Developer: Loquella LLC
Price: free Download on the App Store
While fully supporting the idea that Mandarin Chinese should be a language elective in all schools at the intermediate or high school level, the reality is that French and Spanish remain the most popular offerings. But with the Learn Chinese by Loquella app, serious language learners can study and learn the language on their own.
Using a language learning module developed by the Foreign Service Institute, Learn Chinese by Loquella is a very comprehensive language app that eliminates game and pictures, but rather uses a “learn through repetition” concept that focuses on helping learn pronunciation with corresponding text visible as well. Learn Chinese by Loquella is more than just a phrase book, but a language learning program that focuses on learning the language one component at a time.
While Learn Chinese by Loquella is a very comprehensive app, it is not cheap. Though initially it’s a free app that comes with two lessons at no charge, additional lessons have to be purchased separately and it would cost approximately 100 bucks to have the complete program with all 100-plus lessons, reviews and drills. Still, it’s a pretty serious learning system and fortunately, users can choose specific lessons to purchase individually for .99 or can purchase them in level packs containing multiple lessons for $25 each (the more economical way to buy).
Being that Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language – meaning that the pitch and tone of a word can change its meaning – the first lesson in Learn Chinese by Loquella focuses on tone and is pretty essential in grasping the language. The second lesson, which is also free, focuses on vowels used and their sounds. Other lessons focus on general objects, introductions, locations, numbers, time and other aspects of the language that would be used in “normal” situations.
Each language is broken down into what you primarily need to know, how to apply it and then solidly focuses on pronunciation and repetition. There are two different speakers, one male voice and one female voice and at least one would appear to be a native speaker of the language. The “instructional” voice is clear and easy to understand and fortunately, though repetitious, the speakers do not over exaggerate pronunciations the way they do in some language learning programs. Instead, they speak in a natural and conversational tone.
Learn Chinese by Loquella is an educational app and could certainly be applied to educational situations, such as classrooms and language labs that DO teach Mandarin Chinese, but could also be used to help business professionals and tourists learn the basics of the language before traveling to parts of Asia where Mandarin Chinese is the native tongue. Learn Chinese is available for both iPhone and iPad. Though expensive to purchase in its entirety, if you’ve a reason or desire to learn Mandarin Chinese, the first two lessons are free and worth checking out just to see if the interest remains and whether the learning format seems helpful to your individual learning style.