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Digital based language courses boom during lockdown

During the coronavirus lockdown not everyone has been binging on Netflix and food, in equal measures. Some people, it seems, have been attempting to learn and the periods of isolation have led to this learning process being based around digital media. One area of e-learning that has taken off is learning a foreign language.

The data showing the increase takes the form of a survey issued by the charity fundraising platform Savoo. The survey assesses the most popular languages being learned by the U.K. during COVID-19. The study also reveals which cities have seen the biggest interest in learning a new language as well as sharing some of the most popular apps being used by consumers.

The survey forms part of a wider inquiry by Savoo which is reviewing Europe’s most popular hobbies.

In terms of the most popular languages being taken up, these are (together with percentage increases in growth during the past three months):

1 Spanish 234%
2 Malayalam 182%
3 Hawaiian 180%
4 Middle English 150%
5 Zulu 143%
6 Korean 128%
7 Ancient Greek 127%
8 French 124%
9 Mongolian 120%
10 Quenya 100%

The most popular apps were found to be:

Duolingo: A free mobile app that uses interactive picture, words and sounds to help make learning a new language simpler. The courses are split into modules and users can earn virtual coins.

Babbel: An app that provides real-time feedback on pronunciation as a person learns. Users can talk into the app and use voice recognition software to correct any glaring mistakes. Lesson on average take around 15 minutes.

Drops: This takes the form of daily learning challenges.

Memrise: The app uses short clips of people speaking in a language to help the user to pick up the correct tone and pronunciations.

Overall, the U.K. has seen a rise in interest in studying a foreign language with online search results increasing by 123 percent during the COVID-19 era. In general, learning a new language was searched for most greatly by people living in the cities of Liverpool, Bristol, Edinburgh and London.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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