Beelinguapp: Language Learning

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Beelinguapp: Language Learning App Poster Image
Great idea needs better design; ads buzz, pay wall stings.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can work on their fluency in a new language. Reading and listening to songs can also help them improve their vocabulary in their language of choice.

Ease of Play

There are lots of settings and features to find; not all of them are easy to work.

Violence

Some texts include violent themes or descriptions. For example, a news story tells of someone who pulled out a gun in a restaurant and a story describes townsfolk that begin a war with each other.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The free version includes limited features and kids will often run into a pay wall while trying to use the app. Most features are available through varying levels of subscriptions and in app purchases. The free version also includes occasional ads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

At least one news story about a heroin drug bust.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beelinguapp: Language Learning reads text out loud in the language of your choice while you follow along in your native language. Reading choices include short stories, well-known folk tales, instructional texts, simple conversation, and news articles. The texts are not made specifically for kids, and some may have more mature content such as stories about people going to war or articles about drug busts and using guns in common public spaces. There's also a small collection of songs, though at the time of this review, songs were only in English or Spanish. Because the format of Beelinguapp: Language Learning relies on users reading in their native language, kids need to be fairly strong readers. When first opening the app, it asks kids to sign in with a Facebook or Google account; though it's not obvious that you can do so, it is possible to skip this step and proceed without signing in. Kids can choose from 14 languages, each of which can be set to "language to learn" or native language. The free download includes limited content and capabilities; unlock everything with a premium subscription at costs that range from $3.99/month to $17.99/year. Upon first opening the app, there is a 30-minute free trial during which time there are some pushy ads encouraging users to subscribe immediately at a supposedly discounted price. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Complete the phrases "I want to learn" and "I speak" with a selection from 14 language choices to start using BEELINGUAPP: LANGUAGE LEARNING. Log in with your Google or Facebook account, or tap the "X" to skip this step. Once in, start browsing the library section for stories, the news section for articles, or the music section for songs. Each text or song is divided into two sections: the top half shows the language you want to learn, and the bottom shows the language you speak. Tap the audio button to hear the text read or sung out loud while you follow along by reading in your native language. The text is highlighted in both languages as the reader progresses. Tap words to hear them said out loud, see a translation, or add them to a glossary.

Is it any good?

This text and audio collection offers an innovative approach to language learning in a bulky package that doesn't quite make a smooth delivery. When it works, Beelinguapp: Language Learning's system can be great fun. Learning a new language feels natural when kids listen to native speaker narrators while they read along in their own language to help them understand what they're hearing. The highlighted text can help kids orient themselves in both the language they know and the language they're learning. And a variety of topics to read about makes the text feel relevant and interesting. In practice, though, there are quite a few things that just don't work well with Beelinguapp: Language Learning. For instance, sometimes the translations are off or just plain wrong. And because sentence structure isn't the same across all languages, the rolling highlighting sometimes actually confuses more than it helps when the parts of the translated sentence are in a completely different order. The stories and songs have real people reading or singing, but the news stories have computer-generated audio which doesn't always sound great. Navigation through the app feels clunky at times, and the pay structure all but guarantees that kids can't use the app without constantly running into a pay wall. And finally, technical issues, such as screen freezes, sometimes interfere making it difficult to move around the app smoothly.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the languages they want to learn with Beelinguapp: Language Learning. What language does your kid want to learn or improve? What interests them about that language? What have they learned through their reading?

  • Provide as many opportunities for interacting with your kid's chosen new language as possible. Watch movies, borrow books from the library, listen to music, or attend cultural events. If you can, visit the language's country of origin, or find native speakers in your area who are willing to do a language exchange.

  • Make learning a new language a family effort. Practice using new words and phrases together with your kids.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, initiative, personal growth
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (Thirty-minute free trial then subscription for premium features range from $3.99/mo. to $17.99/year; $4.99 to remove ads)
  • Release date: September 13, 2019
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 87.80 MB
  • Publisher: Beelinguapp UG
  • Version: 1.536
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android 4.2 and up
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love learning new languages

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