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Resources for Learning Italian

Reviews of Italian Online Language Learning Resources

  • 17 Minute Languages Review: I Wouldn’t Recommend Using It

    17 Minute Languages

    Rating 1.5

    Summary

    17 Minute Languages is a language-learning program that uses spaced repetition and native-speaker audio to teach a wide variety of languages. In our opinion, the courses aren’t very engaging; the courses we tried included significant errors and didn’t offer any language-specific explanations. There are leaderboards for comparing your progress with other users and a language forum that’s available after four days of use.


    Quality 1.5

    Native speaker audio is the only thing that impressed me in the courses I tried; mistakes and glitches were many.

    Thoroughness 1.5

    Explanations are lacking, which I found made some material misleading.

    Value 1.5

    I think there are far better ways to spend your time and money studying a language.

    I Like
    • It uses native-speaker audio.
    I Don’t Like
    • I came across several bad translations.
    • I didn’t find any helpful explanations.
    • Site navigation wasn’t easy or enjoyable for me.
    • I didn’t find the exercises engaging.
    Price

    The Beginner’s Course is $59.95 and the Complete Package is $97. For the whole package and all languages it is $197. There is a free 48-hour trial.

    Superlearning technology? Fluency in 50 hours? Courses in 80 different languages? This is either the greatest language-learning resource of all time or it’s a painfully overpriced language site making absurd claims. Let’s find out.

  • Assimil Review — A Fresh Look at a Longstanding Resource

    Assimil

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    Assimil is a French company that has been selling language-learning resources since 1929. Assimil materials are available as books, CDs, and downloadable e-courses; there are a variety of available course types, and instruction is based on interacting with phrases in the target language. The popular Sans Peine or, With Ease, courses are for absolute or false beginners that would like to reach the B2 level, but we think you’ll need to incorporate some other study materials to make this happen.


    Quality 4.0

    The language materials are reliable, the audio is high quality, and the program is fairly easy to use after a bit of practice.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    Assimil is chock-full of explanations and thorough translations for all material, but you might need more to reach the advertised B2 level.

    Value 4.0

    There are cheaper resources out there, but Assimil provides super solid instruction for the price.

    I Like
    • The audio quality is great.
    • The culture notes add a lot of value.
    • There are plenty of grammar explanations, but they aren’t a focus.
    I Don’t Like
    • The mobile app isn’t super intuitive.
    • The pronunciation feedback method could be better.
    • The exercises aren’t especially engaging.
    Price

    Prices vary by course. The Spanish e-course is €49.90, the Spanish With Ease book (no audio) is €26.90, and the Spanish With Ease Superpack is €74.90

  • Babbel Italian Review: Comprehensive and Affordable Choice

    Babbel Italian

    Rating 4.2

    Summary

    Babbel is an online language-learning platform with over 1 million active users. The app aims to get learners to a conversational level as quickly as possible through the use of a variety of exercises and spaced repetition for review. The courses are well put together and relatively inexpensive; there are 14 different languages available.


    Quality 4.5

    It’s well-designed and the content is immediately useful.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    The material provided is effective and covers a lot, but isn’t ideal for advanced levels.

    Value 4.0

    The price is relatively low for what’s offered, but you’ll have to purchase each language separately.

    I Like
    • The content is practical for real-life use
    • It’s easy to use
    • The lessons are fairly short
    I Don’t Like
    • The exercises can get repetitive
    • The review exercises don’t include grammar concepts
    • Speech recognition isn’t the best way to learn pronunciation
    Price

    Babbel uses a recurring subscription model and offers a 20-day money-back guarantee. Price per month depends on the length of the subscription and only includes access to one language.

    Monthly – $14.95/mo Every 3 Months – $12.65/mo Every 6 Months – $11.15/mo Every year – $7.45/mo

    The prices listed here are for customers in the United States; they otherwise vary by region.

    Course Overview

    Babbel is an online language learning platform that offers courses in various languages, including Italian. The Italian course offered by Babbel is designed to help users learn the language from scratch, or to improve their existing knowledge.

  • Babbel Review – Nothing Flashy, But Good, Trusted Courses At Reasonable Cost

    Babbel

    Rating 4.2

    Summary

    Babbel is an online language-learning platform with over 1 million active users. It’s available on the web, for iOS, and for Android. The app aims to get learners to a conversational level as quickly as possible through the use of a variety of exercises and spaced repetition for review. The courses are well put together and relatively inexpensive; there are 14 different languages available.


    Quality 4.5

    It’s well-designed and the content is immediately useful.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    The material provided is effective and covers a lot, but isn’t ideal for advanced levels.

    Value 4.0

    The price is relatively low for what’s offered, but you’ll have to purchase each language separately.

    I Like
    • The content is practical for real-life use
    • It’s easy to use
    • The lessons are fairly short
    I Don’t Like
    • The exercises can get repetitive
    • The review exercises don’t include grammar concepts
    • Speech recognition isn’t the best way to learn pronunciation
    Price

    Babbel uses a recurring subscription model and offers a 20-day money-back guarantee. Price per month depends on the length of the subscription and only includes access to one language.

    Monthly – $14.95/mo Every 3 Months – $12.65/mo Every 6 Months – $11.15/mo Every year – $7.45/mo

    The prices listed here are for customers in the United States; they otherwise vary by region.

    What is Babbel?

    With over 1 million active users, Babbel is one of the more popular language-learning platforms out there. Since it became available in 2007 it’s been expanded to offer curriculum-based instruction for 14 different languages on the web, iOS, and Android.

  • Busuu Review: Some Courses Are Better Than Others

    Busuu

    Rating 3.4

    Summary

    Busuu is a digital language-learning app with over 90 million registered users. The resource offers vocabulary and grammar practice through short, self-paced study exercises. It also has a social aspect that allows users to get writing and pronunciation feedback from native speakers. It is available on the web, iOS, and Android.


    Quality 3.3

    The layout is great, and the quality for non-Asian languages is decent, but there were significant errors in the Chinese course.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    It has some good explanations but doesn’t often offer much in the way of in-depth explanations.

    Value 3.8

    Busuu is relatively inexpensive, but there are more thorough and efficient resources out there.

    I Like
    • The layout is easy to use and engaging
    • The conversation lessons are especially useful
    • The social feature is great
    I Don’t Like
    • Translations aren’t provided for some exercises.
    • The Chinese course is low-quality.
    • The grammar explanations and practice could be better.
    Price

    Premium Subscriptions

    One month: $13.95
    Six months: $50.70 ($8.45/month)
    One Year: $40.70 ($3.48/month)

    What Is Busuu?

    Boasting a user base of over 90 million, Busuu is a heavyweight in the digital language-learning landscape. It was launched in 2008 and has remained a popular and relatively low-cost option for language learners.

  • Clozemaster Review: Limited Focus But Fun Way To Grow Vocab

    Clozemaster

    Rating 4.2

    Summary

    Ideal for people who are already at an upper beginner/intermediate level, Clozemaster will help you build your vocabulary and learn new words and sentences in context. While you won’t learn much grammar or improve your speaking and writing much, it is great at what it does and the videogame aspect makes it fun and addictive to work though. Although the exercises are all pretty much identical, there are various ways in which you can increase the difficulty and Clozemaster’s free account is almost as good as the Pro User one.


    Quality 4.0

    Very easy to use with thousands upon thousands of sentences for you to work through, Clozemaster’s main exercises are well-designed though some features are a bit hit and miss.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    Although you aren’t given any explanations, Clozemaster’s huge database of sentences allows you to learn words in context.

    Value 4.5

    The free version offers a ton of value, but for those who use Clozemaster regularly, it may be worth upgrading to a Pro account.

    I Like
    • There is an insane number of words and sentences for you to learn, and you’re exposed to them within the context of a sentence.
    • Just using the free account you are sure to learn a lot with only some extra (and undoubtedly useful) features being included in the Pro plan. This makes learning accessible to everyone.
    • Lots of languages available to learn, and you can do so from a wide range of languages, making it very useful for non-native English speakers or those who want to study two languages at once.
    I Don’t Like
    • A couple of features such as the Cloze-reading and the speaking exercises seemed like they could have benefited from a bit more thought and effort put into them.
    • There is no real progression and you are basically given an endless array of different words and sentences to work through and the various exercises are all pretty much identical.
    • Sentences are sourced from
    Price

    The free version is very useful, but you can upgrade to a pro account for $8/month or $60/year.

    Having never heard of Clozemaster before and having no idea what it was all about, I was immediately taken by its videogame-looking aesthetics and fun fill-in-the-missing-words exercises.

  • Coffee Break Review: Italian, French, and German Courses

    Coffee Break

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    The Coffee Break Languages series teach languages through podcast-style lessons. The lessons have a casual feel and offer lots of explanations, building on each other nicely. Courses are available for a one-time purchase, but much of the material is also available for free as podcasts or Youtube videos.


    Quality 4.0

    The audio is of high quality and the instruction is thoughtful.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    There are lots of explanations, and you can start as an absolute beginner, but practice opportunities are limited.

    Value 4.0

    There is a lot of high-quality content available for free; the paid courses might not be worth the price for some.

    I Like
    • Explanations are thorough.
    • Lessons build on each other logically.
    • The language often feels authentic.
    • There’s lots of free content.
    I Don’t Like
    • Opportunities to interact with the language are limited.
    • There isn’t much of a focus on productive skills.
    • I expected the paid courses to offer more extra materials for the price.
    Price

    Many audio lessons are free. The premium version of each season includes extra materials and costs $104.


    Depending on which season of language you decide to get the pricing ranges from $20-$200.

    Spotify is my platform of choice, and it’s got a ton of Coffee Break lessons.

  • Cudoo Review — I Wouldn’t Even Use it if it Were Free

    Cudoo

    Rating 0.6

    Summary

    Cudoo is an online learning platform that offers courses in over 160 languages. The platform also offers courses teaching soft skills and other professional development courses. Certificates are available upon course completion, and courses are provided to libraries and non-profits for free. We feel that the quality of the language courses is quite low, and that the prices are relatively high.


    Quality 1.0

    It’s nice to have native speaker audio, but I personally found the course to offer very little learning potential.

    Thoroughness 1.0

    The course didn’t cover everything listed under “Course Content” and offers no explanations.

    Value 0.0

    This course is way overpriced in my opinion. I wouldn’t even use it if it were free.

    I Like
    • Audio by a variety of native speakers.
    I Don’t Like
    • I wanted more explanations
    • Practice opportunities felt severely limited
    • I found the material unengaging
    • Content doesn’t build on itself logically.
    Price

    Price varies by course, from $4.99 to $24.99, with language bundles costing up to $199.

    This seems like a reasonable list of goals, depending on the meaning of “…and more!” even if it is a little bit light for the $25 price tag.

  • Drops App Review – Decent As A Supplementary Resource

    Drops App

    Rating 3.9

    Summary

    Drops is a phone app for iPhone and Android that covers 33 languages. Daily games test the user on thousands of vocabulary words, and many of these words are ideal for everyday use. Drops has an entertaining, user-friendly interface, but it also lacks grammar lessons, and it works better for some languages than others. For anyone looking to supplement their vocab lessons, this app is worth considering; however, the free version might be more worthwhile than the paid version.


    Quality 4.0

    Though cute and easy to use, some visuals are hard to distinguish.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    Drops will teach you thousands of words and phrases, from transport and hobbies to astronomy and spices. Some languages, such as Japanese, have extra modules for culturally specific vocabulary.

    Value 3.0

    The free app is a great supplementary tool to help round out your vocabulary, but the paid app doesn’t offer many useful extras.

    I Like
    • The daily reminders keep me accountable.
    • If you already know a word, you have the option of swiping up and removing it from your lessons.
    • Though the app works better for some languages, the sheer amount of languages is a plus.
    I Don’t Like
    • It can be difficult to tell certain images apart, which means you’ll likely identify them incorrectly during your review.
    • Some of the categories seem to include random, unrelated words.
    • In languages where a noun’s grammatical gender or case isn’t obvious from the article, you won’t learn that information.
    • Drops only teaches you vocabulary, not grammar.
    Price

    A monthly subscription costs $9.99, a yearly subscription is $69.99, and a lifetime subscription is $159.99. You can use the app up to five minutes every ten hours for free.

    I’d previously heard about Drops on Reddit, where it achieved rave reviews and some pointed criticism.

  • Duolingo Review: Useful But Not Sufficient – 2 Language Learners Test It (With Video)

    Duolingo

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    Duolingo is a super popular free language-learning app. It’s available for desktop as well as mobile and offers over 90 different language courses in over 20 different languages — there are currently 35 languages with English instruction. The Duolingo approach is gamified and easy to use, but the bite-sized lessons don’t offer much in the way of in-depth practice. The Duolingo tag line is “Learn a language in just five minutes a day.”


    Quality 4.0

    It’s easy and fun to use, but some pronunciation and grammar instruction is of low quality, especially for Asian languages.

    Thoroughness 3.5

    The app works well for learning the basics, but there’s little speaking practice and grammar instruction is limited.

    Value 4.5

    It’s a lot of content for free, but you’ll need to use supplementary resources.

    I Like
    • The short lessons are ideal for quick, convenient practice
    • The game-like features make the exercises engaging and fun
    • The community aspect is motivating
    I Don’t Like
    • There’s no opportunity to create your own sentences
    • Grammar instruction isn’t part of the lessons
    • Text-to-speech audio is sometimes low quality
    Price

    Duolingo is totally free. Duolingo Plus offers a few additional features and is available for:


    $12.99/month (paid monthly) $6.99/month (12-month subscription)


    Their family plan is $119.99 a year

    What is Duolingo?

    Duolingo is one of the most popular language-learning programs out there. It’s been on the scene since 2012 and offers instruction in 35 different languages. It even offers courses in three constructed languages (perfect for brushing up on your Esperanto or High Valyrian).

  • Earworms Review – A Unique Idea But Lacks Substance

    Earworms

    Rating 2.5

    Summary

    Earworms is a unique language resource that relies on audio lessons mixed into music. The theory is that you will find the music catchy and thus remember your lessons easily.  The whole idea behind Earworms is the psychological theory of memory association. You would associate some information with the music and thus remember it easily. However, the music used in these lessons will not appeal to everyone, at least it didn’t for me. Moreover, the lack of visual aid and no exercises to assess your skills make it harder.  I would only recommend this for people who have failed to learn through other online resources or perhaps someone looking to learn a few phrases before a trip.


    Quality 2.0

    With a lack of exercises and visual aids, I can’t really say that it will prove to be a useful resource.

    Thoroughness 2.0

    All the lessons are comprised of various phrases that they think will be useful for anyone willing to learn French. Unfortunately, they’re too shallow and poorly structured.

    Value 3.5

    With such low utility, it is important to have a low-price tag. Fortunately, they have followed this idea and thus you won’t be losing out too much if you opt for this.

    I Like
    • The repetition of the phrases
    • Some of the tracks aren’t half bad
    I Don’t Like
    • Tracks aren’t as catchy as I expected
    • Lack of visual aids
    • Complete absence of a testing system
    Price

    Each volume can be purchased as an mp3 download for £10.42 or £31.26.

    When I first heard of Earworms, I was quite intrigued mostly because I know what it’s like to get a song stuck in my head. Compared to annoying lyrics, getting a new language stuck in there sounds pretty appealing.

  • Fluent Forever App Review – Lots Of Potential But Not There Yet

    Fluent Forever App

    Rating 3.2

    Summary

    The Fluent Forever mobile app is a language learning program currently available in eight languages. The approach it takes is based on the methodology described by Gabrial Wyner in his book, Fluent Forever. It uses flashcards and a spaced repetition algorithm to help the learner create meaningful connections with the language and commit language items to long-term memory. It’s best for people who are able to dedicate ample time and supplementary resources to learning a new language.


    Quality 2.5

    I noticed some spelling errors in the language I was learning. The activities aren’t super intuitive.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    Pronunciation is explained very well, but I was hoping for some grammar explanations as well. Some features are still in development.

    Value 4.0

    The price is reasonable, and the time spent using the app is productive.

    I Like
    • Creating my own flashcards was usually easy, fun and memorable.
    • The pronunciation activities were enlightening and practical.
    • Using the same sentence to learn multiple words got me speaking longer sentences quickly.
    I Don’t Like
    • I wanted to have more control over what I practiced and when.
    • Creating flashcards was sometimes time-consuming and difficult.
    • There are no explanations for grammar points.
    • There’s no offline functionality, and the app is only supported on mobile devices
    Price

    $9.99/month when paid on a monthly basis. $53.94 for a 6-month subscription ($8.99/month) $95.88 for a 12-month subscription ($7.99/month) $167.76 for a 24-month subscription ($6.99/month)

    My first introduction to the world of Fluent Forever was a TEDx talk done by its Founder, Gabriel Wyner.

  • FluentU Review — More Expensive than the Competition

    FluentU

    Rating 3.1

    Summary

    FluentU is a language-learning platform that uses real-world videos and interactive subtitles to create an immersive learning experience. The videos take on a variety of forms, including commercials, music videos, interviews, and more. Accompanying quizzes give users the chance to practice language used in videos.  FluentU offers videos in nine different languages and is available for iOS, Android, and on the web. Most of its content is beyond the beginner level, but it has videos for learners at all levels.


    Quality 3.5

    It’s very straightforward and easy to use, though not especially visually pleasing.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    There is a wide variety of videos, but they’re short and disconnected. They also aren’t suitable for absolute beginners.

    Value 2.5

    It is not the most complete way to study a language.

    I Like
    • The site is easy to navigate.
    • Interacting with subtitles is easy.
    • The videos are authentic and tied to practice activities.
    • Exercises recognize Chinese and Japanese characters.
    I Don’t Like
    • Flashcards use robotic text-to-speech audio.
    • Writing practice is limited, speaking practice is nonexistent.
    • Practice activities aren’t very interesting.
    • There’s no easy way to filter content by region.
    Price

    After a 14-day free trial, users can purchase one of two subscription options. Subscriptions grant access to all FluentU languages.

    Monthly Subscription: $30/month

    Annual Subscription: $360/year

  • Fluenz Review – Academic Approach With Thorough Explanations

    Fluenz

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    Fluenz is a language learning software that is available on most devices and offers offline functionality. Its primary objective is to simulate the one-on-one tutor experience with the use of video tutorials that break down the language you’re learning. There are ample explanations of language concepts in English, and the instruction is very thorough. It’s designed for the user with a bigger budget that’s looking for an in-depth and serious learning experience.


    Quality 4.0

    The activities are easy to use and very effective, but they can be a bit dry.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    Extremely thorough. Frequent video tutorials and podcasts provide in-depth explanations and lots of practice.

    Value 3.5

    Maybe not the fastest way to learn a language, but there’s a great deal of content. Made for those who prefer an academic approach.

    I Like
    • I found the thorough explanations to be very helpful.
    • The video tutorials were engaging and added a lot of value.
    • The podcasts are great for more passive practice.
    I Don’t Like
    • The pace of the activities can be slow.
    • Some of the activities feel too repetitive.
    • It’s expensive.
    Price

    Except for Mandarin, each language is available in five levels of difficulty. The full five-level course is $408 (currently discounted at $378). The Mandarin course contains three levels of difficulty and is available for $322 (currently $308). For each language, you can buy a smaller bundle of levels based on your ability.

  • Glossika Review – Not Cheap But Useful

    Glossika

    Rating 3.6

    Summary

    Glossika has learning resources for over fifty languages that impressively range from Armenian and Czech to Icelandic and Tagalog. While not suitable for absolute beginners, lower intermediates could use the resource to familiarise themselves with sentences in their language of choice using Glossika´s intuitive approach. Listening to native speakers and repeating what they say can help learners to improve their comprehension skills and spoken fluency. While it is amazing that so many languages are included, learners would have to use numerous other resources alongside it. The cost is unjustifiably high.


    Quality 3.8

    The audio recordings are well made but other aspects could be improved

    Thoroughness 3.8

    Glossika covers an impressive number of languages but their method requires you to intuitively learn

    Value 3.5

    Polyglots may find the price to be fair but for most language learners it’s not

    I Like
    • There are lots of languages available, including many that are rarely covered by other resources.
    • The subscription gives you access to all of the languages making it possible to study one language and review another at the same time.
    • It will force you to speak the language which will improve your confidence and prosody.
    I Don’t Like
    • As all of the languages cover the exact same material, the diversity of the languages and cultures are reduced to a simple formula with no cultural context involved in their teaching.
    • There are a fair amount of errors in the materials.
    • The cost is excessively high compared to other resources.
    • There are no explanations of grammar.
    Price

    You can try out Glossika´s learning method for free with their week-long trial. Their basic subscription is $16.99 a month. The monthly subscription costs $30.99 a month. The annual subscription costs $24.99 a month and will set you back 299.88$ in total.

    Click the link below to save $5 on a subscription to Glossika.

    Few resources cover as many different languages as Glossika does. Because of this, I was excited to try it out and see what it’s like to use.

  • Grammar Hero Review – I Like It A Lot, But Wish It Were Cheaper

    Grammar Hero

    Rating 4.2

    Summary

    Grammar Hero is a product from Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language. It follows the story-based method of teaching languages, but this time with a focus on the most difficult grammar points. You start out by reading a story and the grammar point is underlined, later you learn the rules, then you re-read the story with explanations, and finally you’ll practice using the grammar point to express your thoughts and opinions. It’s a comprehensive method that’s meant to help you internalize the grammar.


    Quality 4.5

    The stories are unique and interesting, while highlighting the grammar points.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    Covers the most challenging grammar in each language.

    Value 3.5

    I wish it were cheaper so that more learners can take advantage of it.

    I Like
    • The stories are different for every language.
    • Enjoyable to read, clear audio recordings, and more interesting than other ways to study grammar.
    • Focuses on only the most challenging grammar points.
    I Don’t Like
    • It’s pretty expensive.
    • The final “Activate” section is just a worksheet. It’s useful but hardly exciting.
    Price

    It costs $197 to purchase Grammar Hero in each language. There’s also a 30-day money back guarantee.

    Olly Richards is the creator of the very popular blog, I Will Teach You a Language. He speaks 8 languages and provides a ton of good advice to language learners.

  • HelloTalk Review – Make Friends & Practice Languages

    HelloTalk

    Rating 4.5

    Summary

    HelloTalk is a mobile app for language learners interested in language exchange. It facilitates communication between native speakers and those learning their language with the use of built-in language tools. It also offers audio lessons in 10 languages as part of a separate subscription.


    Quality 5.0

    There’s an active community of dedicated learners, but you’ll have to do some searching.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    The app is easy to use and the language tools are helpful, but you could end up relying on google translate.

    Value 4.5

    Both the basic and VIP membership provide great value. The paid audio lessons probably aren’t worth it however.

    I Like
    • It’s exciting to practice communicating with real people
    • The built-in language tools are helpful
    • It’s easy to pick up and put down whenever you like
    I Don’t Like
    • It’s too easy to rely on google translate
    • It can be hard to find good partners
    • The paid audio lessons probably aren’t worth it
    Price

    The basic features of HelloTalk are free. Audio lessons require a separate subscription after a short trial period.

    HelloTalk VIP is available for:

    $6.99/month and $45.99/year or $175.00 for lifetime access

    Learning a new language when you’re nowhere near other speakers of that language can be tricky. For example, I’m currently in Nepal and trying to learn Italian. I don’t exactly get a lot of opportunities to practice Italian here.

  • HiNative Review: Useful But Not Exceptional Q&A App

    HiNative

    Rating 3.7

    Summary

    HiNative is a Q&A app for language learners that want to have questions answered by native speakers. It’s available for iOS, Android and desktop, and it has over three million registered users. A free version is available that offers the basic features of the app.


    Quality 3.5

    The app is pretty basic, but it works.

    Thoroughness 3.5

    Many users are very helpful, but not all questions receive intelligent responses.

    Value 4.0

    The basic functions of the app are available for free, but you’ll need to pay for audio or video features.

    I Like
    • The community is active. Most of my questions received quick responses.
    • The points system is rewarding.
    • The free version is very useful.
    I Don’t Like
    • Many of the questions in my feed were unanswerable.
    • The community could be better.
    Price

    The basic features of HiNative are free to use. A premium subscription is available for $9.99/month paid monthly, or annually $34.99 payment

    While learning a new language, one of the best resources available is other people. Native speakers are one of the most reliable sources for authoritative answers to your language questions. They know intuitively and deeply how the language is supposed to be used.

  • ItalianPod101 Review – Solid But Has Room For Improvement

    ItalianPod101

    Rating 3.5

    Summary

    This online tool is useful for people who already have a basis in Italian. It can be a great way to improve vocabulary and pronunciation, but beginners might want to look for alternative resources when it comes to learning grammar and the basics. ItalianPod101 comes in handy as a complementary tool to a more structured learning plan.


    Quality 3.5

    The platform is easy to use and well designed, but the structure of the modules is not the best.

    Thoroughness 3.5

    It covers vocabulary and pronunciation in depth, grammar less so. There are no exercises aside from a vocabulary quiz.

    Value 3.5

    It’s useful, but there are better resources out there for the money.

    I Like
    • Plenty of audio files to practice pronunciation and comprehension
    • Downloadable materials
    • Thematic conversations and vocabulary structure
    • Cultural elements explained in every lesson
    I Don’t Like
    • Lack of exercises
    • Not a sufficient stand-alone resource for beginners
    • Less than logical lesson progression
    • Lots of unnecessary talking in English at lower levels
    Price

    Free trial for 7 days. If you pay for one month at a time, the Basic plan costs $8/month, the Premium plan costs $25/month, and the Premium+ plan costs $47/month. There are varying durations with lower prices for longer commitments which extend up to two years.

    Use the promo code “ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES” to save 25% on a subscription to ItalianPod101.

    ItalianPod101 – A Podcast-Style Italian Course

    ItalianPod101 is a user-friendly online platform that can help you improve your Italian – emphasis on improve.

  • italki Review – The Good, The Bad, & The Just Alright

    italki

    Rating 4.5

    Summary

    italki is the most flexible and affordable place to find a tutor for the language you’re learning. They have a huge number of teachers offering classes to students of over 100 different languages. As a learner, you’ll be able to find a tutor that best fits your learning style, schedule, and personality. Teachers are able to set their own prices and make their own schedule.


    Quality 4.5

    You’ll find everyone from long-time professionals to brand new teachers.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    The overall platform has tons of useful features but also some room for improvement.

    Value 5.0

    Huge number of teachers, low prices, and flexible scheduling.

    I Like
    • There are large numbers of teachers available even for less common languages.
    • You can find skilled teachers even at low prices.
    • The flexibility to schedule lessons whenever convenient. The huge number of teachers guarantees you’ll find someone to fit your schedule.
    • The extra features in the italki Community make it easy to ask questions, get your writing checked, and find a free language exchange partner.
    I Don’t Like
    • Community features are only available through the app.
    • You may need to try several tutors before finding one that fits your learning and personality style.
    • It’s easy to not take classes as often as you should.
    Price

    The prices vary by teacher and language with some being as low as $5 and others as high as $60 per hour. Most will fall somewhere near the $10 per hour range. Right now italki is offering a $10 credit with your first purchase.

    It’s very rare for me to recommend a particular resource for everyone, regardless of the language that they’re studying. Usually each language will have their own unique resources that are great specifically for students of that language.

  • Italy Made Easy Review: Exceptionally Well-Rounded Courses

    Italy Made Easy

    Rating 4.8

    Summary

    Italy Made Easy offers incredibly comprehensive Italian courses. Currently, there are four courses available for those at the beginner to intermediate levels. The courses include lots of video lessons, with assignments, quizzes, exercises, and other features to make sure you’re able to actually use the Italian you’ve learned. They’re easily the most thorough Italian courses available.


    Quality 5.0

    It’s a very easy to use and well-structured platform. You’ll get great tips and practice opportunities for all the main language skills.

    Thoroughness 5.0

    Everything is explained thoroughly, occasionally to a fault. The theory is complemented by plenty of exercises that ensure you’re learning the material.

    Value 4.0

    While the courses certainly aren’t cheap, they contain everything you’d need.

    I Like
    • The interactive, diverse and effective exercises to help you practice all the important language skills.
    • The videos give you the feeling of having your own tutor.
    • The teacher and the course creator, Manu, is experienced and personable. He knows the mistakes Italian learners are likely to make.
    • There’s an option to receive feedback on your assignments from a real, native Italian speaker.
    I Don’t Like
    • Manu is very talkative. The videos could often be shorter and still include all of the essential information
    • Some of the videos could be edited a little more.
    • The high cost will make it too expensive for some learners.
    Price

    For 6 months it is $200 but for better value a year is $350.

    One thing I’ve found from trying out tons of online language courses is that my favorite courses aren’t typically made by a huge corporation. Instead, they’re often made by a single person who has lots of experience teaching the language.

  • Language Transfer Review – Better Than A Lot Of Expensive Courses

    Language Transfer

    Rating 4.3

    Summary

    The Language Transfer’s courses approach language learning with what has been coined as “The Thinking Method’. These audio courses serve as a great introduction to the nine languages currently available. They go into lots of depth on how each language works, teaching you all of the main grammar points and giving you the tools needed to learn independently and intuitively. For beginners looking to learn a language, these free courses are an effective and efficient way to start your journey.


    Quality 4.0

    Might look a bit basic but the content is very well designed.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    The courses don’t follow the traditional learning path but have a lot of depth.

    Value 5.0

    It’s completely free and better than most paid resources.

    I Like
    • Lessons are efficient in that they cover a lot of material in a short amount of time.
    • The lessons teach you a mix of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation each time and so you really come away understanding how the language is formed.
    • Mihalis (the founder) presents everything in a very calm and relaxed manner, thoroughly explaining everything as he goes while encouraging the student who answers his questions.
    • For each language, the course is created independently and follows its own learning path.
    I Don’t Like
    • While the content is very good quality, it could maybe do with varying the presentation a bit as there are no exercises, quizzes or work for you to produce.
    • The lessons kind of progress in a strange manner as you don’t follow a traditional language learning route, such as starting off with greetings, etc.
    • You won’t hear any native speakers on most of the courses and you don’t ever actually hear a conversation.
    Price

    Completely free, but if you find the courses to be useful, consider making a donation.

  • Language101.com Course Review – The Worst I’ve Ever Tried!

    Language101.com Course

    Rating 0.6

    Summary

    Language101 (not to be confused with LanguagePod101) is the worst course I’ve ever tried. The platform has ten different languages for you to choose from and focuses on teaching speaking and comprehension. Consequently, you likely won’t learn how to spell, write or translate the language, or even learn any of the grammar. I found the courses to be poorly designed — each ‘lesson’ is identical in form, and the fast-paced learning method seems inefficient; it is doubtful whether even beginners will learn much. To make matters worse, the price is obscenely expensive.


    Quality 1.0

    Easy enough to use, but I thought the content was severely lacking.

    Thoroughness 1.0

    There are virtually no explanations at all. You just learn to parrot and memorize words and phrases.

    Value 0.0

    Terrible value in my opinion. It honestly feels like a scam. Not worth using even if it were free.

    I Like
    • They provide you with a literal translation of the phrase you are asked to produce.
    • Despite coming away thinking this is a terrible product (and it is), I liked being asked to produce words and phrases.
    I Don’t Like
    • I don’t agree with their ‘teaching’ method which basically asks you to produce words and phrases in a language you have never learned before as quickly as possible.
    • The ‘courses’ are a muddled mess, I didn’t see any logical progression, and there is only one exercise for you to do ad infinitum until you lose your mind.
    • It is insanely expensive. My god. It is insulting how much money they are charging for a product this terrible.
    Price

    Language101 has lots of different subscription plans for you to choose from. A one-time payment for access to all of its languages costs $727 or $97/month if you opt for the monthly installments option (that would end up working out at $1,164 if you chose the latter!!).

    For ‘1 Package’ of the language of your choice it is then $227 for lifetime access or $527 if you want all 3 packages in a given language.

    Alternatives: Literally anything else on the Internet (or in a bookstore) would be better!

  • LanguagePod101 — All Languages, Pod101 and Class101

    Updated November 20, 2023

    If you want a language learning podcast that consistently adds new content to keep you motivated, you will find the “Pod101” and “Class101” series quite useful.

    One great thing about LanguagePod101 programs is that they do publish new content ALL THE TIME. And their pricing structure allows language learners of any mastery and commitment levels to find contents that are useful. The pricing starts at a mere few dollars per month, and the top subscription called Premium PLUS gives learners personal feedback and a personalized program to follow.

    Visit Language Learning Programs in the LanguagePod101 Series

    Click the icon to visit the site for the language you want. Purchase or just check it out. Happy Learning!

    You can also read ALR independent reviews for each language’s program in the following section.

  • LearnItalianPod Review – Stay Away Unless You Like Being Frustrated

    LearnItalianPod

    Rating 2.2

    Summary

    LearnItalianPod isn’t a good resource in my opinion. There are some fun supplementary lessons, but I found the basic learning paths to be insufficient in all sorts of ways for someone who’s trying to learn Italian.


    Quality 2.5

    It’s a very limited tool. It can help you drill some phrases and useful expressions but, in my experience, you won’t learn to create your own sentences and speak.

    Thoroughness 2.0

    New structures and grammar units appear only in examples. There are virtually no explanations or rules. Apart from repetitions, there’s no practice.

    Value 2.0

    The tool isn’t expensive but I don’t think it’s worth the cost.

    I Like
    • The website is easy to use and has a pretty design with colors of the Italian flag.
    • Additional lessons contain some really useful vocabulary and facts about Italy.
    I Don’t Like
    • I really disliked the recorded lessons. The hosts speak excessively slow, especially at the beginner level, and I found the repetitions tedious.
    • There are almost no explanations of grammar concepts, which I found confusing and discouraging. I thought the provided practice was very limited.
    • The tool doesn’t remember your level so you have to choose your language path every time you log in.
    • The order of content doesn’t seem well thought out.
    Price

    LearnItalianPod has only one subscription plan. Their VIP membership can be purchased on a monthly basis at $14.95 per month or for the whole year at $149.50.

    For this writer, Learn Italian Pod isn’t sufficient as a primary resource

    After my previous experience with a podcast based tool, ItalianPod101, I was immediately suspicious of LearnItalianPod. My worry was that there would be almost no grammar and exercises aimed at language production.

  • Ling Review — Gamified Practice in Less Common Languages

    Ling

    Rating 3.2
    Visi Ling

    Summary

    Ling is a gamified language-learning app with courses on over 60 different languages. Practice happens through short themed lessons, making for convenient and entertaining study time. It isn’t the most comprehensive resource out there, especially for more popular languages, but it can make a decent way to get started with a less common language.


    Quality 3.5

    The app is easy to use and visually appealing, but I found some mistakes in the material.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    There aren’t many explanations, and the materials are the same for each language, but practice is varied.

    Value 3.0

    For many of its less common languages, there aren’t a lot of viable alternatives, but the price feels high.

    I Like
    • It uses native speaker audio.
    • The activities are enjoyable and don’t become overly repetitive.
    • It’s easy to use and is visually appealing.
    I Don’t Like
    • There are very few grammar explanations.
    • There are no translations for individual words.
    • Some activities can be buggy.
    Price

    Monthly is $8.99, Annual is $79.99, Lifetime is $149.99

    Gamified learning is here to stay. The large pool of language-learning apps that leverage gamification in their courses is continually growing, and frankly, I’m happy about it..

  • Lingodeer Review – A Better Alternative To Duolingo, Busuu, Rosetta Stone, etc.

    Last Updated on December 12, 2023.

    Lingodeer

    Rating 4.3

    Summary

    Lingodeer may not be as well known as other language learning apps, but it’s actually better and cheaper than most of them. You’ll practice the language by completing lots of different types of exercises. They also include plenty of grammar explanations and opportunities to review what you’ve studied. All in all, it’s one of the better options for getting started learning a language.


    Quality 4.5

    It has a great design and everything works well with only a few minor issues.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    Not as thorough as some other courses but it’s good for what it is.

    Value 4.5

    Quite a bit of content is free and the premium plan is very affordable.

    I Like
    • Lots of different exercise types in the lessons.
    • Detailed grammar explanations.
    • Clear audio recordings.
    • Inexpensive!
    I Don’t Like
    • The content isn’t always ordered well with some unusual words thrown in too early.
    • Not sufficient for developing oral communication skills.
    Price

    $14.99/mo, $39.99 for 3 months, $150.99 for a year. There’s also a lifetime option for $299.99. You may also occasionally find sales, such as the yearly rate dropping by 50% to $79.99.

  • LingQ Review – Extensive Reading Made Easy

    LingQ

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    LingQ is a language-learning platform that focuses on extensive reading for over 30 different languages. You can import your own content or choose from the community library of books, articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, and more.

    The app highlights unknown words across every lesson and makes them reviewable via different types of SRS flashcards. The more you read, the more accurately you will be able to identify content that is suitable for your level.

    Although I did not find it beneficial for languages I had never studied before, I think LingQ can be helpful for upper-beginner to advanced language learners who enjoy reading. It is especially helpful if you struggle to find graded readers in your target language.


    Quality 4.0

    The LingQ reading app is enjoyable in most languages, easy to use, and can expand your vocabulary. However, I found the user content frustrating to navigate.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    With the import function, users can choose to study almost anything they want.

    Value 4.0

    Now that other apps provide similar functions, the monthly subscription may be a bit overpriced. However, the yearly subscription seems fair.

    I Like
    • I can easily import almost any material I want to study.
    • I can use SRS flashcards to quiz new words from a specific page.
    • Each lesson in the library displays the percentage of known and unknown words based on my reading history.
    • There are many dictionaries to choose from for definitions.
    I Don’t Like
    • Reviewing words is chaotic. Every word you look up gets added to a huge queue that quickly becomes unmanageable.
    • The extra features are overpriced and can be found other places for cheaper.
    • Very little of the content is original. Much of it was uploaded by users from other places.
    • The free version is extremely limited.
    Price

    Premium membership costs $12.99/mo, $71.94/half-year, $107.88/year, $191.76/2-years; single-language lifetime membership costs $199

    When I first signed up for LingQ, I wasn’t very impressed. Its seemingly random lesson library, filled with custom cover photos and inconsistent title formats, made me want to click on just about anything to get away from that page.

  • Live Lingua Review: My Experience With Their Lessons

    Live Lingua

    Rating 3.8

    Summary

    Live Lingua is an online language school that pairs students with certified teachers for one-on-one online classes. The platform aims to provide a more personalized service than online tutor directories by assigning a personal class coordinator and a customized curriculum for each student. Lessons are available in seven different popular languages and for a variety of different courses.


    Quality 4.5

    All teachers are native speakers and receive additional training through Live Lingua.

    Thoroughness 3.5

    Lots of extra free material, but with mistakes. There are specialized course options, and video lessons happen on Skype.

    Value 3.5

    More expensive than other online classes and less flexible, but more personalized.

    I Like
    • The huge library of free resources
    • The different course options
    I Don’t Like
    • The layout of the site is strange and doesn’t feel very professional
    • Relying on email to schedule lessons isn’t efficient
    • Limited flexibility in choosing a teacher
    Price

    The hourly rate for classes on Live Lingua ranges from $24 – $29 depending on the certificate, language, and number of classes you purchase. The first lesson is free.

    In the words of its founders, Live Lingua is a “boutique” online language school.

  • Living Language Online Course Review – Not Very Good

    Living Language Online Course

    Rating 0.0

    Summary

    UPDATE – it appears that the online course Living Language no longer exists. This review covers the old course when it did exist. You can however find a series of books with this name available on amazon.


    Quality 3.0

    Though the information itself is useful, Living Language’s presentation reads more like a database than an educational/interactive tool.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    Again, a lot of the information is there, but it’s scattered. Additionally, some of that information appears incorrect.

    Value 2.0

    Cheaper options offer the same amount of content with more interactive features.

    I Like
    • You can hop around between levels and topics, including Beginner and Advanced materials.
    • The subscription comes with a grammar guide, glossary, and forum access.
    • There’s a decent variety of games, including some games I hadn’t played before.
    I Don’t Like
    • Although the games are fun, they get stale pretty quickly. It’s easy to guess at answers, thereby completing levels without really having learned.
    • The system doesn’t keep track of your mistakes, so it’s hard to know what areas you need to improve in.
    • I found several translation and presentation errors that made me question the rest of the material.
    Price

    An annual plan costs $150, and half a year costs $75. Three months is $50 and 1 month is $39.

    An Overview of Living Language

    Living Language offers you the opportunity to choose between over 20 languages. Once you pick your language, you’re taken to the home screen which has options for Essential, Intermediate, and Advanced categories. You can start with any of these options and jump back and forth between them.

  • Mango Languages Review – Pretty Good For Beginners

    Mango Languages

    Rating 3.5

    Summary

    Mango Languages is a pretty good resource with numerous languages available along with their regional variations.  It’ll work the best for beginners or for those interested in studying a few languages at the same time. Anybody past the intermediate level won’t find Mango Languages very useful.


    Quality 4.0

    It is well designed, has a beautiful interface, and is intuitive to use.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    There are some gaps in terms of writing and grammar, along with a lack of materials for intermediate or higher level students.

    Value 3.5

    The price is fair and will give you access to materials for over 70 languages.

    I Like
    • It’s very easy to use and has a slick design.
    • The intense drilling of useful real life sentences and words during lessons will really help you remember them.
    • Cultural and grammar notes incorporated in the lessons are well-prepared to help you understand the language you’re learning better.
    • The subscription gives you access to over 70 languages.
    I Don’t Like
    • Most courses finish around the intermediate level with some less popular languages ending before that.
    • There’s not enough grammar practice.
    • During drilling, when a student is prompted to complete a task such as coming up with an appropriate translation of a sentence, the command is read out loud. Listening to someone repeat very similar commands over and over again is tedious.
    • The Google Translate plugin is a rather lazy and disappointing way to give students answers about words or sentences they’d like to translate.
    Price

    A subscription to Mango Languages costs $14.99 a month or 179.99 yearly.

    Mango Languages has high-quality beginner to intermediate level lessons in tons of different languages.

  • Memrise Review – Useful But Don’t Overuse It

    Memrise

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    Memrise is a super popular language-learning app available online and on mobile. It functions much like a gamified flashcard app, and it offers a lot of content for free. A lot of the content is user-created, and there is a premium subscription that provides access to additional features. Memrise can be a great tool in your arsenal, but you’ll need more to learn a language seriously.


    Quality 4.0

    The mobile app looks great and is easy to use, but the website is clunky. Works very well for memorization.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    There are quite a few official Memrise courses, and the number of user-created courses is massive, but you’ll benefit from using additional resources.

    Value 4.0

    The free version of the app provides a lot of value, but the paid version doesn’t offer much more.

    I Like
    • The spaced repetition software is effective for memorization
    • The huge range of available content
    • It’s more interactive than other flashcard apps
    I Don’t Like
    • It’s not enough for continued language learning
    • Website navigation is clunky
    • Premium version isn’t much more valuable than the free version
    Price

    For the full version of Memrise, the subscription prices are:

    $8.99/monthly $59.99/annually $119.99 – lifetime subscription

    Signing up for a free account with Memrise automatically gives you access to limited versions of their official courses.

    What do you get when a Grand Master of Memory and a Princeton neuroscientist team up to create a language learning app?

  • Michel Thomas Method Review – Avoid At All Costs

    Michel Thomas Method

    Rating 1.7

    Summary

    One of the most famous language teaching courses out there, Michel Thomas is a household name. The platform advertises itself as “The method that works with your brain” and boasts a teaching method “with no books, exercises, memorizing or homework” in several of its course descriptions. It’s available in 18 languages with courses that have material suitable for absolute beginners. I tried out the French foundation course and found it to be severely lacking and as such cannot recommend it at all. You may, however, have more luck with the other language courses that they offer.


    Quality 2.0

    Very easy to use, and the audios are decent quality, but I found that Michel Thomas’ discouraging manner flustered students, which detracted from the content’s quality in my experience.

    Thoroughness 2.0

    In my opinion, Michel Thomas doesn’t go into much depth and any explanations he offers up are just at a surface level.

    Value 1.0

    I wouldn’t use these even if they were free due to Michel Thomas’ teaching style which ruined the material for me.

    I Like
    • Um…in all honesty I’m not sure if I enjoyed any of it!
    I Don’t Like
    • Michel Thomas never praises the students, often interrupts them and creates a negative learning environment.
    • The pacing of the lessons often seems off to me and in certain places they feel very hurried.
    • I thought all of the lessons were almost identical and so it got quite monotonous working through them.
    Price

    There are several different courses available with prices ranging from $11.99 to $100.

    Before working my way through the French foundation course, I had never tried a Michel Thomas course despite hearing so much about it.

  • Mimic Method Review: Trying Out The Elemental Sounds Courses

    Mimic Method

    Rating 3.2

    Summary

    Created by Idahosa, the Mimic Method’s ‘Elemental Sounds Masters Classes’ are not your traditional type of language learning course as you won’t learn any grammar or vocabulary. The focus is instead on learning the elemental sounds of the language. This is because once you can conceptualise them, then you can train your ear to hear and understand them and afterwards train your mouth to produce and pronounce these sounds. Useful for both beginners and advanced learners, you would obviously need to use it in conjunction with a couple of other resources to progress in your target language.


    Quality 3.5

    Easy to use and navigate, the production quality is fine without being amazing.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    Quite technical throughout most of the course, Idahosa thoroughly explains the method and sounds in each language.

    Value 2.0

    Very expensive for what it is, I think it is as interesting take at learning pronunciation but you won’t get anything else from it.

    I Like
    • Some of the homework exercises are really interesting and quite unlike anything you’ll find on other language courses.
    • Idahosa goes into quite a lot of depth on how to pronounce the different elemental sounds of each language. At the end of the course you will know all the different sounds from the language that you are learning.
    • It was a fresh way of learning a language that I had never contemplated before
    I Don’t Like
    • I found the course to be very technical and while other people will surely find it interesting, it didn’t resonate so much with me unfortunately as it just wasn’t that fun to follow.
    • You would certainly have to use the course alongside other learning resources which actually teach you the grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking and cultural context of your target language.
    • You do not get much material for the high price that it costs.
    Price

    For lifetime access to a course, the Mimic Method website has slashed its cost from $394 to $197 although I am uncertain if it always stays that price.

  • Mondly Review – Made Significant Improvements Made in 2022

    Mondly

    Rating 2.7

    Summary

    Mondly is a language-learning app that teaches basic vocabulary and grammar structures. It seems most appropriate for learners with little to no exposure to their target language.

    The activities mostly rely on passive recognition of vocabulary and phrases, and therefore are not very challenging. However, they are varied enough that you probably wouldn’t get bored with short, daily practice sessions.

    Although I wouldn’t recommend Mondly to anyone looking to seriously learn a language, it may be appropriate for individuals studying languages with less available resources, or for individuals who are preparing to travel abroad.


    Quality 3.0

    Both the interface and the course itself could be designed better. *Edited on Nov 22* It has made many improvements this year. We will update soon.

    Thoroughness 2.5

    It’s decent for learning vocabulary, but I thought a lot of the material wasn’t explained very well.

    Value 3.0

    It’s fairly inexpensive.

    I Like
    • Daily lessons, weekly quizzes, and monthly challenges – these functionalities encourage you to practice every day.
    • The vocabulary included is useful and drilled in an effective way.
    • It’s fairly inexpensive.
    I Don’t Like
    • The content and exercises are the same for all levels and languages.
    • The exercises are mostly passive.
    • I don’t think the order of lessons and topics is very well thought out.
    • For me, the interface is not user friendly and the platform is visually unappealing.
    Price

    There are three plans… $9.99 per month for one language $47.99 per year ($4/mo) for one language and $99.99 for lifetime.

  • News in Slow Italian Review – Lots of Fun!

    News in Slow Italian

    Rating 4.5

    Summary

    News in Slow Italian is an excellent learning resource; it’s very comprehensive and offers all the necessary tools to be able to practice all the aspects of the language. It’s also one of the most fun and original language learning tools I’ve seen and manages to be so without sacrificing on quality. This program is helpful for anyone who wants to learn Italian.


    Quality 4.5

    They really thought of everything when creating this program – audio lessons, PDF files, exercises, grammar and expressions catalogs, podcasts.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    Clear and explanatory grammar lessons, expressions and idioms included in every lesson, lots of vocabulary to practice and plenty of information to help you become fluent.

    Value 4.5

    News in Slow Italian is a great learning resource and students of all levels should try it.

    I Like
    • Comprehensive information in every lesson with various levels to fit different abilities
    • Downloadable materials
    • One of the few resources that really is fun to use
    I Don’t Like
    • Conversations are a bit too fast sometimes
    Price

    7-day free trial, then $19.90/month. You also have the option to prepay for any amount of months at a time, which doesn’t change the monthly price.

    News in Slow Italian is a brilliant learning resource that offers students of all levels a great opportunity to improve their Italian. The lessons are very thorough, containing a lot of information with plenty of explanations and cultural details.

  • Ouino Review – My Experience Testing Their Spanish Course

    Ouino

    Rating 4.4

    Summary

    Ouino is a software program and mobile app with more than 500 lessons and 1,000 exercises in Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese. It’s curriculum-based with an academic approach (as opposed to relying on gameplay like some other language apps). It covers the basics such as vocab and pronunciation, but can also help you improve your conversation skills and master verb tenses.

    Ouino would be great for you if you want to pick a language back up after not using it for a while, if you love structure, or if you want lots of practice. It could also be a good resource for language students who want to keep their skills sharp in between semesters.


    Quality 4.2

    The usability and content quality are great, but the layout and structure of the exercises take a minute to get used to.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    The lessons explain the topics in depth and give several examples.

    Value 4.4

    A lot of solid content and useful exercises are included for a relatively low cost.

    I Like
    • Ouino accommodates both auditory and visual learning styles. Each lesson is read aloud as well as shown on screen. Exercises incorporate sound and pictures. Important words are color coded, read aloud quickly, and then repeated slowly.
    • You can access all the lessons at any time. You don’t have to work through a topic you already know if you don’t want to.
    • It’s very affordable, especially if you’re willing to commit to a six-month plan. A subscription gives you access to all courses.
    I Don’t Like
    • The pronunciation section doesn’t grade you. You have to compare your recording with a native speaker and decide for yourself if you’re close enough.
    • The structure of the exercises is the same for every lesson in the section. It can get repetitive and boring.
    Price

    The 3-month plan is a one-time payment of $38.58.
    The 6-month plan a one-time payment of $59.94.
    The 12-month plan is a one-time payment of $83.88.
    The Lifetime plan is a one-time payment of $95.76

    Limited time offer. Lifetime Access is only $95.76!! You can get an additional language for 50% off, OR you could get all 5 languages for life for $191.52. You should know that Ouino enjoys one of the lowest product return rates in the industry. 🙂

    I had never used Ouino before this review and wasn’t sure what to expect as there’s not a ton of impartial information about the program online. So, I decided to try it out.

  • Pimsleur Italian Review: Learn Italian Anywhere Anytime, Quickly

    Pimsleur Italian

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    Pimsleur is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning a foreign language. Its Italian courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills that can be used right away.


    Quality 4.5

    The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use. The content seems to be of high quality at all levels.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    Timely repetition and active practice work well, and lessons build on each other nicely, but the “intermediate fluency in 30 days” claim may be a stretch.

    Value 3.5

    The subscription option provides good value for some, but there may be more efficient ways to learn some languages.

    I Like
    • The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length.
    • There are both male and female native speakers.
    • Lessons build on each other nicely.
    • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing.
    I Don’t Like
    • There’s very little visual content.
    • Lesson speed isn’t customizable.
    Price

    Subscriptions of either $14.95/month or $19.95/month are available for courses with at least 60 lessons. Prices otherwise range from around $20 to over $500. All purchases come with a 7-day free trial.

    Course Overview

    The Pimsleur Italian course is a language learning program designed to help learners acquire the Italian language through an audio-based approach. It is created by Paul Pimsleur, a renowned linguist who is known for his innovative and effective language teaching methods.

  • Pimsleur Review — Learn While You… Do Just About Anything

    Pimsleur

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    Pimsleur is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning a foreign language. Its courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills. There are over 50 language courses available with Pimsleur, and the bulk of the material is taught with audio lessons.


    Quality 4.5

    The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use. The content seems to be of high quality at all levels.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    Timely repetition and active practice work well, and lessons build on each other nicely, but the “intermediate fluency in 30 days” claim may be a stretch.

    Value 3.5

    The subscription option provides good value for some, but there may be more efficient ways to learn some languages.

    I Like
    • The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length.
    • There are both male and female native speakers.
    • Lessons build on each other nicely.
    • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing.
    I Don’t Like
    • There’s very little visual content.
    • Lesson speed isn’t customizable.
    Price

    Subscriptions of either $14.95/month or $19.95/month are available for courses with at least 60 lessons. Prices otherwise range from around $20 to over $500. All purchases come with a 7-day free trial.

    What is Pimsleur?

    Frankly, it’s an institution. The name comes from linguist Paul Pimsleur, author of many books on language acquisition and applied linguistics, and developer of what is now known as the Pimsleur Method.

  • Preply Review – Tutors Created Tailored Lesson Plans for You

    Preply

    Rating 4.5

    Summary

    Preply is an online educational platform that matches tutors with students. There are tutors on Preply offering instruction in a wide range of languages and other subjects. As a learner, you can find a tutor that works best for you by browsing their demo videos and filtering by price and rating. Each tutor’s teaching style is their own, but they all receive teacher trainings and resources to improve their style.


    Quality 4.5

    A little bit of everything. There are trained professionals with years of experience and tutors trying it out for the first time.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    The platform is easy to use, and tutors who specialize in subjects beyond languages, such as math and music are available. Lots of supplementary resources help reinforcement of lessons.

    Value 4.5

    There’s a huge range of prices and scheduling options, and tutors offer tailored lesson plans adapted to each student’s objectives and preferences.

    I Like
    • The number of available tutors is massive
    • Searching for a tutor is easy
    • Many tutors are very inexpensive
    • Finding a tutor with a schedule that works is easy
    I Don’t Like
    • You have to purchase a package of hours ahead of time
    • Teachers aren’t paid for trial lessons
    Price

    Each tutor sets their own price, but for most popular languages the average hourly price is around $15.

    Exclusive 50% discount for ALR readers! Make sure to use our link to receive it.

    With nearly every language-learning resource I’ve used, I run into the same problem. I don’t feel like I’m getting adequate speaking practice. I know from experience that learning a language academically and using it in the wild are two very different beasts.

  • Rocket Italian Review – Better Than Expected

    Rocket Italian

    Rating 3.8

    Summary

    Rocket Italian is a good, comprehensive and easy-to-use course that’s ideal for beginners and lower-intermediate students. It’s an independent learning resource that can definitely teach you how to speak and write Italian on its own.


    Quality 4.0

    A well-designed and user-friendly platform with solid materials.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    There are lots of extra materials included in each lesson, but they’re too repetitive.

    Value 3.5

    It’s not cheap, but it’s still affordable for most.

    I Like
    • The logical and clear structure of the modules and the lessons
    • Downloadable materials
    • Plenty of exercises and explanations
    • It’s easy to keep track of your progress and check how good you are compared to other students
    I Don’t Like
    • Sometimes the recording feature doesn’t work
    • The exercises are very repetitive
    • The lessons are on the more boring side of things
    Price

    For a one-off payment, Level 1 costs $99.95, Levels 1&2 cost $249.90 and all three courses purchased as a package are $259.90.

    Rocket Languages has been given lots of awards, and many claim that it’s the best way to learn Italian.

    But do these awards mean anything, and should we trust them?

  • Rosetta Stone Italian Review: OK. Lots of graphics. Just OK.

    Rosetta Stone Italian

    Rating 3.2

    Summary

    A Rosetta Stone Italian course could be most suitable for learners that don’t mind repetitive exercises and prefer to learn from pictures and context rather than translations and explanations. It’s probably not a good option for anyone wanting to significantly improve their speaking or writing skills, or those looking for an engaging course.


    Quality 3.0

    The platform is a bit clunky on desktop, but the material is accurate and presented clearly; lesson mechanics are fairly intuitive.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    Without much opportunity to build your own sentences, I don’t think you’ll reach a conversational level with any notable speed.

    Value 3.5

    Rosetta Stone’s Lifetime Subscription ($199 on sale) is quite attractive if you like the Rosetta Stone Method. Shorter subscriptions are quite reasonable, too.

    I Like
    • The audio quality is very good.
    • Lessons progress naturally and logically.
    I Don’t Like
    • It’s repetitive and boring.
    • You don’t get to generate your own sentences.
    • Speech recognition doesn’t work very well.
    • No grammar explanations in core material.
    Price

    ALR Readers Exclusive Holiday Deal!! Get the Lifetime Subscription for 25 languages for $179 (everywhere else it’s $199 right now!). See details on the website.

    Course Overview

    The Rosetta Stone Italian course is a language-learning program designed to teach Italian to speakers of other languages. Its method combines immersive visuals, speech recognition technology, and interactive activities to help learners acquire the language naturally, in a way (Rosetta Stone claims) is the same as when learners first acquired their native language.

  • Rosetta Stone Review — Updated and Improved…And Needs More Improvement

    Rosetta Stone

    Rating 3.2

    Summary

    Rosetta Stone is one of the most well-known resources for learning languages. It takes an immersive approach to teaching and is widely used by corporations and individuals alike. High levels of repetition and an absence of translations or explanations are hallmarks of the course. Rosetta Stone course could be most suitable for learners that don’t mind repetitive exercises and prefer to learn from pictures and context rather than translations and explanations. It’s probably not a good option for anyone wanting to significantly improve their speaking or writing skills, or those looking for an engaging course.


    Quality 3.0

    The platform is a bit clunky on desktop, but the material is accurate and presented clearly; lesson mechanics are fairly intuitive.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    Without much opportunity to build your own sentences, I don’t think you’ll reach a conversational level with any notable speed.

    Value 3.5

    Rosetta Stone’s Lifetime Subscription ($199 on sale) is quite attractive if you like the Rosetta Stone Method. Shorter subscriptions are quite reasonable, too.

    I Like
    • The audio quality is very good.
    • Lessons progress naturally and logically.
    I Don’t Like
    • It’s repetitive and boring.
    • You don’t get to generate your own sentences.
    • Speech recognition doesn’t work very well.
    • No grammar explanations in core material.
    Price

    A three-month subscription to one language is $35.97, which works out to be $11.99/month.
    A year-long subscription to one course is $95.88, which is $7.99/month. Both of these subscriptions are automatically recurring.
    Lifetime access to all Rosetta Stone language courses is available for $199.

    ALR Readers Exclusive Holiday Deal!! Get the Lifetime Subscription for 25 languages for $179 (everywhere else it’s $199 right now!). See details on the website.

    Chances are, this isn’t the first time you’re hearing about Rosetta Stone for learning languages. The company has been hugely successful since its early start in the computer-assisted learning scene in 1992, and part of that is thanks to stellar advertising efforts.

  • Rype App Review: I Wouldn’t Recommend It To Anybody

    Rype App

    Rating 1.8

    Summary

    Rype is a resource that provides language learners with access to one-on-one lessons with teachers. According to its advertising, you’ll be able to “Learn anytime, anywhere, on-the-go.” Users purchase a subscription package that contains a certain number of lessons per month. The lessons are 30-minutes long and are easy to schedule.


    Quality 2.0

    The platform is very easy to use, but there aren’t many teacher details and lessons take place on Skype.

    Thoroughness 2.0

    There seems to be a range of experience levels on Rype and a very small number of teachers.

    Value 1.5

    The hourly rates are higher than similar online tutor options and you have to commit to a subscription.

    I Like
    • The interface is very easy to use.
    • The 30-minute lesson length.
    • A subscription grants access to lessons in all languages offered.
    I Don’t Like
    • There isn’t a lot of information provided on teachers.
    • I don’t think the monthly subscription model is worth it.
    • The selection of teachers for some languages is extremely limited.
    Price

    The price varies per subscription package and number of lessons each month. This ranges from $59.99-179.99.

    The availability of online one-on-one language courses has skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s made it possible for just about anyone with an internet connection to find a suitable language tutor.

  • Speaky Review: Better Than Other Language Exchange Apps?

    Speaky

    Rating 3.7

    Summary

    Speaky is a social language-learning app for people interested in language exchange. It’s available for iOS, Android, and the web. Users can chat with other language learners, share photos, leave voice messages or even have voice calls. The basic features on Speaky are free to use, but access to more than five translations per day requires a subscription.


    Quality 3.0

    There are some dedicated language learners on Speaky but not as many as similar apps.

    Thoroughness 3.5

    The platform is easy to use but lacks advanced features.

    Value 4.5

    Speaky is mostly free to use, extra features are available for a subscription.

    I Like
    • It’s mostly free.
    • It’s easy to use.
    • There are a lot of users.
    • There are tons of languages
    I Don’t Like
    • Many community members don’t actually seem interested in language exchange.
    • The web version doesn’t work well.
    • There are no extra social features.
    Price

    The basic features on Speaky are free to use. A premium membership is available for a subscription.

    Speaky is a language exchange app. It facilitates exchange by allowing users to chat with others in the language they’re learning. Its function is pretty simple and straightforward — search for a partner with a reciprocal language combination and say hello.

  • Speechling Review – I Didn’t Know I Was Saying That Wrong!

    Speechling

    Rating 4.3

    Summary

    Speechling is a website and app that makes it easy to improve your speaking skills in several languages. The free version is an incredbily valuable resource that makes it easy to practice mimicking native speakers. The Unlimited Plan provides unlimited corrections of your recordings by a teacher.


    Quality 4.5

    Speachling makes it easy to improve your speaking rhythm and pronunciation.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    Lots of different ways to practice speaking.

    Value 4.0

    The free version is better than most paid resources and the paid version provides outstanding value.

    I Like
    • An excellent method to improve your speaking abilities and get feedback from a real teacher.
    • Answer the Question, Describe the Image, and Freestyle mode are great for higher levels.
    • You can switch languages at any time. I like seeing translations in my second language while studying my third language.
    • Truly unlimited recordings with quick feedback.
    I Don’t Like
    • Absolute Beginners should learn the basics elsewhere first.
    • You’ll need to learn how to make the sounds of your target language on your own.
    • The amount of time given to record sentences can be too short.
    Price

    The Forever Free Plan is complete free. A monthly subscription to the Unlimited Plan costs $19.99 per month.

    Click the link to save 10% on Speechling’s Unlimited Plan.

    Speechling has quickly become one of my favorite language learning resources. The free version includes a ton of useful features and the premium plan is great value for the cost.

  • StoryLeaning Spanish Uncovered In-depth Review: One-of-a-kind and Surprisingly Effective & Enjoyable

    StoryLearning Uncovered Courses

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    StoryLeaning Spanish Uncovered (and the similar German, French, Italian and Japanese courses) come from Olly Richards, the creator of the super popular blog I Will Teach You A Language. It’s quite a bit different than most courses as it revolves around a story. It can be a bit more challenging than other courses, as you begin reading somewhat long texts right off the bat. Overall, I found it to be a more fun way to approach language learning that will be great for some but not ideal for others.


    Quality 4.0

    The instruction is clear but can have too much information crammed into a single lesson.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    You’ll practice every aspect of the language.

    Value 4.0

    It has a pretty high price, but if you stick with it, you’ll get good value from it.

    I Like
    • Centering the lessons around a story makes learning more fun.
    • Good clear instruction with lots of opportunities to practive what you’ve learned.
    • Gets students to actively participate and take control of their own learning.
    I Don’t Like
    • Too many unrelated grammar points are included in the grammar lessons.
    • The review quiz is too short.
    Price

    A one-time purchase costs $297, or for Japanese, $397. There’s also a 7-day free trial.

    Olly Richards, the creator of the popular blog I Will Teach You A Language has also created several language learning courses.

  • Storylearning Italian Uncovered

    StoryLearning Italian Uncovered

    Summary

    StoryLeaning Italian Uncovered comes from Olly Richards, the creator of the super popular polyglot blog. It’s quite a bit different than most courses as it revolves around an engaging story. It can be a bit more challenging than other courses, as you begin reading somewhat long texts right off the bat. Overall, I found it to be a more fun way to approach language learning that will be great for some but not ideal for others.


    Quality 4.0

    The instruction is clear but can have too much information crammed into a single lesson.

    Thoroughness 4.0

    You’ll practice every aspect of the language.

    Value 4.0

    It has a pretty high price, but if you stick with it, you’ll get good value from it.

    I Like
    • Immersive narrative structure
    • Engaging Italian tutor
    • Option to join online community
    I Don’t Like
    • No direct speaking software
    • Pricier than some language courses
    Price

    A one-time purchase costs $297. There’s also a 7-day free trial.

    Storyearning’s Italian Uncovered course introduces you to the musical Italian language through an engaging, ongoing narrative followed by practical lessons on grammar and culture. StoryLearning’s method is based on the idea that humans communicate through stories, meaning that using a story will help you learn and remember a new language.

  • Tandem Review: A Tinder-esque Language Exchange App?

    Tandem

    Rating 4.7

    Summary

    Tandem is a popular language exchange app with over one million active users. It’s available for iOS and Android and aims to bring language learners from all over the world together. It’s largely centered around its chat capabilities and language tools that facilitate communication, but there is also a tutoring service offered in the app.


    Quality 5.0

    There are lots of active language learners, especially those looking to pair with native English speakers.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    The interface is intuitive and the language tools are simple and effective, though you’ll quickly run out of free translations.

    Value 4.5

    The free version is all most people will need. Tandem Pro doesn’t add a ton of extra value.

    I Like
    • There are plenty of language partners
    • The interface is easy to use and attractive
    • The free version offers a lot of value
    I Don’t Like
    • You’ll need to use other learning resources as well
    • Though Tandem has some safety features, you may encounter people using the app as a dating tool
    Price

    There is a limited free version of Tandem and a pro version available at $6.99 for one month, $10.67/month for three months, and $6.67/month for a year’s subscription.

  • Think In Italian (formerly: Ripeti Con Me) Review – Strong Focus on Speaking

    Think in Italian (Ripeti Con Me)

    Rating 4.4

    Summary

    Think in Italian, created by Stefano Lodola, a well-versed Italian polyglot, offers a unique approach to learning Italian. It combines intuitive audio courses, a vast library of bilingual readings, and an innovative AI tutor, all tailored to enhance speaking rhythm and understanding of the Italian language. The course stands out for its effective teaching method, though it might not appeal to everyone due to its straightforward, non-gamified approach.


    Quality 4.5

    The materials are top-notch, blending traditional learning with innovative AI elements. Each component feels carefully curated and well-integrated.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    The course excels in reinforcing learned material. Concepts are revisited in new contexts, ensuring solid retention and understanding.

    Value 4.3

    The price is not cheap, but worth the investment for serious learners. The blend of audio lessons, readings, and AI tutor offers more depth and interaction than many other courses.

    I Like
    • The natural approach to language learning, mimicking the way we naturally acquire languages.
    • How the AI tutor personalizes conversations, making learning feel tailored and engaging.
    • The ease of fitting the bite-sized readings into a busy schedule without losing the essence of immersion.
    • The focus on Italian culture, names, and places, enriching the learning experience.
    • The structured progression of lessons, where previous learnings are revisited in future lessons, reinforcing knowledge.
    I Don’t Like
    • Some may find the course lacks the gamified elements found in other language apps, which could be a motivator for certain learners.
    • The lesson style is straightforward, with key concepts being learned through exposure rather than explicit teaching, which might be challenging for those who prefer more structured, traditional lessons.
    Price

    The course starts with a 7-day free trial, followed by a subscription of $39.80/month or $357/year.

    Click our link to get 50% off on your first month

    I recently had the chance to dive into newly updated Think in Italian (formerly known as Ripeti Con Me), an online Italian learning platform created by Stefano Lodola, who amazingly has mastered 12 languages himself through many language learning methods.

    With a personal touch from Stefano, the method is grounded in natural language acquisition — listening and mimicking.

  • Transparent Language Review – Not Exciting, But Language Offering Is So Vast That You May Need It

    Last Updated on December 13, 2023.

    Transparent Language

    Rating 2.3

    Summary

    Transparent Language markets itself as “the most complete language-learning system for independent learners.” While there are lots of different exercises for you to work through in their Essentials Course, I thought that the material wasn’t all that helpful and that it got very repetitive. Although the courses might not be all that useful or in-depth, with over a hundred languages on offer it might be worth checking out if you want to learn the very basics of a more obscure language such as Buriat, Kazakh or Turkmen.


    Quality 2.5

    While the exercises are for the most part well-designed, diverse and easy to use, it is the core material itself that I found lacking.

    Thoroughness 2.0

    I hardly came across any explanations at all; practice was almost exclusively memorizing words and phrases.

    Value 2.5

    I would only consider using if I was studying a very rare language.

    I Like
    • I really like the fact that they offer up courses in languages that are usually overlooked.
    • It’s pretty well-designed, easy to use and has lots of different activities to work through.
    I Don’t Like
    • The core material is severely lacking in my opinion; it’s hard for me to imagine you’ll learn much grammar or how to form even a basic sentence yourself.
    • It gets very repetitive and so I didn’t find it that fun to work through.
    • You learn virtually nothing about the different cultural contexts of the languages you’re learning.
    • Their teaching methodology was the biggest issue for me, leaving you memorizing lots of words and phrases in isolation.
    Price

    There is a free two-week trial period for you to try it out. Otherwise, it is $24.95 per month or $149.95 for a whole year if you just select one language. If you want access to all of the languages it is then $49.95 per month and $249.95 a year.

  • uTalk Review – For Beginners Who Want To Learn Key Words & Phrases

    uTalk

    Rating 3.7

    Summary

    uTalk is a software program and mobile app offering learning material in over 140 languages. Its approach is based on learning keywords and phrases through gameplay. It covers a wide range of phrases, each spoken by a female and male native speaker, consequently offering listening and pronunciation practice. uTalk is most useful for beginners who want to get started in a language by learning key phrases. It could also be useful for intermediates looking to fill gaps in their vocabulary and pronunciation, but it does not offer any in-depth language instruction or grammar explanations. It’s also worth mentioning that for some languages, such as Basque, the occasional overly literal translation leads to small errors and unnatural phrasing creeping in. However, we haven’t seen instances in which this would result in you being misunderstood, and there’s no denying uTalk’s value for languages with fewer learning resources.


    Quality 3.5

    The app is very user-friendly, and the content is mostly useful, but little variation in practice activities can become repetitive.

    Thoroughness 3.5

    The app does a good job of teaching key words and phrases, but review opportunities aren’t as transparent or comprehensive as they could be.

    Value 4.0

    The price is very low, there’s a lot of content, and the right learner could get some serious practical use out of the resource.

    I Like
    • The number of languages on offer is staggering.
    • Each phrase is recorded by a male and female native speaker. This was especially helpful in learning pronunciation.
    • You frequently get to hear recordings of yourself producing the language. I found this motivating and informative.
    I Don’t Like
    • The Memory Game exercise felt like a waste of time. It’s difficult to get a perfect score even if you know the language well.
    • I kept wishing there was a way to choose which phrases I could practice in games instead of them being randomly selected.
    Price

    $11.99 a month that can be cancelled anytime. 6 months costs $59.99 and for one year it is $99.99. 

    This was my first encounter with uTalk, so I didn’t know what to expect before trying it out. A quick search on the internet showed third-party reviews saying everything from “It’s just ok” to “Become fluent in another language with uTalk.” My experience was something much closer to the former.

  • Verbling Review: Online Classes With Helpful Revision Tools

    Verbling

    Rating 4.6

    Summary

    Verbling is an online language-class marketplace where you can take lessons with teachers of your choice. It has some student-friendly extra features, including a built-in online classroom, flashcards, homework calendar, and a filing system for lesson materials. There are also useful but disorganized forums where you can discuss languages, share writing for critique, and do free language drills and exercises.

    The lessons are generally high quality and well structured, plus the filters make it easy to find teachers who specialize in everything from accent reduction to interview preparation. 

    However, it can be slightly pricier than alternatives, so if you’re on a tight budget, you may want to look elsewhere. It also has fewer languages than some of the bigger competitors, so it might not be a good choice if you want to study Azerbaijani, Khmer, or Yoruba.


    Quality 4.5

    There are some less experienced teachers, but I found the lessons to be more consistently high quality than on italki.

    Thoroughness 5.0

    The classroom technology, flashcards, and filing system are fantastic for learners and easy to use.

    Value 4.5

    Some teachers charge more than on italki, but you get better classroom technology, more privacy, and fewer disorganized teachers.

    I Like
    • I quickly found great teachers.
    • The platform’s extra features, such as teacher-made, personalized flashcards, help you review the material learned in each lesson.
    • It seems focused on long-term progression as well as immediate student satisfaction.
    • You don’t have to give out your contact details, thanks to the classroom technology.
    I Don’t Like
    • Some teachers don’t use the platform’s flashcards and materials system.
    • There are fewer languages available than on italki.
    • You can only pay in US dollars, plus there’s a hidden fee.
    • The forums need more moderation.
    Price

    Prices are set by the teacher and range from $5 to $75 for an hour-long lesson. You can get discounts for buying packs of 5, 10, or 20 lessons with a teacher. Every student gets one free trial lesson, after which they’re $6 each.

    I’ve got a confession to make: italki is one of my least favorite online language-learning resources. However, it was my go-to option for a long time, and I understand why people love it: it’s cheap, has teachers in nearly every language imaginable, and the app has a bunch of extra community features.

  • Word Dive Review: Falls Short Compared To Similar Apps

    Word Dive

    Rating 2.8

    Summary

    Word Dive uses artificial intelligence and short exercises to help language learners commit study items to long-term memory. The app provides instruction in ten languages and is available for desktop, iOS, and Android.


    Quality 3.5

    It’s very easy to use, but I thought the material was limited.

    Thoroughness 2.5

    You can practice vocabulary and grammar, but there are almost no grammar explanations.

    Value 2.5

    It isn’t very expensive, but other resources are similarly priced and more comprehensive.

    I Like
    • It’s convenient for mobile language practice
    • It’s fun to use
    • Partial credit answers motivate you to stretch yourself
    I Don’t Like
    • There are almost no grammar explanations.
    • I found the exercises repetitive.
    Price

    A subscription starts at $9.99. For 3 months it is $27.99. 6 months $47.99. 12 months $79.99. 

    Combine a strong affinity for things under the sea and a desire to make the lives of language learners easier, and you might produce something similar to Word Dive.

  • Yabla Review — Affordable and Effective Video-Learning

    Yabla

    Rating 4.3

    Summary

    Yabla is a language-learning platform that uses videos with interactive subtitles and language games to help users learn a language. It’s currently available on the web and for iOS, with an Android app in development. Its videos are of varying difficulty levels and types, and are either sourced from the internet or originally produced, but all videos use native speakers.


    Quality 4.5

    It’s very easy and enjoyable to use, but the flashcard feature could be more developed.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    While they vary slightly for each language, the video libraries are extensive and full of interesting content.

    Value 4.5

    It’s most valuable for learners at the intermediate and advanced levels and is priced very fairly, but you’ll only get access to one language.

    I Like
    • It’s very affordable.
    • The review activities are enjoyable and varied.
    • You can filter content by region.
    • There are plenty of interesting and varied videos.
    I Don’t Like
    • Audio in some review activities is robotic.
    • No speaking practice.
    • Translations don’t take context into account.
    Price

    After a 15-day free trial, users can subscribe to one of the following options:

    One month: $12.95 Six months: $54.95 One year: $99.95

    The best learning resources are the ones you actually enjoy using. This makes video-learning super appealing — who doesn’t enjoy videos?

MiniReviews of Italian Online Language Learning Resources

  • 101 Script Writing App Mini Review: Good for Indian Languages

    101 Script Writing App

    Rating 2.2
    Price:

    Freemium; one-off payment of $1.30 for full access

    Summary

    Kannada 101, Tamil 101, Telugu 101, Marathi 101, Bengali 101: these are just some of the apps from developer Uma Loganathan. You can also download Arabic 101, Vietnamese 101, and even English 101 and German 101. If you’re learning these languages, though, we’d take a look at Write Me instead. We feel that the Write Me app is generally a more well-designed option, especially since it also tests you on your ability to match the right character to an audio recording. However, the Write Me app barely has any Indian languages, and that’s where the 101 series shines. You’ll be able to trace the characters; switch between easy, normal, and freestyle modes; and receive a score out of 100. The stroke order and direction are clearly explained. Whenever you make a mistake, you receive instant feedback: the music stops and the “ink” stops flowing. This allows you to self-correct immediately, rather than practicing it wrong. The series has its flaws: like with most apps, you won’t learn how to join up characters. However, we think it’s a useful tool for beginners.

  • 50 Languages Mini-Review: Basically an online phrasebook

    50Languages

    Rating 2.8
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    It is clear that 50Languages aims to make language learning accessible to anyone with an internet connection There is no signup required to use the site, so its resources are both free, and anonymous. You can find 100 free downloadable audio files of native speakers and ‘lessons’ in over 50 languages, in addition to vocabulary, alphabets, quizzes, and games. Unfortunately, none of these resources follow a cohesive learning path, nor does the platform help you memorize any of the information provided. Only one section, the Translation Trainer, aims to help you retain phrases. However, if you have saved phrases in multiple languages, all of them will be bunched together into one review without an indication of which language you should be translating into. The audio files and phrasebook lessons contain a series of phrases that do not seem to build on what you have previously learned; learning from this website is essentially like referencing a phrasebook you might buy for a trip to another country. 50Languages has a lot of information available, but it doesn’t seem like it can be used as a standalone language resource. Perhaps you can take phrases and vocabulary that interest you and compiled them into an Anki deck to help with retention.

  • AmazingTalker Mini Review: Not Our Top Pick for Web Classes

    AmazingTalker

    Rating 2.5
    Price:

    From around $10 per 50-minute class

    Summary

    AmazingTalker is an italki and Verbling competitor that lets you book classes with language teachers and academic tutors of your choice. It has a lot of attractive features for students, but teachers complain about high commission rates and lack of support. It boasts a 3% acceptance rate for teachers and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with your class, they’ll rebook you another one for free. There are lots of teachers to choose from, or you can also use their AI Matching Service to find a tutor. The teachers’ profiles include videos, reviews, and their résumé. However, AmazingTalker doesn’t seem a great choice for teachers. It charges English and Japanese teachers astonishingly high commission rates of up to 30%. While these rates fall as teachers earn more through the site, they have to make $1,500 a month before the commission reaches levels comparable to italki and Verbling. Making it worse, there’s an additional 8% fee for payment processing and tax that all teachers have to pay, no matter what language they teach.  There have also been complaints on Reddit from teachers claiming to have been harassed by students and fellow teachers. However, we cannot corroborate these. Given all this, we’d recommend trying italki (review) or Verbling (review) first. Alternatively, check out our guide to the best platforms for online language classes.

  • Anki Mini-Review: The Go-To SRS Flashcard App

    Anki

    Rating 4.1
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    It is the go-to app for free (except on iOS) Spaced Repetition System (SRS) flashcards. It has a simple user interface with various features that more hard-core users can dive into if they choose. Your flashcards will appear according to your natural forgetting curve; the app will test you in increasingly spaced out intervals, with more difficult cards appearing more than once in a session, while easier cards spacing out over weeks — or even months and years. An SRS system is the most effective way to drive information into your long-term memory. The cards can sync between the web, desktop app, and mobile versions to keep your flashcards updated and with you at all times. You can add images and audio clips to your cards and change the text formatting (if you use it on your computer). One feature unique to Anki, as opposed to other SRS flashcard apps, is the “Cloze deletion” function, which allows you to block out parts of your card and create a “fill-in-the-blanks” type card format. If you want a resource for how to make effective flashcards, check out the book, FluentForever. The author leaves a whole section dedicated to understanding how to use your Anki deck to advance your skills quickly.

  • Bab.la Mini-Review: Use WordReference or Linguee Instead

    bab.la

    Rating 3.0
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Bab.la is a bilingual dictionary for 28 different languages. Their site includes quizzes, games, grammar lessons, phrasebooks, and a forum for users to discuss language learning. You can also look up various verbs in the conjugation tables or find synonyms and examples of how to use words in context. Their quizzes should be taken with a grain of salt — If your purpose is to familiarize yourself with vocabulary and grammar structures, then these are probably a fun way to explore your target language. However, if your purpose is to understand the target language’s culture, beware of any quiz that touches on romance, as the advice is similar to that of the magazines found in grocery store checkout lines. Bab.la may be okay for general definitions, but other sites will probably help you dive further into different languages. Linguee provides examples of words in context sourced from articles and research papers in the target language, and Forvo has millions of words pronounced by native speakers in hundreds of languages. Also, check out WordReference (for a more relevant database of example sentences), Pleco (for Chinese learners), or SpanishDict (For Spanish learners or Spanish-speaking English learners).

  • Beelinguapp Mini-Review: Reading & Listening Practice

    Beelinguapp

    Rating 4.3
    Price:

    Freemium, $29.99/year

    Summary

    Beelinguapp makes it easier to read and listen to interesting content in a number of languages. You’ll find short stories, news, fairy tales, music, and more. Their side-by-side reading functionality highlights the sentence in the language you’re learning, as well as in a language you’re familiar with. The karaoke feature makes it easy to follow the audio with the written text. Some of the content and features are available for free, but there are also premium plans to unlock more.

  • Bilingual Oxford Dictionaries Mini Review: Handy Apps

    Oxford Dictionaries

    Rating 4.2
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Oxford Dictionary has published numerous bilingual dictionaries over the years, many of which are not designed to be comprehensive. While some are “complete” dictionaries, others are called “mini”, “concise”, “essential” or even “shorter”. Even the smaller ones are pretty thorough, however. The Oxford Mini Greek dictionary contains 40,000 words and phrases, many of which also contain multiple translations. It’s a lot shorter than the Oxford Hindi dictionary, at 100,000 entries, or the New Oxford American English Dictionary at 350,000 – but it’s still got a wider vocabulary than the average English speaker. You can purchase the books themselves, but most learners will prefer the convenience of the apps with their regular updates and learner-friendly features. Search Autocomplete, Fuzzy Filter, Wild Card and Voice Search help you find words you don’t know how to spell. Favourites help you save useful words and phrases, while Word of the Day will introduce you to new words. Some dictionaries also contain audio recordings and thesauruses. And the freemium Oxford Dictionary with Translator will translate words and paragraphs to and from 14 languages. For some languages, learners already have plenty of free, thorough dictionaries available to them. Spanish learners, for example, will probably prefer to combine the free apps SpanishDict and Diccionario RAE (Google Play, App Store). Mandarin Chinese learners will likely find Pleco more useful. But for some languages, these dictionaries may well be the most thorough and reliable ones available.

    The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

     

  • Bite Size Languages Mini-Review: Good for Beginners

    Bite Size Languages

    Rating 3.8
    Price:

    $99 per course

    Summary

    Bite size language was developed by the creator of the Actual Fluency Podcast. Each of the 5 languages consists of 100 lessons for beginners to develop their listening comprehension and pronunciation. You will learn grammar within the context of short dialogues and acquire relevant every-day vocabulary. Each lesson seems doable within a 15-25 minute study session; they contain lesson notes, transcripts, translations, vocabulary, and a grammar section. It seems like the dialogues speed up slightly as you advance through the lessons, but the final lessons do not reach a natural speed. This is understandable, however, as the program is aimed at beginners who have little or no exposure to the language (you can listen to some sound clips from various lessons here). You may be expected to repeat every lesson a few dozen times to get the most out of the course. If you are studying Russian, the creator emphasizes that you don’t need to learn the Russian alphabet because the dialogues are the core of the lessons. But, all of the accompanying materials, including transcripts of the dialogues, are written in Russian.

  • Bluebird Languages Mini-Review: Over 160 Languages Available

    Bluebird Languages

    Rating 2.5
    Price:

    Free, Premium subscriptions cost $13.99/mo, $144.99/year

    Summary

    Bluebird Languages has several types of lessons you can choose from, including a daily lesson, core vocabulary, essential verbs, creating sentences, powerful phrases, and conversation. Each topic seems to have a beginner, intermediate, and advanced lesson, although it’s not clear how advanced “advanced” is. In each lesson, an English-speaking narrator will ask you to listen to and repeat translations of various phrases. The recordings in each language seem to use native speakers’ voices, which is quite the feat considering they have lessons in over 160 languages. Bluebird Languages’ phrases don’t construct a replicable dialogue, so the phrases don’t seem to have a lot of context other than the topic at hand. Furthermore, the topics seem to be identical in all languages, so most of the phrases will not be culture-specific. They also don’t break down complicated pronunciation, but you can try to break it down yourself by slowing down the recording to 0.5x speed. Bluebird Languages seems similar to Pimsleur but appears less organized and will probably not improve your communication abilities as quickly. Nevertheless, it may be a good free alternative for beginners, and the program will probably help you develop some confidence in speaking languages that have less challenging pronunciation. The conversation and personalized lessons require a monthly membership, but there is enough free content that these add-ons may not be necessary.

  • Brainscape Mini-Review: Adaptive Flashcards

    Brainscape

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $9.99/mo

    Summary

    Brainscape is a flashcard app that uses a Spaced Repetition System, also often referred to as ‘adaptive flashcards’, to help you memorize new vocabulary and facts. It has a team of scientists, engineers, and education experts working to optimize their program for effective learning. Brainscape is quite similar to Anki, but has a more modern and colourful interface. They also have Certified Classes, which are decks that seem to have been developed by experts in the chosen topic. The app adds what they call Intelligent Cumulative Exposure (ICE) to some of their Certified Classes; it seems to combine a Spaced Repetition System with gradually introducing new concepts, increasing the difficulty of the concepts, and providing context so you can build your own sentences. It has several Certified Classes for various languages (and other topics), and many more decks created by users. Unlike Anki, edits that creators make to user decks seem to sync up even after you have downloaded the deck. With the free version, you have limited access to premium decks but unlimited access to user-made decks.

  • CaptionPop Mini-Review: Use The Free Version

    Caption Pop

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    Free, Premium subscriptions start at $10/mo

    Summary

    With CaptionPop you can use YouTube videos to pursue your language learning endeavours using subtitles in both your target language and native language. Tap a single key to repeat the last caption, slow down the playback speed, and bookmark subtitles to study with SRS interactive flashcards. The flashcards will not just have you memorize words, but practice dictations with immediate feedback on your accuracy. Unfortunately there are currently some bugs in the programming, and you may only hear part of the caption you are being asked to transcribe. You can search for Youtube videos in your target language within the CaptionPop platform, but only those videos with subtitles in both your target language and your native language are available. This means that you will rely on captions translated and transcribed by the video’s creators, which improves your language learning experience but restricts the amount of available Youtube content. Nevertheless, there is a good amount of content from popular channels in more common languages. The free version of the platform combined with self-made Anki cards may be a better option than subscribing to the premium version, as the bugs in CaptionPop’s programming may not be worth the monthly payment.

  • Complete Language Lessons Mini Review: Almost Useless

    Complete Language Lessons

    Rating 0.2
    Price:

    $8.99 for the CD/$1.29 per track on Amazon, free on Spotify

    Summary

    Complete Language Lessons has audio courses for numerous languages on Amazon, Spotify, and Deezer. We tried out the Swahili audio course, Learn Swahili Easily, Effectively, and Fluently – and were extremely disappointed. The audio tracks we sampled consist of Swahili phrases repeated over and over again, with no translations, explanations, or anything in English. The audio quality isn’t great, either, and the occasional muted club music adds to the bizarreness.  It feels to us like the audio tracks are supposed to accompany a textbook, but we couldn’t find one. If one existed at some point, we suspect it’s no longer available. If you already speak the language and are looking for native audio recordings to help you improve your listening and pronunciation, you might get some value out of Complete Language Lessons. However, if your aim is learn the language, we would skip these CDs.

  • Conjuguemos Mini-Review: Effective Language Drilling

    Conjuguemos

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Conjugemos is a website that drills verb conjugations, vocabulary, and grammar. You can choose to either drill different skills through typing the answers in a flashcard-like system, or through various games such as crosswords, memory, word search, and multiplayer games. While it is free for anyone to use, additional resources are available to teachers through a paid plan. It should be noted that although the site technically supports Korean learners, the Korean section only has one activity in the present tense.

  • Conversations by StoryLearning Mini-Review: There are Cheaper Options

    Conversations – IWTYAL

    Rating 3.5
    Price:

    $197

    Summary

    Conversations by I Will Teach You a Language is a downloadable program that uses Comprehensible input (CI) as a strategy to improve your language level. Comprehensible input is when you consume second language material that is just above your current level, which in IWTYAL’s case, is about A2-B1 on the CEFR scale. The Conversations program includes material of a manageable length with full transcripts and English translations. It is 20 chapters long and follows six characters, two of whom have just moved to the countryside from the big city. You will listen to realistic dialogues between the characters and learn everyday colloquialisms and slang. The characters have a variety of accents within each language, and they speak at a relatively natural speed. The series has the same content in each language, but there are variations based on cultural differences. IWTYAL probably has good quality materials, but it is quite expensive compared to other CI resources. Intermediate learners can check out innerFrench, Japanese With Noriko, Russian With Max, and Dreaming Spanish for some high-quality, free alternatives. Chinese learners might want to check out Du Chinese and The Chairman’s Bao for graded readers with audio. 

  • Cooljugator Mini-Review: Conjugations For Uncommon Languages

    cooljugator

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    $ 0.00

    Summary

    Cooljugator is a free online verb conjugation dictionary for over 40 languages, with special attention to languages without existing free resources. Besides conjugated forms, the website also provides examples, English translations, pronunciation hints, related verbs, and more. On each page, you can also read the translation for your chosen verb into every other language available on the site. Unfortunately, there are no audio files to help you with pronunciation, but maybe that will change in the future. You can directly search for conjugations, or if you’re looking for inspiration, every language has a list of the most common verbs to choose from. On that same page, you can read some facts and a brief overview of what verb conjugation looks like in your chosen language. Although Cooljugator is 100% free, you can purchase the creator’s other project, Interlinear Books, to learn languages through stories. If you would like to practice verb conjugations for some common languages, check out Conjuguemos, another free resource with verb conjugation games. Also, SpanishDict is probably more appropriate for Spanish learners because of the extensive resources and activities that accompany their sections on verb conjugation. 

  • Easy Languages Mini-Review: Interviews Around The Globe

    Easy Languages

    Rating 4.3
    Price:

    $ 0.00

    Summary

    Easy Languages gets people involved from all around the globe —from Brazil to Mongolia — to film authentic interviews about everyday life with locals on the street. A typical episode format starts with the interviewer (or interviewers) introducing the topic and location for the day. Then, they will approach various locals to ask their opinion or test their knowledge. Only a handful of languages, like Hindi, and Swahili, don’t follow this format — these are also typically the languages with fewer videos. Easy Languages invites co-producers to join their channel, which means that anyone can apply to create videos, as long as they are filmed according to the Easy Languages guidelines. These co-producers receive multimedia training if they don’t already have experience in the field, so the videos typically have a baseline quality standard (although sometimes the filming can be a bit shaky). Most of the interviewers have a bubbly personality, and some of them appear in multiple language interviews within Easy Languages. Overall, the interviews are enjoyable and will train your ear to understand a range of voices and accents. Also, for anyone who uses Seedlang for German, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see Cari’s friendly face in the Easy German episodes!  

  • edX Mini-Review: Worth It If You Audit, Maybe Not If You Pay

    Edx

    Rating 3.8
    Price:

    Freemium, prices vary

    Summary

    Like Coursera, many of edX’s courses were developed by accredited universities, and you can obtain certificates of completion at the end of your studies. Unlike Coursera, edX’s courses are all free to audit, non-profit, and open-source. It was originally founded by Harvard and MIT, and since then has been joined by universities around the globe. The Spanish and Italian courses in particular have many activities to reinforce your learning, including writing, reading, speaking, and listening activities. The Chinese course is less comprehensive, but could still teach you the basics if you don’t mind watching lots of videos — although, the Peking University courses on Coursera may be a better option. The Steps in Japanese series also includes lots of videos, but these videos are interactive and quiz you on the material. Overall, Coursera seems to have a better platform than edX, and their courses may be more intuitive to navigate. However, that shouldn’t stop you from trying out what edX has to offer, especially considering that you can get most of it for free. After you have learned the basics, you can enrich your knowledge through Open Learn’s free language courses.

    Keeping Resolutions Sale! Use code RESEDX24 and get 30% off on edX programs and up to 20% off on select executive education courses! See details on the website. Offer ends on 3/1/2024.

  • Encore!!! Language Learning Mini-Review: Basically a Phrasebook

    Encore!!! Language Learning

    Rating 1.5
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Encore!!! Language Learning allows you to listen to playlists of common phrases, vocabulary, conjugations, and dialogues. It varies in terms of whether it uses native speakers or automated text-to-voice. The app is basically a phrasebook that allows you to practice translating sentences to and from your native language, or simply repeat after an audio in your target language. You can listen to a pre-made playlist, mute or unmute certain phrases within a playlist, adjust the number of repetitions of each phrase, or create your own playlist. You can also test your memory with the Test tool by reading prompts in your native language and translating into your target language. The app seems to focus more on understanding grammar structures than other phrasebook sites like Optilingo or Lingohut. Technically you could learn something by repeating the phrases aloud, but there are many other free apps that provide a clearer learning path and have a more intuitive interface than Encore!!! Language Learning.

  • Flowlingo Mini-Review: Has Potential, Still Developing

    flowlingo

    Rating 2.6
    Price:

    $19.99/month

    Summary

    Flowlingo allows you to browse websites and news articles in your target language while providing instant audio and visual translations when you tap on unknown words. They use an SRS based flashcard system to help you remember words you don’t know, and will automatically save flashcards from words that you translate.  This does mean, however, that you have less control over what is recorded in the flashcard deck, especially with the possibility of accidentally tapping on words you already know. The free content on Flowlingo’s app allows you to search the web and have access to instant translations. With a premium subscription, you can watch popular TV shows and movies, and upload your own books. The app seems to still be under development, and it is unclear whether the flashcard system only records unknown words with a premium subscription, or if the app currently has a bug. Either way, this is probably a good app to look into at a future time, but there are currently more refined apps that provide similar content. Check out Yabla to learn languages through videos or Readlang for flashcards and translations from webpages and other texts.

  • Forvo Mini-Review: Audio Pronunciation of Millions of Words

    Forvo

    Rating 4.8
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Forvo’s mission is to improve spoken communication across cultures. Anyone can explore pronunciations of millions of words in over 390 languages with maps displaying where each speaker is from. The site also organizes popular categories and essential phrases for when you don’t have a specific word in mind. As a registered user, you can contribute to the site by pronouncing words or phrases in your native language or by requesting pronunciations in a specific language. You are also encouraged to vote on audio files in your native language to help others identify the best pronunciation. For those of you who enjoy using Anki, Forvo allows you to download mp3 files to use in your learning endeavours. Forvo also has an e-learning course for French, Spanish, and English; you will find three levels and a group of topics with sets of the most common words in your target language. Using an SRS flashcard system, you will be able to learn the pronunciation of these words and view an example of how to use them in a sentence. If you are looking for a pronunciation reference guide, look no further than Forvo’s extensive database!

  • FSI Courses Mini-Review: Free, Comprehensive, but Also Outdated

    FSI Courses

    Rating 4.3
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    The Foreign Services Institute developed their language courses to help diplomats quickly reach professional working proficiency in a language. They would attend 5 hours of language instruction per day, plus homework, for 24-88 weeks (depending on the language). The table at the bottom of this page indicates the average time it would take for a student to reach professional working proficiency. The FSI program places a strong focus on listening comprehension, in addition to extensive exercises for grammar and vocabulary. If you follow along with the audio and respond to the prompts in each drill, you will also develop confidence in speaking the language. With hundreds of pages of text, dozens of hours of audio, and several levels in many languages, the FSI courses are still probably the most comprehensive, free courses you can follow. Just remember that they are decades old, so the audio is not very clear and the vocabulary often includes both sexist and obsolete language. Also, some of the topics will not be relevant to your everyday life. Several sites host these free, open-source courses, but the site linked below is  easy to navigate. Beware of any site selling courses “originally made for diplomats,” as these are probably free FSI courses with a price tag. You can also check out the DLI courses, which are equally as comprehensive (and free!).

  • FunEasyLearn Mini-Review: Build Vocabulary The Fun Way

    FunEasyLearn

    Rating 2.6
    Price:

    Freemium, monthly subscriptions starting at $11.99

    Summary

    Not only does FunEasyLearn have a slick app interface, high-quality recordings of native speakers, and a variety of activities to reinforce your learning, but it also allows you to learn from 61 mother tongues. The lessons were developed by a team of certified linguists and acting teachers; they cover reading, listening, speaking and writing. You have the choice of learning individual vocabulary or common phrases, both of which navigate between various common categories such as “Describing people”, “General Conversation”, “ and “Transport”. Unfortunately, FunEasyLearn does not seem to provide a foundation for learning more challenging scripts, such as Chinese or Thai; luckily they have a special feature where you can choose to omit the writing aspect and see transliterations; this will allow you to focus on speaking and listening. Ultimately, FunEasyLearn is a fun and easy way to develop some basic vocabulary, but it is probably not the most effective resource for hard-core language learners; you will need to use another resource if you want to learn more than basic vocabulary words.

  • Hey! Lingo Mini-Review: Has Useful Phrases

    HeyLingo

    Rating 3.0
    Price:

    $5.99/mo, $24.99/year, and $39.99/lifetime access

    Summary

    Hey! Lingo, with its flashy, modern, desktop interface, offers a series of phrasebook-like flashcard courses in 26 languages. Each language is divided into 50 lessons, the first 20 of which don’t require a subscription. A premium subscription will allow you to filter flashcard formats, focus on which cards have been difficult for you, and specify which cards you would like to learn in one lesson. The lessons focus on specific skills and each have 10 flashcards. They use both the official alphabet of the target language and a transliteration of the alphabet. The audio pronunciation for each card seems to use a lower quality text-to-speech program than we’ve seen in other apps, which can detract from the learning experience. Although Hey! Lingo is a phrasebook app, it does not focus on typical travel phrases, like how to order food at a restaurant. Instead, it teaches you practical phrases that get to the heart of expressing oneself. Here are some example sentences in the Korean 1 course: “I feel lonely,” “I envy him” and “Stop following me”. The lessons don’t seem to provide a solid foundation for beginners, and they probably won’t help you have conversations in your target language. However, if you enjoy learning useful phrases and already have a basic foundation of the language, Hey! Lingo could be a good option for you.

  • iLanguages Mini-Review: Almost Identical to Learn 101

    ilanguages

    Rating 1.3
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Learn 101 is almost identical to iLanguages; they have the same native speaker audio files, languages, and mostly identical ‘lesson’ layouts. The main differences are that Learn 101 seems to have added some grammar explanations and reformatted a bit, while iLanguages seems to have added some extra phrases. Since every one of the languages’ “lessons” has the exact same format, including the grammar section, you will learn how to say ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘or’, in 107 languages, but you will not learn where these types of words fit within a specific language’s sentence structure. Every page is just a list of words with a translation (and sometimes an IPA symbol transliteration). This site could be used if you want to hear native speakers pronounce basic words in very rare languages, or if you want to look up the IPA symbols of a rare language’s alphabet — otherwise, you’re probably better off making flashcards yourself on Anki or trying one of the hundreds of other resources we recommend on this site.

  • iLoveLanguages Mini-Review: Another Phrasebook SIte

    ilovelanguages.org

    Rating 1.6
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    iLoveLanguages seems similar to iLanguages and Learn101 in that every language has the same content and grammar. The eighteen 30-minute beginner ‘lessons’ in every language are essentially lists of phrases and vocabulary words, with audio recordings by native speakers. The site seems to provide a local teacher for each language, but for some reason, the same teacher offers at least 11 of the languages (including Gaelic, Basque, Filipino, Marathi, and Cantonese). Oddly enough, this teacher also appears in stock photos around the internet. Considering that the website advertises each language class as being taught by a native speaker, perhaps be cautious if you are considering taking a class from this site — maybe try italki or SpanishVIP for private lessons instead. iLoveLanguages may be helpful if you want to hear native speakers pronounce words in South-Eastern languages, like Marathi, Gujarati, Vietnamese, or Malay. You can compare the pronunciation with the speakers from either iLanguages or Learn 101 (but not both, as they use identical audio files). You could also check out Forvo, which is probably the most extensive pronunciation database on the internet right now. 

  • Instant Immersion Mini-Review: No Longer a Good Investment

    Instant Immersion

    Rating 2.0
    Price:

    1 level costs $29.95, 3 levels cost $44.95

    Summary

    Instant Immersion offers programs in over 120 languages, narrated by native speakers. It claims to help you build your vocabulary, converse with ease, and perfect your pronunciation. It has interactive activities on the computer, interactive games you can play with your family on a DVD, and MP3 files for your car. Their topics include food, shopping, restaurants, animals, numbers, etc. In other words, Instant Immersion will probably not help you if you are looking to have immediately applicable conversations A common trend in many reviews is the lack of structure in these courses. While other courses build on what you have previously learned and help you learn vocabulary relevant to your everyday life, Instant Immersion seems to provide a large amount of information without transitions or a clear learning path. There is a lot of content, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you will learn a lot. Instant Immersion may have been a good investment several years ago, but now there are many other options for affordable, quality language learning.

  • Interlinear Books Mini-Review: Literal Translations Between The Lines

    Interlinear Books

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    $9.99

    Summary

    Interlinear Books is a project for intermediate language learners from the creators of Cooljugator. They sell individual e-books in their original language, but with English translations between each line of text. Instead of translating full sentences that capture the spirit of the language, professional translators use literal (but understandable) translations to support you in understanding the original language’s sentence structure. Another technique that the authors use to support your learning is to highlight cognates between languages. You may find translations for words whose English counterpart looks almost identical to that of the target language, even when those English translations are not the most commonly used. The authors suggest that you don’t read the translations as full sentences, but rather that you refer to them only when you encounter words or expressions that you don’t understand. Each purchase also comes with a unilingual version for you to try out for extra practice (and sometimes they even come with an audiobook!). For intermediate learners who are tired of looking back and forth between a dictionary and their book, Interlinear may be a good intermediary to support you in the transition to unilingual books. Chinese is not supported yet, but check out Du Chinese or the Chairman’s Bao for graded reading material.

  • Internet Polyglot Mini-Review: Word Lists With Games

    Internet Polyglot

    Rating 1.3
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Internet Polyglot is a website for memorizing vocabulary words in dozens of languages. It has 44 “lessons” that cover topics like cars, time, religion, politics, feelings, measurements, and more. Each lesson is essentially a word list with native speaker pronunciation, an English translation, and a link to a picture to help you remember each word. There are picture games, matching games, guessing games, and typing games, plus a word search and a slide show that reviews all of the words in the lesson. Given that none of the vocabulary words in Internet Polyglot are taught using example sentences or context, learning vocabulary using this site may not be the best use of your time. You are probably better off using Anki to curate personalized vocabulary lists and downloading native speaker audio files from Forvo to accompany your flashcards. Nevertheless, you may find it useful if all you are looking for is a site that already has lists of vocabulary words with native speaker audio. If you are looking for audio files for less commonly-studied languages in context, you can check out iLoveLanguages.

  • Italian in Your Pocket Mini-Review: More than Pocket Change

    Italian in Your Pocket

    Rating 3.8
    Price:

    Premium subscriptions start at $37/month

    Summary

    The Italian in Your Pocket program offers a mini-course, a series of training videos, and two membership tiers for learners (paid monthly). A basic membership includes downloadable lessons with dialogues, synchronized audio (phrases highlighted as the dialogue audio plays), and progress checks. At the more expensive VIP level, you’d get coaching calls with a native speaker and access to a private Facebook community, in addition to all the basic membership features. The program doesn’t promote itself as being a fast learning solution, but a thorough one. Learners are asked spend 30 to 60 minutes daily on their Italian in Your Pocket lessons, much of which is audio material. Based on previews and testimonials, the program appears to be comprehensive and well-organized. Its focus on Italian conversation and culture could give it extra value for learners. However, it’s a greater investment of time and money compared to other Italian courses. Casual learners would probably find it too pricey, although serious learners might consider it. While there’s a 30-day, money-back guarantee for this resource, there are no “try-before-you-buy” options. Also, no mobile app seems to exist for the program. Instead, subscribers are given instructions for mobile access. UPDATE, February 2021: To access the sign-up links for Italian in Your Pocket programs, you will need to click on the rounded orange buttons with the white text on the main page of the website. (The links in the Pinterest-style images above the buttons are defunct.)

  • iTranslate Mini-Review: 5 Apps To Support Communication

    itranslate

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    $ 0.00

    Summary

    iTranslate is a dictionary, thesaurus, and phrasebook. At first glance, it seems similar to Google Translate’s free app, but a couple of extra paid features make a big difference. Like with Google Translate, you can take pictures of text in your surroundings, such as signs or newspapers, and receive instant translations into your native language. It differs in that you can also take pictures of objects in your surroundings and receive translations into your target language (although it’s not clear what the boundaries are on this function). Two people who don’t speak the same language can use iTranslate Converse as a mediator between them, translating each sentence to create a transcript on their phone (with a slight delay). You can also use the iTranslate Keyboard in any texting app to receive instant translations. To get the most out of your subscription, iTranslate includes five different apps that can support language learning and communication through text, voice, and games. Although iTranslate translates into over 100 languages, check the website to verify which languages are supported in the other apps. iTranslate seems suitable for traveling and communication in different languages. If all you need is a dictionary to support your studies, try WordReference and Linguee, or Pleco for Chinese and SpanishDict for Spanish.

  • L-Lingo Mini-Review: Textbook Content, Depends On Your Style

    L-Lingo

    Rating 3.0
    Price:

    $14.95/mo, $75/half-year, $120/year

    Summary

    Each language on L-Lingo contains 105 lessons and 5000 words. The lessons seem to be the same in every language, and will teach you typical textbook lessons, such as booking a hotel reservation, naming different colours, or navigating to an airport. If you are looking for something that will help you communicate naturally with native speakers, this probably isn’t the resource for you. Similar to Rosetta Stone, L-Lingo plays an audio recording of a sentence or word, and then asks you to find the image that corresponds to what you just heard. Unlike Rosetta Stone, L-Lingo provides seemingly clear and concise grammar explanations of the concept you are about to learn. They provide three types of quizzes with every lesson, and also use Spaced Repetition Software to help you remember new vocabulary. There are currently some technical difficulties signing up on the website, but you can access their content on your mobile device. The program has mixed reviews on various platforms, but you can check out the first five lessons for free to see if it suits what you’re looking for.

  • Lang Workbooks Mini Review: Thorough Writing Practice

    Lang Workbooks

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    $5.99

    Summary

    For learners of languages that use unfamiliar writing systems, the Lang Workbooks series can be a helpful and practical way to master the intricacies of writing in their target languages. Among numerous other writing systems, the series includes the Korean, Russian Cyrillic, and Armenian alphabets; Persian and Thai script; the Hindi Devanāgarī abugida; Chinese characters; and Japanese Hiragana and Katakana. The series also covers languages that use the Latin alphabet with diacritical (accent) marks, such as French, German, and Portuguese. Many books in the series have been translated into other languages, such as Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. The series also covers writing systems that may have fewer available resources for learners, such as Lao script and the Cherokee syllabary. Each book in the series presents its featured writing system with suggested pronunciations. The practice pages in each workbook have useful features for each letter, symbol, or character, such as a recommended stroke order, font variations, example words, and a “Trace and Learn” section. Each workbook is relatively inexpensive. In addition, the publishers of the series have granted teachers and students a license to make photocopies of the workbook pages for personal use, so you can get unlimited chances to practice. Considering the depth of information in each language’s workbook, the books in this series can provide great value for learners.

  • LangCorrect: Unlimited, Free Writing Practice With Feedback

    LangCorrect

    Rating 5.0
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    LangCorrect is a free community-driven writing site where users can both contribute to editing others’ work and receive feedback on their own writing. After writing your piece, you may submit it to receive feedback from other site users. In order to ensure accurate feedback, multiple users can cross-check the corrections that were made and add comments. Volunteers and Patrons have access to writing in up to 10 languages, but typical users can write in a maximum of two languages at a time. Everyone is encouraged to both write and correct others’ work on the site. If you are looking to improve your writing skills in one of the over 100 languages available, trying out this resource is a must! However, if you’re studying a less common language and not finding many users to give you corrections, consider trying the exercise section in italki’s community features.

    The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

  • Langu Mini Review: A Quality-Focused italki Alternative

    Langu

    Rating 4.2
    Price:

    Classes start at $10.50, some teachers offer a free trial

    Summary

    Langu is an italki competitor with some compelling factors in its favor. Just like with italki, you search its online database of teachers to book private lessons with them at times of your choosing. You can read other students’ reviews and take trial classes. Unlike italki, there are no booking fees and you can purchase in a range of currencies, including euros and British pounds. Langu also boasts its own intuitive, web-hosted classroom software, meaning you don’t have to download a program or give your teacher your contact details. This also means that all shared links, videos, and worksheets are stored on Langu. The biggest downside to Langu, in comparison with italki, is that you’ll have a smaller choice of teachers and there are no community features (forum, exercise tools, etc.). The classes also tend to be slightly more expensive. On the other hand, Langu claims that all its teachers are “top teachers” – they have to submit a video application and be approved before joining the website – and offers to give students personal recommendations for specific teachers via email, if needed. While we’ve taken classes with one Langu teacher and were impressed by the quality of the classes, we can’t comment on whether all Langu’s teachers meet the same standards.

  • Language Learning WIth Netflix Mini-Review: Easy to Use

    Language learning with Netflix

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    Freemium, Free Trial, $4.95/mo

    Summary

    If you want to make language learning more accessible while watching Netflix, this chrome extension is for you. The free version allows you to skip subtitles forward and backward in case you didn’t catch what was said, and you can also choose to automatically pause the movie or show after each subtitle. The full transcript is also displayed on the side. By hovering over a word you can see a short translation and hear an audio pronunciation, or you can click on the word for more context and further links to various dictionary sites. With a Pro membership you can save words or phrases, receive translations that are closer to the meaning in the original language, and create subtitles for dubbed movies. LLN’s catalogue can help you find Netflix movies or shows with high-quality subtitles to improve your experience,

  • Learn WIth Oliver Mini-Review: Simple With Lots of Content

    Learn with Oliver

    Rating 3.5
    Price:

    Free Trial, with premium plans starting at $96/year

    Summary

    Learn With Oliver is a simple website that offers SRS flashcards with audio recordings by native speakers, random videos and articles with a list of keywords, choose your own adventure stories, writing practice with corrections by native speakers, and progress tests. The flashcard words and sentences seem to have been randomly chosen rather than curated to specific learning goals, so they are probably better used as enrichment than as a primary learning tool. The site as a whole is probably best for learners who already have a good grasp of basic vocabulary in their target language. The mixed exercises use spaced repetition to first introduce you to new words, then get you practicing through various word order, fill-in-the-blanks, listening, writing, and multiple-choice activities. Each “card” (more like “page”) allows you to see an overview of each word with example sentences. A cute perk you will receive after completing each day’s lesson is a “reward link,” which is typically a cute or funny picture on Reddit. If you’re looking for alternatives to some of the features on this site, LangCorrect may have a larger community of language learners to support you in improving your writing, Readlang and the Zhongwen Chrome Extension will help translate words on most websites, Yabla will teach you languages through video clips, and sites like Readle (German) and Du Chinese can help with your reading comprehension.

  • Learn101 Mini-Review: A Re-Formatted Version of iLanguages

    learn101

    Rating 1.3
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Learn 101 is almost identical to iLanguages, but neither of them seem to be very helpful; they have the same native speaker audio files, languages, and mostly identical ‘lesson’ layouts. The main differences are that Learn 101 seems to have added some grammar explanations and reformatted a bit, while iLanguages seems to have added some extra phrases. Since every one of the languages’ “lessons” has the same format, including the grammar section, you will learn how to say ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘or’, in 107 languages, but you will not learn where these types of words fit within a specific language’s sentence structure. Although there are examples of various grammatical structures, the explanations for these structures are also identical for every language, which, practically speaking, doesn’t seem plausible. This site could be useful if you want to hear native speakers pronounce basic words in less-common languages, or if you want to look up the IPA symbols of a less-common language’s alphabet — otherwise, you’re probably better off making flashcards yourself on Anki, or trying one of the hundreds of other resources we recommend on this site.

  • Lexilogos Mini-Review: A Resource Bank For Dictionaries and Books

    lexilogos

    Rating 3.5
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Although Lexilogos seems to have entirely neglected its aesthetics, it holds more than meets the eye. If you click on one of the 130+ languages listed at the bottom of the page, you will find a series of resources to support your studies. This is especially useful for less-studied languages, like Marathi, Basque, and Pashto. Although the lists don’t provide recommendations for applications, they do provide a list of dictionaries, keyboards, news sites, books, and research papers. Additionally, if you switch to the French version of the site, there are even more languages and resources available for you to explore. Within each language’s page, there is also a dictionary search function. You will notice that more commonly studied languages will have dozens of dictionaries to choose from, while less commonly studied languages may only have one or two. Overall, Lexilogos is a great option for finding resources for less commonly studied languages. They regularly update their site, so make sure to check back if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first time around.

  • Lingo Mastery Conversational Dialogues Mini Review: Dual-text

    Lingo Mastery Conversational Dialogues

    Rating 3.5
    Price:

    Kindle books cost $4.60

    Summary

    Lingo Mastery provides over 100 short dialogues in a series of advanced beginner books (about A2 on the CEFR scale) for various languages.  Lingo Mastery’s Conversational Dialogues doesn’t take the immersive approach that you will find in other graded readers. Instead, they provide a full English translation of each text. There are no vocabulary lists or comprehension questions like in their Short Stories series, but you will read conversations that take place in over a hundred different scenarios. If your goal is to accumulate vocabulary based on situations that you may encounter in your everyday life, then Lingo Mastery is probably a good investment. If you want to follow real-life conversations that are part of a continuous story, you may want to check out Olly Richards’ 101 Conversations. Also, if you are looking for a series of books that will keep you captivated, Mandarin Companion and ESLC provide graded readers that simplify famous stories into Chinese and Spanish. If you do decide to invest in these readers, make sure to buy the Kindle version, which is about 20% of the paperback price. There are also previews available on Amazon.

  • Lingo Mastery Short Stories Mini-Review: Lots of Unique Words

    Lingo Mastery Short Stories

    Rating 3.7
    Price:

    Kindle Books cost $4.60

    Summary

    Lingo Mastery provides 20 short stories in a series of advanced beginner books (about A2 on the CEFR scale) for various languages. Each book has a vocabulary list, reading comprehension questions, and a summary in both English and the target language.   If your primary goal is to acquire new vocabulary, then Lingo Mastery’s Short Story series may be helpful to increase your skills. Each chapter has a specific language focus, such as directions, verbs, nouns, or activities. These stories have a considerable number of unique words, so you may find yourself referring to the vocabulary list more frequently than in other graded readers. Keep in mind that the stories are not as engaging as a novel you might read in your native tongue, but the repetition is helpful to familiarize you with different concepts. Other graded readers, like those by Olly Richards, ESLC, and Mandarin Companion follow a single storyline — each chapter in Lingo Mastery, however, follows a separate storyline. Therefore, although the chapters are a manageable length, finishing one may not make you eager to move onto the next. If you do decide to invest in these readers, make sure to buy the Kindle version, which is about 20% of the paperback price.

  • LingoHut Mini-Review: Good Intentions, So-So Follow Through

    lingohut

    Rating 2.0
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Kendal and Philipp, the creators of the LingoHut, are passionate about teaching languages. Their website supposedly helps A1 and A2 language learners develop their confidence in listening and pronunciation. All audio clips were recorded by native speakers so that beginners can get accustomed to natural pronunciation, and each lesson has a series of matching games for listening comprehension and reading. Unfortunately, the creators’ genuine intention to support beginners doesn’t seem to translate into their lessons. The lessons are essentially a series of phrases that are not adapted to each language’s culture; each of the 50 languages use the exact same set of sentences and lesson formats. This means that you will learn how to say ‘dumpling’ both in Chinese and Italian. There is also no section to learn the script of languages such as Korean, Hindi, or Arabic, nor are there transliterations to help beginners sound out the pronunciation. Furthermore, some sentences switch between formal and informal language without explanation, which would not be intuitive for an A1 learner. If you want a free resource to listen to native speakers’ pronunciation of hundreds of common phrases, LingoHut is definitely a free option. However, there are other resources that can help you learn languages more effectively.

  • Lingua Boost Mini-Review: Use Pimsleur Instead

    Lingua Boost

    Rating 2.2
    Price:

    1 level costs $19.90, two levels cost $33.90

    Summary

    Lingua Boost’s website sells downloadable volumes of phrasebook-like lessons that teach everyday phrases in context. The lessons are about 10 minutes long; they are narrated by native speakers and focus on vocabulary within a specific topic. Although each lesson seems to contain something that resembles a dialogue, every phrase is spoken by the same person. Additionally, many of the lessons initially appear to be dialogues, but end up as a list of sentences. For example, the first line of a lesson might be, “what do you like to do?” followed by a series of statements such as “I like to read books,” or “I like to go swimming.” Furthermore, for languages that have more difficult pronunciation, such as Russian and Hindi, the lessons do not break down pronunciation. In Pimsleur, for example, they use an excellent technique of working backwards with each syllable in a word. In Lingua Boost, it seems that you are expected to just listen and gradually catch on, even from the absolute beginner level. Finally, each volume must be purchased separately, but you can test out the first 5 lessons for free on their website. If you’re looking for a similar course that breaks down pronunciation, has interactive activities and helps you learn full dialogues in context, check out Pimsleur’s subscription plan.

  • Lingua Mini-Review: Free Listening, Reading, and Writing Practice

    Lingua

    Rating 3.5
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Lingua is a free resource that offers reading, listening, dictation, and vocabulary activities. Every day, the site provides six new dictations in your target language. You can listen to two separate native speakers reading a series of sentences first at a normal speed, and then a slower speed. After you have finished transcribing, the website will automatically check and correct your writing. There are also short readings and listening comprehension exercises accompanied by a reading comprehension quiz on the side. The difficulty of content available depends on the language. Each exercise focuses on a theme relevant to everyday life, such as family, travel, and activities. Although each reading piece seems to have been written by native speakers, you may catch a few grammatical errors within the texts. You can choose to quiz either your passive or active vocabulary with a flashcard-like activity, although you may want to make personalized flashcards on Anki or use pre-made decks on Brainscape for a more curated practice.  It’s probably possible to get through most of Lingua’s content in a month, as there are only a handful of exercises in each language. Nevertheless, it’s a solid supplementary resource for reading, listening, and dictation practice. If you study French or German, TV5 Monde and Deutsche Welle are sites that have similar, more extensive free content. 

  • Linguee Mini-Review: Best Dictionary for Formal Language

    Linguee

    Rating 4.5
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Linguee was developed by over 400 lexicographers. It is unique in that it does not use machine-translation to provide examples of words in context — instead, it sources words from articles and research papers in the original language. As a result, it is an excellent dictionary app to find translations for specialized terminology. You will learn the subtleties of various translations by reading paired paragraphs of text that have each been professionally translated, not translated by a machine. In some languages, you can listen to pronunciations by native speakers and read multiple translations of your chosen word or phrase. Although translations are highlighted in each paragraph so you can compare how to use them in each language, they can be difficult to navigate quickly. If you are looking for a website with simple and professional translations, you can check out WordReference for several different languages. SpanishDict is also an excellent option for Spanish, and Pleco is the only dictionary you will ever need for Chinese.

  • Loecsen Mini-Review: Phrasebook App For Absolute Beginners

    Loecsen

    Rating 2.5
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Loecsen’s strengths are its attractive interface and drawings that accompany the content. It also uses high-quality audio recordings by native speakers, even in the less-common languages. The website offers 41 different languages, but unfortunately, there are only about 432 phrases to learn, which will not take you beyond even the absolute basics. These phrases are practical, however, so in a pinch, they may save you abroad. Despite the attractive interface, the buttons are not very intuitive, so you may have to click around to figure out what each one does. Below the main interactive program, you can see a list of vocabulary and a progress bar for speaking and vocabulary activities — the vocabulary highlights in green as you complete the quizzes. At the very bottom of the page, you can also see an overview of basic pronunciation. For pronunciation practice, the read-aloud tool provides you with a series of songs or text excerpts that you can record yourself reading aloud and then compare with the original song (or a robot voice). If you’re just looking to learn basic essential phrases and pick up some vocabulary for a trip, Loecsen is an attractive program for the very casual learner. Otherwise, many other resources can take you to at least the intermediate level in most of the same languages.

  • LyricsTraining Mini-Review: Listening Practice Through Songs

    LyricsTraining

    Rating 3.3
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Lyrics training is a free app that claims to improve your ability to recognize the different sounds in your target language. Through listening to different songs, you can reinforce vocabulary, expressions, and grammar concepts. Although it does not provide any translations or explanations for these skills, it does seem to train listening comprehension and memorization. While listening to your chosen song, you will be provided with a choice of 4 words to help fill in an increasing percentage of lyrics; by the advanced level, you will be responsible for filling in 100% of the lyrics. Each of the 14 languages available seem to have a wide variety of song choices, and even if you don’t understand what the lyrics mean, you will probably be able to sing along. If you would prefer an app that focuses more on comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar, check out Lirica.

  • Magic Lingua Mini-Review: Pricey But Potentially Worth It

    magic lingua

    Rating 3.1
    Price:

    Courses cost between $31.99 and $499.99

    Summary

    Magic Lingua provides a series of individual courses for language learning. They advertise that you will gain enough confidence in speaking that you will be able to not only start a conversation with anyone, but do so without thinking about grammar and vocabulary. The full courses are offered for beginner, intermediate, and advanced speakers depending on the language (advanced is considered the B1 level). The voice-recognition software seems to do an adequate job of recognizing which words you are pronouncing correctly, and it does appear to help improve speaking abilities by actively reenacting dialogues with you. Therefore, the app alone may help develop your confidence to start conversations in your target language. Although not subscription based, each full course must be purchased individually. The 2-3 week crash courses seem more reasonable for the price, but the full 10 week courses are a hefty $200+. They consist of 10 modules plus hundreds of video lessons and speaking exercises. There is the option to complete the modules with live tutor sessions, or alone. Magic Lingua is probably worth your time if you don’t mind spending a lot on one app, but with the current price it might be better to look for alternatives. There are some free lessons available on their website for you to test out, but check back for more languages and levels in the future.

  • Master Any Language Mini-Review: No Words To Describe the Nope

    Master Any Language

    Rating 0.2
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Master Any Language has a counterintuitive interface with activities that are frustrating to navigate. Its only perk is that it supports less-studied languages, but even if you do find yourself lacking resources in your target language, this website will probably detract from your learning. You will jump through hoops trying to find the audio recordings by native speakers, so you may want to try ilovelanguages or Learn101 instead; they have low ratings, but they won’t make you lose your motivation to learn altogether. Most of the activities on Master Any Language are matching games that require you to click on two identical characters, words, or letters: the purpose of this is unclear because it tests neither recall nor recognition. Another activity asks you to form or match nonsensical sequences of words (Ex. Find the sentence identical to “el el el el tchèque tchèque tchèque el el tchèque tchèque”….). Ultimately, you would probably be better off trying to decipher a page of text with absolutely no guidance than to even attempt to wrap your head around MAL’s activities.

  • MOSAlingua Mini-Review: Memorize Phrases and Words

    Mosalingua

    Rating 3.3
    Price:

    Freemium, App costs $6.99

    Summary

    MOSAlingua is an SRS  flashcard app that provides useful phrases beyond the typical travel sayings you will find in other phrasebook apps. However, you will need need to use other resources if you are hoping to achieve fluency. After choosing your level or taking a placement test, you can learn through their bank of pre-made lessons and dialogues, or choose which flashcards you would like to focus on. As you progress, bonus lessons such as proverbs, quotes, jokes, and fun facts can inspire you to achieve more in your learning. To better understand new phrases, the app links to WordReference, Tatoeba, Twitter, and Google pronunciation to give you more context. If ever you are on the road and can’t look at a screen, hands-free mode will help you learn new phrases or review old ones by focusing on listening and repeating. All the content is offline, so you don’t have to worry about data or wifi for your studies. Overall, MOSAlingua seems like a useful app for learning new words and phrases. Unlike most other apps, upgrading to premium from the free content is permanent, although some bonus content comes at an additional cost.

  • My Language Exchange Mini-Review: Millions of Active Users

    My Language Exchange

    Rating 4.2
    Price:

    Freemium, Gold Memberships start at $6/mo

    Summary

    My Language Exchange has been growing since 2000. Although the website seems out of date, it still has an active community of millions of language-learners who speak almost 200 native languages (including less commonly studied languages). You can choose a pen pal by reading their bios, or there is a chat room available for you to instantly connect with a language exchange partner — note that if you create a Gold account, you can initiate chats with other users, but as a regular user, you will have to wait to be contacted. Using the Cormier Method, the website provides tools to help intermediate speakers effectively practice with other learners. It advertises a Chat Companion with lesson plans to accompany your exchange, or lesson plans developed by teachers (although the quality of these resources varies drastically).  You can also find language teachers on the site, but given that the transactions take place directly between you and the teacher, you may feel safer using a 3rd party platform like italki or Verbling Although there are outlines on how to participate in language exchanges, how these outlines are followed depends entirely on you and your partner(s). My Language Exchange will help you build connections with other learners, but it’s up to you to plan how to practice. The concepts can also be used with any language exchange platform, such as Lingbe, italki, Tandem, and Amikumu.

  • One World Italiano Mini Review: Free Lessons and Activities

    One World Italiano

    Rating 3.8
    Price:

    Free, courses cost between 19€ – 149€

    Summary

    One World Italiano provides online courses, in-person classes, and free resources to learn Italian. The website includes 61 beginner and intermediate lessons, plus grammar explanations, formal and informal dialogues, dictations, quizzes, and YouTube videos. It’s a bit unorganized but full of useful practice activities. The entire website is in Italian, so total beginners may have difficulty navigating the site without a tool like the Readlang Chrome Extension. The free lessons include dialogues with audio recordings by native speakers, basic grammar explanations, and links to supplementary vocabulary for the lesson. At the end of each lesson, there is a multiple choice quiz with links to other exercises, dialogues, or grammar explanations. Although the vocabulary lists are just pages of text, there are matching activities for proverbs and idioms. The paid courses are for elementary, intermediate, and advanced learners. You will want to have a basic level of Italian, as there are no English subtitles or translations. Each lesson in the course alternates between a video, audio recording, PDF transcription, and quiz. Based on the sample lessons, the courses seem to be engaging and of high-quality. Unfortunately, they are a bit pricey. You could probably curate your own free course using similar materials on YouTube, but this may be a good option if you want to move through the material step-by-step. You can also check out Online Italian Club for a plethora of well-organized Italian activities for all levels.

  • Online Italian Club MiniReview: Tons of Free Exercises

    In this article we give a quick review of the Online Italian Club. The website emphasizes conversational vocabulary, which in our opinion is one of the best ways to learn Italian.

    Online Italian Club

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    Free, online classes cost £20/half-hour

    Summary

    Online Italian Club is a free website with grammar, listening, conversation, vocabulary, and reading resources for A1 – C2 Italian learners. It is well organized and even has a checklist to keep track of your progress. The site’s major advantage is its abundance of exercises for various grammar topics. There are over 200 listening comprehension exercises with multiple-choice questions and full transcripts, not to mention another 30 articles about the history of Rome with accompanying audio, and 60 conversations that gradually increase in difficulty. Some of the dialogues have accompanying conversation prompts so you can have a similar conversation yourself with a language exchange partner or a tutor. Online Italian club also offers private Italian lessons, but these are about three times more expensive than your average iTalki teacher. Each CEFR level has a series of lessons with grammar explanations, listening comprehension exercises with multiple-choice questions, and quizzes. All of these activities can be accessed individually as well. Some of the A1 exercises will be difficult for total beginners, as they are entirely in Italian. Nevertheless, with the Readlang Chrome Extension and the transcript, the immersive environment may be an enjoyable challenge. Overall, the Online Italian Club is an engaging and high-quality supplement to your Italian studies. You can also check out One World Italiano for more free resources, also that site is a bit unorganized.

  • Open Learn Mini-Review: Very Specific Course Topics

    Open Learn

    Rating 3.8
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Open Learn offers an entire section dedicated to language learning, with beginner, intermediate, and advanced content for German, Spanish, and French. You will also find some basic courses for Chinese, Welsh, English, and Italian. The courses seem to emphasize understanding the culture that the language originates from, and will teach you vocabulary through specific topics (like food and drink for beginner Italian, or ‘getting around’ for beginner Spanish). This may feel a little over the top when you end up studying holiday plans for 20 hours, but at the same time, you will probably feel quite confident in your abilities by the end of the course. Most of the beginner courses, other than Chinese, German, and Welsh, seem to be for false beginners. You will probably need to develop a basic foundation of your target language (maybe a section or two of the Duolingo tree, or the introductory courses on Coursera) before diving in, unless you want a challenge. Overall, Open Learn language courses are good for improving your language skills on specific topics, but you may not feel fulfilled in the area of practical conversation. Moreover, the user interface is not as attractive or easy to navigate as other resources, like Coursera. For some other free options that may give you more practical language skills, check out Coursera, edX, Deutsche Welle (German), TV5 Monde (French), Duolingo, HelloChinese, or Language Transfer.

  • OPLingo Mini Review: Community Driven, Non-Profit

    OPLingo

    Rating 3.5
    Price:

    Freemium, Premium Subscriptions cost $6.99/mo, $60/Year

    Summary

    OPLingo is a community-oriented, non-profit language learning site. It essentially combines the functions of LingQ, LangCorrect, Readlang, iTalki, and HelloTalk. The free version gives you limited access to some functions, but by paying for a membership you support ethical causes — such as building a primary school in Tanzania. You can browse user-contributed texts or easily import your own YouTube videos, articles, or ebooks into the Reading Tool. OPLingo has also developed hundreds of audio conversations in several languages, including Tagalog, Cebuano, Thai, Swahili, and Russian. Within each page, you can read a transcript and get definitions and pronunciations of unknown words. By identifying which words you don’t know, the next passages you read will highlight the number of known or unknown vocabulary words. In their Write & Correct section, you can write in over 100 languages and exchange corrections with other users, although Spanish, French, and English learners have a better chance of receiving corrections than other languages at the moment. You can also practice a language by texting with fellow community members, or by hiring a teacher in your target language. OPLingo has a lot of potential and is a good alternative to LingQ, but it needs a community of learners to help it grow — so check it out!

  • Optilingo Mini-Review: Use if You Absolutely Love Slideshows

    optilingo

    Rating 1.5
    Price:

    $11.99/mo, $23.97/quarter, $41.94/half-year, $71.88/year

    Summary

    Optilingo is essentially a phrase-bank in slideshow form. Each of the 20 languages available includes 100 lessons, none of which contain information about the topic or learning goals during the writing of this review. You can expect to listen to a series of phrases, and then review (what seems like) the last 45 phrases you have learned before moving onto the next lesson. The phrases are not in flashcard form — instead, they are in a slideshow with both the English and the target language displayed together. Optilingo advertises learning and practicing with over 29 hours worth of phrases, and while you can surely practice with their phrase-bank, actually learning to speak any of the languages offered using their platform is questionable. If you are keen on language learning, check out our bank of reviews for other resources.

  • Paul Noble Mini-Review: Great for Beginners

    Paul Noble

    Rating 4.2
    Price:

    Complete Audiobooks start at $14.95 on Audible, or 1 Audible credit

    Summary

    Paul Noble’s audiobook series is for beginners or upper-beginners who want to gain confidence in their target language. There are also crash courses for those who will soon be heading off on a business trip or holiday. The series focuses on cognates (words that are similar in both English and your target language) in order to build your vocabulary more efficiently. It also seems to have been inspired by Michel Thomas’ courses (with a few improvements). Paul introduces vocabulary and gets you to make new sentences through problem solving. For example, he may introduce a sentence, then ask you to make a new sentence using your current knowledge and the new words you have just learned. Although the narrators move a bit slowly, the consistent interaction between you and the material ensures that you won’t get bored. Because Paul breaks down the rules of each language in such a simple and concise way, you can feel confident in building new sentences by yourself.

  • Polly Lingual Mini-Review: Phrasebook With Simple Games

    Polly Lingual

    Rating 2.0
    Price:

    Freemium, yearly subscriptions start at $2.99/mo

    Summary

    Polly Lingual is a phrasebook app and website with a series of basic word lists, flashcards, and memory games. Some of the phrases are pronounced by native speakers, while others use text-to-voice. Unlike other phrasebook apps that focus on phrases alone, Polly Lingual introduces the basic alphabet in languages with non-romanized scripts. You can quiz yourself on the basic vowels and consonants in Russian, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese, and Arabic. Polly Lingual may be helpful for a quick review of what you’ve already learned, but if you’re keen on learning to write a new script, you may want to check out Write It! or Write Me. There are also Polly Ambassadors — tutors who will provide short videos of language learning tips throughout the site. You can send them a personal message or hire them as a private tutor. Overall, Polly Lingual only teaches basic phrases and will probably not help you learn how to construct your own sentences. If you’re just beginning to learn another language, check out French in Action, Red Kalinka (Russian), Chinesefor.us, 90 Day Korean, Portuguese lab, or Pimsleur to get more out of your time. Also, Italki will give you more options for private tutors, if that’s what you’re looking for.

  • Readlang Mini-Review: A Must-Have For Language Lovers

    Readlang

    Rating 4.5
    Price:

    Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $5/mo

    Summary

    With Readlang as your Google Chrome Extension, you can have instant translations for words or sentences in over 45 languages at the tip of your mouse cursor (or fingertip)! Browse the internet and effortlessly click on unknown words to get a translation that stays on your screen until it is no longer needed. If you can’t find anything to read on the internet, you can access a bank of public texts organized by word count and difficulty, browse the most popular websites for Readlang users, or upload your own text to study. If you read on the Readlang website, you can see words that you have previously translated highlighted across every text. Readlang collects SRS flashcards for you from words that you have translated. It will only record the most useful words for you to practice based on word frequency lists, which could be either a pro or a con depending on your study goals. Each flashcard also includes audio pronunciation and the sentence from which the word was taken. You can choose to reveal the flashcard to check your comprehension, or type in your response for more effective recall. The free version provides enough for the casual user, but upgrading to an affordable premium membership allows unlimited phrase translations and unknown word highlighting across texts. Although there may be some problems with translations in beta languages, and sometimes it fails to recognize text, overall Readlang is an excellent resource for language lovers.

  • Reverso Translation Mini-Review: Best for French learners

    Reverso Translation

    Rating 3.8
    Price:

    $ 0.00

    Summary

    Reverso is a translation and spell check app. Its features primarily target French and English learners, although it also translates into a handful of other languages. Compared with BonPatron, Reverso’s spell-check function (available only for French and English) is less attuned to general mistakes, such as capitalization or inappropriate commas. Reverso only catches some of the errors related to inappropriate accordance of genders or numbers from “The House of Être” verbs. Nevertheless, it does a decent job of catching obvious mistakes, and it will provide you with synonyms to enrich your writing. You are encouraged to use the spell check function at each stage of the writing process because when you correct one error, the program may identify new ones. The free version allows you to check 1200 characters at a time, and upgrading to a premium version will allow you to check unlimited characters. The Reverso Contexto dictionary is an excellent resource for most of the available languages. While Linguee takes examples from relatively formal sources, Reverso Contexto provides example sentences professionally translated from movies, dialogues, official documents, websites, and newspapers.  Other resources include Reverso’s dictionary (which is usually from Collin’s) a verb conjugator, French and English grammar articles, a thesaurus, and a document translator.

  • Simply Learn Mini-Review: Spaced Repetition Phrases For Travelers

    Simply Learn

    Rating 3.0
    Price:

    $ 9.99

    Summary

    In Simply Learn, by Simya Solutions, you can search for and review over 1000 phrases in over 30 categories. It takes the typical phrasebook app one step further by allowing you to add your favorite phrases to SRS flashcards. Given that its developers also developed Ling, an additional, more comprehensive resource that supports language learning, it seems that Simply Learn is a supplementary app for individuals who need to learn basic phrases for traveling abroad.  The creators don’t seem to have intended for people to use this app to learn a language in its entirety, but rather to support them in memorizing basic phrases for travel. As with Simya Solutions’ other apps, Simply Learn is most helpful for less commonly learned languages, such as Hokkien and Khmer. Beginners can access the basic cards for free, but the advanced traveler will have to make a one-time purchase to access all the content. If what you truly want is to have a set of phrases under your belt, Simply Learn’s SRS flashcards and native-speaker audio can support you. However, if you are studying a less commonly learned language and want to understand the basic sentence patterns and writing system, check out Ling.

  • Speakly Mini-Review: Speaking, Listening, and Writing Practice

    Speakly

    Rating 4.3
    Price:

    10.99€/mo, 27€/quarter, 49.98€/half-year, 69.96€/year

    Summary

    Speakly focuses on reading, listening, speaking and writing to improve your confidence in your target language. It uses a Spaced Repetition System to help you push vocabulary into your long term memory, and teaches you the 4000 most statistically-relevant words in your target language. Before using the program, you can take a placement test to estimate how many of the 4000 most common words you already know. Then, you will be placed in one of 9 levels. You will start with a series of sentences, learning words within context and then filling in the blanks for recall. After learning several words, you will be presented with a LIVE-situation where you will recreate a dialogue with the recording of a native speaker. The dialogues are also short enough that you can listen to them repeatedly, practice speaking along with the recording, and quickly notice improvement. Besides flashcards and dialogues, there are also reading and listening exercises with interesting content. You can download the audio to study offline, which is helpful because Speakly encourages you to listen to the same exercise 3-5 days in a row to see improvement. One of few downsides to Speakly is that for the basic flashcard sentences, all of the narrations use automatic text-to-speech rather than native speakers’ voices.

  • Speed Learning Languages Mini-Review: Nope, Nope, Nope

    speed learning languages

    Rating 2.0
    Price:

    2 levels cost $197, 4 levels cost $394

    Summary

    Most of Speed Learning Languages’ content, except for perhaps the Italian course, seems to be a refurbished version of the 100% free FSI courses. This program is only recommended if you want to pay almost $200 for a clearer font and a few extra resources. Since Speed Learning Languages and the FSI courses seem to be essentially the same program, it should be noted that both will help you learn the language quite effectively; they are intensive programs that place a strong focus on listening to train your ear to understand native speakers, in addition to extensive exercises for grammar and vocabulary. If you follow along with the audio and respond to the prompts in each drill, you will also develop more confidence in speaking. Each full language course takes about 250 hours to complete, with each unit taking about 3-5 hours. Unfortunately, a lot of vocabulary is outdated, including both sexist and obsolete language. Additionally, the course was created for diplomats, so some topics are less relevant to most people’s everyday life. If you are interested in using Speed Learning Languages, use the free FSI courses instead for (comparatively) infinite return on your investment. Here’s the link again – all you need is an email address: FSI Language Courses

  • Speekoo Mini-Review: Dip Your Toes in a Language and Culture

    Speekoo

    Rating 2.5
    Price:

    Classes start at $15/hour

    Summary

    Learning with Speekoo is more of a cultural journey than an intensive language learning app. With every lesson, you will explore some tourist attractions, unusual aspects, and funny anecdotes about different cities that speak the language you are studying. With each correct answer, you “walk” a kilometre further on your journey and gradually unlock videos and articles. Unfortunately, all of these features are in English (or French if you are learning from French). Speekoo’s free lessons build on one another, and you can easily apply new words to your everyday life. Unfortunately, although you will effectively learn what the app teaches you, the extent of the material will only give you the absolute basics of each language. You will not be able to have even simple conversations once you have finished all the levels. The app also doesn’t introduce new scripts, so you won’t learn how to read Japanese or Chinese; instead, you will write the sounds using the English alphabet. Despite its simplicity, Speekoo is a fun, free option for the extremely casual learner who wants to dip their toes in a language. Hopefully, the developers will take the levels further.

  • StoryLearning Olly Richards 101 Conversations Mini Review: Practical

    Olly Richards 101 Conversations

    Rating 3.7
    Price:

    Kindle books cost $0.99

    Summary

    Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language, has written a series of books for beginner and intermediate learners to improve their conversation skills in several languages. He also has a Short Stories series, but this review focuses on 101 Conversations. His 101 Conversations series has a beginner and intermediate book for every language, though both books are appropriate for level A2 on the CEFR scale. You will learn natural phrases that you can use in everyday conversation through following the story of six people. Each chapter has a dialogue between some of these characters, which you can engage with through the practical learning methods that Olly outlines at the beginning of each book. While the first chapter in the first book may have one-sentence exchanges, the characters get chattier and the grammar becomes more complex as you continue reading. Overall, Olly’s 101 Conversations series is fun to follow, particularly because each book sets out to solve a mystery. They are less expensive than his Short Stories series, but also contain less content (there are no comprehension questions or summaries at the end of the chapters, but there are short vocabulary lists). Nevertheless, both are probably a good investment to advance your conversational Spanish abilities.

  • StoryLearning Olly Richards Short Stories Mini Review: Practical

    Olly Richards Short Stories

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    Kindle books start at $6.55

    Summary

    Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language, has written a series of short stories for high-beginners to improve their reading skills in several languages. He also has a 101 Conversations series, but this review focuses on his Short Stories. Most of the languages use the most common words in your target language, with natural phrases that you would overhear locals using while conversing amongst each other. In every language, the plot follows the same characters and adventures, with some adjustments for cultural differences. The intro to each book provides a practical overview of how to maximize your learning. At the end of each chapter, you will see a summary of the plot, a vocabulary list of new words (that are also bolded in the stories), and comprehension questions. The comprehension questions are simple, allowing you to find the responses directly in the text. Overall, the Kindle version of Olly’s short stories seems worth the investment for upper beginners to improve their language abilities. If you’re learning Chinese, check out the Mandarin Companion series. Also, A1 – A2 Spanish learners can enjoy several short novels in the ESLC and Read It! series.

  • Storyling Mini-Review: Simple, Quality Content

    Storyling

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    $ 15

    Summary

    Storyling solves the problem of looking for reading content appropriate to your language level. Each story has been written, translated, and narrated by native speakers, and are divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. They cover a variety of topics, including stories, history, news, and trivia. You can click on each word in the story for a translation, or you can reveal a full translation of each paragraph as needed. You can also save unknown words to review in a flashcard section, although it is unclear whether the flashcards use SRS or are sorted randomly. The Spanish section already contains over 150 stories, while the other languages are still developing in the Beta phase. Compared to other products, it is a bit pricey for what is offered, but they do have a very simple, intuitive, and attractive user interface with quality content. For more reading or listening that is concentrated on current events, check out News in Slow; for more dialogue-based listening and reading, check out LanguagePod101.

  • Strokes International Mini Review: Pricy but Comprehensive

    Strokes International

    Rating 3.0
    Price:

    53.00 CHF

    Summary

    Strokes International sells courses for 24 different languages. They’re more focused on European languages, from the popular German, Spanish, and French through to Slovakian, Czech, and Danish. They do have a couple of non-European ones, though, such as Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. Using a Strokes International course feels a bit like going back in time. You have to download the program onto your computer (and we had to install additional software to run it). In the days of language apps and on-the-go learning, this seems a little inconvenient. Despite that, the course seems to be fairly effective. You listen to and repeat a natural conversation, before being slowly taught the words and phrases. You practice speaking them aloud, typing them, and playing Match Pairs card games. Although grammar takes a back seat, there are explanatory notes throughout and you can access a detailed grammar guide. There’s also a Pronunciation Trainer and Vocabulary Trainer. The Danish beginner course, which we briefly trialed, has 100 lessons.

  • Sublearning Mini-Review: There Are Better Uses For Your Time

    Sublearning

    Rating 1.3
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Sublearning is a very simple website that supposedly helps you learn languages through movie subtitles. You will be presented with 1 to 6 lines of subtitles from your chosen movie, and then you can reveal the translation after thinking about the response. There are 62 source and target languages, which does make one wonder where the translations are coming from; be wary of Sublearning’s translation quality. Just to clarify, the subtitles do not seem to be sourced from the most iconic phrases from your favourite movies; rather, they seem to be random lines from the movie, sometimes as simple as “I don’t think so”. If you’re just looking to reminisce about anything that was said in movies you have seen, you can go to Sublearning to pass some time. However if you’re interested in language learning, I recommend checking out some of the many resource reviews we have on this site.

  • SuperMemo Mini-Review: Not to Be Confused With Super-Memo

    Supermemo

    Rating 3.0
    Price:

    Free trial, $9.90/mo

    Summary

    *The app SuperMemo is often confused with Super-Memo SuperMemo seems to advertise its courses and their efficacy by emphasizing the SuperMemo Method. The website states that it is the only scientifically-proven computer-aided learning method — however, the method is a typical Spaced Repetition System that Brainscape, Anki, Pleco, Skritter, SpanishDict, and countless other resources use. If SuperMemo made any special improvements, they do not stand out. SuperMemo’s courses can be accessed through a monthly membership or through purchasing individual courses. Each course contains a series of flashcards with some interactive activities (such as fill-in-the-blanks, multiple-choice questions, and dropdown menus). In some beginner courses, like Hungarian and Dutch, you can learn basic pronunciation with the International Phonetic Alphabet; this can support you in both understanding and producing the sounds of the language later one. They also use native speaker pronunciation to train your ear. The Fast Track courses may have potential, but there do not seem to be many grammar explanations, and it may be up to you to understand your errors. Additionally, you may find that you are suddenly reading translations from your target language in Polish, whether or not you speak Polish. Overall, Supermemo seems okay, but there are probably other resources that will help you learn a language more effectively.

  • Tatoeba Mini-Review: A Community Writing Sentences in Context

    Tatoeba

    Rating 3.3
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Tatoeba is a sentence-focused reference dictionary, not word focused. Therefore, by searching for a word in any language, you are searching for examples of that word in context. The site is community-driven, but you don’t have to be multilingual to contribute to the site — it needs native-speaking writers to expand the example database and proofread user sentences. All of the translations are interconnected: even if there is technically no direct translation from Zulu to Chinese, an English translation for the same sentences in both languages will provide direct translations between them. Although Tatoeba supports about 388 languages, about 200 of these languages have less than 100 sentences, and about 58 have less than 10. Nevertheless, the database is continuously growing, and with more community members, the less common languages may have a chance to develop further. It is prohibited to use a translation tool or copyrighted sentences to contribute to the translation database. Unfortunately, some contributors write in a language in which they are not proficiently fluent. As a result, the site has grammatical mistakes and sentences that don’t sound natural. You may have to do some digging to figure out if the contributor is a native speaker or not. Because of the potential user errors on the site, you may want to check out WordReference, Pleco, SpanishDict, Kanji Study , and Linguee to find words in context for more commonly studied languages.

  • Verbix Mini-Review: Adequate for Less-Studied Languages

    Verbix

    Rating 2.3
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Verbix is a verb conjugator website and app developed by an independent non-profit organization. It conjugates over 100 languages, including Old English, Latin, and Yiddish The amount of information on the conjugation page varies depending on how common the language is. At its best, it will display nominal forms, most common verb conjugations, verbs that have similar conjugations, translations, synonyms, antonyms, cognates, and a section on etymology. Sometimes there are sample sentences (without translations) that seem to come from articles and books. The final section on additional information seems a bit random, and its purpose is unclear. To conjugate a verb in another language, you have to know the verb in its infinitive form. Unfortunately, although Verbix has a translation function, it doesn’t seem to cover all of the available languages, so you may not be able to find the verb you are looking for in the first place. A fun page to explore is Verbix’s list of over 6000 languages with a map depicting where each of these languages is spoken. Otherwise, Verbix seems a bit random and incomplete. It may be a helpful resource for less commonly studied languages, but check out Reverso Translation, Cooljugator, and SpanishDict first.  Also, if you want to practice verb conjugations in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Latin, check out Conjuguemos

  • VerbSquirt Mini-Review: Use Conjuguemos for Free Instead

    VerbSquirt

    Rating 2.5
    Price:

    Freemium, $0.99

    Summary

    VerbSquirt is a conjugation app for mobile devices that uses multiple choice questions and matching activities to test your knowledge. You can learn by verb group, verb tense, or build your own custom exercises. It also has a summary page that allows you to see how many points you score on average per day, week, and month.
    The app doesn’t have a very attractive interface compared to other resources, but if you want to tap on answers to practice recognition rather than active recall, VerbSquirt may be a good option for you. However, you may want to use Conjuguemos instead — it provides free exercises that require you to use active recall and type out the answers. You can also try SpanishDict or Ella Verbs if you are learning Spanish.

  • Vocabulearn Mini Review: Unlikely to Teach You a Language

    Vocabulearn

    Rating 0.6
    Price:

    $29.99 on Amazon, free on Spotify

    Summary

    Vocabulearn has so-called audio courses for numerous languages on Amazon and Spotify. We don’t believe you’ll learn much from them, but they could help you practice your pronunciation. For this mini review, we tried out the Vocabulearn Swahili/English Level 1 course. It’s split into four CDs, each with its own theme, and then each theme is divided into four lessons. The themes are: Nouns; Adjectives, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions 1; Expressions; Verbs. In each track, we listened to long lists of words and phrases. First, it was said in English; secondly, it was said in Swahili. However, there were no grammar or contextual explanations, drills, or activities to help you remember the material. In short, we’re not convinced that you’d be able to make your own sentences or even remember the vocabulary after listening to these CDs. However, if you’re studying a language with fewer resources, we think you could use it to practice your pronunciation by repeating each word after the speakers say it.

  • Vocly Mini-Review: Expand Your Vocabulary in Less Common Languages

    Vocly

    Rating 3.0
    Price:

    $ 11.99

    Summary

    Vocly is a vocabulary learning app that uses a couple of different techniques to reinforce new words (although it’s unclear whether or not the app uses an SRS system). Each word comes with audio pronunciation by native speakers and a toggle to either reveal or hide the romanization of the word. As with most of Simya Solution’s apps, Vocly is best for languages with fewer available resources. Instead of using English translations in the flashcard activities, the app will prompt you to associate the new word with a small picture. On one hand, this will help you make fewer translations into your native language. On the other hand, the pictures can be ambiguous and you may forget what they symbolize. The flashcard activities include matching activities, identifying new words that fit under a specific category, matching the sound of a word to an image, and asking you to spell the word in the language’s script. Unfortunately, the free version only allows 7 minutes of learning per day, which can feel rushed. Ling is a more comprehensive option for learning multiple facets of a language, but if your goal is to expand your vocabulary, Vocly has over 1600 words. The paid version is quite expensive for what it offers compared to other resources, but for less common languages it is a fun and interactive option.

  • Wlingua Mini-Review: A Clear Learning Path

    wlingua

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    Freemium, $10.99/mo, $21.99/quarter, $64.99/year

    Summary

    Wlingua relies on two methodologies for learner success: staggered repetition and progressive exposure. Staggered repetition seems identical to typical spaced repetition methods, while progressive exposure ensures that all new words and concepts are based on what you have previously learned. This ensures that there are no gaps in knowledge when it comes to tackling more advanced lessons. Additionally, each lesson focuses on one concept at a time in order to avoid overwhelming the learner, and there is a clear path for what you will be learning from beginner to the end. Each new word is “linked to its precise meaning or use” so that you can use them in context. The program consists of new vocabulary, grammar, exercises, reading practice, and audio by native speakers with different accents. The downside is that there seems to be more focus on reading and comprehension than on listening and speaking. Only Spanish and Russian are currently available from Beginner to Upper-Intermediate. Other languages are available at the beginner and elementary levels. You can use the app without registering for an unspecified number of days. There is limited basic content available for free, while the premium plan offers unlimited access, practice reviews tailored to your learning, and downloadable PDF lessons.

  • Wordbit Mini-Review: Innovative Flashcards for Short Term Use

    WordBit

    Rating 3.0
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    WordBit is a free app that minimizes the effort and thought that goes into deliberate practice by presenting you with the opportunity to practice each time you open your lock screen. Each time you open your phone, the app will overlay the lock screen and present you with either multiple choice translations for a given word, or a flashcard. You can choose to close the app to access the lock screen, or respond to the prompt. Although this app interferes with tasks on your phone that require immediate attention, it is no doubt effective at consistently exposing you to new vocabulary. It is available in multiple languages, for both target and source languages, and there is a large vocabulary category bank to choose from, including vocabulary from each of the levels A1-C2. There are some bugs in its programming, such as restarting your progress through each deck if you add or remove a category, and the ads at the bottom of the screen are easily tapped by accident.

  • WordReference Mini-Review: Thorough and Professionally Translated

    Wordreference

    Rating 4.5
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    WordReference is one of the best websites for single-word translations. It uses a combination of its own dictionaries and Collins’, depending on the language, and relies on professional translations rather than machine-translations. With each word you look up, you will receive multiple examples of how to use it, nuances of each meaning, and a list of how to incorporate it into multiple phrases. Whereas sites like Bab.la seem to have machine-translated examples that sound quite random at times, WordReference’s examples can be applied directly to your everyday conversation. You can also find conjugation tables and the Collins COBUILD English Usage dictionary, which shows you how to use individual English words correctly — through its explanations, English learners will be able to differentiate between words that are easily confused (such as ‘current’ and ‘currant’). If the explanations don’t make sense, you can ask questions in the WordReference Language Forum — there you will find an active community of language learners discussing language learning topics. Unfortunately, not all words have audio pronunciation, but those that do can be played back at different speeds and with different accents (depending on the language). Although WordReference is a thorough resource, SpanishDict is probably a better option for Spanish learners, and Pleco is the only dictionary you will ever need for Chinese. Linguee is also similar to WordReference but specializes in formal language, and Forvo has millions of words pronounced by native speakers in hundreds of languages.

  • YouGlish Mini-Review: Thousands of Words in Context From YouTube

    YouGlish

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    YouGlish is a website that has indexed millions of video clips to put words in context for language learners. After searching for a word in your target language, you will see a YouTube video with subtitles and your target word highlighted in yellow. When you have heard the word, you can continue listening to the video or move on to the next example. You can also slow down the speed of the audio, click on a sentence in the transcript to replay it, or skip backwards 5 seconds to listen again. Sometimes you can watch over 1000 videos with your target word, other times there may only be a couple dozen available. Some languages also allow you to choose between different regional dialects, such as: French from Canada or France; Chinese from Taiwan or China; and Spanish from Spain or Latin America. You will need to search for the word in your target language, so you can check out WordReference or Linguee to get a translation. Forvo also provides audio clips of native speaker pronunciation, but with YouGlish, you can practice listening to these words in context. If you want help with reading the subtitles, you can download Readlang for on-screen translations. The Zhongwen Chrome extension will be better for Chinese learners, as it provides the pronunciation of each character as well as a definition.