Do you want to know the Babbel German review covering each crucial feature? Many people turn to Babbel when they want to learn German. Because Babbel is a German-based company, its initial language offering was German.
But does that mean you ought to use Babbel just because many other people do? Everything you need to know about Babbel’s German language program is evaluated in this in-depth review. We talk about the organization of the lessons, costs, efficiency, and of course, the opinions of our resident linguist.
Babbel German Program Structure
Let’s start this review by deconstructing how the Babbel German program is set up and how the lessons look to help provide some context for our thoughts on the Babbel German app as a whole.
The Babbel program is divided into roughly 15 different overarching levels starting at a high level, including Newcomer, Beginner I, Beginner II, Intermediate, and so forth. Additionally, some levels have content on more specialized subjects like Business German and Traditions.
Typically, there are between 2 and 8 courses in each of these roughly 15 levels. Then, there are 5 to 15 lessons within each course, each lasting 10 to 15 minutes. These lessons serve as the program’s foundation, and completing one or more of them will be your aim pretty much every day.
If that’s difficult for you to picture, I’ll give you an example. The first level you’ll complete after signing up is “Newcomer,” and the first course you’ll finish under that level is “Newcomer Course 1.” (I know real original). Before moving on to “Newcomer Course 2,” you must finish all 14 lessons in the first course.
That’s a pretty good illustration of what to anticipate. In any case, there is roughly 250 hours’ worth of lessons to finish across these various levels and courses. Even though that may seem like a lot, keep in mind that you are learning a completely different language, and there is a ton of material to cover.
That sums up the high-level structure of the Babbel German program.
What The German Lessons Are Like
I’ll start by saying they are very brief before getting into the actual lessons, which you’ll be working on daily. Each lesson lasts for only 10 to 15 minutes, and they fly by. The lessons move quickly primarily because each is composed of several quick-hit, interactive drills.
In essence, each lesson consists of about a dozen brief exercises in various formats. You’ll come across short grammar, digital flashcard, fill-in-the-blanks, matching pairs, listen-and-repeat exercises, matching phrases to images, and more.
It’s a quick, blended strategy that is very diverse. Since Babbel forces you to interact with the material, as I’ll explain in more detail below, I love how it presents the same material to you in various ways.
Other language learning apps, like Rosetta Stone, for instance, just sort of hammer you over the head with the same type of exercise repeatedly. Because of the fast-paced, blended learning style, the Babbel lessons are pretty entertaining. Babbel thus receives high marks for the overall lesson.
Babbel German Live Classes
I should also point out that Babbel’s program offers live classes in addition to its online counterparts. To be clear, these classes are an add-on and not a part of the standard subscription. However, I believe they can be extremely valuable.
As the course progresses, you’ll start to notice that while you can start having conversations, you have no one with whom to practice. It’s just you and your online lessons unless your spouse, in-laws, or a friend speaks German. But speaking regularly is the best way to quicken your learning and get over the hump.
And that’s where live classes from Babbel can help. The business provides thousands of small-group live classes each week at all learning levels. There are only six students allowed in each class, and you are placed in groups according to your level of education.
Because you are in classes with people who are at your level and going through similar difficulties as you, there is very little pressure and a very intimate atmosphere. Since there are so many classes, you can pick the days and times that work for you and drop in and out of the classes as you please.
In my opinion, these classes are an excellent way to significantly accelerate your fluency. Yet again, these courses do not come with Babbel’s standard subscription and are, therefore, extra. And that makes a good transition into the topic of pricing, which can be crucial.
Babbel German Cost
Babbel offers four different subscription plans: a monthly pay-as-you-go option that costs $14 per month; a 3-month plan that costs around $30, or $10 per month; a 6-month plan that costs about $50, or $8.50 per month; and finally, a 12-month plan that offers the best value at about $7 per month.
In addition, depending on the package you choose and any current discounts, the cost of the additional live classes I just mentioned would range from $50 to $100 per month. From an overall price perspective, if you stack Babbel up against competitors, they’re somewhere in the middle of the pack.
They are more expensive than companies like Duolingo and Memrise but cheaper than Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.
Overall, for $7 to $14 per month, they’re on the affordable end of the spectrum, and I would consider them a strong value.
Plus, if you want to kick the tires on this app before fully committing, Babbel does have a 20-day money-back guarantee. It’s not as good as a free trial but it serves the same purpose. Additionally, those are just the full retail prices; Babbel frequently runs special promotions and deals.
If Babbel ends up being your choice, be sure to get a coupon code or discount before making a purchase.
What We Like About Babbel German
After discussing pricing and describing the lessons and program, let’s move on to the interesting part: what I like and don’t like about Babbel’s German program. Let’s start with the things I find most appealing.
Fun, fast lessons
I adore how Babbel’s lessons are laid out. They move quickly, are varied, and are just plain enjoyable. Babbel is fantastic in this regard for people who don’t have an uninterrupted hour to work through a lengthy lesson and are trying to fit their language learning around life.
Lessons only take about 10 or 15 minutes to complete, which is something I appreciate.
Subtle grammar instruction
Babbel does a great job of incorporating grammar lessons into their lessons. Grammar is a challenging subject for language-learning software, to be honest. As you learn a new language, it’s crucial, in my opinion, to establish the fundamental grammar building blocks.
However, if you place too much emphasis on grammar, it may hinder your development.
Regular Review sessions
The frequent review sessions rank as my third advantage. Babbel will present you with a brief review session each time you log in to complete a new lesson. They typically only last 3 or 4 minutes, but they’re a great way to brush up on your German vocabulary and help the lessons stick.
Easy to follow
Next, I adore the direction Babbel offers. When you first log in, it is immediately apparent which lesson you are in and what you need to learn. I detest courses where the student chooses what to learn and when, and the course is self-driven.
Babbel is great about holding my hand throughout the process because I kind of want that. You never feel lost or confused as you progress through the course because it is as transparent as day. Simply put, it’s a very efficient setup. Their user experience is also fantastic, and they have a sleek, modern interface.
Plenty of English directions
Last but not least, I appreciate that Babbel’s program makes extensive use of English translations and instructions. Not every language service provider does this. For instance, Rosetta Stone emphasizes immersion, which means that very little English is used.
I am aware of the merits of the immersion theory, but learning a new language like German—which is very dissimilar to English—by being thrown into the fire can be challenging. I appreciate that Babbel gives you English instructions that gradually fade away as you progress through the course.
What we don’t like about Babbel German
After discussing Babbel’s advantages, let’s switch the conversation around and discuss Babbel’s drawbacks.
Not much verbal practice
Let me start by saying that I don’t think Babbel does a great job of helping you improve your conversational abilities. There are verbal practice exercises where you repeat words and phrases, don’t get me wrong, but they’re kind of limited. There aren’t any elaborate mock long-winded discussions or speaking exercises.
Many times, after learning a new phrase, it was my responsibility to imagine the context in which I would use it and then practice it. I would need to envision the situation in which I would use the phrase before practicing with a fictitious back-and-forth with myself.
This is in contrast to a few other language learning programs like Pimsleur and Rocket Languages, which heavily rely on audio practice and mock conversations. I guess I just want to see more challenging speaking exercises from Babbel.
Vocab practice shortcoming
My second complaint is that the Babbel German program records your new words under a “vocab” tab in the practice section as you learn new vocabulary. This enables you to put the words you’ve already learned into practice in between lessons. I used it as a review tool almost every day.
However, my issue with this vocabulary feature is that it doesn’t include everything you’ve learned. For instance, it would only display 4 or 5 of the phrases I learned after a lesson in which I learned 7. Overall, I think this vocab practice tool is good for review, but I wish it could include everything.
It was a little disappointing to only find a portion of what you had previously learned under this tab.
Not Ideal for advanced learners
My final criticism relates to the live classes. As I mentioned above, as you progress into the intermediate and advanced lessons, you should start practicing speaking with native speakers or people who are at least at your proficiency level.
In all honesty, it’s what will make the difference in elevating your German. Additionally, Babbel’s live classes are a little on the pricey side. I just want to be clear that I adore their live classes. The intimate atmosphere, varied topics, and small class sizes are excellent.
But $50 to $100 seems a bit excessive. It costs 5 to 10 times as much as the base app’s price. Simply put, it would be nice if these.
Verdict: Babbel German
In general, I like Babbel’s German course. I appreciate that their drills and exercises are varied and that they can be finished in just 10 or 15 minutes, with only a brief review period in between. Lessons and review sessions taken together are very manageable.
They provide English translations and directions in addition to subtle grammatical advice throughout. Additionally, their well-organized guidance is excellent for guiding you through the entire program.
Yes, I do have a few minor issues with their program, such as the lack of comprehensive speaking drills, but overall, I believe Babbel is a really good and enjoyable choice for those looking to learn German.
Not to mention, the price is difficult to contest. Babbel is one of the more reasonably priced options on the market, costing between $7 and $14 a month. I give Babbel high marks overall and wouldn’t think twice about using them to learn German.