The National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) at the University of Maryland has launched Lectica, a free language-learning app designed to engage users in language and culture simultaneously.
Lectica currently offers a total of 420 lessons in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, Persian, Russian and Spanish. All lessons and content have been prepared by native speakers. NFLC Director of Second Language Acquisition Connie DiJohnson recently told The Diamondback (UM article) that many language learning apps on the market are game-like, where they maximize at some level and don’t look at how native speakers use the language. . Lectica’s program is designed, created and written by native speakers using authentic content, passages and texts so that people using the app can interact with the language they are learning as native speakers do. For example, you can learn fashion tips in Persian, how to make Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup in Chinese, safety rules for driving scooters in French, how to read a job ad in Arabic, find out more about National Tango Day in Spanish, K-pop group BTS in Korean and what it’s like to buy an apartment in Russian. “That’s how the language is used in real life,” she said. Lectica is currently available on the Apple App Store and will be available on Google Play in summer 2022. NFLC plans to make 12 additional languages available on the app soon.