Busuu – one of the best language learning apps

Review of language learning app Busuu

What is Busuu?

Busuu is a popular language learning app that you can access via your smartphone, tablet or computer. This means you can use it wherever you are with an internet connection.

It uses similar methods of learning to Duolingo such as gamification so is highly addictive and fun to use. However the content and style are quite different to Duolingo.

There is a free plan and two paid Premium plans which we will look at in more detail along with a limited time special offer.

CEFR Language Levels

Busuu is based on the Common European Framework of Languages which means that you will be following a structured approach of language learning that is recognised across all countries. So whether you learn Spanish, French or German, you will be learning the same level and structure of language.

If you are a serious language learner then this is a huge advantage of using Busuu app. If you later on want to study with a language school by knowing what level you are at, this makes it easier to transfer to a class situation at the right level.

Range of languages

With Busuu you can learn the most common European languages as well as more complex ones such as Russian and Arabic. The full list includes the following languages:

Spanish – Portuguese
French – Japanese
German – Polish
English – Turkish
Italian – Russian
Chinese – Arabic

How does Busuu work?

First of all you do a placement test to work out what level you are at. This is really useful if you have had a break from learning and aren’t sure what you remember.

1) Create a Personalised Study Plan

To start with you create your own study plan.

a) choose your goals; speak like a local when travelling / communicate with friends/family / help with education / learn for fun / professional development/business

b) Choose the level you want to achieve: beginner / elementary / intermediate / upper intermediate

c) Set your schedule to fit your lifestyle: Which day / the time of day / how many mins per day / if you want to receive notifications or not.

Once you choose the above to create your study plan it summarises it all and tells you what date you will reach that level by.

2) Mixture of grammar and vocabulary

Good mix of practical situations and dialogues to learn key words and phrases as well as teaches important grammar such as the formal and informal words for you: tú and usted or key verbs such as “estar” and “ser” (to be), as well as pronunciation tips by learning the sounds typical in Spanish such as “c” and “z”.

Learn:

  • You hear a word or phrase and then on the next screen you see the words written but with one word missing. You are shown 2 options of the missing word and have to click on the correct one.
  • Watch a video with Spanish subtitles. You are then shown one of the phrases from the video and given the English translation. You then decide if it is True or false.
  • You then hear the phrase spoken and see it written with missing words. You are shown various options of words to click on to complete the gaps.
  • You are then asked to click on the two words out of a choice of 4 to say, for example “My name is ….” in Spanish.
  • Or you have to put the words in the correct order.
  • Or you hear the phrase and have to choose the right words for the gaps in the written sentence.

Useful features:

Review: After the first 18 lessons you do a review of recent lessons.

Vocabulary – you get to see your “weak words” those that you don’t know well. As well as “Medium words” – those you know quite well and ”Strong words” that you do know well. So this helps you to use your study time efficiently by focusing most on your “weak words”.

Saved words – you can save words that you want to make a note of or that you really want to learn well.

Delete words – you can delete words you don’t want to learn or use. Maybe these are ones that you know really well already and don’t want to waste time learning.

Review words – You can click to “review” words, in which case you will hear the word spoken and you then have to type what you hear in the box. You then see if you are correct or not.

3) Progress

  • You are given a percentage of your fluency in the language as you progress and also see the number of words you have learnt. The statistics you can see help you track your progress and keep you motivated.

4) Community

You can help other users by correcting their exercises or you can request that someone corrects you.

5) Notifications

You get to see who has asked you to correct their exercise.

The free version v the Premium version

There are many differences between the free Busuu version and the paid Premium Plus version.

Busuu Free version

With the free version you don’t get to learn as much vocabulary as with the paid version. However, if you are a complete beginner, this isn’t too much of a problem since to begin with you just need to learn the most basic and commonly used words.

Due to the learning style of the app, you get to learn how words are used in context, within a full sentence, which is an advantage because you get to see how the word is used in real life as you can see in the example below:

As you can see from the screenshot above, you not only get to learn the word for a baguette (un bocadillo) but you also get to see how it would be used in a phrase in a bar or café to order one. You also hear the words pronounced which helps you to speak the language.

The beauty of Busuu is that it gets you to use words in authentic dialogues and practical situations rather than random phrases that other apps like Duolingo teach you that you would probably never need to use.

Grammar lessons

In addition to learning vocabulary, you also get access to grammar lessons along with listening and reading comprehension exercises.
To summarise, if you are learning a language as a hobby or if you simply want to learn a few survival phrases for a holiday or trip to the country then the free version is just what you need. However, if you are a more serious language learner and want to become fluent or advanced you will need to use other resources or sign up for one of the paid versions of Busuu; either Busuu Premium or Premium Plus.

Busuu Premium

With the Premium plan you get access to much more language learning content. As well as the vocabulary flashcards you also gain access to all grammar lessons and exercises, reading and writing exercises, audio dialogues, quizzes and you can also join the Busuu community where you can connect with native speakers to get feedback from them on your written and spoken skills.

Busuu Premium Plus

With the Premium Plus plan you also get:

1) Learn up to 12 languages (Busuu Premium only allows 1 language)
2) Personalised Study Plan
3) Official certificates. If you finish the coursework for the level of language you chose, then you will be granted an official certification in digital format. You just download it to your computer and even print it out if you wish.

It is certified by McGraw-Hill Education one of the world’s most respected educational organisations.

Both Premium plans allow you to:

  • Download and access all materials whilst offline.
  • Communicate with native speakers in the Busuu community platform.
  • Access the vocabulary trainer to help memorise new words.
  • Access all grammar lessons with the ability to review new words.

How much do the Premium plans cost?

There is a 3-month, 12-month and 24-month plan. You will pay less per month if you sign up to a longer plan, however you have to pay in full in advance for the whole 3 months or 12 months or 24 months that you choose.

The good thing is, if you have paid for a course you will most probably want to use it and learn as much as possible from it.

The prices are summarised below:

Plan: Premium Price / Premium Plus Price

3-month: $9.99/month / $11.66/month
12-month: $5.83/month / $6.66/month
24-month plan: $5.41/month / $6.24/month

Best Benefits of Using Busuu:

1) Real-life language

  • You learn language that is relevant to every day situations. You see words used in context which makes them more useful and easier to memorise.
  • You get to learn the cultural nuances as well as formal and informal variations of the language so you can speak like a native and not a tourist.

2) Simple grammar notes

You get to see handy little tables summarising grammar points concisely so that they are easy to take in and help you understand more complex grammar rules simply. You get to see useful tips boxes with short explanations with examples.

3) Practical listening exercises

The audio material is realistic as you get to hear things like train station announcements, viewing a home to rent or booking tickets.

4) Help from native speakers

You can connect with native speakers to ask them to correct your speaking exercises. So if you are happy to, you could record yourself saying a sentence and ask them to listen to it and give feedback.

Disadvantages of Busuu

1) Limited number of languages available

There are only 12 languages you can choose to learn whereas other language apps like Duolingo offer many more. However, if they offer the language that you want to learn, this is not a problem.

2) No pay per month option

There is no pay per month option. The shortest amount of time you can sign up for is 3 months and you have to pay for the full 3 months in advance.

Limited time Discount

Until 31st March 2021 you can obtain a 10% discount on any language course with Busuu.

Use Code: BusuuWorldWide

 
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