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Resources to learn Portuguese

Reviews of Portuguese 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.

  • Babbel Portuguese Review: Budget Friendly and Solid Program for Brazilian Portuguese

    Babbel Portuguese

    Rating 4.2

    Summary

    Babbel is an online language-learning platform with over 1 million active users. The Babbel Portuguese 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.


    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.

    President’s Day Sale. Get 60% off on Babbel subscriptions. See details on the website. Offer ends on 2/25/2024.

    Babbel Portuguese Overview

    Babbel is an online language learning platform that offers courses in various languages, including Portuguese. With over 10 million users worldwide, Babbel is known for its interactive and practical approach to language learning.

    It is important to note that Babbel specifically teaches Brazilian Portuguese, which is the most widely spoken variant of the language. The course focuses on both spoken and written Portuguese, covering vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and conversation skills.

  • 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.

    President’s Day Sale. Get 60% off on Babbel subscriptions. See details on the website. Offer ends on 2/25/2024.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • PortuguesePod101 Review – Great for Beginner and Intermediate Students

    PortuguesePod101

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    PortuguesePod101 is a great option for anyone looking to learn Portuguese. The platform offers its users a wide range of lessons (in podcast format) that delve into Portuguese grammar and explore the rich culture of Brazil. While the Beginner lessons are mostly in English and focus on grammar and vocabulary, the Advanced options are entirely in Portuguese. A downside is that there is no speaking involved unless you pay for the Premium Plus plan.


    Quality 3.5

    It’s confusing to navigate on all the interfaces (PC, mobile and app), but the high production value makes up for it.

    Thoroughness 4.5

    A huge range of lessons explore a plethora of subjects as the presenters explain the vocabulary and grammar.

    Value 4.0

    Great value for vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening and learning about the culture. Not so good for speaking and writing.

    I Like
    • The in-depth exploration of grammar points is very useful.
    • You learn a lot about Brazilian culture in a short period of time.
    • They look at a huge range of topics and real-life situations that will come up.
    • Good progression from the Beginner modules to the Advanced lessons.
    I Don’t Like
    • I found it quite hard to use the platform. It often took me a few tries to find what I wanted.
    • There is no way to practice speaking unless you pay for the Premium Plus plan.
    Price

    The free version allows access to most features but is limited in some ways. Paid subscriptions vary by length and type; the monthly plan is $4 for Basic, $10 for Premium, and $23 for Premium Plus. Monthly prices drop for longer subscription plans.

    Use the coupon code “ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES” to get 25% off your subscription.

    Use code: BREAKTHROUGH2024 and get up to 45% OFF Basic, Premium or Premium PLUS! Choose from 1, 3, 6, 12 or 24-month subscriptions and unlock all of ILL’s best audio lessons, video lessons, PDF lesson notes, Premium study tools and more! With Premium PLUS, you also get access to your own teacher! See details on the website. Offer ends on 2/23/24.

    Another great feature is that below each audio lesson, you will find a list of the vocabulary used. If you are struggling to remember some of the words or find some of them particularly useful, you can simply add them to one of your ‘word banks’ where you can then memorize them later on.

  • 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 Portuguese Review – Not Quite Worth the Money or Time

    Rocket Portuguese

    Rating 3.0

    Summary

    Rocket Portuguese is an online Portuguese course made up of audio and reading lessons. The course currently covers one difficulty level, which claims to bring beginning learners of Brazilian Portuguese up to an intermediate level. Interactive audio lessons and repetitive exercises provide learners with lots of practice in a variety of skills, but some may find it difficult to justify the price with how monotonous the course is. The course would work best for learners at a low level that enjoy both audio and visual content, lots of explanations, and frequent practice activities. It probably isn’t the right resource, though, for those looking for an especially engaging way to learn or those on a budget.


    Quality 3.0

    The interface is clean and easy to use, but the voice recognition could work better.

    Thoroughness 3.0

    The course is structured fairly well, but exercises are overly repetitive.

    Value 3.0

    There are certainly resources that are better worth your time and money than Rocket Portuguese.

    I Like
    • There are plenty of practice opportunities
    • There’s a slight gamification aspect to the course
    • Practice activities get you practicing a variety of skills
    I Don’t Like
    • The lessons can be quite boring
    • Culture lessons don’t contain a ton of detail
    • It’s too expensive for what it offers
    Price

    Rocket Portuguese Level One is available for a one-time price of $149.95 or $27/month for six months.

    The dashboard also features a progress bar that makes it easy to see if you’re meeting your study goals and a link to some other handy tools. It’s easy to navigate and intuitive, which is great.

  • Rosetta Stone Portuguese Review: Decent Vocabulary Builder, But No Grammar

    Rosetta Stone Portuguese

    Rating 3.2

    Summary

    Rosetta Stone Portuguese is one of the most well-known resources for learning Portuguese 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.


    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
    • Lessons progress naturally and logically.
    • Fun way to learn vocabulary.
    • Direct speaking software for pronunciation.
    I Don’t Like
    • Only offers Brazilian Portuguese
    • Full-immersion approach makes learning grammar difficult
    • High price tag – unless you like the Rosetta Stone Method and buy the Lifetime Access
    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.

    For over thirty years, Rosetta Stone has remained one of the best-known language-learning programs out there. Rosetta Stone’s Portuguese course promises to give you the language tools you need to feel confident speaking Portuguese in a real-life context. 

    The course operates via both an app and an online version. In years past, Rosetta Stone used outdated technology like CDs. The modern version allows you 24/7 access to the course, and the price has also reduced a lot in recent years.

    One of the things that sets Rosetta Stone apart from other programs is that it takes a full immersion approach and does not use any English to teach concepts. Let’s review Rosetta Stone Portuguese to find out if this approach can help you gain fluency in Portuguese!

    Pros and cons of Rosetta Stone Portuguese

    Pros of Rosetta Stone Portuguese:

    • Direct speaking software for pronunciation
    • Fun way to learn vocabulary

    Cons of Rosetta Stone Portuguese:

    • Only offers Brazilian Portuguese
    • Full immersion approach makes learning grammar difficult
    • High price tag – unless you like the Rosetta Stone Method and buy the Lifetime Access

    Things to Consider Before Buying Rosetta Stone Portuguese

    The hardest things about learning Portuguese for a native English speaker are often Portuguese grammar, Portuguese dialects, and nasal vowel sounds. 

    Because Portuguese grammar is more complex in many ways than English grammar, you may struggle unless you use a great language-learning program that breaks down the complexities into simple, understandable lessons.

    Another challenge you face in learning Portuguese is that the language sounds different in different parts of the world. European and Brazilian Portuguese are so different that they are considered different dialects. It is easier to learn Brazilian Portuguese, but this may not help you if you plan to visit Lisbon!

    Finally, Portuguese uses linguistic sounds that English does not, like nasal vowels. You can learn how to shape these sounds with your mouth, but training your ear to recognize them in the informal rush of native Portuguese conversation takes even more practice.

    Because of this, the best language-learning program to teach Portuguese should feature excellent grammar explanations, listening comprehension activities, and pronunciation practice.

    Features Rosetta Stone’s Portuguese Course

    Before you decide if Rosetta Stone Portuguese can provide the tools you need to learn the language, take a look at the key features in the course.

    Matching Structure

    Rosetta Stone lessons use a flashcard-like structure where you see, hear, or read a word or phrase, and match it to the corresponding image or word. In theory, this helps you learn the language the way a child learns her native language, by correlating images and sounds with words.

    The matching structure works fairly well for languages with many similarities to English, like Portuguese. But because the program does not use any English, you will not receive explanations about the grammar behind the words and phrases you memorize.

    Total Immersion

    Rosetta Stone does not use any English to teach Portuguese in its course. Instead, you use matching games and a gradual progression of vocabulary and ideas to learn. 

    Because of this, it lacks context. You will not learn the rules of how complex conjugations work, but you also will not learn about Brazilian vs Portuguese dialects.

    TruAccent Speech Recognition Software

    The Rosetta Stone Portuguese course includes speaking practice where you say a word or phrase into a microphone, and the program tells you if you used the correct pronunciation. 

    This great feature encourages beginner language-learnings to break out of their shell and say new words out loud. This may seem simple, but it is a big step! For a beginner, feedback on your first new words via the TruAccent software can boost your confidence and your vocabulary.

    Pricing for Rosetta Stone Portuguese

    You can purchase access to Rosetta Stone Portuguese via a subscription or a one-time purchase price. 

    • For a three-month subscription, you pay $11.99 per month
    • For a 12-month subscription, you pay 7.99 per month
    • For a lifetime subscription to all 25 languages offered by Rosetta Stone, you pay a one-time price of $179

    If you decide that Rosetta Stone Portuguese works for you, click here to purchase your subscription.

    Alternatives to Rosetta Stone Portuguese

    Rosetta Stone Portuguese provides a good introduction to vocabulary and pronunciation for a total beginner. But if you want a deeper dive, you may want to consider alternatives.

    Pimsleur Portuegese App

    Pimsleur’s app uses Spaced Repetition Theory to help you store new words and concepts in your permanent memory. This program offers both speaking practice and grammar explanations in English.

    • Pimseur’s app-based Portuguese course has a $19.95/month subscription
    • Offers both a European and a Brazilian Portuguese course
    • Provides both active listening and speaking practice

    If you want a structured, in-depth look at Portuguese including a focus on grammar, check out Pimsluer’s Portuguese app here!

    StoryLearning: Portuguese Uncovered

    The StoryLearning method uses an ongoing narrative to engage you in context-based language learning. After listening to a chapter of the story, you dive into lessons taught in English to explain grammar, reading, and writing.

    • Portuguese Uncovered has a one-time price of $297, with a free seven-day trial
    • Offers beginner and intermediate Brazilian Portuguese
    • Includes lessons on culture

    If you learn best by listening, you may want to try StoryLearning’s Portuguese Uncovered course. Click here to check out the seven-day free trial!

    Conclusion

    Portuguese has complex grammar and different vowel sounds than English, so the best language program should introduce you to solid grammar explanations and lots of listening and speaking practice. Rosetta Stone’s Portuguese course does provide speaking practice, but it falls down on the job when it comes to teaching grammar.

    The immersive approach Rosetta Stone uses helps you memorize words and phrases. But the no-English structure does not help you understand the context or Portuguese grammar rules.

    For this reason, Rosetta Stone works best for a total beginner who wants to learn a lot of vocabulary. For a serious language learner seeking a foundation in the language, a program like Pimsleur’s Portuguese app may offer a better solution.

    Related Articles:

  • 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.

  • Semantica Portuguese Review – The Most Authentic Brazilian Portuguese Resource

    Semantica Portuguese

    Rating 4.2

    Summary

    Semantica is an amazing resource for visual and aural learners looking to learn Portuguese by immersing themselves in Brazilian culture. Through their unique video lessons, Semantica does a great job in providing its users with real life scenarios that they will come across in Brazil. While some beginners may find it a challenge, those that respond well to this style of teaching will surely enjoy the lessons. There is a wealth of material to explore and a lot of room for students to progress.


    Quality 4.5

    The videos are very well produced and entertaining. The accompanying lesson materials, though useful, are not as good.

    Thoroughness 3.5

    Their coverage of real life situations is great but the grammar explanations are lacking.

    Value 4.5

    This is a unique product and definitely worth considering spending your time and money on.

    I Like
    • The video lessons were great and on the whole were very entertaining. They really immersed you in Brazilian life.
    • It is great that the vast majority of the resources and dialogue are in Portuguese.
    • The lessons progressed in difficulty with the last lessons being very hard.
    • The Semantica staff seem very helpful. They react well to users’ feedback and use it to improve the product.
    I Don’t Like
    • I think it could have done with much better grammar analysis.
    • While you can practice your pronunciation, you never get to actually speak.
    Price

    Semantica has a number of different subscription plans. Regardless of what plan you choose, all of the videos are accessible to you. The shortest option is to sign up and pay on a month-by-month basis which costs $19/month. $199 for a whole year. Past that there is the option of paying $399 for lifetime access.

    Semantica teaches Portuguese in a way that keeps you truly engaged

    When I heard about the idea behind Semantica, I was immediately intrigued. I really enjoyed using it and found the video lessons to be very entertaining; I was soon happily going from lesson to lesson following the protagonists’ storylines!

  • 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.

  • StoryLearning Brazilian Portuguese Uncovered Review

    StoryLearning Portuguese Uncovered

    Rating 4.0

    Summary

    StoryLeaning Portuguese 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 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
    • Immersive narrative structure
    • Professional tutors
    • Access to online student community
    I Don’t Like
    • No option for European Portuguese content
    • No direct speaking software
    Price

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

    StoryLearning’s Brazilian Uncovered course promises to boost your fluency to a CEFR A2 level, giving you a basic comprehension of Portuguese. This engaging course uses a narrative structure to teach grammar, vocabulary, and other key language components. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

MiniReviews of Portuguese 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.

     

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • DLI Courses Mini-Review: Free With a Strong Focus on Pronunciation

    DLI Courses

    Rating 4.3
    Price:

    $ 0.00

    Summary

    The DLI and FSI language courses are still some of the most comprehensive resources for language learning today, and probably the most comprehensive free resources you will find.  Although the DLI and FSI courses are comparable in quality, DLI courses focus more on military terminology in the later lessons, while FSI courses focus on everyday communication and communication for diplomats. Another key difference between them is that the DLI courses may go into more depth, and also seem to provide a more comprehensive guide to the study of each language; the FSI courses either have briefer explanations or dive straight into the content. Both of them have outdated content, which is understandable considering that they were developed in the mid-1900s and have scarcely been updated since then. Often the DLI courses outline clear practice strategies to reproduce your target language’s sounds. Also, depending on the language, literal translations are sometimes used so that you get accustomed to each language’s grammar structure. All the PDFs and audio files are available for download on various sites, although Live Lingua has made navigating between the material quite intuitive. If you can’t find your desired language in the DLI courses, check out the FSI courses for different options.

  • 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!  

  • Easy Portuguese Mini Review: Not Sure Why Anyone Uses This

    Easy Portuguese

    Rating 1.5
    Price:

    Free

    Summary

    Easy Portuguese is a simple website that presents a handful of vocabulary words, phrases, verb conjugations, and grammar explanations. There is no audio pronunciation anywhere on the site, nor are there any activities to promote recall or interaction. One part of the website that you may find useful is the grammar section, which explains 24 different grammar points. On the other hand, Practice Portuguese‘s free learning notes may be a better option, as they cover all of the same topics and more, with native speaker pronunciation. Overall, there are lots of other websites that are more effective at supporting your Portuguese studies. Check out Cooljugator for hundreds of Portuguese verb conjugations that include multiple examples of how to use each verb in context. If you just want useful phrases, Lingo Hut provides hundreds of them recorded by native speakers. Lastly, Portuguese Lab and Practice Portuguese provide lots of free and paid resources to support you on the road to fluency.

  • 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.

  • Instituto Camões Portuguese Mini Review

    Instituto Camões Portuguese

    Rating 3.7
    Price:

    Courses cost between €180 – €320

    Summary

    The Instituto Camões Portuguese is a website developed by the Portuguese government that offers self-study Portuguese courses for A1 – C1 learners. Each twelve-week course requires about five hours per week of self-study. The self-study modules incorporate reading, listening comprehension, and grammar, while the basic and premium plans add speaking and writing practice (with the support of a weekly or bi-weekly tutor). The courses appear to follow a natural progression through the levels, although you will probably find it difficult to go from A1 – C1 without a regular tutor. They also offer a beginner course tailored to Spanish speakers, which may accelerate your learning if you already have a strong grasp of Spanish. Although the courses are significantly more expensive than those in Practice Portuguese, the self-study program is comparable to a monthly membership with Portuguese Lab. The premium option may be helpful for the intensive learner who wants to thoroughly cover the CEFR levels. Alternatively, you could use an italki tutor with the self-study plan.  We have not tested the course ourselves, but this Reddit post includes the experience of another user.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Portuguese Lab Mini-Review: Comprehensive Paid and Free Content

    Portuguese Lab

    Rating 4.0
    Price:

    Freemium, with subscription starting at $35/month

    Summary

    The Portuguese Lab Academy has step-by-step online courses, beginner and intermediate podcasts, and YouTube videos to support you in learning European Portuguese. The Academy is a thorough, self-paced course that will teach you reading, listening, speaking and writing. There is a section dedicated to pronunciation, plus additional sections on vocabulary, listening comprehension, dialogues, verb conjugation, and A1-B2 content. The course uses a variety of mediums, such as articles, short stories, videos, and audio recordings to keep you engaged. Portuguese Lab is one of the few online courses that gives you in-depth previews of its contents. If you are already interested, the website will help you make an informed decision. Many of the free podcast episodes tell engaging stories and reenact interesting dialogues, but others are limited to lists of new vocabulary without much context or integration into something memorable. Nevertheless, it’s worth doing some digging to find the category of podcasts that works for you. The YouTube videos are essentially podcasts accompanied by a transcript, and some of them are samples from the Academy courses. If you want to learn practical European Portuguese that you can use in everyday communication, the Portuguese Lab has comprehensive tools to help you achieve your goal. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive, so you may want to check out Practice Portuguese as an equally high-quality alternative.

  • Practice Portuguese Mini Review: Learn European Portuguese

    Practice Portuguese

    Rating 4.3
    Price:

    €15/mo, €153/year

    Summary

    Practice Portuguese’s website provides podcasts, videos, conjugation exercises, grammar notes, and more for A1 – B2 learners to improve their European Portuguese. It was developed by a Portuguese-Canadian duo, which seems to allow the site to develop from both a native speaker’s and a learner’s perspective.  Full transcripts are only available through the members-only course, which includes over 100 units that continually adapt themselves to your current level. However, there are lots of free videos, podcast episodes, and learning notes for your enjoyment. The learning notes use audio recorded by native speakers to pronounce new vocabulary words, which appear as buttons with an English translation beneath them. For listening comprehension, there are audio recordings with time-stamped transcripts, a vocabulary list, and a quiz. You can listen to the recordings at 0.5x – 2x speed and click on the transcript to skip to different parts of the recording. There is also the option to download the MP3 or PDF transcript. Overall, Practice Portuguese seems most effective at improving your listening comprehension, and if you engage with the dialogues, it will probably improve your speaking abilities, too. There is no free trial, but you can try Practice Portuguese with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Portuguese Lab is a similar, equally high-quality option with a free trial, but it is twice the cost of Practice Portuguese.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.