We are often asked: What are the best tools to prepare a language stay, which should be easy to access, adapted to beginner or intermediate levels, free and fun?
For someone who is a beginner, I often advise to revise the basics of the English language:
- How to introduce yourself
- How to formulate a sentence in the present tense
- How to formulate a question
- English irregular verbs
- Everyday vocabulary
It's kind of hard to know where to start. One of the solutions I recommend is to use a mobile application that will mix the above points in a more enjoyable way. You will be guided by the application.
For more advanced people, I advise to use a mobile application to learn new vocabulary words in English. The application will adapt, so you will be able to pass the first levels/steps more easily.
Working equally well on Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad), here is our ranking of the three best applications to review English from your phone or tablet.
This is our favorite application of this ranking. It's like a little game where you have to go through the steps. The application is free, but the application displays ads after the exercises.
There are several types of exercise:
- translating a text from English to your language
- translate a text from your language to English
- uttered a sentence in English
- find English/Your language translations
All texts and expressions are read by native speakers, which allows you to familiarize yourself with the sounds of the language. The recording can be repeated as many times as necessary, which improves your pronunciation. Another point we like is the "gamification". Indeed the application turns learning into games, with stars and rewards, the Duolingo application succeeds in creating a habit. Regularity is very important when learning a language and Duolingo helps us to practice every day at least 10 minutes in the morning in transports (car, bus, train, plane) for example. There is an offline mode, the application can be used without an internet connection. You can fly over the words with your finger to get the translation.
We would like to emphasize that Duolingo will not allow you to become bilingual, it remains a passive and repetitive learning process that takes place in a virtual bubble and outside a communicative context. For example, if you want to learn English for a professional trip abroad, the application will remain generic and will not necessarily be adapted to your specific needs, nor to your business sector. This is why we offer language stays that will allow you to work on your needs with, for example, Business English courses.
To conclude, we think that the application is suitable for beginners who have free time during the day and can use their phone. It can be a real springboard and allows them to stay in touch with the English language. The application can also be a good complement to your English courses. The application offers other languages to learn than English (Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Thai ...), it can also be a good way to test if the language interests us before spending money on real courses.
Screenshots of the Duolingo application
Both a site and a free application (available on iOS and Android) that offers a premium subscription. These features are similar to Duolingo with its gaming, daily goals, reviews and notification system.
It's a good application to work on your spelling, to train your ear and as its name indicates its memorization.
Memrise uses a time-spaced learning method. If you are able to restore the vocabulary quickly, you will revise it only after a long period of time. The application promises that you can learn and retain 44 words per hour. Its award-winning features are based on cognitive science and cutting-edge advances in language learning.
Memrise's other strength is the ability to create its own English courses. The application is used by more than 44 million people worldwide.
Screenshots of the Memrise application
We couldn't do an article about mobile applications for learning English without talking about Babbel. The highly advertised app claims to be able to teach you a language in 3 months. In our experience, in 3 months you can expect to reach level B1. The CUNY study conducted by researchers at New York University showed that learning 15 hours with Babbel corresponds to a semester at a university.
With this application, launched in 2007, you can learn 14 languages, including English.
Once the application is launched, you will have access to courses from beginner to intermediate level. Each level consists of 6 courses, each with 20 lessons. Each lesson lasts 10 minutes, so you can easily practice every day. When you have finished your lesson, the vocabulary words will be written in your personal file, which you can come to review.
The application has an offline mode, it is possible to download the lessons. It also has a pronunciation corrector!
The price is between €6.50/month and €12.99/month depending on the subscription period on the App stores.
If you go directly to the site, the prices are 4.95€/month for a 12-month subscription and 9.95€ for a single month.
Captures d'écran de l'application Babbel