Learn Spanish with babbel.com

App review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
Learn Spanish with babbel.com App Poster Image
Functional, Euro-centric language app low on "wow" factor.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn lots of Spanish vocabulary with pronunciations (in Castilian Spanish). Vocabulary themes include first words, food and drink, sports, clothes, the digital world, relationships, media, work, and lifestyle. However, the app skips over grammar and verb conjugations. Although the iOS version includes short, end-of-lesson evaluations, overall the app doesn't really motivate kids to keep going. Learn Spanish with babbel.com needs a lot more pep and in-depth learning to give kids the immersion necessary to learn a second language.

Ease of Play

The interface is full of images but uninspiring and not very well organized.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some references to alcohol are normal for European language-learning materials.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Learn Spanish with babbel.com passes basic muster for language learning but isn't particularly inspiring or motivating overall. British English spellings and Castilian Spanish (which is, in gross terms, Spanish with a lisp) might confuse kids with American roots. A lot of the content relies heavily on images to illustrate words; this is good for kids who are visual learners, but otherwise the images won't be very appealing to the younger set.

User Reviews

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Kid, 10 years old May 20, 2014

Bad Free App Remake of A Great Website

I had gotten this app (the French version) to try to learn French. The reviews were pretty good so I decided to go for it. First of all, you have to take SEVERA... Continue reading

What's it about?

After email registration, kids choose from a list of thematic vocabulary lessons in the main menu. Choosing any theme leads to a second level of topics. Within each topic kids can choose one of three options: Learn and Remember, Deepen Your Knowledge, or Vocabulary. Learning activities allow kids to hear, see, and pronounce words. Kids are asked to match pronunciations with English words (including image clues), select initial letters, spell whole words, and use words to complete sentences. Kids also can browse a complete list of vocabulary words.

Is it any good?

LEARN SPANISH WITH BABBEL.COM has some strengths, like scored pronunciation (Android only) and an extensive set of images, but in the end it fails to captivate. Repetition is definitely put to use, but there aren't any rewards or statistics with the Android version; neither version -- iOS or Android -- tracks progress. Also, the app conjugates verbs automatically, and the fill-in-the-blank sentences are often strange, complex, and loaded with advanced grammar and vocabulary. 

On the plus side, the amount of content in the app is relatively extensive. There are 30 themes with about 10 sets of 12 vocabulary items in each, offering about 3,000 total words. Also, the pronunciation tool works well; kids will really have to use their uvulas to get high scores. However, if your goal is to help your kids really internalize a new language, Learn Spanish with babbel.com doesn't provide a truly immersive experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Research different Spanish dialects and discuss why they exist.

  • Encourage kids to initiate conversations in Spanish with neighbors or friends.

  • Get your teen into second-language courses to fulfill college requirements.

App details

For kids who love learning to communicate

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