Learn Spanish on Facebook With PlaySay

September 14, 2011

6:52 pm

Learning a new language may have just gotten a little more social.  Washington, DC-based startup PlaySay just launched its social foreign language learning application on Facebook.

The PlaySay Facebook app uses pictures (leveraged from Flickr’s creative commons images) that can be dragged and dropped across the interface to construct and learn words and phrases. Once you complete matching an image, the word is recited to you (so have your volume on at a reasonable level). It’s currently available in Spanish only.

There are a few different types of games within the application, including statements, messages and practice rounds. Whether it was the sluggishness of the application or the fact that everything is in Spanish, it took me a little while to figure out each game. I don’t think I ever totally figured out how to send a message, and I was slightly nervous that anything I might do within PlaySay that involved other Facebook friends might send them actual messages or spam their Facebook wall with my activities. For example, I created a practice sentence that included some of my friends names. However, in checking my friends walls afterwards, it did not appear to send them public messages.

Give the app a spin and let me know what you think in the comments below. Was it as sluggish for you? Did you find the UI intuitive? Most importantly, qué has aprendido?

PlaySay Facebook App Screen-shot Practices

PlaySay Facebook App Practice Screen-shot

Aside from launching its Facebook application today, PlaySay also announced that it has secured a content licensing deal with McGraw-Hill Professional, one of the largest publishers of language learning books and materials. Under the terms of the deal, PlaySay’s Premium Content Users will be able to access professional publisher content to further enhance their language learning.

Founder and CEO Ryan Meinzer had this to say about the launch:

“Our ability to leverage the natural flow of communication within Facebook creates a unique immersive language learning environment and prepares learners for real world challenges — whether it’s ordering a burrito in Spanish or hailing a taxicab in Mandarin.”

The company has raised $570,000 and is backed by Kevin Yu, former director of PayPal Japan; Sean Glass, founder of Higher One; and Novak Biddle Venture Partners. PlaySay plans to monetize by offering users the ability to cash in Facebook Credits to unlock premium PlaySay features, as well as by offering a subscription option. Product placement within the app is another potential revenue stream the company is exploring.

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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