Learn Spanish with babbel.com App Poster Image

Learn Spanish with babbel.com



Functional, Euro-centric language app low on "wow" factor.

What parents need to know

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.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

Parents say

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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.

Families can talk 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

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Apps for Windows, Windows Phone
Subjects:Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, naming, phonics, spelling, vocabulary
Skills:Self-Direction: academic development, initiative
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, memorization, part-whole relationships
Communication: listening, speaking
Pricing structure:Free
Subscription price:Free
Release date:July 23, 2013
Size:140.00 MB
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later; Android 2.1 and up

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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 SEVERAL minutes to download all of the vocabulary lessons onto the app (it IS free though). When you open it up, you start matching vocabulary words, which seemed a little tedious. Then, you have to MEMORIZE the spelling of the words and fill in the blank. There are NO grammar lessons or anything that has to do with grammar, and the vocabulary in the same section just seems to be randomly categorized. Then only ok part is the review manager, which tells you what you need to work on. There is a Babbel website, which is MUCH better, but obviously, you have to PAY for the lessons. An amazing (100% FREE) alternative to this app is Duolingo (it can be found in all of the app stores), the app, and there is also a website: https://www.duolingo.com