[App Friday] With vlogs, TV shows and movie clips, Cake teaches you to speak English like a pro

Launched in March 2018 on the Google Play Store, Cake currently has over 50 million downloads on the app store. This English learning app is a fun one.
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With humble beginnings as the language of the worker class, English certainly has come a long way since the medieval period. In 2021, there were 1,348 million speakers of the language around the world, followed by Mandarin (Chinese). 

In the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand– English is also the main official language of communication, apart from over 50 countries, including India, where it is recognised as one of the official languages. 

There is no other way but to learn English if one has to keep up with the fast-moving world. And the interestingly titled app, Cake, run by Cake Corp, will help you better your language skills. 

With over 50 million downloads, the app currently has 4.6 rating, according to data available on the Play Store. Cake is also available on the iOS store.  

How does it work? 

Once the app is downloaded from the app store, then you need to choose which language you would like to learn English in. Your options include Hindi, Espanol (LATAM), Bahasa Indonesia, French, and Bhayasa Malaysia, among other regional languages. 

This writer chose Hindi. Once the language is chosen, the app will ask you to create an account. To create an account with Cake, all you have to do is enter an email id and password. You can also choose to register with your Facebook account. 

Credit: YourStory Design

Now you are all set to practice your English in your own language of comfort. 

Cake’s home page is in calming pink, white and purple shades, with the top bar showing you your daily session. This session is similar to what you might have seen on other language learning apps– including DuoLingo. Multiple day-to-day phrases in Hindi will be translated into English and then users will be tested on the same. 

For instance, mein bhookha hoon (मैं भूखा हूँ ) will be translated to I am famished, among many other colloquial sentences.

While learning the sentence, one is also tested on it in different ways like the app will either ask you to fill the correct words in the blanks or there could also be an audio test where users have to repeat the sentence. Users stand to get rewards in the form of stars after completing each session. 

The app, which runs on a freemium model, also has a subscription version, Cake Plus, which is priced between Rs 129 (per month) and Rs 1,299 (per year). Here, you can get access to online classes, unlimited storage, and no ads, among other benefits. The free version lets you have limited access to certain videos and tests, among other things. 

Apart from the daily phrases lesson, the app also takes clips from popular TV shows, like The Big Bang Theory, movies, and YouTube Vlogs, and shows them with subtitles in both English and the user’s chosen regional language. This helps them put their learned statements in the context of a day-to-day conversation. 

If you scroll further down on the home page, there are more videos teaching you basic conversation in any given situation. Take for instance, shopping, when knowledge of basic English would go a long way in your interaction. The app makes these videos all the more engaging through its fun and interactive content.

The bottom bar on the page also aids in switching between daily practice sessions and your tests. You could also practice talking in English by clicking on the speaker icon. Here, you can either choose from levels –basic, beginner, intermediate and advanced– or categories– including expressions, news, and travel. 

The app also takes clips from popular TV shows, like The Big Bang Theory, movies and YouTube Vlogs, and shows them with subtitles. Credit: YourStory Design

The app assesses users’ speaking skills by asking them to listen to a sentence and then repeat it. If you get a statement right or wrong, the response is usually in your regional language, which helps in better understanding. Like with most language learning apps, short phrases are taught initially. But if you pay attention and work on your language skills, you could build a decent base in English. The Indian accent was not much of a problem for this writer. As long as the words sound clear, the app detects your sentences. 

Verdict

The importance of the English language can be seen in almost every aspect of our lives. Although there are plenty of Spoken English classes out there, where Cake stands out is with its easy-to-use interface that can be used at your own convenience. 

There are quite a few everyday practice tests, videos and speaking tests to get you speaking fluent English. This writer especially liked the use of video clips in different scenarios to explain how a particular sentence works, unlike other apps where you are just supposed to memorise them. 

But to be sure, this app is not for someone looking to learn the ins and outs of the language. If you need to learn to read, understand phonetics and grammar and other little details of the language, your go-to would be books tailored for the same. But for those who want to get ahead on their Spoken English, this app is a great start. 

Edited by Anju Narayanan