12 March 2008

The Babbel experiment

I mentioned a few days ago that I started learning Spanish on Babbel.com. Here's more about me, languages and Babbel.

First, I never ever learned Spanish. However, I speak fluently French and that helps a lot. I also speak Polish and German and the more languages you know, the easier the next one is.

Second, I don't like Spanish. It's about my taste and how Spanish sounds. It's something absolutely subjective. Speaking of subjective, my favourite language of all is Arabic.

Third, I know learning a language requires time and commitment. (Except for French for me, which I learned "just like that" when I moved to France at the age of six, lucky bastard that I am.) And grammar exercises and writing and stuff. I did all of that for Arabic in July, when I took an intense class (20 hours a week).

Second and third imply that I'm not really willing to do all of that for Spanish. So here's the experiment: how far can one go with Babbel?

I will not claim that Babbel is the best language learning site ever. It makes you learn words and sentences and lets you meet people to study some language with. No grammar - I rely on my analytical mind here, but the sentences are not very complicated, so my grammar won't go far. No writing - I will only be able to use the structure of the sentences I will have learned, or I will risk being gravely misunderstood.

Babbel is also not the only site of the kind. If you wish to learn a new language, you should consider the following: LingQ, Livemocha and Mango Languages. For example, LingQ does have writing and grammar exercises, even corrected by a teacher if you pay for it. But me not paying.

So why did I pick Babbel? "Picked" is not the word, I started using it before I found out about the others. But I did stick with it, and here's why.

Learning a language should be a pleasure. Like any other thing, if you don't like it, you won't do it very efficiently and will most probably give up. Babbel is cute and shiny and has colorful pictures, so I enjoy it a lot. Let's also not forget that I'm still very busy (and will be until June), I'm tired in the evenings and I enjoy the fact that I don't have to do a lot on Babbel.

So here's what I do. Every other day (I try that to be everyday), I go to Babbel and select a module. I do the exercises on-line, but also write down the words and the sentences in a copybook, so I can revise it in spare moments, like when on a train. I'm curious to see how far I can go with that.

If you're interested in learning a new language, here's a good article to start with.

1 comment:

  1. I was not aware of the existence of these websites. Thank you for enrichening my Personal Geeky World Wide Web Knowledge Database, hopefully I will put it into good use sometime. Best regards!