Gone are the days that learning a new language meant staring at notecards until your brain hurt as much as your eyes. A system much in need of a makeover than just attempting to repeat gibberish until it made sense or to working with a native speaker feeling as inadequate and confused as possible until vocabulary made sense. Welcome to the scene, Lingvist, an app engineered to teach you a new language based on science and algorithms, the way language learning should be in 2015.
Lingvist boasts “Learn a Language in 200 hours” and has the numbers to back up that number. Their website states that 200 hours is the theoretical minimum a person needs to reach the stage of being comfortable reading text, hold every day conversations, and even watch a movie in another language without the necessity of subtitles. How do they do it? Instead of just throwing words at you and making you memorize each one so you can hopefully piece together a sentence, they teach words in order of their relevance and how often real people actually use them in speech and practice. Going in order of the most common and practical words first allows you to pick up a language quicker.
There is also a component built in to refresh you on words that you have already learned and an algorithm in place to keep you reminded of how to recognize words that you often forget. Lingvist also incorporates several styles of learning which is going to be beneficial to everyone. There’s a memorization page, a reading page, and a listening page within the app. Every part is crucial to developing and understanding a foreign vocabulary, and there are exercises and tools available to grow in each category.
With so many players out there from simple and fun apps like Babble to the intense training provided by Rosetta stone and almost every college offering courses to learn a new language, Lingvist is entering an already competitive industry. The app was released on June 1st and is immediately available for iOS and Android, including options for tablets and desktop viewing. Having a clean design with plenty of white space makes what can be an otherwise stressful experience of reciting words easier on the eyes.
All that being said, as well developed and designed this new state-of-the-art program for learning another language is, it is still currently in beta and only has English and French options available. The plus side to this is that Lingvist is keep its services free until new courses on Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Swedish are available, and hope to have those soon.
Overall the app looks and feels great with several positive reviews to start. Considering it’s free, I would have a very hard time not recommending it to anyone looking for a fresh approach to achieving that bilingual status they’re looking for. Anytime a company has done the research to put users on a well-structured path, I think that’s the best way to learn anything new and commit to it.