Babbel is a popular language learning course/app with over 1 million users worldwide. Their courses have a reputation for being an effective way to learn the essential vocabulary in a foreign language.
To read about the general strengths and weaknesses of Babbel's language courses check out our Ultimate Review of Babbel. In this article we're going to look at Babbel's German course and see whether or now it's worthwhile for German learners.
Review of: Babbel
Use: Language learning course & app
Provides a solid foundation of grammar and vocabulary in a foreign language
Monthly subscriptions starting at $6.95 per month
1 Lesson takes around 10-15 minutes
Ease of Use
Extremely user friendly
Courses sorted by categories like Grammar, Beginner, Words & Phrases, etc
- Good for basic vocabulary
- Good for practicing difficult grammar
- Low price
- Easy to use
I Don't Like
- Less popular languages have less content
- Doesn't develop conversation skills
- No material past intermediate levels
Babbel Language courses are online/mobile courses built around quiz styled lessons. Users are shown new material (grammar, vocabulary, etc), and then they are asked questions throughout the lesson to reinforce the new information.
Babbel works well as an introduction to a foreign language. Courses range from beginner level to intermediate, but less popular languages only have beginner material. The courses are straightforward and easy to use and can be a great addition to your language learning routine.
Babbel's low price tag is also a plus. It's most expensive price point is $12.95 for a one month subscription, which is much less than higher end courses like Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.
Babbel's shortcoming is that it doesn't prepare you very well for real life conversations. You simply aren't required to think of your own words or phrases, you usually pick an answer from a predetermined list.
Still with it's functionality, effectiveness (especially at beginner levels), and low price Babbel stands as an appealing option in the world of language learning tools.
Monthly subscriptions starting at $6.95 per month
In Babbel German right for you?
If you're a beginner
Beginners usually have their pick of language courses. Companies know that the market for beginner courses is a lot larger than the one for advance students. Babbel is no different. Thus their German course has a substantial amount of beginner and intermediate content.
At the time of this article there are 69 German mini-courses within the main Babbel german course. Each mini course can have 10-15+ lessons, so except to learn a lot of German in you're new to the language.
If you want a strong foundation in German
Babbel German isn't a perfect course, but it's great at teaching the fundamentals of the German language. With the amount of grammar and vocabulary taught in the German course you should be able to understand German (if not speak it) at a B1 level (intermediate).
At this level you should be able to have predictable daily conversations and talk about simple events in the past, present and future, as well as plans and desires.
If your German level is high
Babbel simply doesn't offer advanced lessons in their language courses. Advanced and upper intermediate students won't find a lot of value in Babbel German.
If you want to focus on speaking
Babbel doesn't prepare you well for using German on the fly in a real life conversation. The course doesn't require a lot of recall from the user. Typically when Babbel asks you a question you're given a list of possible answers and much choose from the list.
This makes the course easy to use, but it doesn't do a lot to develop your production of the language.
Pros & Cons of Babbel German
It's good for mastering those pesky German articles
German articles are often cited as the bane of native English speakers. With three possible options (der, das, and die) and a fair amount of exceptions, remembering which article to use and when can be nothing short of a headache.
A brief intro to the German articles
One great thing about Babbel German is that is has specific lessons on individual grammar topics (like articles). The lesson on articles will show you the general rules and exceptions and then for the rest of the lesson you will be quizzed on them.
This allows you to practice the articles until you're comfortable with them. Usually this kind of laser pointed language practice is only possible after spending a couple hours making flashcards and drilling through them several times.
It's good for learning German cases
Any language that uses grammatical cases is going to pose a special challenge to a native English speaker. We simply just don't use them anymore (we used to in Old English). The concept can take a little getting used to.
A brief intro to German cases
Much like it does with German articles, Babbel German breaks down the cases into individual lessons so that you can tackle them one at a time. This isn't the only way to learn German cases but it is one of the most recommended.
There's no shortage of German lessons
Not all Babbel courses have the same amount lessons in them. Less popular languages like Danish and Russian take hit and only offer beginner lessons, with little to no attention given to intermediate content. With German this isn't an issue. The language is one of the most popular foreign languages to learn among native English speakers.
As a result you can except a substantial amount of lessons that go past the basics of the language.
No advanced lessons & little speaking preparation
Babbel German's greatest shortcomings are the two found it all Babbel courses: There simply isn't any material for advanced students and on its own the course will leave you ill prepared to speak freely in the real world.
What other people are saying about Babbel German
I've used Babbel for nearly six months now and I really like it. For me, it's a great way to learn vocabulary and have a better understanding of grammar and sentence structures. I like how the words are spoken by a real native person, rather than a robotic pronunciation.
Nevertheless, I don't think Babbel is enough to get you through to a fluent conversational level. I started going to German speaking classes once a week and find that the combination of the two has really improved my German over the last month.
Alternatives to Babbel German
Duolingo is an effective course that teaches languages in the format of a game. Research has shown that it to be very effective at teaching grammar and vocabulary, and best off all it's completely free!
Germanpod101 uses primarily audio lessons in a podcast format. It has flashcards, vocabulary, and word sheets. The podcast is a great for learning grammar, vocabulary, and developing good German pronunciation.
Italki is an online market place that connects language learners and language teachers. The site allows you to book individual langauge lessons with a teacher over Skype. There are 200+ professional German teachers and informal tutors on Italki.
Fluentu is a site that helps you learn a language through native videos. Use in site flashcards, captions, and games to learn new words in context while watching German TV shows, movies, commercials, and more.
Babbel German is a good option for beginning or low intermediate German students. Their courses teach vocabulary and are also good for memorizing some of the tougher parts of German grammar.
Babbel German isn't ideal for developing your speaking skills and like the rest of Babbel's language courses it doesn't have anything to over advanced student. Still with a low price tag and a 20 day money back guarantee it's worth checking out for yourself to see if it's right for you!