We have a review from my lovely language obsessed husband, Maik.
One of the perks of attending the 2016 Polyglot Gathering in Berlin was the amazing offer from the guys at MosaLingua to give every attendee free access to their Premium Apps for learning German, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian and Spanish.
Here’s what we think of them.
So, for a start, the apps are available for both iOS and Android. At its core, MosaLingua uses a flashcard system with spaced repetition. That doesn’t sound like anything special you might say, plenty of apps out there that already do that, but bear with us!
Here are some of the elements which set MosaLingua apart at first glance:
- Their phrases are well chosen, and useful in actual conversations
- You can actually study entire, authentic dialogues
- Good quality (native speaker) audio and images with each flashcard
- A clever rating system
More on that last point:
Rather than being simply marked as right or wrong, the user can select four levels of marking the answer (in descending order of confidence): Perfect, good, difficult and again. These ratings determine the timing and frequency of when the flashcard is next presented.
But going back to the beginning, MosaLingua lets you select your level when you first start in the app, giving you some brief pointers of what you should be confident with at that level. Alternatively you can take a fairly simple placement test. Based on the results, the app then personalises your learning plan, so you don’t waste your time learning/ reviewing stuff you already know.
The flashcards you are presented with always contain full sentences. This clearly makes them more challenging than individual words, but also a lot more useful. To help your learning, each card is also presented in different ways, i.e. a card with a full sentence in either English or the foreign language, a card where you write out the phrase, or a jumbled up sentence where you need to select the correct words in the right order.
One feature we particularly like is the “Useful Lists”, which contains the following:
- My new cards – yes, you can actually create your own cards within the app
- By level – all available flash cards sorted into levels of difficulty from basics to advanced and specialised
- Ignored cards – the ones you have chosen not to learn
- Cards to learn – cards that you want to learn (obviously)
- Memorised cards – the ones you are in the process of memorising
- Cards to review (exactly what it says …)
On top of this you can jump straight into a subject that interests you, such as Eating, Shopping or Socialising, to name just a few. And you can unlock bonus material (including jokes) as you progress – an additional reward for your learning.
So, to summarise: MosaLingua is not your average spaced-repetition driven flashcard app. What sets it apart is how much you as the user can customise the app for your own purposes. If you get an answer right by sheer luck, you average app would just mark it as correct and assume you’ve learnt it, whereas MosaLingua will let you say “actually that as pretty difficult and I just happened to guess right”. Add to that the ability to create your own cards and the being able to study by topic, and you have a very personalised approach to virtual flashcards.
Of course no flashcard app is sufficient on its own to make you fluent in a language, but MosaLingua gives you a great set of tools to build up a useful arsenal of phrases. So, we recommend you give one of their apps a go. Test drive one of the free versions, and if you like it, you can upgrade for less than £5. Let us know what you think!