Arabic

14 Best Arabic Courses: Stories, Dialogues, Reading, and More!

You may be getting ready to take your first steps in learning Arabic—or, you may have been studying for a while but are seeking more structure in your studies. With about 30 varieties of Arabic to learn, it can be difficult to know where to look for guidance.

Though there are not many comprehensive courses available to Arabic learners, we’ve collected some great picks to support your studies. Even some of our lower-rated suggestions may provide inspiration and motivation. 

Whether you’re learning for everyday communication, making new friends, or reading the Quran, you’ll likely find something enjoyable and educational on this list. So let’s get started!

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4/5
Price: $14.95 OR $19.95/MONTH
Interactive audio lessons with speaking practice

If you are keen to get speaking from day one, Pimsleur’s audio courses may be just what you’re looking for. You won’t spend much time reading or writing in Arabic, but you will learn to have basic conversations relatively quickly. 

The course uses backchaining to rapidly improve your pronunciation and fluidity. It also effectively builds on each of the previous lessons, so you won’t feel lost moving from the beginner to advanced levels. 

Through interacting with dialogues and responding to prompts from the narrator, you will soon be speaking full sentences in Arabic. You can also top up your skills with some quizzes and flashcards, though these aren’t necessary to succeed in the course.

Pros

  • Structured lessons
  • Practical speaking practice
  • Intuitive user interface

Cons

  • May be a bit slow for some learners
  • No reading or writing practice
  • No real-world listening comprehension practice
4.2/5
Price: $8-$47/MONTH
arabicpod101
Hundreds of audio lessons with flashcards and transcripts

If you want to learn Arabic and gain insight into Arab culture, look no further than ArabicPod101. With comprehensive grammar explanations, lesson notes, transcripts, and quizzes, you can enjoy many hours of learning in one place.

You won’t have to worry about repetitive topics with the numerous lesson paths to choose from. You also won’t get bored listening to the hosts, as their interactions with each other and their listeners are both friendly and personable.

Some lessons appear more like phrasebook dictionaries, but you can pick through dozens of lesson paths to see which one suits you best.

Pros

  • Lots of content in multiple dialects
  • Hosts have a nice dynamic
  • There is less English as the lessons progress
  • Great cultural context

Cons

  • Not very structured
  • The website is a bit confusing and has lots of advertisements
  • Not much speaking or writing practice
3.3/5
Price: $9.99/month for Premium, $13.99/month for Premium Plus
Structured design with speaking and writing practice

Busuu’s Arabic course leaves a lot to be desired, but it can be both fun and educational if you already have a basic understanding of grammar and pronunciation. There are about 115 lessons that follow a logical progression and loosely adhere to the CEFR scale. Each lesson teaches practical language that you can use in your everyday life. 

If you have no background in Arabic, you’ll likely find it more difficult to follow along. The course teaches you through quizzes and repetition, but it makes little room for you to understand grammar or pronunciation before advancing to the next topic. Luckily they provide both the Arabic script and romanized script, so you won’t have to learn to write before using the app. 

One awesome feature that Busuu provides is the opportunity to practice your writing and speaking skills with fellow community members. Busuu invites free and paid users alike to interact with each other through correcting exercises in their native language. 

Our rating for Busuu would be higher if it wasn’t for the Arabic and Chinese courses, but it’s still a fine resource to provide structure and keep you motivated.

Pros

  • The design is engaging and the interface is easy to use
  • Conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is free

Cons

  • Some exercises don’t include translations
  • Grammar explanations aren’t the best
3.2/5
Price: $30/MONTH, $299.88/YEAR
Glossika Logo
Speaking and listening practice for intermediate learners

Glossika won’t teach you explicit grammar rules, pronunciation, or the Arabic script—but if you enjoy learning through repetition and speaking, you may enjoy its extensive phrase bank. 

This resource uses spaced repetition to drill key phrases, then invites you to practice what you’ve learned through dictation and speaking exercises. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet learned the Arabic script, as you can read and type the romanized characters. 

Though Glossika will familiarize you with the Arabic language through extensive repetition, this isn’t the best resource if you are looking for dynamic practice and direct instruction for grammar and pronunciation.

Pros

  • Vocabulary covers a wide range of topics
  • Uses spaced repetition
  • Has audio recorded by native speakers

Cons

  • Expensive for what it offers
  • No grammar explanations
  • Can get too repetitive
  • Doesn’t break down pronunciation
4.3/5
Price: FREE
Understand Arabic without memorization

Don’t worry about having to memorize extensive vocabulary lists or drill repetitive phrases.
With Language Transfer you’ll problem solve, deconstruct and build your own sentences, and identify patterns in the Arabic language. The goal is to understand Arabic—not memorize it—making you more confident to tackle more advanced material in your future studies.

This course is for beginners with little to no exposure to Arabic and is entirely audio based. You won’t need to take notes, but you will need focus to engage with Mihalis’s practice activities and prompts.

The best part? It’s 100% free.

Pros

  • Free
  • Has well-structured lessons
  • Thoughtfully developed

Cons

  • No native speakers
  • Uses a lot of English
  • The pace might be too slow for some learners
4.3/5
Price: $11.99/MONTH OR $55.99/YEAR

Who wouldn’t want to learn Arabic in the company of an adorable deer with glasses?

If you’ve tried Duolingo, you’ll be familiar with LingoDeer’s format. But, you may be pleasantly surprised to find something that Duolingo’s Arabic course has yet to develop: detailed grammar explanations. LingoDeer adds short readings to its gamified format so you can get more out of your studies.

It may be difficult to get through the first four lessons of unit one without prior knowledge of the Arabic alphabet, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be home free to learn basic conversational topics.

Keep in mind that the Arabic course is still in the beta phase. They currently have 30 units for total beginners, but you may want to hold off on getting a membership if you are looking for more than the absolute basics. Luckily, you can also test out several lessons without signing up to see if you like it.

Pros

  • Detailed grammar explanations
  • Native speaker audio
  • Fun

Cons

  • Limited speaking practice
  • Only has content for absolute beginners
  • Need to look elsewhere to practice the Arabic script

FSI and DLI courses

4.3/5
Price: Free
Outdated but comprehensive courses for multiple dialects

The Foreign Services Institute (FSI) and Defense Language Institute (DLI) are probably the most comprehensive, free language learning resources in the world. Unfortunately, they are also very outdated.

With the FSI’s moderate focus on politics and the DLI’s attention to military terminology, you will probably need to learn and forget several sections of the course. But, if you are motivated and disciplined, you can follow in the steps of past diplomats who persevered through hundreds of hours of self-study course material. Your hard work will pay off when you have your first conversation with an Arabic speaker—though you may want to spend time listening to recent podcasts or videos to update your vocabulary beforehand.

Beginners can choose a dialect and start studying today. If you already speak Egyptian or Levantine Arabic, the FSI’s Comparative Arabic Course will help you transition into the other dialect.

Pros

  • Free
  • Teaches multiple dialects
  • Courses are structured and comprehensive

Cons

  • Can be dry and boring
  • Outdated and sexist language
4.3/5
Price: free
Learn the Arabic Alphabet

Arabic Quick! dedicates its text-based lessons to teaching you the Arabic script. It has an attractive, colorful interface that gives you clear structure for your learning and is probably the most comprehensive free guide you’ll find on the internet.

The lessons are dedicated to each letter of the alphabet, which are broken down by how they are written at the start, middle, and end of a word. You’ll find examples and explanations for different pronunciation rules, plus mnemonic devices to easily remember how each letter is written. Arabic Quick! also helps you compare differences between similar-looking letters so you are prepared to avoid mixing them up in the future.

This is a great place to start or continue your studies of the Arabic script. It can easily be used alongside other resources that teach you conversational Arabic.

Pros

  • Detailed explanations of how to write each letter
  • Color-coded examples 
  • Helps you remember each letter and the differences between them

Cons

  • No quizzes or writing exercises
  • Very little audio pronunciation
  • Requires a lot of reading
4.2/5
Price: $8-$47/MONTH
arabicpod101
Hundreds of audio lessons with flashcards and transcripts

If you want to learn Arabic and gain insight into Arab culture, look no further than ArabicPod101. With comprehensive grammar explanations, lesson notes, transcripts, and quizzes, you can enjoy many hours of learning in one place.

You won’t have to worry about repetitive topics with the numerous lesson paths to choose from. You also won’t get bored listening to the hosts, as their interactions with each other and their listeners are both friendly and personable.

Some lessons appear more like phrasebook dictionaries, but you can pick through dozens of lesson paths to see which one suits you best.

Pros

  • Lots of content in multiple dialects
  • Hosts have a nice dynamic
  • There is less English as the lessons progress
  • Great cultural context

Cons

  • Not very structured
  • The website is a bit confusing and has lots of advertisements
  • Not much speaking or writing practice
4/5
Price: $14.95 OR $19.95/MONTH
Interactive audio lessons with speaking practice

If you are keen to get speaking from day one, Pimsleur’s audio courses may be just what you’re looking for. You won’t spend much time reading or writing in Arabic, but you will learn to have basic conversations relatively quickly. 

The course uses backchaining to rapidly improve your pronunciation and fluidity. It also effectively builds on each of the previous lessons, so you won’t feel lost moving from the beginner to advanced levels. 

Through interacting with dialogues and responding to prompts from the narrator, you will soon be speaking full sentences in Arabic. You can also top up your skills with some quizzes and flashcards, though these aren’t necessary to succeed in the course.

Pros

  • Structured lessons
  • Practical speaking practice
  • Intuitive user interface

Cons

  • May be a bit slow for some learners
  • No reading or writing practice
  • No real-world listening comprehension practice
4/5
Price: Free
duolingo
A fun way to dip your toes into learning Arabic

If you’ve been too intimidated to start learning Arabic, you’re in luck. Though Duolingo’s Arabic course has less than 50 sections, it may be one of the more fun options to start learning the basics.

The lessons teach you through patterns and repetition, and you’ll probably have to follow along with a pen and pencil to get the most out of each lesson. But, the supportive owl and gamified format will ensure that you won’t get bored.

Once you’ve learned a bit of the script, you can progress through the learning tree to acquire new vocabulary and grammar structures.

Duolingo won’t teach you very practical language, and you’ll have to look elsewhere to learn the more complex aspects of the Arabic script. But, it will help you dip your toes in the language without getting discouraged.

Pros

  • Free
  • The gamified aspect is fun and potentially motivating
  • The repetition builds basic skills
  • Makes the Arabic script unintimidating for new learners

Cons

  • Only teaches the basics of the Arabic script
  • Impractical language
  • Only teaches Modern Standard Arabic
3.5/5
Price: $7.99/month for one language, $17.99 for all languages
Mango-languages-Logo
Learn both formal and colloquial Arabic

Though Mango Languages isn’t usually our first choice for resource recommendations, its Arabic courses are surprisingly high-quality for beginners. Not only do they teach Modern Standard Arabic, but they also teach three different dialects: Egyptian, Iraqi, and Levantine. This way you’ll be able to engage in both formal and informal communication.

With 5 separate units and hundreds of lessons, you’ll go from making introductions to talking about your feelings and career. You’ll probably be able to have simple conversations by your last lesson, but the lack of attention to grammar means that you’ll need to look elsewhere to have more complex discussions.

This resource also has a unique feature that compares your voice recording to the original speaker in real time. By playing the recordings simultaneously, you can make a more accurate assessment of your pronunciation.

Pros

  • You can compare your voice in real time to the original audio recording
  • Some libraries offer it for free in the US and Canada
  • Effective drilling of new concepts
  • Cultural explanations

Cons

  • Material only covers the beginner level
  • Lack of grammar explanations
3.3/5
Price: $9.99/month for Premium, $13.99/month for Premium Plus
Structured design with speaking and writing practice

Busuu’s Arabic course leaves a lot to be desired, but it can be both fun and educational if you already have a basic understanding of grammar and pronunciation. There are about 115 lessons that follow a logical progression and loosely adhere to the CEFR scale. Each lesson teaches practical language that you can use in your everyday life. 

If you have no background in Arabic, you’ll likely find it more difficult to follow along. The course teaches you through quizzes and repetition, but it makes little room for you to understand grammar or pronunciation before advancing to the next topic. Luckily they provide both the Arabic script and romanized script, so you won’t have to learn to write before using the app. 

One awesome feature that Busuu provides is the opportunity to practice your writing and speaking skills with fellow community members. Busuu invites free and paid users alike to interact with each other through correcting exercises in their native language. 

Our rating for Busuu would be higher if it wasn’t for the Arabic and Chinese courses, but it’s still a fine resource to provide structure and keep you motivated.

Pros

  • The design is engaging and the interface is easy to use
  • Conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is free

Cons

  • Some exercises don’t include translations
  • Grammar explanations aren’t the best
3.2/5
Price: $30/MONTH, $299.88/YEAR
Glossika Logo
Speaking and listening practice for intermediate learners

Glossika won’t teach you explicit grammar rules, pronunciation, or the Arabic script—but if you enjoy learning through repetition and speaking, you may enjoy its extensive phrase bank. 

This resource uses spaced repetition to drill key phrases, then invites you to practice what you’ve learned through dictation and speaking exercises. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet learned the Arabic script, as you can read and type the romanized characters. 

Though Glossika will familiarize you with the Arabic language through extensive repetition, this isn’t the best resource if you are looking for dynamic practice and direct instruction for grammar and pronunciation.

Pros

  • Vocabulary covers a wide range of topics
  • Uses spaced repetition
  • Has audio recorded by native speakers

Cons

  • Expensive for what it offers
  • No grammar explanations
  • Can get too repetitive
  • Doesn’t break down pronunciation
3/5
Price: From $8 – $47/month, less for longer subscriptions
A massive lesson library and thorough explanations

It’s difficult to find comprehensible input for beginners that gets incrementally more difficult. Usually, podcasts and resources divide their content into three or four levels; Arabic Workshop, on the other hand, divides its content into 15 difficulty levels from beginner (A1) to intermediate (B1). 

You can listen to short monologues or dialogues about practical, everyday topics with animated drawings. Or, you can read along with an interactive transcript. Though the lower levels take most of the content, the team behind this resource seems to be continually adding to the library. 

Keep in mind that other than listening to the audio multiple times or doing self-study activities, Arabic Workshop doesn’t add anything to reinforce what you have learned. Also, the transcripts only have translations for individual words and no romanized script. 

Check out some of the free sample videos before subscribing to a monthly membership.

Pros

  • Manageable jumps in difficulty
  • One of the few resources with comprehensible input for beginners
  • Teaches practical vocabulary

Cons

  • No full-sentence translations
  • No activities to reinforce what you have learned
  • Expensive for what it offers
2.8/5
Price: free
For learners studying the Quran

If you are learning Arabic to communicate in your everyday life, you’ll definitely want to look to other resources. But, if you are interested in learning classical Arabic to read the Quran, then you can use Madinah Arabic as a free, comprehensive resource.

With some self-discipline you can learn a lot from the text-based lessons and quizzes. Start with the Arabic script or dive into almost a hundred beginner lessons. There are also vocabulary lists with animations showing how to write specific words.

The website design feels a bit clumsy, and it isn’t very pleasing to the eye. But, the lessons are free and can provide your studies with some structure.

Pros

  • Free
  • Very comprehensive

Cons

  • Unattractive user interface
  • Won’t teach you to speak Arabic
  • Not very engaging
2.7/5
Price: $36/QUARTER; UP TO $179 FOR A LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION
Expensive and repetitive, but helpful for beginners

Though Rosetta Stone can get a bit repetitive, stick around if you’re a total beginner looking to develop a strong foundation of basic vocabulary and sentence structure.

Rosetta Stone has excellent audio quality recorded by native speakers, plus a logical progression from one lesson to the next. You’ll spend a lot of your time matching pictures and words, and no time building sentences or reading grammar explanations. This makes it a better option for individuals looking to learn grammar and vocabulary through immersion.

Recently, some extra features have been added to the resource’s curriculum. The Stories feature invites you to simultaneously read and listen to various texts, then record yourself reading aloud. And, instead of providing translations for keywords, you’ll see images to ensure you maintain an immersion environment.

Also, if you subscribe to Lifetime Plus, you can join other learners in 25-minute lessons with live tutors. These lessons focus on specific units, so you can pick one that directly relates to what you are learning.

Given the limited course options currently available for Arabic learners, Rosetta Stone is actually a fine choice to help you establish a foundation of basic Arabic.

Pros

  • Helps you learn basic vocabulary
  • Lessons get increasingly difficult
  • Interesting stories for reading, listening, and speaking practice
  • Livestream tutor if you subscribe to Lifetime Plus

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Repetitive format
  • Nothing for advanced learners
2.7/5
Price: £59 – £250
Maybe suitable for some learners

We wouldn’t recommend Arabic Online to total beginners, but their Advanced Arabic and Grammar Explorer courses may be helpful to intermediate learners. With interactive activities and texts, you’ll practice sentence building, reading comprehension, and grammar.

Unfortunately, we found that the beginner levels repeated several of the same themes and weren’t very engaging. These levels also had a lot of bugs in their programming.

If you’d like to try something new and just want to keep motivated, you can give Arabic Online a go. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to check out the other resources we recommend.

Pros

  • Reading comprehension activities at higher levels
  • Specifically designed for Arabic learners

Cons

  • Repeats a limited variety of themes
  • Lots of bugs that slow down the website
  • Expensive for what it offers
  • Dashboard is confusing

17 Awesome Podcasts for Your Arabic Studies

Though most language learning resources teach Modern Standard Arabic, the spoken Arabic you might hear in the real world depends on the regional dialect. Arabic podcasts will help turn your textbook Arabic into something to connect with people in everyday life. Plus, they provide an excellent means of improving your listening comprehension and getting to know Arab culture.

With some digging, we managed to find these 17 podcasts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners alike. Though most of them focus on Levantine and Egyptian Arabic, many touch on other dialects as well. With the wide range of topics and thoughtful lessons available, we’re sure that you’ll find something to enrich your communication.

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Best Apps for Learning Arabic in 2021 – We’ve Tested Dozens

It’s one of the world’s most widely-spoken languages, but it’s still considered mysterious by many for its right-to-left script and unique looking characters. Discovering Arabic and developing an understanding in it can be as rewarding as it is intimidating, and there are many ways to go about it.

We’ve already compiled a list of the best online courses for learning Arabic as well as a list of the best podcasts for studying the language. This time, we’ll take a look at the best apps to help you with your language learning journey.

As this list only includes resources that are available as apps, it leaves out some quality options that simply lack mobile capability.

It’s also worth noting that this list doesn’t cover every app trying to teach the language. Instead, we’ve pulled from the great many we’ve tested ourselves, plus some that are commonly recommended, and grouped them into categories based on what they do best. Hopefully, it will help narrow the field a bit and point you in the right direction.

General Courses as Apps

Best for Developing Communication Skills: Pimsleur

Best Free Way to Get Started: Madinah Arabic

Best Free Gamified Course: Duolingo

Apps for Learning Vocabulary

Most Fun Way to Learn Vocabulary: Memrise

Most Customizable Way to Practice Vocabulary: Anki

Best Way to Learn Vocabulary From Context: Clozemaster

Best Dictionary App: Hans Wehr

Apps for Practicing Reading and Listening

Best Podcast-Style Lessons: ArabicPod101

Best Reading Content: LingQ

Best for Reading Alongside Your Native Language: Beelinguapp

Best Radio App: Radio Arabic

Best for Learning the Arabic Alphabet: Arabic Alphabet

Apps for Practicing Speaking and Writing

Best for Feedback on Writing: italki

Apps for Tutors and Language Exchange

Best for Online Tutors: italki

Best for Language Exchange Partners: Tandem and HelloTalk

Best for Help with Random Questions: HiNative

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Mondly

Quick Review

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

Both the interface and the course itself could be designed better.

Thoroughness

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

Value

It’s fairly inexpensive.

Price

There are three plans…
$9.99 per month for one language
$47.99 per year ($4/mo) for one language
$47.99 per year ($4/mo) for all languages

Strangely, I was able to access multiple languages even though I only signed up for one month at $9.99.

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Lang Workbooks

Price: $5.99

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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.

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LingQ

Quick Review

Summary:

LingQ is a language learning platform that makes it easy to read and listen to interesting content at varying difficulty levels. As you read, words will be marked as known and LingQ tracks the total number of words you “know”. The content comes from lots of different places with very little of it being original. They also make it very easy to upload your own content.

Quality

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

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

Value

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

Languages

Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, English, Korean, French, Russian, German, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Greek, Polish, Esperanto, Belarusian, Latin, Ukrainian. There are also 20 additional languages in Beta.

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.

However, after exploring every function I could find, I realized that the reading tool has several useful functions for anyone trying to learn a language through extensive reading. Most importantly, it makes reading in other languages feel manageable.

The site has three main pages: Lessons, Tutors, and Community. Within them, you can find free and purchasable lessons, coins, an avatar, writing exchanges, a community forum, audio playlists, and challenges.

I mostly used LingQ for reading in Spanish and dabbled in French, Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, and Korean.

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AmazingTalker

2.5 
Price: From around $10 per 50-minute class

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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.

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Verbling

Quick Review

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.

Teacher Quality 

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

Platform 

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

Value

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

Languages

Verbling lists 65 different languages on their platform, from Spanish and Mandarin Chinese through to Twi and Berber. Not all of them have available teachers, however.

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.

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Olly Richards Short Stories

Price: Kindle books start at $6.55

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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.

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Internet Polyglot

1.3 
Price: Free

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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.

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