You have just decided to start learning a language. The first few things you did are probably:
- go to youtube and search “beginner (name of language) lessons” / “introduction to XX” / “XX alphabet”
- google “XX lessons beginner free”
- download language apps
There’s an increasing number of language apps around and one of my personal favourites is Drops.
A good language app doesn’t need to do everything, it just needs to focus on a couple of things, and do them well. Drops did that – and well.
According to its site, Drops is available in more than 35 languages. I scrolled through the list and found quite a few that I’m interested in (hello Arabic one day hahaha). Japanese and Korean are both available too!
The app is well organised, and each language offers lessons in different categories. Foundation – the alphabet and writing system. As well as several other categories of vocabulary. You can also choose between the beginner and the intermediate level.
The app is focused on helping learners build vocabulary but turning it into a fun activity. New words are introduced via “drops” (how cool) and subsequently reinforced through exercises where either you are supposed to match words to the graphics or choose whether a word and graphic pair is right or wrong. Simple. Engaging. Effective.
Visuals and audio are a huge part of the app. Instead of boring flashcards, it makes use of graphics / visuals to help you connect a word to an image. The whole app works like a game, and is limited to 5 mins exercises each time. I thought this was very smart, cos instead of feeling like it’s a chore to learn vocabulary, it’s fun and the 5-mins timeline makes it seems very short (and have you starting another session!).
I personally find Drops a very engaging app for beginners to a language, and I personally have used it to learn the Russian alphabet (and some simple words) and am currently using it to reinforce my recognition ability of the Thai alphabet.
Once you are beyond the alphabet phase, there’s also an option to turn off romanisation (very much appreciated!) to learn the vocabulary. I love how they also include audio, so it’s quite easy to learn new words with audio and visual aids.
I would use this as a complementary resource to language learning. While I still don’t believe in learning new words via lists (without any context), I do see this as a neat app to learn new words on-the-go and to do some review.
I’m currently on the 7-day trial and am contemplating to sign up for a year’s membership.