Is Babbel good for learning German
Babbel in the test: is it worth buying the online language course?
Babbel teaches 14 languages on smartphones and tablets, and the offer is one of the largest digital language courses in Germany. In the test report, we clarify whether Babbel can stand out from the free competitor Duolingo and for whom the investment in a subscription is worthwhile.
Babbel in the test
Suitable for beginners
Babbel sensibly categorizes language lessons according to content and level of difficulty; the teaching method can be convincing overall. More than its competitor Duolingo, Babbel attaches great importance to grammar explanations and correct pronunciation. For a paid offer, however, the often limited level of the courses is disappointing. An investment is therefore mainly worthwhile for beginners whose desired language is not available at Duolingo.
We liked that
- Diverse lessons
- 13 foreign languages
- Good voice acting
We didn't like that
- Courses sometimes not very in-depth
- No American English available
Babbel was founded in Berlin in 2007, and its long market presence in this country has advantages for German native speakers: With the source language German, the application currently teaches 13 foreign languages. However, a subscription is required per language that costs between 5.99 and 9.99 euros per month. Is it worth the investment? A test.
- Teaching methodology
- Entry at an advanced level
- Offered languages
- Subscription model
Babbel put to the test: teaching methodology
It is very easy to get started in new languages with Babbel as a beginner. The focus here is on the basic vocabulary. Unlike its competitor Duolingo, Babbel always attaches great importance to correct pronunciation and spelling: Right from the start, you will be prompted to spell in the target language. In contrast to the aforementioned competitor, human speakers are used when auditioning new words, and they make a good overall impression.
Babbel has an on-screen keyboard in the target language ready for the relevant input in the foreign language, which dynamically adapts to the corresponding alphabet. Inputs by the user are made in response to images, spoken content or German texts, which ensures variety and offers various points of contact for memorizing new content.
Once the beginner lessons have been completed, dedicated grammar units are available. each of which is dedicated to a specific grammatical feature of the selected language and can be repeated if necessary. Even in the course of conventional lessons, Babbel always points out the cases or tenses used, which makes learning these easier - very good.
The teaching of phrases and vocabulary by Babbel is very plausible: the course can convey them effectively, repeat them and put them in the appropriate context. Even basic training in the pronunciation of words and sentences works well thanks to speech recognition via microphone. However, an actual conversation with native speakers cannot replace this function.
The teaching method leaves a good impression with its reading, writing, listening and speaking parts. The grammar sections are solid. In particular, complicated grammatical relationships in the advanced lessons require a supplementary textbook despite their own lessons - because the app is not suitable for quickly repeating and looking up rules.
Babbel in the test: entry at an advanced level
Unfortunately, the entry into the Babbel courses is a little less clear at an advanced level: After an initial placement test, in this case you can freely choose from numerous lessons. On the one hand, this is good because it allows a lot of personalization - for example, specific professional or political content can be selected. On the other hand, however, flexibility poses challenges in particular to users who are even less able to assess their own needs and abilities themselves. In this case, there is no clear thread running through the course.
Babbel in the test: Languages offered
With German as the source language, you will learn Danish, English, French, Italian, Indonesian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Spanish or Turkish at Babbel. The available level in the individual languages differs greatly from one another: In the English course, the lessons, subjectively assessed, range up to level B2 of the common European reference framework - which should be able to cope with many everyday situations. However, there are no additional courses, for example for the academic field and for language tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. A differentiation between British and American English is also missing; the course is currently based mainly on British English.
Babbel is a way to learn a foreign language cheaply and easily. To use the paid courses, a subscription is required, which is offered in the app after completing the free part.
Unfortunately, Babbel does not make a clear differentiation between British and American English. Vocabulary and expressions are mostly based on the British. The pronunciation is fairly neutral, sometimes closer to British, sometimes closer to American English.
In particular, lesser-used languages are sometimes available with significantly fewer lessons. Here Babbel provides basic knowledge that can offer a good introduction to the language, but is by no means sufficient for independent communication. Positive to mention are the cross-lingual lessons in the "Words and Sentences" area, from which you can effectively expand your vocabulary in one of the numerous main topics.
Babbel put to the test: subscription model
A subscription is always required to use Babbel. This is the cheapest in the annual package: For 71.88 euros you get access to a language of your choice for 12 months. That corresponds to a fair monthly price of 5.99 euros. However, three months cost 29.97 euros, while 6 months cost 47.94. A 7-day free test phase is available to you, provided you take out the subscription via Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store. Please note, however, that the subscription costs can be higher here.
Babbel put to the test: availability
Babbel can be reached via the app on iPhone and iPad, as well as Android smartphones and tablets. A browser-based variant for desktop computers is also available. Individual lessons can be downloaded very easily in the mobile apps - and then worked through offline later.
Babbel: The best alternatives
Don't you agree? Are you looking for suitable alternatives? Below are the best Babbel alternatives.
We also recommend that you take a look at our online language course leaderboards. You can find comparable products, for example, in the list of the best "Comparison: The best online language courses in the test"
Babbel: data sheet
Here you can find the technical data for Babbel. You can easily compare size, weight and other properties with other products.
|Suitable for beginners||✔ Yes|
|Suitable for professionals||✘ No.|
|Number of languages||14|
|Platforms||Android, iOS, browser|
|costs||From 5.99 euros per month|
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