Today we're looking at why there's no Albanian on Babbel. We're going to do something a little different, and that gives you an overview of Babbel's business and, in this investigation, see if we can get to some truth about why they might not want to have the language from the land of the eagles. After that, we'll look at why learning Albanian is a good idea.
Note: Although there's no Albanian course on Babbel, there is on Ling. Read till the end to learn more about how we've been making language learning fun over the last 5 years.
No Albanian On Babbel
Babbel was founded in 2007 by Markus Witte, Thomas Holl, and Lorenz Heine. The mobile language learning app was released in 2008 after attracting investment from the Bank of Berlin. Since then, it's raised another $32 million.
Surprisingly Babbel only has 14 language courses. However, that has been enough to attract 1 million premium customers. The top 5 marketplaces are Germany, Brazil, The UK, France, and the U.S.
Babbel knows the market well and conducts surveys to determine what its customers want. The motivations of its customers fall into the following categories.
Language for travel
Language to better understand the culture
Babbel's strengths lie in its software platform, I.T. infrastructure, and content developers. However, maintaining and developing these things are also its biggest costs. Maintenance of I.T. infrastructure is very expensive. And in such a competitive market it can be difficult to retain staff. Another thing to consider is office costs. For example, they have an office in New York, and the real estate prices there are astronomical.
Why Is There No Albanian On Babbel?
As we have seen, Babbel is committed to its core of 14 languages. Albania has a maximum of 10 million speakers worldwide. Compare that to Spanish with 500 million speakers. This is a decision all language learning apps ultimately have to make. Do they pick the low hanging fruit or aim for something else?
Albanian is a static language, meaning the number of speakers isn't likely to grow anytime soon. In fact, the numbers may very well reduce when more people leave the country. Contrast this with one of the Indian languages, where the birth rates are exploding, or a language like Swedish. Sweden is a tiny country that takes in many refugees. Its population is swelling, and all those people need to learn the language. A similar phenomenon can be seen in the migrants coming from Latin America to the U.S.
Historically, Albania was only a spoken language, which means it didn't leave behind a rich literary tradition. Babbel might argue that if a foreign language has a rich written history, it is a selling point for potential customers because its ancient texts need to be revered.
Reasons To Learn Albanian
Many of the reasons to learn Albanian have already been outlined in the above section about Babbel's business model. Ling is a very similar platform with similar aims. Language is great for travel, self-improvement, mental acuity, a better understanding of a culture, and career development. But why specifically might someone want to travel to Albania?
The people are very friendly- there is an Albanian tradition known as Besa, which translates as pledge of honor. For example, it is customary always to keep a spare room prepared in case a stranger appears at your door in the middle of the night. My personal experience is that many formerly communist countries have this kind of relationship with people from Northern Europe and North America. There's a kind of inbuilt curiosity because they couldn't meet these people in the past. There is an interesting multicultural tolerance that runs through Albanian society. For example, there is no state religion and both Muslim mosques, and Christian churches can be found in the same neighbourhood.
Cultural heritage- like many countries in the Baltic region, Albania provides a unique puzzle for historians, sociologists, and anthropologists. A lot of its charm comes from the fact that it has had so many different influences in the past. Albania was owned by the Byzantines, the Ottomans, the Venetians, and then it came under Communist rule in the latter part of the 20th century. That means conflicting and contrasting art styles, architecture and philosophy.
The Albanian Mediterranean- although Greece, Turkey, Spain and Italy steal the headlines for their Meditteranean beaches, Albania's section of coastline is not one to be missed out on.
Food and drink- these are staples of Italian life like they are for many peoples in the region. Albanian coffee culture in the capital Tirana is particularly thriving. There are some prime examples of old-style communist buildings that have been repurposed and turned into trendy modern coffee shops. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Albanian alcohol rakia, an aniseed drink. Locals like to drink it over ice, but be careful; it measures roughly 30-40%. Albania also has a thriving winemaking region, and the practice of making wine is even older than what it is in Greece and Italy.
Learn The Albanian Language With Ling
Ling is undeniably one of the best language learning apps on the market for lesser-known languages.
We have reading, writing, and speaking practice. We also have listening practice with the Albanian and phonetic spellings. Our vocabulary practice uses a spaced repetition learning technique to have you sounding like one of the 5 million native Albanian speakers. With our language learning plan, you can win rewards and points that contribute to our global leaderboard, so you can compare yourself against all other learners of Albanian.