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The inadequacies of trying to learn a language simply by listening has long been recognised, no doubt why many turn to a new breed of linguistic attainment, that is software – both for computers and apps for smart phones – the answer in any language?

In a word “no”, and we’re not just saying that and here at the VICI Language Academy in Newbury, we actually believe language apps have a place in the learning experience!

Language software and apps are here to stay, make no mistake (although you might if you try to learn with one!). Seriously, most days at VICI we will have students ask about apps or new clients enrol for one of our 11 languages and will show us an app they’ve downloaded on to their phone and have been trying to learn with.

The apps promise a world of bilingual joy, suggest that it is as good as learning with a person through to be the only language learning support you ever need to buy. Let us explore those…

Much like having a self-help book on your bookshelf, having an app on your phone will not make you bilingual. That takes effort applied consistently over time. In this sense an app will work no better than a language learning CD. You really do need to apply yourself and there are no short cuts.

However… about being as good as learning with a person? Well, technology is good, but not quite that good and no matter how well an app encourages and prompts and even appears to respond to what you say, it is not sentient and lines of code and trying to teach you.

“Here at VICI we mainly use native speakers who crucially give our students real time, real life, and real person feedback on pronunciation through to meaning and cultural context.”

How about the only language learning you need? That depends on what you want to learn really? If only a handful of words to give them impression you have knowledge of another language to anyone who has less than that handful of words? Well that would work…

Seriously though, clearly apps and software are going to become more sophisticated and while we doubt it will replace classroom and online learning with a real native speaker, we actually do encourage students to explore apps – as part of our overall immersive approach. If an app helps someone practice on the go in between lessons then it can only help, or if it nudges you into action when you are sat in front of the television, that can only help.

We often liken learning a language to a gym membership, that is to say simply belonging to the gym will not make you fit, but consistent exercise over time will. Language software in this fitness analogy would be a pair of trainers. Alone they will not get you fit, but they are literally a step in the right direction.

Whatever your language needs, a friendly conversation with the team here at VICI can help explore your options whether one-to-one language coaching, through to classes or perhaps our online iVICI offering. Contact us today.

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