Cantonese

Caption Pop Mini-Review: Use The Free Version

Caption Pop – 4 

With Caption Pop you can use YouTube videos to pursue your language learning endeavours using subtitles in both your target language and native language. Tap a single key to repeat the last caption, slow down the playback speed, and bookmark subtitles to study with SRS interactive flashcards. The flashcards will not just have you memorize words, but practice dictations with immediate feedback on your accuracy. Unfortunately there are currently some bugs in the programming, and you may only hear part of the caption you are being asked to transcribe.

You can search for Youtube videos in your target language within the Caption Pop platform, but only those videos with subtitles in both your target language and your native language are available. This means that you will rely on captions translated and transcribed by the video’s creators, which improves your language learning experience but restricts the amount of available Youtube content. Nevertheless, there is a good amount of content from popular channels in more common languages.

The free version of the platform combined with self-made Anki cards may be a better option than subscribing to the premium version, as the bugs in Caption Pop’s programming don’t seem worth the monthly payment.

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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.

Instant Immersion Mini-Review: No Longer a Good Investment

Instant Immersion – 2 

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.

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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.

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

Quick Review

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.

Teacher Quality

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

Platform

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

Value

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

Price

The prices vary by teacher and language with some being as low as $4 and others as high as $60 per hour. Most will fall somewhere near the $10 per hour range.

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

Sublearning – 1.3 

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.

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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.

Bluebird Languages Mini-Review: Over 160 Languages Available

Bluebird Languages – 3.5 

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.

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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.

Ling Review — Gamified Practice in Less Common Languages

Quick Review

3.2 

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

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

Thoroughness

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

Value

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

Languages

Over 60 languages, including less common ones like Thai, Tagalog, Serbian, Nepali, Albanian, Bulgarian, Bosnian, Finnish, and Khmer.

Price

Monthly $8.99
Annual $43.99
Lifetime $119.99

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Dino Lingo Mini-Review: Use As A Last Resort

Dino Lingo – 2 

Dino Lingo is a language learning program for children, consisting of videos and games that they can play independently at home. Dino Lingo recommends their program for children between the ages of 2 and 12, but based on the video lessons available for testing, kids over 8 will probably not find it engaging.

The videos will fully immerse your child in the language, with audio pronunciation and spelling in the target language. The main characters are dinosaurs, but each lesson also consists of both live and animated clips that illustrate vocabulary words. The clips are probably effective at introducing new vocabulary to children, however, it’s possible that the children may misunderstand the meaning of the new words based on how incoherent the images are. At one point they may think they are learning “the dog is being vacuumed”, but in fact they are learning “this is a dog.”

If you are looking for a program to support your child in learning a language but can’t find anything else, they will probably learn something from DinoLingo. However, it does not seem like a high-quality program and is also not without several editing errors. You can try a 7-day free trial before investing in it, or try out some cheaper options like Duolingo Kids or Gus On The Go.

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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.

Verbal Planet Mini-Review: Limited, But Growing

Verbal Planet – 3.5 

Verbal Planet is a platform that connects you with language tutors through Skype. They advertise easy online booking and free or discounted trial classes, allowing you to sort through tutors based on availability, price, profile, and feedback from previous students.

With each tutor you will be able to receive evaluations and track your speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (A1-C2),

While sites like iTalki and Verblang charge a 15% commission from teachers and tutors, Verbal Planet seems to charge its students a booking fee instead. Compared to other sites, however, it is currently limited in the number of tutors available, especially for less common languages.

Visit Verbal Planet

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

CantonSkill Mini-Review: Basic Cantonese Practice

CantonSkill – 3.3 

CantonSkill is a free app that provides basic Cantonese lessons similar to, but less comprehensive than, that of ChineseSkill and Duolingo. Rather than expecting you to learn through pattern recognition alone, it provides simple vocabulary and grammar explanations.

The user interface is quite basic, and there are several bugs with the voice recognition. However, even with the limited content available, it has received positive attention for thorough beginner content. If you’re looking for an introduction to Cantonese, this is a great free option.

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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.

Assimil Review — A Fresh Look at a Longstanding Resource

Quick Review

Summary

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

Quality

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

Thoroughness

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

Value

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

Languages

The majority of courses are for speakers of French, but instruction is available in 13 different source languages.

English speakers can find the popular With Ease courses in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. There are also phrasebooks and writing courses for a variety of other languages like Japanese, Chinese, and Russian.

Price

Prices vary by course. The Spanish e-course is €47.30, the Spanish With Ease book (no audio) is €25.50, and the Spanish With Ease Superpack is €71

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