The UK leading the way in the use of language-learning apps

Sep 28, 2021 - Views: 201 - this post if you find it interesting!

The UK leading the way in the use of language-learning apps

The UK leading the way in the use of language-learning apps

During the Coronavirus lockdown, a trend has emerged dramatically and that is using language-learning apps, and the UK has, somewhat surprisingly, led the way.

For the UK- a country where the population does not have too much skill or enthusiasm at learning a foreign language, the Covid-19 pandemic appears to change Britons’ thought of languages at least a bit bilingual.

Londoner Chelsey Hames started to learn some French through the app Duolingo last year. As a result, after a few months, a 33-year-old girl could read blocks of the French text. Although she can not translate word by word, this is still magic to her. 

According to the US firm Duolingo’s report, its new user numbers soared in 2020, especially in the UK. In detail, the number increases to 67% compared with 2019, while in the UK they shot up by 132%, almost double the worldwide average.

Duolingo's UK manager Colin Watkins stated that the UK agrees with learning another language gradually. Prior to the covid-19 pandemic, the purpose of learning new languages is for traveling. Now the purpose changes, however, they were now learning because of other factors.

The UK leading the way in the use of language-learning apps

According to the US firm Duolingo’s report, its new user numbers soared in 2020, especially in the UK

For the app's now 13 million UK users, Spanish stays stable the most popular language, followed by French. Other language apps also saw big growth.

London-based Busuu says that the user numbers tripled last year, in the UK this number rose more than fourfold (312%). More than three million UK people are using the app.

Meanwhile, Berlin-based Babbel says its UK user registrations increased by 80% in 2020, compared with a 50% rise worldwide. It now has 10 million customers globally but did not release a figure for the UK.

Babbel's chief executive Arne Schepker says that Spanish is now the most popular language for its UK users, overtaking French. 

But why are more British people now learning a new language compared with the global averages?

Duolingo's Mr. Watkins says that the UK realized the real value in learning a language, not for fun, not because they have to. They learn new languages because of culture, brain training, family, and relationships, along with school and travel. 

Moreover, Maria Lievano, a Spanish teacher based in the UK, thinks that Brexit may be a reason. The UK people want to create an opportunity to work in or with other countries now Britain has left the EU.

Or simply, perhaps learning a foreign language is a way to dream of the holiday they are not able to go on due to the pandemic.

While Duolingo and Busuu both offer free and paid-for premium versions, Babbel is only free for the first week. All three try to make the learning process as effective as possible. But are they actually any good? How influential can language learners get?

Renowned linguist Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus of the University of Southern California, did not appreciate it. According to his analysis, their learning processes work in the same way as the traditional methods do in regular classrooms, and produce the same lack of enthusiasm from students.

In fact, people speak and write fluently and accurately through comprehensible input, such as good books, movies, and interesting stories.

The UK leading the way in the use of language-learning apps

Busuu's co-founder Bernhard Niesner admits that "the best way to learn a language is to be in the country, and be fully able to speak with native speakers"

Busuu's co-founder Bernhard Niesner admits that "the best way to learn a language is to be in the country, and be fully able to speak with native speakers”, and that is the operation of Busuu.

He believed the popularity of language-learning apps stays still here. Leaning a new language through an app on a smartphone is super flexible, personalized, and cheaper maybe than traditional learning.

French learner Chelsey Hames says: "There is something about learning and speaking more than one language that I think brings the world a little closer together." Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, learning and speaking a new language has some positive changes. 

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