Can Language Apps Teach You to Speak a Foreign Language?

Your expectations might be too high if you think an online language platform can teach you to have a meaningful conversation in a foreign language.

A young woman wears headphones while lying on the sofa with her laptop on her lap.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

“I was asked to look into Spanish-language-learning programs for our insurance brokerage sales staff. Your past articles are highly critical of Babbel and Rosetta Stone. Their commercials claim to have developed a method of teaching languages with incredible speed. According to a Babbel radio spot, you can start speaking a new language in only three weeks by spending a few minutes a day studying. Are you still skeptical? What is your candid opinion of these language programs? Thanks, ‘Anthony.’”

Since Anthony asked for my opinion, here it is: “If you don’t want your employees to be able to converse in Spanish, both of these language programs are perfect!” I am amazed that the Federal Trade Commission or some state’s attorney general consumer fraud section hasn’t sued them for false and misleading advertising.

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H. Dennis Beaver, Esq.
Attorney at Law, Author of "You and the Law"

After attending Loyola University School of Law, H. Dennis Beaver joined California's Kern County District Attorney's Office, where he established a Consumer Fraud section. He is in the general practice of law and writes a syndicated newspaper column, "You and the Law." Through his column he offers readers in need of down-to-earth advice his help free of charge. "I know it sounds corny, but I just love to be able to use my education and experience to help, simply to help. When a reader contacts me, it is a gift."