LingoZING is trying to teach new languages through comics pages

I’m willing to try pretty much anything at this point, when it comes to learning another language. I took years worth of language classes, downloaded all the latest apps and even bought a Muzzy tape or two off of eBay – all to no avail. That last one in particular didn’t go great.

LingoZING is, at its fairly silly name implies, an attempt to find some common ground between Comixology and Duolingo, in an effort to bring language learning to comic pages. A nod to generations of kids who have taken the first steps toward learning a foreign tongue by way of sequential art. Because, hey, if comics can teach us the plot of Moby Dick, surely a new language isn’t that far a reach, right?

It’s still in the early stages, but the startup has announced partnerships that will bring titles from some fairly high-profile comics publishers, like Boom, Top Cow and Image, with some more on the way.

The principle is pretty straightforward, with a system that toggles between languages and reads the audio aloud. There’s also built-in speech recognition to gauge the reader’s pronunciation – and voices can be record to specific panels, if you want to share your amazing newfound pronunciation skills over social media, I guess.

At launch, the app will launch with six comics – three originally published in English and three in French – with English, French and Brazilian Portuguese versions of each. The company will offer more if the crowdfunding campaign goes particularly well. A final version of the app is headed for Android and iOS in February, with Spanish and Mandarin Chinese next on the list of languages.