“50 languages is a really handy tool for learning a new language through vocabulary and phrases.” Well, this is my one-line review of this language-learning app. I have found it to be utterly useful for navigating my way across the bustling streets of Tamil Nadu as a traveler. I haggled fares with the autorickshaw drivers, ordered some lip-smacking Tamil food in local restaurants, and found my way around asking for directions to tourist spots from the locals. And it was all thanks to the comprehensive and exhaustive Tamil phrasebook I found on 50 Languages.
Today, based on my experience as a traveler and a language learner, I am going to jot down my user experience in the form of this 50 Languages review. Read on to learn more about this handy tool!
What Is 50 Languages?
50 Languages has long been a very popular language-learning platform among learners of all age groups and proficiency levels. And what is the best part? It offers more than 50 language learning courses not only for English speakers but for more than 50 native language speakers!
The language courses offered by the app typically encompass essential vocabulary, grammar rules, and practical phrases necessary for effective communication. The audio recordings by native speakers work really well to present the actual pronunciation, intonation, and sounds of the languages.
The app also offers plenty of engaging lessons on alphabets, numbers from 1 to 100, vocabulary, translation, emergency numbers of the language-specific regions, and corresponding radio stations. A learner can also practice via various exercises on offer like flashcards, phrasebooks, vocabulary games, crossword puzzles, ‘Find the Opposites’, Language and Geo quizzes, and Cloze tests.
Moreover, the app often caters to diverse learning preferences, accommodating visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Its offline functionality ensures that learners can study without requiring a continuous internet connection.
What is it: A free language learning resource with desktop and app versions.
Who is it for: Beginners and travelers or learners who prefer language learning through phrases.
Languages Offered: More than 50 languages.
How Does 50 Languages Work?
The process to use the 50 Languages app is pretty straightforward and super user-friendly.
After downloading the app from the Play Store or App Store, you simply have to pick the language you speak as a native speaker and the language you want to learn. They’ve got a bunch, from the usual popular ones like Spanish and French to some rare ones like Swahili or Icelandic.
Since it’s a free app, you don’t need to register with a card or any other payment getaway. You simply start using it! And let me tell you, it is really like having a personal language tutor in your pocket. You’ll find lessons that cover vocabulary, grammar, and phrases, and you can choose and customize how you want to start learning the language.
The phrasebook, divided into 100 lessons, contains different categories belonging to real-life scenarios and day-to-day situations that you come across. These phrases, recorded in native speaker voices, help you improve your pronunciation as you get to practice by imitation. Once you start getting a hang of the audio lessons, you can also start learning the alphabet and numbers.
You can also use the desktop version of the app in a similar manner. The most popular form of learning on 50 Languages is through the phrasebook, as that is the most resourceful and well-maintained feature of the platform – especially on the desktop version.
What Are Its Pros & Cons?
|Absolutely free language learning resource||Dull and static user interface in the app|
|A wide range of language courses on offer||Lack of roman transcription in some lessons makes it difficult to follow for beginners|
|Language courses for more than 50 native language speakers||Lack of engaging app elements|
|Exhaustive phrasebook in every language course||Lack of features like spaced repetition system and chatbot|
|Best quality audio lessons in native speaker voices|
50 Languages User Interface & Design
Since 50 Languages operates as an online platform as well as an app, let us take a look at how it fares on both these avenues when it comes to user interface and design.
The desktop version is simply the www.50languages.com website that allows you to straightaway choose your native language and your target language, and start using the learning material. It doesn’t require the user to create an account and register on the website. Since it’s a free-to-use platform, you don’t need to fill in your credit card details. Just open the website and start learning.
The website is pretty simple and easy to use. You can access free resources like books, games, phrasebooks, translation trainers, videos, and so on. You can also review your progress by taking free tests. The platform also offers you decent enough blog articles on language learning tips.
All in all, the desktop version of the platform is easy and simple enough to use without much distraction.
The app gets a raw deal when it comes to user interface and design. It is a serious downgrade from the desktop version. The home screen is nothing but blobs of categories stacked one after the other. The entire look comes across as quite chunky. The color scheme is drab, the pages are static and inanimate. The images used are of low quality and look stretched and elongated.
The only good thing about the user interface is the quality of the audio lessons. Plus, just like on the desktop, you have to simply download the app, choose your native language, and start learning from the word go.
In total, if you are a visual person, do yourself a favor and stick to the desktop version of the platform because the app leaves so much to be desired.
50 Languages: Best Features
Now let us take a look at some of the best features of this language-learning platform that make it stand out from the rest.
#1 Diverse Language Selection
The 50 Languages platform offers a wide range of languages, including popular ones like Spanish, French, and German, as well as less commonly taught ones such as Swahili, Icelandic, Marathi, Tamil, and many more.
#2 Open To Non-English Speakers
The best thing about 50 Languages is that it offers language courses to non-English speakers as well. So, you can learn French being a Marathi speaker or Persian being a Gujarati speaker, for example.
#3 Audio-Based Learning
The platform places a strong emphasis on auditory learning. It provides high-quality audio recordings by native speakers in almost every scenario imaginable. This helps learners develop their listening and pronunciation skills naturally, by imitating the tone and sound made by the voice instructor.
#4 Offline Access
A significant advantage the app/ desktop offers is the ability to download lessons for offline use. Learners can continue their studies even when they don’t have an internet connection, which makes it a comfortable feature for someone who is traveling or remote learning.
#5 Customized Learning
50 Languages offers a customizable learning process to its users. Learners can choose their own pace, skip to specific topics, or revisit lessons as needed. This allows them a lot of learning flexibility to meet individual learning preferences and goals.
How Much Does Learning On 50 Languages Cost?
The app, as well as the desktop platform, is absolutely free to use. However, as with most free resources, you are inundated with ads upon usage. The app charges $3 to go ad-free. You can also try other in-house purchases for various resources related to language learning.
How I Used 50 Languages: Review
I chose to work through three language courses on 50 Languages – Tamil as a novice, Bengali as an intermediate learner, and French as an advanced learner.
What I Liked
- The content choice for beginner and intermediate levels is pretty decent. The alphabet, phrases, and initial grammar lessons were easy to follow.
- The phrasebook is quite comprehensive. It literally hands you useful phrases to tackle almost every situation that you might find yourself in a foreign land. This is a great feature for travelers to use.
- The audio recordings are of good quality and are the most brilliant feature of this app.
- You can download bilingual audio files for offline practice later on. This way, you can sneak in a lesson on the subway or when you are waiting for someone in a low network zone.
Areas Of Improvement
- The content matter for advanced learners is pretty basic and might leave some learners unsatisfied.
- The alphabet lessons should come with audio files as well, like many other apps offer.
- The UI is very chunky and feels really dated. The images used are stretched and low quality.
- The overall look and feel of the app leaves a lot to be desired and may put off people who are visual learners or who are aesthetically inclined.
- Many of the games and exercises lack the roman transcription of the lesson content. This might annoy people who are just starting to learn the language and are yet to get a grip on the alphabet and the writing system.
50 Languages Review: Round Up
After using the 50 Languages platform on desktop as well as the app, I can safely say that it is a decent language learning resource that teaches you a plethora of new languages absolutely free! And you don’t even have to be an English speaker to access these courses.
It is a dependable tool for language learning if you are a beginner or a traveler, as you get to try its most comprehensive phrasebook feature. However, if you are a visual learner or prefer aesthetically pleasing platforms to work with, the app could leave you a little disappointed in that regard.
Overall, 50 Languages is a good learning platform that lacks an interactive approach and other cool features that have become a given in the language-learning domain.
Learn Languages With Ling
You can try to supplement your 50 languages courses with the Ling app if you feel something is missing in your learning journey. Or, maybe you can make Ling your main language learning tool so that you experience the entire process while having the time of your life.
Yes, with Ling, learning is like playing a game of Taboo. You end up having too much fun while you gain knowledge too! The app has all the interactive features and fun elements that make Ling the rapidly growing player in the field today. And, especially if you are looking to learn a Southeast Asian language, Ling is your guy!