If you've been following this blog the last few weeks, you'll know we've mainly been focusing on Duolingo. For today, we're going to discuss why there's no Finnish on Babbel and the best language learning app that you can use. This guide includes some information about Babbel, reasons why there's no Finnish on Babbel, and the general reasons why you should learn Finnish. If that floats your boat, let's start learning!
What Is Babbel?
Probably the most significant difference between Babbel and Duolingo is the pricing. It is perhaps the reason why Duolingo, which is free, has 100's of millions as opposed to 10's of millions of users. (That's not to say, though, that just because it's free, it's better).
Babbel is a German behemoth of a company with over 450 employees. Things really went into the stratosphere for Babbel in 2015 when Scottish equity partners raised $22million in investment.
The brand concept of Babbel is something I particularly like. To 'Babbel' is obviously a variation on the English verb to 'babble', which means to speak incoherently, but there's also a deeper biblical meaning, i.e. the Tower of Babel. A vast mythic construction paused when workers stopped understanding one another's languages.
Why Is There No Finnish On Babbel?
The first thing to say about Babbel is that it only offers 14 languages. They are Spanish, Italian, French, English, German, Danish, Dutch, Indonesian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, and Turkish.
Cost. Developing new language courses is expensive. However, it is a little surprising considering the company made $150 million in revenue in 2019. Some companies are inherently more conservative. Industry experts question if this is a wise strategy considering the current market. While people have been locked down, there's been a surge in demand for apps.
Babbel's current model seems niche rather than broad. An argument for this style is that you could hone the content you already have. That being said, Last February, Babbel did announce that it was moving into live classes(another resource drain that might stop its expansion to other languages). As well as introducing you to teachers, Babbel is also developing language learning games within its app.
Finnish speakers. Considering that Babbel only has 14 languages, and assuming it plans to expand, it will be a long time before it gets around to Finnish. It only has 5.8million speakers. For comparison, that makes it only 3% the size of the Russian language—more speakers=more money.
Why Should You Learn Finnish?
This may surprise you, but Finland is the happiest country in the world according to the UN happiness Index. It is difficult to argue against a nation or its language(discourse) when results like that speak for themselves. It would be hard to list just one reason why Finland is so happy, but if you look at its levels of equity, political stability and amazing climate, you do start to get a sense.
Finland is beautiful and certainly worth a visit. It has a staggering 188,000 lakes, amazing forests and a pristine coastline. The water in Finland is so clean you can drink it from natural springs. And not forgetting the national pastime of a sauna in the woods.
Coffee culture. The average fin consumes 12 kilos of coffee per year. Helsinki(the capital) has a booming coffee scene. It is tremendous to drink some coffee with locals and discuss current affairs in their native language.
Music(Heavy Metal). Finland has a tremendous heavy metal scene, or so I've been told. I never really understood the appeal of the likes of HardRock Hallelujah, the winner of 2006's Eurovision song contest. That being said, if this is something that does appeal to you, then rock on! One of the best ways to learn a new language is singing until your voicebox hurts!
Freedom. Both social and geographical. Finland is a very liberal place and was the first place in Europe to give women the right to vote. Not only that but there isn't much private property, so you can roam around the countryside practising your Finnish with whoever you come across.
Alternatives To Babbel
The most obvious language resources alternative for Finnish lessons is Youtube. There are 1000s of hours of free content, and it can be structured in a helpful way if you know what to look for. The best I've seen is Learn Finnish with FinnishPod101. They have 53k subscribers and update their content weekly.
Simply Learn. The phrasebook brought to you by the same makers as Ling. Of course, nothing compares to the app, but this is a handy guide for when you're doing something conventional like ordering food or booking into a hotel room. A very basic way to speak Finnish.
Finnish Language tutor. Hiring a Finnish language tutor is a great way to supplement your Finnish course. Preply is a great site for finding native speakers.
Ling by Simya Solutions is the only game in town for an alternative app for learning Finnish. We use the same popular elements of Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and Babbel, i.e. gamification, rewards, leaderboards, spaced repetition flashcards, listening practice, and then hone them for lesser-known languages.
Although we don't have a Finnish blog at the moment, we do post many blogs from other countries that may give you an idea of what kind of stuff you should be learning. There are plans to have a Finnish blog in the near future.
Come on over and sign up today. Language learners unite! We can do this together.