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When the world fully opens back up and we throw ourselves into travel, it would be nice to arrive with a grasp on the language and culture of our destination. Language is one of the most powerful tools we have — it fosters understanding, promotes the exchange of ideas, and creates moments of connection. Besides the benefit of being able to communicate and navigate better throughout a country, there's no greater sign of respect for a culture than learning its language, regardless of whether you're living there or just visiting.
Services like Babbel help you learn a language through a series of online courses that include grammar lessons, contextual learning, and audible and written practice opportunities. Babbel offers app lessons, live online classes, and online course modules that let you work at your own pace through a series of lessons and reviews. In order to test the service, Babbel gave me a free trial to try out each language course. I chose to try out the online course modules because the low time commitment worked better for my schedule compared to hour-long live classes. Over the course of one month, I made it through the newcomer and beginner courses for French and learned a lot in the process. I'm by no means fluent at this point, but I am definitely making progress and plan to continue the lessons.
Overall, je suis contente de Babbel. I think this is a stellar learning experience for those who like to accomplish goals (me), check off lists (me), and work through levels (also me). The French course starts with basic vocabulary and works into more complex phrasing and grammar, which, once you learn the different ways to conjugate verbs, becomes intuitive. Now, I will acknowledge that I did well learning languages in school, but I think this service would also work for those who might struggle with traditional language classes. It allows you to set your own pacing, listen to native speakers, and take review lessons throughout each course to practice what you're learning and apply it to different situations.
How to Learn a Language in 15 Minutes a Day
Sign up: From $14.95 per month, babbel.com
Overall Rating: 9.6/10
- Accessible classes for different learning styles
- Wide variety of languages and courses available
- Quick responses from customer service
- Solid value for the price
- Moves at a fair pace with lots of opportunities to review and practice
- High-quality courses
- Technology was interactive and varied (includes an app!)
- Not as many languages available as other language learning apps
- Not as many courses for advanced learners
How Babbel Works
Babbel allows you to learn a language through a series of online courses. There are two types of subscriptions you can choose from: Babbel and Babbel Live. Babbel is a series of digital module courses that you work through solo at your own pace, whereas Babbel Live involves live online classes with other learners and instructors. You can choose between one-month, three-month, six-month, 12-month, and lifetime subscriptions, depending on how long you think it may take to learn your language. Pro tip: It will take longer than you think.
The online modules offer a wealth of courses to choose from, each within varying levels. You should start by working through the standard courses, which are as follows:
- Newcomer (6 courses; 59 lessons and reviews)
- Beginner (8 courses; 85 lessons and reviews)
- Intermediate (6 courses, 54 lessons and reviews)
- Upper Intermediate (1 course; 9 lessons and reviews)
Then there are 49 additional courses you can opt to take to explore different sides of the language, including courses on grammar, business, countries and traditions, and words and sentences.
With Babbel Live, you can choose between one, three, six, and 12-month plans — plus the option of unlimited classes — allowing you to customize your plan. You have access to the app and online classes until the subscription period ends. Babbel Live classes are taught by expert language teachers. Due to privacy concerns, information about course instructors is not available online, but Babbel data shows a 4.8/5 satisfaction score among learners. Between 70 to 80 live classes are held every day (including all languages and levels), and students can choose which classes they want to attend based on their interests. There are no tests, quizzes, or homework assignments, but students can review the material after class. You must be 16 years or older to sign up for Babbel Live, but younger children can access the Babbel app to engage in the standard courses.
Signing Up for Babbel
To sign up for Babbel, you must first select the language you're interested in learning. There are 13 languages offered including: Danish, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
Then, you'll answer a short quiz about why you want to study that language so Babbel can match you with the best courses for your goals. For example, if you're learning the language for work, there are language courses focused on business terms, whereas if you're prepping for an upcoming trip, you can choose travel-specific courses. Next, Babbel will assess your level and your learning goals (basics vs. conversational). Then, you'll determine how much time per day that you can commit to learning on Babbel — I went with a standard 30 minutes, but you can choose between five and 60 minutes.
Babbel will also ask about your learning style, which is refreshing since everyone has different educational environments that work for them. For instance, if you're like me and prefer to work on your own, you can select "solo, just me and an app." If you enjoy learning in a class setting, there are live virtual classes you can opt into as well. There's also a "not sure" option for the undecided. To finalize your learning plan, just submit your first name and your email address.
When you begin taking courses, you'll notice an activity tracker where you can set a weekly goal for how many lessons and activities you hope to complete. You can take the digital courses at your own pace, moving through each lesson and review. Your progress will be saved, so you can exit and easily come back to the place you left off. For Babbel Live, you can book classes online and prepare for each lesson by downloading materials ahead of class time and doing practice lessons on the app that complement each course.
You can manage your Babbel account through the website and the app, including changing your language or canceling your subscription.
Sign up: From $14.95 per month, babbel.com
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Babbel Course Review
For my review, I tried out the standard Babbel courses, starting with the newcomer level and working up to the beginner levels over the course of a month. There are several sections you should be aware of within the Babbel website: Home, My Level, More Courses, Live, and Practice.
The home page is where your progress is tracked and where you can work through each course. Within the course, every lesson is listed, and you can move through them at your own pace. The My Level section shows you where you are in the progression of courses for each level, such as newcomer, beginner, and intermediate. You can jump ahead, go back, and work on any level that you'd like, although I'd recommend going in order for the best results. The More Courses tab offers a collection of other language courses you can take, such as subject-specific courses and other grammar and vocabulary lessons. The Live section of the site is where you can sign up for Babbel Live on top of your Babbel subscription if desired. Finally, the Practice section houses all the vocabulary you've learned as well as review modules so you can practice and apply the language.
As you work through a lesson, you'll notice that each has a general theme, such as numbers, directions, or food. Each lesson tests you in multiple ways with fill-in-the-blanks, matching, spelling questions, multiple choice questions, dialogue scenarios, and listening and speaking practice. You'll need an audio and microphone component to do those questions. I'm sure I sounded a little silly practically shouting French at my computer (you have to speak up for the software to hear you), but the verbal practice definitely gave me a more immersive experience. There are also dialogue scenarios you can participate in to give you contextual practice with native speakers so you can hear how the language should sound when spoken. A fun tidbit I noticed is that there are small notifications that pop up throughout the lessons with little facts about the culture of the language you're studying.
Between every couple of lessons, there is a review section, which I'd encourage you to take. The reviews help group all of the knowledge you're learning and allow you to practice in various scenarios. You can choose from several types of review methods, including flashcards, listening, speaking, and writing. In addition to testing basic understanding of the language, these lessons and reviews also test context. For example, whether a word is masculine or feminine, formal or informal. Some of these require a little extra thought, such as "a baker" being a stranger and therefore requiring the formal bonjour as a greeting over the informal salut. Of course if I was in France, having the penchant for croissants that I do, the baker would absolutely be my best friend and not a stranger. But I digress.
The modules didn't take much time at first. In the newcomer level courses, I finished each lesson in five minutes or less, but as the lessons and courses became more difficult, it took me much longer. Given the 30 minute daily cap I assigned myself, my progress slowed down. That's why I'd suggest either allotting a longer daily commitment (full hour), or a longer subscription to give you the best possible chance of mastering the language. After completing each course, you'll receive an achievement badge as a little pat on the back and to help you keep track of your progress.
I did most of the courses on my computer, but there is also a Babbel app for added convenience and on-the-go learning. The app is set up the same way as the webpage, with tabs for home, courses, live, practice, and your profile. However, when you're moving through the lessons, the website gives you the option to redo an answer if you make a mistake, and the app just moves ahead, notifying you that your answer is incorrect and showing you what the correct answer is. The audio was solid on both platforms, providing a high-quality experience for speaking and engaging with the curriculum.
Overall, I have really enjoyed learning French through Babbel. I'm still in the beginner courses, but my goal is to stick with it until I can become a confident conversationalist, if not fully fluent. The lessons I enjoyed the most were about making introductions, saying what you like and dislike, and describing places and people. Lessons I'm most looking forward to include learning to talk about my childhood memories, social commitments and travel, and art and popular culture. For added fun, once you get to the advanced level, even the instructions are in French. Happy learning!
Most Popular Babbel Courses
The neat thing about Babbel is that you can really cater the courses to your needs. So, if you're going on a business trip and want to learn business vocabulary, you can focus on that. Comparatively, if you're just traveling for fun, and want to learn navigational words and questions related to tourism, you can shift your attention to those types of courses too. With so many to choose from, class popularity ranges by interest. As far as languages, the most popular language course available through Babbel is Spanish (80 to 90 percent of users seek to learn this language), followed by French, Italian, and German.
Babbel's costs are somewhere in the middle range when compared to other language-learning services. Babbel obviously costs more than free apps, but you're also getting a more immersive experience than those types of services provide. I've tried the free aps before, also for French, and I learned this language better on Babbel. Other services tend to just stick to short lessons without any real application, whereas Babbel teaches you the curriculum through listening, speaking, reading, writing, and applying what you learned into dialogue, different scenarios, and conjugations, depending on who or what the subject is.
Monthly prices decrease when you sign up for more classes on Babbel Live or with longer subscriptions for the online courses. Here's a full breakdown of Babbel pricing for different plans:
Standard Online Courses
- One-month subscription: $14.95
- Three-month subscription: $37.95
- 12-month subscription: $89.40
- Lifetime subscription: $349
- One month: $99 per month
- Three months: $70 per month, unlimited classes $209
- Six months: $60 per month, unlimited classes $359
- 12 months: $50 per month, unlimited classes $599
Babbel offers a student discount — 65 percent off a three-month subscription — for U.S. college students. Babbel also has a referral discount for all types of subscribers. So if you invite your friends to join, you'll get $10 off, and they'll get 50 percent off when they sign up for six months.
Sign up: From $14.95 per month, babbel.com
Whom Is Babbel For?
Honestly, Babbel could be for anyone. It works well for those who want to learn a new language for a variety of reasons because the pacing is customizable and the courses cater to your learning needs. According to Babbel, it is most popular among those at the beginner and intermediate level, and the average user is 35 or older, educated, and in a high income bracket. The top motivations for learning a new language are: friends and family, travel, skill development and self-improvement, work, and general interest.
Because there are so many course options, Babbel is a great choice for business people, tourists, students, and anyone else. It may not happen overnight, but if you put time into learning your language of choice and practice along the way, you'll pick it up.
Babbel Customer Service and Reviews
With over 17,500 reviews on Trustpilot, Babbel has an average rating of 3.9 out of five stars. Reviewers love the confidence Babbel has brought them when speaking a foreign language. One reviewer wrote, "Babbel has helped me to get a good grasp of the language in a fun and challenging way. I enjoy the dialogues and scenarios, which include helpful phrases that can be used in various situations. It is not just remembering stock phrases. You learn how to conjugate and construct sentences making you more fluent."
Generally, course users enjoy how the lessons are structured, because they start you with basic grammar and then work into dialogue and contextual situations where you might use that type of expression. Like any learning experience, people will have different views depending on what works best for them. One reviewer wrote, "The lessons move WAY to fast, I barely have a grip on the grammar before I am learning about how to ask directions as a result I can barely construct a sentence apart from a basic "Yo soy ingles" or "tu eres aleman." It shows you little hints as you go along but these are easily forgotton, as a result you are left scratching your head trying to translate (or at least understand) the sentence in the next lesson. I don't find the conversations (where you listen to a conversation and fill in words) particularly useful."
Whereas another reviewer appreciated the pacing, and especially enjoyed the variety of learning techniques used, writing, "What a great tool for language learning! I love that you work at your own pace and convenience. It's immersive from the beginning, conversations you listen to are realistic and contain not only the words you are learning but all of the contextual words as well. I appreciate the variety of styles utilised i.e., flashcards, listening, speaking and writing. Merci beaucoup Babbel, très bien!"
To contact customer service, you can either use the online resource page with frequently asked questions and searchable inquiries, or you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I gave Babbel a 9.6/10 rating after I compared different factors, such as course quality, value, and variety as well as accessibility, technology, diversity of instructors, and customer service. After reviewing these elements, I assigned Babbel a weighted score out of 10.
|Factors||What it means||Numerical ranking (1-10)|
|Class Quality||Classes are detailed, engaging, and thorough enough to leave you feeling confident in a new skill or topic.||10|
|Class Variety||The service has a variety of classes for varying interests. Class offerings are regularly updated and expanded.||10|
|Technology||Video quality was high, an app was available for enhanced learning, and there were online and offline options.||9|
|Value||The cost of the service was reasonable for the quality and quantity of classes.||10|
|Accessibility||Accommodations are made for those with different learning abilities and styles.||10|
|Diversity||The service features courses taught by a diverse set of instructors in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.||8|
|Customer Service||Customer service is helpful and responds quickly to queries.||10|
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How long does it take to learn French on Babbel? ›
Category I: Spanish (24 weeks), French (30 weeks) Category II: German (36 weeks), Indonesian (36 weeks)Is it possible to learn French in 1 month? ›
The reality is that there's a lot of material you'll need to cover to learn French in 30 days. However, don't be overwhelmed. Take it day-by-day, and re-adjust your learning plan every so often if you have to.Can you become fluent in French with Babbel? ›
If you're looking to achieve an advanced level of fluency and really master French, Babbel just might not the best option out there. Of course, once you get to that point, you could always add in some live classes in order to get some more conversational practice under your belt.What level does Babbel get you to in French? ›
We offer courses for beginners (A1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) all the way up to proficient learners (C1 CEFR level) depending on the learning language.Has anyone become fluent using Babbel? ›
You will most likely not become fluent with Babbel. It's a solid language app and can give you a strong foundation in your target language, but to achieve fluency, you'll need to use other resources. While it won't help you become fluent, Babbel can help you improve your language skills.How long does it realistically take to learn French? ›
French is a Category I language, so it's relatively easy to learn for native English speakers. It will take approximately 580 hours or 23 weeks of study to reach complete French fluency.How many hours of day should I learn French? ›
The short answer is as much as possible.
Realistically, however, at least 20 minutes per day should be dedicated to learning a new language. The ideal amount of time to spend on daily study, if you can find the time, is an hour, but you don't need to cram it all in at once.
For most people, around 30 minutes of active study and 1 hour of language exposure a day is a schedule that will give you great results. It's a model that's sustainable over a long period to help you reach fluency.How can I learn French fluently fast? ›
- Watch films. Watching films in French with French subtitles is one of the best ways to learn. ...
- Learn with songs. ...
- Read. ...
- Find a partner. ...
- Don't be scared to try and make mistakes. ...
- Listen! ...
- Practice. ...
- Sign up for an intensive course.
Babbel Language Proficiency Gain:
Overall 92% of the participants improved their language proficiency. Babbel users need on average 21 hours of study in a two-month period to cover the requirements for one college semester of Spanish.
Is Babbel harder than duolingo? ›
Final Thoughts On Babbel Vs Duolingo
Babbel is harder for beginners and it might be better to use it after getting acquainted with the language. Compared to Duolingo it pushes students to write more than read and has a far more conversational approach, almost entirely teaching in the form of conversations.
C1 – Proficient User
Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
Choose a lesson
And don't worry — you can change your level or topic at any time. If you want to choose a higher level or a different topic, all you need to do is select a different lesson from the Courses menu.
Set yourself a goal of completing 3-4 lessons per day, as this amount ensures you don't overwhelm your brain with too much information that you will struggle to remember! Each lesson takes about ten minutes to complete, so you can set aside less than an hour per day.Can Babbel get you to B2? ›
For extra listening practice, Babbel has a ton of podcasts for select languages. As for official certification, Babbel has partnered with Cambridge so that you can receive certificates for up to B2 level in English.Is Babbel better then duolingo? ›
Having used both programs, I can say that Babbel is better than Duolingo in terms of effectiveness, engagement and offering guidance. I like that Duolingo is free, but that's about it. Babbel is hands down the better overall language learning app.Which works better Babbel or Rosetta Stone? ›
Which is better, Babbel or Rosetta Stone? After a thorough review of the language learning courses from both Babbel and Rosetta Stone, we have to give the edge to Babbel as the better language program (albeit a narrow victory).How much do Babbel teachers get paid? ›
$59,258. The estimated total pay for a Online ESL Teacher at Babbel is $59,258 per year. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated base pay is $55,626 per year.How many words do I need to know to be fluent in French? ›
It is estimated that you have to learn 5000 words to be fluent in French. Be selective and learn the 5000 most used words in French! Think about it. Some words are more valuable than others.Can I learn French after 30? ›
You can learn basic grammar and vocabulary at any age. That explains my “good enough” French. But there's also an enormous amount of low-frequency words and syntax that even native speakers might encounter only once a year. Knowing any one of these “occasional” words or phrasings isn't essential.
Is it too late to learn French? ›
Well, the good news is that experts say you are never too old. Studies show that anyone at any age can learn a new language. In fact, it is even easier to start speaking in a foreign language now with all the advanced technology available on the market.Can I learn French all by myself? ›
With the right amount of motivation and commitment, a healthy learning habit, plus the right tools and method to guide you, yes you can teach yourself French. As a French teacher for many years, I've come across a lot of people who would rather spend time learning a new language by themselves.How long does it take to get to B1 in French? ›
According to the Alliance Française, from learning how to say hello in French to reaching a B1 level requires 360 hours of training, whereas B2 would take about 560 hours of intensive courses (about 20 hours/week) – however, they are unable to determine the number of weeks needed to reach C1 or C2.How many hours does the average French person work? ›
The French working hours are usually 8 or 9 AM to 4 or 5 PM, with 1 hour of unpaid lunch break. This will, however, vary depending on the business and company agreements. The weekly working hours are 35 (7 hours a day, five days a week).How much time does it take to reach B2 level in French? ›
According to the Alliance Française, it takes between 560 and 650 hours of lessons to reach a B2 level in French.How difficult is C1 French? ›
C1, your French CEFR level is “advanced”
You can express yourself spontaniously and fluently. Your use of French is efficient and flexible in all areas of your life: professionnal, social, accademic. You can speak about just about anything, including complex topics in a well structured way.
In the morning the students usually receive 4 hours of lessons with a 15-minute break at 10:00. At midday the students usually have a 1 – 2 hour break.Why is French so hard for me to learn? ›
Many find French hard to learn because of the complex grammar and linguistic nuances that don't exist in English, especially for those who have never studied another European language specifically Romance languages like Spanish or Portuguese. Spoken French can also be challenging!What is the best program to learn French? ›
- The all rounder: GlobalExam. ...
- The big-budget option: Rosetta Stone. ...
- For grammar lovers: Bescherelle. ...
- The daily dose: Larousse. ...
- For app learners: Duolingo. ...
- The immersive one: Babbel. ...
- The theatrical one: French for Beginners G.U.T.S. ...
- The native option: Busuu.
If you search the web, the answer is unanimous : it takes about 500 to 600 hours of class time to become conversant in French. A study by the US Department of State's Foreign Service Institute shows that it took adult native English speakers 600 classroom hours to learn French at an intermediate level.
What happens when you finish Babbel? ›
After completing each course, you'll receive an achievement badge as a little pat on the back and to help you keep track of your progress. I did most of the courses on my computer, but there is also a Babbel app for added convenience and on-the-go learning.Is it worth paying for Babbel? ›
Priced at $179 for a lifetime subscription, it's definitely worth it. Babbel offers 14 languages and entertains learning along the way.Is Rosetta Stone cheaper than Babbel? ›
If you want a language learning tool for the short term, like one month, three months, or one year, then Babbel is slightly more affordable than Rosetta Stone. But if you are looking to buy, then Rosetta Stone's Lifetime Subscription costs $179, and Babbel's Lifetime subscription costs $239.Is Babbel hard to cancel? ›
Click on your name in the top right-hand corner. Choose Profile and Settings. Select Account Information from the menu on the left. Click the cancel auto-renewal option next to your Babbel Live subscription.What is the easiest language to learn on Babbel? ›
This may come as a surprise, but we have ranked Norwegian as the easiest language to learn for English speakers. Norwegian is a member of the Germanic family of languages — just like English!
After using each program for more than a month, it was clear to us that Babbel is more comprehensive and engaging than the language apps from Rosetta Stone and Duolingo. While there are elements of the Rosetta Stone and Duolingo programs that we like, Babbel clearly has a more effective learning framework.How many hours is each French level? ›
Level A1 Discover the language: 90 hours/6 weeks. Level A2 Coping with everyday situations: 135 hours/9 weeks. Level B1 Managing everyday situations: 135 hours/9 weeks. Level B2 Be independent in daily and professional life: 180 hours/12 weeks.Can you learn French in one year? ›
Regardless of your definition of fluency, you'll need to practice the language if you want to master it. If you want a short answer, yes, you can become fluent in French in one year (or even less), especially if you follow the 10 steps included in the next section.How quickly does Babbel work? ›
Learn The Basics In Three Weeks
One of the most common claims you'll hear from us is that you can learn to have basic conversations in your new language in three weeks. We even put some Babbel staffers to the test to see how much they could learn in that period of time. The results were overwhelmingly positive!
A standard Babbel subscription is valid for learning one language at a time. Read more about what's included in a subscription. For learning multiple languages at once, we would recommend taking a look at our Babbel Complete subscription option.
How many hours a day is Babbel? ›
One of the positions we advocate the most at Babbel is that you don't have to spend hours every day studying in order to learn a language. Actually, 15 minutes a day (sustained over time) is plenty sufficient to see noticeable progress, and relatively quickly.Can Babbel make you fluent in French? ›
For one thing, like just about any language learning app out there, Babbel alone will not make you fluent in French. You'll need additional help for that (more on this further on). With this in mind, there are courses offered on Babbel that can help you practice and expand your French.Can I become fluent in French with Babbel? ›
If you're looking to achieve an advanced level of fluency and really master French, Babbel just might not the best option out there. Of course, once you get to that point, you could always add in some live classes in order to get some more conversational practice under your belt.Can 2 people use the same Babbel? ›
Unlike some other apps, Babbel does not have a family plan that you can subscribe to. A basic family plan would be a one-fee plan that allows multiple people to use the app under that plan.Does B2 mean fluent? ›
Level B2 corresponds to independent users of the language, i.e. those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers.Can I learn French in 3 months? ›
While you certainly won't master it in three months, especially if you can only put a few hours a week into it, you can make sure to be more efficient by following an initial plan of action. Let's take a look at what you should do in the first hour, first day, first week and first month of learning French.How many Babbel lessons should I do a day? ›
Set yourself a goal of completing 3-4 lessons per day, as this amount ensures you don't overwhelm your brain with too much information that you will struggle to remember! Each lesson takes about ten minutes to complete, so you can set aside less than an hour per day.Can I learn French at 40 years old? ›
You can become a perfectly fluent speaker of a foreign language at any age, and small imperfections of grammar or accent often just add to the charm. Learn a new language.Can I learn French at 40? ›
But research shows that learning a second language offers proven benefits for intelligence, memory, and concentration, plus lowered risks of dementia and Alzheimer's. So what if you are over 40 and want to learn a second language? The good news is, it can be done. I learned French in my 50s.Why is French so hard to learn? ›
Many find French hard to learn because of the complex grammar and linguistic nuances that don't exist in English, especially for those who have never studied another European language specifically Romance languages like Spanish or Portuguese. Spoken French can also be challenging!
What level of fluency is Babbel? ›
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is a commonly used rubric for language proficiency. According to the CEFR scale, three weeks of study with Babbel should get you to an A1 level (the most rudimentary one).What is better than Babbel? ›
The main difference between Duolingo and Babbel is that while Babbel focuses on a more robust and traditional form of teaching a foreign language through comprehensive lessons, Duolingo tries to gamify your learning and offer a modern experience.Can a family share a Babbel account? ›
Unlike some other apps, Babbel does not have a family plan that you can subscribe to. A basic family plan would be a one-fee plan that allows multiple people to use the app under that plan.