Michelle

Mini-Review of Progress with Lawless French: Grammar + AI

Progress with Lawless French – 3.6 

Progress with Lawless French is a branded French study program created in partnership between the Kwiziq platform and the Lawless French site. This program concentrates primarily on grammar, including prepositions, articles, agreement, and verb conjugations.

There is a free membership tier with limited options. The program also offers a few options for a paid membership level. The longer your subscription term, the less you pay per month.

The program starts with a French placement test, based on the CEFR levels. You can then access lessons, quizzes, listening and dictation exercises, and writing challenges.

Grammar is taught primarily through text-based lessons, with examples and audio clips, and tested with micro-quizzes. The lessons include a question forum, with answers from both Kwiziq staff and community members. There are lots of metrics to show your progress, although some of them are not intuitive.

The grammar lessons seem very thorough and well-organized. There appears to be no speaking component to the program, however. If you’d like to practice your speaking and listening comprehension, you can start out at the Bavardons! (Let’s Chat!) membership level of the main Lawless French site, which also has plenty of free vocab and grammar reference material in a blog format.

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The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

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

Italian in Your Pocket – 3.8 

Program Summary

The Italian in Your Pocket program offers a mini-course, a series of training videos, and two membership tiers for learners (paid monthly).

The paid, monthly access level was not tested for this mini-review. Based on previews and testimonials, the program appears to be very thorough and well-organized.

Program Features (Monthly Access)

  • Downloadable lessons with dialogues
  • Synchronized audio (phrases highlighted as dialogue audio plays)
  • Progress checks
  • Coaching calls with a native speaker (VIP level)
  • Access to a private Facebook community (VIP level)

Considerations/Areas for Improvement

  • Prices would be high for most casual learners
    • 30-day, money-back guarantee offered
    • No “try-before-you-buy” options
  • No mobile app seems to exist for the program
    • Subscribers are given instructions for mobile access

Overall Impressions

The program doesn’t promote itself as being a fast learning solution, but a thorough one. Learners are asked spend 30 to 60 minutes daily on their Italian in Your Pocket lessons, much of which is audio material.

This is obviously a program for serious, dedicated Italian learners. While it’s a greater investment of time and money compared to other Italian courses, it seems well-designed. Its focus on Italian conversation and culture could give it extra value for learners.

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

A Wealth of Courses, Apps, and Media for Mastering Romanian

romanian-countryside

When you think of Romance languages, you probably think about French. Or Spanish. Or Italian. Or Portuguese.

Despite the clue in the name of the language, Romanian may not come to mind.

Romanian is spoken as a native language by over 20 million people in Romania and three million more in Moldova. It’s a Romance language in the middle of a primarily Slavic linguistic neighborhood — surrounded by four Slavic Indo-European languages (Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and Serbian) and a Uralic language (Hungarian).

About four million more people speak it as an auxiliary language. Romanian has speakers all over the world, in places as far-flung as North America, Australia, Israel, and Finland.

Even though Romanian is spoken by nearly thirty million people worldwide, it still sometimes gets confused with similar-sounding but unrelated languages. Romanian is not a form of Romani (an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the traveling Roma people), Romang (an Indonesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family), or Romansh (a Western Romance language spoken in Switzerland).

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Quizlet Mini-Review: A Flashcard/Quiz App for Many Languages

Quizlet – 3.2 

Quizlet is a flashcard-based learning system. Community-contributed flashcards are available for numerous languages. These vary in quality, but you can preview them to see how well they meet your needs.

Each set of flashcards powers other activities: In Learn mode, you demonstrate your mastery of each word or phrase by using multiple choice to select the correct definition. There are also spelling and writing exercises. The spelling exercises can be frustrating, as they sometimes require the addition of alternate word endings that are not always pronounced by the speaker. A space-themed word game and a “Concentration”-style matching game inject some extra fun into your study time.

Recent changes to Quizlet mean that you are now required to sign in to use the flashcard sets. As Quizlet is now promoting two premium plans — the modestly priced “Quizlet Plus” and the less-expensive “Quizlet Go” — you may encounter several promotions for these paid versions. We have not tried the paid tier at this time.

Overall, Quizlet can be a fun, effective way to learn new vocabulary. It has the tools to help with auditory comprehension and spelling in your target language. It covers many languages, even some harder-to-find ones. However, not all of the flashcard sets are high quality.

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The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Comme une Française Mini-Review: Understanding French Culture

Comme une Française – 4.5 

Comme une Française helps non-native speakers understand the subtleties of the living language and emphasizes how French people really speak day-to-day. The many free lessons feature engaging videos, as well as a written transcripts with extra material. There are several premium plans, which we have not yet tried. These premium plans focus on different aspects such as speaking, conjugation, and “insider French.”

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The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

lernu!: A Natural Choice for Learning a Synthetic Language

lernu! – 4.3 

lernu! is a free, multifaceted online resource for learning the synthetic language Esperanto. In addition to a series of story-driven lessons that test and reinforce your learning with a variety of interactive exercises, there’s a multimedia library with stories and music for Esperanto learners at different levels. Human narration is used throughout to teach you Esperanto pronunciation. The language’s grammar and pronunciation are explained succinctly, with expanded notes for those who wish to dig deeper. There’s also a social aspect, with an active forum and the chance to befriend other learners online. The only thing that seems to be missing is a speaking component.

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

Your One-Stop Guide to Learning Punjabi

Where the rivers Ravi, Chenab, Sutlej, Jhelum, and Beas run in the north of the Indian subcontinent, the lilting tones of the Punjabi language flow like melodies weaving through the centuries.

Perhaps you’ve heard the call from the Punjab, the “Land of the Five Rivers,” to learn to speak this ancient tongue. Maybe you’re traveling to the Punjab, doing business there, or just wanting to speak with family and friends around the world in their native language.

Whatever your motivation for learning Punjabi, we’ll explore many resources that you can use to study and master it.

First, let’s discover more about the history and characteristics of this unique Indo-European language.

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Pinoy Playbook: Tips and Resources for Learning Filipino

If you’ve ever visited the boondocks or feared getting cooties, you’ve used words of Filipino origin.

“Boondock” derives from the Tagalog word bundok (mountain), and “cooties” comes from kuto, a Tagalog word meaning “lice.”

Admittedly, English hasn’t gotten a lot of loanwords from Filipino.

The reverse, however, is not true. Filipino has absorbed a significant percentage of its vocabulary from English — a fact that will be an enormous help to you as a learner of Filipino.

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Hrvatski Handbook: Your Complete Guide to Learning Croatian

When did the Croatian language begin? Was it during the Bronze Age, as the future fruit of the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages tree?

Or was the Croatian language really born after the breakup of Yugoslavia?

The answer, tantalizingly, is both.

A Little about the Croatian Language

Croatian is a standardized form of Serbo-Croatian. It comes from the Eastern-Herzegovinian dialect, called Shtokavian (a/k/a Štokavian or Stokavian). It’s the most-used dialect of the Serbo-Croatian pluricentric language.

The Croatian language, known as hrvatski, is tied to the Croat ethnic group, who hail from the South Slavic countries. Croatian is one of the official languages of the European Union, with about five to seven million speakers worldwide.

Croatian is the official language of:

●       Croatia
●       Vojvodina, an autonomous province in northern Serbia
●       Bosnia and Herzegovina
●       Burgenland, a sparsely populated state in Austria

Thanks to the second wave of the Croatian Diaspora, Croatian has minority language status in the following places:

●       Italy
●       Montenegro
●       Baranya County in Hungary
●       Czech Republic
●       Slovakia
●       Caraş-Severin County in Romania

In addition to several countries and territories in Eastern Europe, it’s also spoken in South America, Canada, the United States, South Africa, and Australia. This is not too surprising since there are about as many Croatians living outside of their homeland as there are within its borders.

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Learning Bengali: From Bangla Beginner to Advanced Learner

Pop quiz: What are the ten most spoken languages in the world?

If you had to name them—without Googling, consulting the Oracle at Wikipedia, or conferring with Siri—what would be on your list?

Chinese, definitely. English, almost certainly. You might think Arabic or Hindi. Spanish would probably be high on the list.

You’d be right on all counts.

But you’d be forgetting the language of over 228 million people: Bengali. (more…)