In recent years, cool language learning apps have emerged to support students of all ages in learning a new tongue. These tools are convenient and have interactive features. They also maintain a sense of accountability toward progress.
But there are disadvantages to consider. Language learning apps have limited resources and don’t allow for productive human interexchange.
Effective communication is vital in a world where people and communities are becoming ever closer. Plus, there is no denying that technology will continue evolving, so embracing it is the most viable option.
But which advantages come with using language apps to learn a new language? Oppositely, which disadvantages should you watch out for? How can you choose the best language-learning app for you? And how can you use them to grow your knowledge and confidence while studying your target language?
Below, dive into all these matters and more as you discover the truth about language learning apps.
Advantages of Apps For Language Learners
Using a language app is a popular and valuable resource that helps you improve your language skills. The best language-learning apps have many advantages, such as:
There are many free language learning apps available today. Besides, even tools without a free version are cheaper than traditional language lessons.
Many apps today have an offline mode, which means you can access them anytime and anywhere. You don’t need to schedule a lesson or travel to a specific location to learn a new language.
Language-learning software adapts to your devices, maintaining an optimum User Interface (UI). They also allow you to synchronize them to improve your experience while helping you develop crucial language skills.
Broad Range of Contents
Most language learning apps get constantly updated with fresh content. Thus, they cover a broad subject spectrum to extend your vocabulary and knowledge.
Personalized Learning Experience
Unlike most language courses, apps adjust to your user profile and deliver a tailored learning program. Through an account that registers your progress, they present content according to your preset goals.
A personalized experience fosters growth and fuels motivation. You can learn at your own pace and according to your specific learning style.
Gamification and Interactive Features
Our brains process and retain information much better when we are having fun. Thus, gamified learning methods include visual resources, from video lessons to responsive activities. They also rely on spaced repetition to help grow your knowledge of a new language while keeping you engaged.
Choosing your language learning app depends on your goals, budget, and preferred features. Check out our recommendations for the Top 10 free European Portuguese Learning Apps!
Disadvantages of Using Language Learning Apps
Despite its many advantages, language learning software is not a panacea. You won’t suddenly sound like native speakers do, regardless of choosing the best app and using it every day. These are some of the weaknesses you will probably notice:
Mistaken Translations And Inaccurate Pronunciations
There is no need to explain how dangerous mistaken translations can be. Understanding common expressions and words is the foundation for learning a new language. In many cases, you must memorize definitions before they can come naturally to you with use. Yet, some apps still pair basic sayings with the wrong meanings.
Few Accents, Slang, Idiommatic Expressions, or Language Idiosyncrasies
All countries have different accents. As you move from North to South, you notice people might say words differently. They probably also use a variety of regional expressions.
A significant gap in the best learning language apps is that they often don’t include accents and regionalisms. These elements are essential for your communication with native speakers.
Few Speaking Practice Exercises
Even if your favorite app includes listening exercises, chances are it won’t have many resources for you to practice speaking. An audio-based learning style is helpful for you to get familiarized with foreign languages.
Spaced repetition and speech recognition exercises might help you cover the basics. Yet, you will need structured lessons and speaking practice through real conversations to advance.
Besides, you can’t get proper pronunciation without developing reasonable speaking skills. To improve diction, you must practice with other advanced learners or native speakers.
Emphasis on Vocabulary and Difficulty in Teaching Complex Grammar
Most mobile apps focus on building your vocabulary but hardly teach you to use it. Additionally, grammar lessons are often the most complex to understand.
Regardless of how many languages you have learned before, you can never skip studying grammar. Yet, apps display fewer interactive exercises and more emphasis on memorizing basic words.
This approach makes it challenging for individual learners to evolve. Learning is more than completing lessons on a fun app. It includes knowing how to build coherent sentences and speaking and writing regularly.
No Human Interaction
Despite the development of speech recognition technology, there is no beating practice with a human speaker. Few apps allow for this human connection which is crucial when studying a new language.
Real interaction in your target language, whether European Portuguese or American Sign Language, is a key to growth. It enables you to get feedback from someone who speaks better than you.
Unlike speech recognition software, these interactive lessons help you build specific skills. Likewise, they equip you to respond positively in real-life scenarios, boosting your confidence.
Dependency or Short-Lived Engagement
One final disadvantage of using language learning apps is not about the tool itself but your attitude toward it. With time, you might see your chosen mobile or web app as a crutch. In the long term, doing so will hinder your progress, making you rely on the app and draining your confidence to speak for yourself.
On the other hand, you can also lose the sense of commitment to reach your language goals. As you get to know the tool and use its various features, you might become less engaged in the experience and lose motivation.
How to Make The Best of Your Language Learning App
At Portuguese With Carla, we’ve developed an integrated approach to language learning. Our interactive European Portuguese course, The Journey, merges technology and human interaction. It was planned and composed to help you progress faster while having fun.
It’s senseless to rely solely on language-learning apps to make progress in your target language. So is putting these technological resources aside. So how can you reach a balance point and boost your knowledge and confidence?
Here are five language learning secrets to put into practice:
See Apps as Tools
Change your ideas and expectations of language apps. Instead of seeing them as your sole source of knowledge, be aware of other available methods.
Your perspective of the tool will determine how heavily you rely on it. Thus, adapting your approach to language learning apps will help you save time and get better results.
Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
Then, set realistic goals according to your circumstances and write them down. Use the SMART approach to develop Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound objectives. For example, instead of: “I want to learn European Portuguese.”, you can try: “I will reach a B2 level in European Portuguese within the next nine months.”
Afterward, break your main goal into minor steps. What will you need to do to achieve it? What other stages must you overcome first?
This exercise will help you build a plan and define a proper strategy as you learn your target language. You can also use it for accountability to ensure you stay on track to reach your goal. And it will motivate you not to compare your progress to other peoples’ or adapt to their expectations.
Manage Time of Use
Apps are perfect when you are short on time but want to extend your knowledge or practice a few words. They bring motivational features to the palm of your hand, so you can keep learning.
Still, you must limit usage time. Otherwise, you will get distracted and miss out on all the advantages brought on by other methods. Setting a daily timer on your app is a good idea to ensure you stay on track with your learning strategy.
Pair Apps With Other Language Learning Methods
Schedule time for listening, reading, speaking, and writing. You can follow a podcast, watch a fun show, or read a book. Keep a daily journal to apply all the knowledge you get from other methods.
These strategies will help you think in your new language and see your progress. You can also make your vocabulary notebook to support you when you talk to native speakers.
Practice With Native Speakers
You can choose a person who speaks multiple languages or who only knows their native language. The most important aspect is that they know when you make mistakes and correct you.
Think of it as an immersive learning experience without the need for traveling. This way, you will learn subtle differences that might completely change the meaning of words or sentences.
Plus, engaging with a native speaker brings you the chance to explore the language as well as the culture. It will encourage you to continue growing, improve your pronunciation, and help you face your challenges.
The 5 Best Language Learning Apps – Our Recommendations
Because there are two branches of Portuguese, European and Brazilian, you must choose an app that focuses on the one you want to learn. For example, the Rosetta Stone app or Mango Languages are popular apps. But both teach Brazilian Portuguese and not European. Alternatively, here are five options we recommend:
Our European Portuguese language course, The Journey, is an engaging gamified learning experience. It focuses on supporting your journey to discover the beautiful Portuguese language and culture.
The yearly subscription includes access to our language-learning app. We don’t have a free version available, but we offer a trial so you can try it out and see the results for yourself.
Drops is a free app focused on time efficiency. It delivers 5-minute fun games with clear images suited to your learning level. The premium subscription includes extra features, unlimited playtime, and extended resources.
Memrise is a flashcard app that uses spaced repetition memory techniques to help you learn a second language. You can download this free language learning app or subscribe to the premium version with extra content.
5000 Phrases – L
5000 Phrases is a free app with 5000 phrases in 60 languages, including Portuguese from Portugal. It allows you to learn offline in a game-like experience through which to explore a variety of topics.
LingQ is an all-in-one online resource that brings you closer to native speakers. It teaches both Brazilian and European Portuguese. You can use their limited free version or subscribe to a premium membership with extra features and benefits.
A Final Look Into Apps For Foreign Language Learning
If you are excited to discover a new language, such as Portuguese from Portugal, using a learning app can definitely help. It will allow you to study anytime, anywhere, and acquire new vocabulary in a fun and engaging way.
Now you know about the best language learning apps and how you might use them to improve faster. There are many other language apps available on the market.
Nevertheless, you should pair your app with more traditional methods. That way, you can counterbalance these tools’ limitations and truly succeed.
Try exploring our European Portuguese language course, The Journey, through a 7-day free trial. It delivers an engaging, gamified learning experience.
You will find all the scoop from the best language courses and none of the boring stuff. Get your first yearly subscription at a discounted cost with access to our exclusive app!
Learn European Portuguese the Instinctive Way!
For the last decade, we’ve been working on putting together the best possible European Portuguese course. After much research, feedback from our students, and a number of iterations, we think we’ve got it! 😉
At the base of it all is a sound conviction that languages are better learnt instinctively, so the process needs to engaging, varied, and enjoyable. Throughout, we used scientifically proven techniques to help with master pronunciation, phrase construction, oral understanding, grammar, and all the necessary bits to get you to fluency. And still, the whole thing is presented as an adventure. It’s a course like no other, trust us!