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  • Writer's pictureAdam Meyersieck

Do language apps actually work?

Cracking the Language Learning Code: How Language Apps Defy Expectations with Impressive Results

Preparing for your trip to Positano next week? Good luck learning the language!

Many of us downloaded language apps during the pandemic with dreams of emerging fluent in a foreign language. Visions of conversing with baristas in cafes in Rome or watching Amélie without subtitles were quickly dashed when we found ourselves stuck being taught how to say "the boy rides a horse" (it's le garçon monte à cheval). But even if we stick with the apps, do we know how well they actually work?

You might be surprised to learn that those who complete Duolingo’ French and Spanish courses performed as well on reading and listening tests as students who took four semesters of college classes – but in half the time and a fraction of the cost. Similarly, Babbel regularly conducts research studies and found that consistent users can at least make it beyond “novice” in Spanish. Me gusta.

The key, they say, is consistency.

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