Educational

Learn to speak another language with Busuu Review

Reviewed by David Savage

Language is a very important skill, but in a world where there are approx. 6,500 different languages spoken, trying to communicate with everybody is an impossible task. But learning another language will help communicate with a lot more people around the world.

So if you decide to take the plunge and learn another language, where do you start? What language do you learn?

Mandarin Chinese is the world’s most spoken language, followed by Spanish and English. So do you learn Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, maybe French or German or something completely different?

Since adulthood I have always wanted to learn another language but it’s one of those things that gets put to the back of the mind while life takes over and never actually happens. It’s been a long time since my schoolboy French, Spanish and German lessons (and most of it all long forgotten) so when I was asked to review an AI-powered online language learning platform called Busuu, I said yes.

Busuu currently offer 12 language courses for web, iOS and Android. They currently offer English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Russian, and Arabic. I already speak English (although growing up in the East End of London my partner would argue that I don’t, she is from Yorkshire so I could argue the other way!) so decided that I would learn French. I made this choice not because I will soon be visiting France or any French-speaking country, but because I used to like it at school and was quite good at it (then). And it seemed as good as any of the languages offered.

Busuu is an online platform that can be used on the web or via an app for iOS and Android. I have used on my laptop and phone and really do think that the phone app is much easier and user friendly (which is a surprise as I prefer to use my laptop for most things).

Once you have picked what language you want to learn, you can set up learning schedules telling it what days you want to learn and for how long (you then get reminders on your phone).

As I said earlier, I chose to learn French and the system really is easy to use and understand. Not only can you read the word or phrase, you can hear how it sounds (and slow it down to hear it better) and hear how it is used in a phrase or sentence. There are even tips on when to use words like bonjour and bonsoir. There is a lot of repetition to make sure you understand how the words sounds, how to read it and how to write it. But it is not all about reading and hearing, there are little tests throughout to put what you have learned to the test (written or spoken), and these can be corrected by the French speakers on the system (and you can help people learning English too).

To help you along with the learning, you can even download lessons to take with you if you don’t want to use your mobile data or have an internet connection, so no excuse for not continuing to learn.

I have been using it for about a week and am really impressed. Whilst I am still only at a very basic level it is really easy to use, you can study at your own pace and go back to lessons should you feel you need to repeat them. Having what you are learning corrected, or to be given feedback, by the online community of native speakers of the language that you are learning is an excellent feature.

There are 2 subscription plans available, and neither are expensive.

The Premium Plan is for casual learners and costs from £5.41 to £9.99 per month depending on the length of subscription you choose (can be cancelled at any time for any reason) and the Premium Plus Plan for serious learners costs £6.24 to £11.49 per month (can be cancelled at any time).

The Premium Plan features:

  • Practice with native speakers
  • Offline mode
  • Grammar lessons
  • Vocabulary trainer

The Premium Plus Plan features:

  • Personalised study plan
  • Learn up to 12 languages
  • Official certificates
  • Practice with native speakers
  • Offline mode
  • Grammar lessons
  • Vocabulary trainer

The Busuu system is an excellent way to learn, or supplement your learning, of a foreign language in an easy and comfortable way and at your own pace. If you are looking for a subscription for someone that wants to learn a new language this Christmas, whether for travelling or just because, then you can’t go wrong with Busuu.

Rating: 5/5

Price from £5.41 per month

For more information or to take out a subscription and start learning a new language, visit www.busuu.com.

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