Finnish

FunEasyLearn Mini-Review: Build Vocabulary The Fun Way

FunEasyLearn – 3.2 

Not only does FunEasyLearn have a slick 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 extra resources to help you learn conversational skills.

There is a lot of free content available for beginners, but with a super affordable premium membership you can access more levels and use the app offline.

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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.

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

Speakly – 4.3 

Speakly focuses on reading, listening, speaking and writing to improve your confidence in your target language. It uses a Spaced Repetition System to help you push vocabulary into your long term memory, and teaches you the 4000 most statistically-relevant words in your target language.

Before using the program, you can take a placement test to estimate how many of the 4000 most common words you already know. Then, you will be placed in one of 9 levels. You will start with a series of sentences, learning words within context and then filling in the blanks for recall. After learning several words, you will be presented with a LIVE-situation where you will recreate a dialogue with the recording of a native speaker. The dialogues are also short enough that you can listen to them repeatedly, practice speaking along with the recording, and quickly notice improvement.

Besides flashcards and dialogues, there are also reading and listening exercises with interesting content. You can download the audio to study offline, which is helpful because Speakly encourages you to listen to the same exercise 3-5 days in a row to see improvement.

One of few downsides to Speakly is that for the basic flashcard sentences, all of the narrations use automatic text-to-speech rather than native speakers’ voices.

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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.

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

lingohut – 3 

Kendal and Philipp, the creators of the LingoHut, are passionate about teaching languages; they hope to pave “a new way to experience a language through the culture that formed it”. Their resources supposedly help 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. There is 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. Some lessons also randomly switch between formal and informal language without explanation, which would not be intuitive for an A1 learner.

Additionally, although they contain a bank of useful phrases, the lessons 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.

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.

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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.

Hey! Lingo Mini-Review: Astoninshingly Affordable

HeyLingo – 3.8 

Hey! Lingo, with its flashy, modern interface, offers courses in 26 languages that are divided into 50 lessons. The first 20 lessons in every course are free, but you can buy a permanent membership, a ridiculously affordable yearly membership, or an equally as affordable monthly membership to access premium content. A premium subscription is also required to access filtering flashcard formats, focusing on which cards have been difficult for you, and specifying which cards you would like to learn in one lesson.

The lessons are composed of 10 flashcards, and each one varies in terms of which skill they are training. They contain both the official alphabet of the target language and a transliteration of the alphabet.

Hey! Lingo focuses on the most commonly used phrases and sentences, and although in many language apps this encompasses basic verbs and vocabulary, it seems that Hey! Lingo really gets 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”

It’s unclear whether the lessons provide a solid foundation for beginners. 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.

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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.

Language Learning WIth Netflix Mini-Review: Easy to Use

Language learning with Netflix – 4 

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,

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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.

Brainscape Mini-Review: Adaptive Flashcards

Brainscape – 4.5 

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.

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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.

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

(more…)

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 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.

50Languages Mini-Review: Basically an online phrasebook

50Languages – 2.8 

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.

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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.

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.

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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.