App-lying a New Language

While many linguists worry about the negative impact of technology on the correct grammatical and orthographic use of language–and they may have a point since now we even replace words and whole sentences with emojis and cartoons–there is a new trend which attempts to counteract this phenomenon.

There are several “apps” that not only correct textual errors, they also teach new languages. Apps like Duolingo offer classes to start learning a language from scratch; from the most basic exercises to more advanced and complex levels and topics. This gives you the opportunity to choose the pace at which you want to learn. The good thing about these types of apps is that they use images and recorded voices to complement each lesson, and they repeat what has been learned in already completed lessons over and over so you are more likely to memorize vocabulary, conjugations, etc.

Apps are usually much more entertaining and dynamic than a textbook, as they rely on different multimedia resources for teaching the chosen language. Additionally, the fact that it’s available on a platform such as a cell phone has its advantages as well, since it’s something that is essentially always within reach.

These kinds of apps not only make you write sentences in the language you are learning, they also make you translate them into your native language…and the app also corrects you! So you can’t get away with making a mistake in your own language either, thus encouraging the “correct” usage of your native language that other apps supposedly “deteriorate”.

Besides the fact that learning a new language through an app can be fun and entertaining, and that it’s within nearly everyone’s reach, it isn’t a comparable replacement for a class given by a teacher. And even when learning in a classroom, it takes many years to master a foreign language. As such, the work of the translator is still vital for the correct interpretation of texts around the world.