only capable of speaking a wee bit of whatever language, asking the other party if they speak English, and so on. However, with that being said, I am incapable of holding a conversation when necessary because, let’s face it, knowing how to sing the introduction jingle for a children’s television show is not helpful in everyday scenarios.
I’ve wanted to brush up on my languages for some time now but never actually found the time to do so. At this point, the kids are perfecting their foreign language skills faster that I am so I decided that this would be my year. With the kids back in school after the holiday break, 2015 is my year to travel… dialectically.
The only question left is where to start. For that, there’s Babbel.
Babbel offers thousands of hours of interactive courses that are fun and effective. Put your new language in context and stay actively engaged with relevant scenarios – from travel to work to hobbies to social situations. Our course objectives are based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for languages.
I will admit that, at first, I was quite skeptical when beginning my own venture with Babbel. With so many different language programs out there, I’ve always found it hard to differentiate the good programs from their horrid counterparts. However, I was quickly pleased with how well it actually works. In addition to being able to use the program through its app version, you can also access the information online to further brush up on your skills. I think what sets Babbel aside from the rest is the fact that it pertains to real, everyday life. The program focuses on providing its users with information that can actually be used on a regular basis.
That has been an issue of mine with language programs in the past. One of my high school classes had an entire portion of the year that focused on random oddities within the house. As helpful as it may be in the long run, having the knowledge to say things like “lamp,” “toaster,” and “brush” are not exactly helpful in everyday conversation. That is where Babbel shines. One of the first things that the program introduced me to was greetings. While this was one of the few things that did have prior knowledge of, I was excited to see the app feature useful information. After all, regardless of what language you’re speaking, saying “hello” and introducing yourself are the starting point to just about every conversation.
Available in Spanish, English, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Danish, and Russian, Babbel covers a slew of languages from near and far. Location is no longer a language limitation. It is no longer an excuse. Whether you’re completely new at it or you’re simply hoping to brush up on your ability, Babbel is for anyone of any language level.
Babbel gives you everything you need to speak, write, and understand a new language. Each lesson only takes a few minutes and strengthens your language skills according to themes and topics that you choose. Babbel listens to you speak and helps correct your pronunciation, and the Review Manager makes sure that everything you learn sticks in your memory.
I’ve had the Babbel app installed on my cellphone and iPad for some time now and I absolutely love it. The kids have actually taken a liking to it as well and even they’ve had fun trying to learn new languages. I’ve certainly still got quite a ways to go in order to have a proper conversation with someone in another language but, thanks to Babbel, I can now hold my own with a good majority of the basics under my belt.
Be sure to keep up with Babbel through their own social media account on Facebook and Twitter. There, you can learn more about the program, stay up to date on the latest news, discover even more language fun, and so much more.
And, with that, I wish you well.
*Randi received the a trial of the Babbel program, free of charge, in addition to monetary compensation to facilitate this review. All opinions featured here are hers alone.