Language learning platform Lingua.ly launches an iOS8 app and distinguishes itself with an immersive approach: Could it beat Duolingo and other language learning apps?
Lingua.ly, a popular online language learning platform, has just launched a new iOS8 app.
Founded by two professors, Dr. Jan Imhels and Dr. Orly Fuhrman, the platform seeks to teach language via an “online immersion” approach.
This is done by providing the user with a list of suggested news articles in their language of choice, geared towards their specific interests. When reading these articles, one can easily select unfamiliar words to look up in the built-in dictionary, and add it to their personal word list for later review. They can then review them later with the help of flashcards.
“We know that immersion is the best way to actively learn a new language,” says CEO and co-founder Dr. Jan Imhels in a statement. “We don’t offer sets of lessons. Instead, we allow users to choose the words that they want to learn, making the experience highly engaging, personal and adaptive.” He adds, “Lingua.ly’s intelligent algorithm identifies the user’s language level to compliment the vocabulary they already know [so that] our users can start learning at any level they choose without restrictions.”
Founded in 2011, Lingua.ly has over 50,000 active users who look up over two million words a month. The platform supports over 18 dictionary languages, including French, Hebrew, Russian, Italian, German and Dutch, with the most popular languages being English, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic.
The company has currently raised close to a million dollars from private angle investors, and hopes to enter a Series A funding round this summer.
With the launch of its new iOS8 app, Lingua.ly seeks to enable users to learn languages on the go and provide them with “unprecedented mobility.” The app is available for download here, and Lingua.ly hopes to reach half a million users within a short time following the launch.
You can also see the app in action here:
How it compares to other language learning apps
Lingua.ly’s underlying premise, that it is easier to learn a language from an immersive, contextual place, is what sets it apart from other popular learning apps and platforms like Duolingo, Memrise, and Anki, which all rely heavily on flashcards and display disconnected words and short phrases. By presenting users with real-world articles and current events in a foreign language, Lingua.ly allows users to put the words directly into context, and personally select which words they would like to review with the programs flashcard generator.
This immersive approach has its downsides as well though: A completely new user will still be faced with an entire sentence of foreign language and will be forced to translate it word by word, or contextually with the help of the built in Google translate feature. This process can be overwhelming and confusing – throwing the user into the deep end instead of slowly building them up with more essential key words and useful phrases, all the while forcing them to translate whole sentences.
An app that seems to overcome this very issue is the Language Immersion chrome plugin, which translates certain words from key sites you already visit into the target language of your choice. This has the benefit of integrating the words more slowly, capitalizing on articles you are already interested in anyway, providing support for more languages, and removing the need to visit a dedicated page to learn a new language.
Since Language Immersion seems to do most of what Lingua.ly does, but better, it seems that the main beneficiaries from the Lingua.ly platform are those who want a more immersive experience and the ability to practice with the help of flashcards and interactive prompts.