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The title of this language learning website is a lesson in itself! Without a proper understanding of English punctuation one may initially assume this to be some kind of forum discussing the pros and cons of English infants. A visit to their website, however, reveals a novel approach to teaching yourself English that certainly merits interest. The deal is further sweetened by an enticingly low price tag (just $5 per month), free preview membership and a free 7 day trail of Super Membership. English, baby! certainly intrigued us, but did it stand up to closer inspection?
As soon as you visit the English, baby! website it is clear that you have come across something quite different to what is offered by the rest of this category. User interface is available in several different language and once users have selected theirs they are free to begin exploring what is on offer for free. This includes; short versions of the 2000 video and audio lessons on offer, grammatical explanations and certain interactive features. However, these grammatical explanations are available elsewhere for free and to really make the most of the lessons and interactive features users will have to sign up for Super Membership. This is one of the cheapest language learning solutions in this category and can cost you as little as $2.83 per month if you are willing to sign up for a year.
We found the full lessons quite good in themselves but there was little guidance as to what to study and when. Most are based on video and audio (users can even upload their own!). Production values and a focused, coherent approach to learning English are certainly lacking here but many of the lessons do have a certain charm and can even be quite funny. Furthermore, it could be argued that they better represent real cultural contexts. What English, baby! lacks in advanced teaching methods they make up for with great tools to teach you slang and expressions in a far more genuine (although very America-centric) cultural context than many of their competitors.
What also makes English, baby! stand out from the crowd is their social media integration. This incorporates a teaching method based on very current linguistic theory which claims actual use of the language as being the most important factor in its acquisition. Users interact with each other in English by means of the blog, penpal, discussions and chatroom features. Use of language on the site is far from perfect but emphasis is placed on comprehension. In this way we see a 'new' simplified English emerging as a global language bringing together people and cultures throughout the world. In today's context of rapid globalization this approach to the English language is becoming more and more relevant; today those who speak English as a second language actually outnumber those who speak it as their first!
Without interactive activities and speech recognition software English, baby! will probably not take you to an advanced level. However, with the basic rules and vocab on offer and a focus on communicating with people all over the world its unique approach is certainly becoming more and more relevant. If this unorthodox (potentially haphazard) method interests you, and you are willing to combine English, baby! with other language learning tools, why not spend a little time exploring English, baby!
Click on the button below to check out EnglishBaby.com for yourself...