French

uTalk Review – Learn Set Phrases But Not A Language

Quick Review

3.2 

Summary

uTalk is a software program and mobile app offering learning material in over 140 languages. Its approach is based on learning set keywords and phrases through gameplay. It covers a wide range of set phrases and offers pronunciation practice. It does not offer any in-depth language instruction or grammar.
uTalk is most useful for people who want to learn key phrases in a new language and aren’t interested in a more comprehensive understanding.

Quality

The app is very user-friendly, and the content is mostly useful, but the features are limited.

Thoroughness

The opportunities for focused practice are somewhat lacking.

Value

The price is very low, and there’s a decent amount of content, but there are more time-efficient ways to learn.

Price

$2.99/month on a monthly basis and can be canceled at any time
$1.67/month for a year-long subscription
$1.00/month for a two-year subscription

*This is the price for the more popular languages like Spanish, German, Arabic, etc. Less common languages such as Afrikaans and Tibetan cost slightly more.

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Ouino Review – My Experience Testing Their Spanish Course

Quick Review

4.2 

Summary:

Ouino is a software program and mobile app with more than 500 lessons and 1,000 exercises in Spanish, French, Italian, and German. 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

The usability and content quality are great, but the layout and structure of the exercises take a minute to get used to.

Thoroughnes

The lessons explain the topics in depth and give several examples.

Value

A lot of solid content and useful exercises are included for a relatively low cost.

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

VISIT OUINO FOR SPANISHFRENCHGERMAN, OR ITALIAN

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Living Language Online Course Review – Not Very Good

Quick Review

2.7 

Summary:

Living Language provides numerous learning materials for multiple languages, including complete and essential courses that come with textbooks and CDs. They also have specialty courses covering business, travel, and several jobs. However, their standard online version isn’t very practical, and it’s difficult to tell if you’re actually learning or simply going through the motions. While the resource might be useful for those who want access to a large vocab list with grammar reading materials, there are better, cheaper options.

Quality

Though the information itself is useful, Living Language’s presentation reads more like a database than an educational/interactive tool.

Thoroughness

Again, a lot of the information is there, but it’s scattered. Additionally, some of that information appears incorrect.

Value

Cheaper options offer the same amount of content with more interactive features.

Price

An annual plan costs $150, and half a year costs $75. Three months is $50 and 1 month is $39.

Languages: American Sign Language, Arabic, Dothraki, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, and Vietnamese

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.

 

After making your choice, you’ll start with Lesson 1.

Each lesson will include flashcards all related to a specific topic, such as food or clothing. The flashcards will feature the word in your chosen language beside a picture, and if you click on it, you can hear that word spoken. Once you complete the flashcards, you’ll move onto a grammar/vocab summary, followed by more flashcards.

Then, you’ll end the level by listening to a conversation and playing some games.

In truth, you can hop around these lessons as well, starting with the games and ending with Vocabulary 1 or 2. You can also hop in, listen to Vocabulary 2, and then switch to a different category entirely. Though the site provides a suggested order, it has no qualms with you following your own plan.

The number of lessons per category varies, as does the amount of words per level. Additionally, the games are worth certain percentage points, and your completion rate will go up as you work your way through them. You’ll also earn badges, medals, and stickers each time you beat a game.

However, as previously stated, simply beating a game doesn’t mean that you’re learning.

Getting Started with the Online Course

It’s fairly simple to get started with Living Language. Rather than sign up, you can opt for the free week option. I’d certainly suggest this option, as it will give you an idea of whether or not the site is right for you. However, it’s worth noting that the free version is limited to a few lessons from the Essential category.

After signing up, you can dive right into the learning materials. As previously stated, you can start with any category or level. You can even jump directly into the games. Of course, going in order makes the most sense for a beginner, and it might also be useful for someone more advanced; it can be hard to predict which lessons cover which words, and if you skip around, you might miss something important.

 

Lessons and Games

Assuming you attempt the lessons in order, the first lesson includes vocabulary flashcards on the topic of Greetings.

You can mark these cards as “Send to Mastered,” signifying that you know them fully. However, mastering a material doesn’t appear to change anything; it simply results in the word being removed from rotation. Once all the cards in a lesson are marked as Mastered, you have the chance to put them back in the rotation by choosing “Send to Study.”

After completing this vocab section, you’ll move onto reading material about the vocabulary and/or grammar you’ve learned. From there, you’ll listen to a conversation, which might bring in words you haven’t learned before. Oddly, the speaker’s gender doesn’t always match the speaker’s honorific (ex. a male speaker would sometimes speak for someone with the honorific Mademoiselle).

The games are definitely the most entertaining part of the site in my opinion.

There’s a large variety, including word searches, sentence builders, and fill in the blanks. You can also pop bubbles or answer multiple-choice questions in order to defeat a dragon.

At first, I enjoyed the games and felt like I was doing well with the material. However, after several rounds, the novelty of these games wore off. Additionally, it’s easy to guess the correct answers to several of the games, meaning you might win without really covering the material. I wasn’t trying to outsmart the games — I was simply trying to win them. In this case, winning has nothing to do with comprehension or retention; it simply meant I’d figured out the patterns.

My French knowledge is fairly basic, but I was able to complete several games in the Advanced category without reading any of the lessons beforehand.

If you complete a game with minimal errors, you’ll earn a gold badge. If you win with several errors, you’ll earn a silver or bronze badge. You’ll also earn a certain amount of percentage points, which appear on the home page under each category. And after multiple wins of the same game-type, you’ll start collecting badges.

Admittedly, I was curious to see what badges were available, and I think they work as a fun incentive. In this way, Living Language is kind of like a video game where you want to achieve 100% completion–but again, this isn’t necessarily helpful when trying to gauge your knowledge of the materials.

Once you finish your first grouping of lessons, you’ll move onto the next level, which will be based on a different subject. From there on, there’s not much variation in lesson set-up: it’s flashcards, a summary, a conversation, and games. It should also be noted that you have to click on the games yourself, or the lesson will simply skip them and move onto the next set of flashcards.

Oddly, some of the images don’t seem to align with the vocab. While I didn’t notice a ton of errors, it was enough to make me worry about the correctness of other translations, especially because of errors other users spotted.

 

Plans and Prices

Along with the monthly version, you can also purchase annual plans, 6-month plans, and 3-month plans. Value-wise, the 6-month plan and annual plan cost the same when looking at the price per month, whereas the 1-month plan is the most expensive and the 3-month plan falls somewhere between them.

A one month subscription costs $39, 3 months costs $50, 6 months costs $75, and 1 year costs $150.

Some languages don’t offer monthly versions, while others offer specialty courses for travel or specific occupations. For instance, Spanish lessons are available in Business for three-month increments at $60.

Furthermore, traditional book and CD sets are available at various price points. As I didn’t use these options, I can’t speak to their value, though reviews on Amazon are mixed.

Final Thoughts

Living Language provides several resources for language learning, including online courses, specialty courses, and CD/textbook options. While I can’t speak to all of these resources, the French Comprehensive course wasn’t very useful for me. The flashcards and grammar lessons are fairly basic, and the games, although fun at first, ultimately don’t reveal much about what you’ve learned.

Living Language could do more to take advantage of its online platform. The games and audio are a good start, but the site’s actual test value is missing. Additionally, while these resources could potentially be useful, there are cheaper options out there that offer more interactive features and in-depth explanations.

While I don’t think it will hurt your language learning efforts, I’d recommend looking at other resources first. As each language has different resources available, our top recommendations would depend on the language you’re studying. To find the ones we recommend, click on the language you’re learning below.

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Drops App Review – Decent As A Supplementary Resource

Quick Review

3

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

Though cute and easy to use, several visuals are hard to distinguish, and some games aren’t too useful for retention.

Thoroughnes

This app won’t help with grammar or verb conjugation. However, it does offer hundreds of unique vocab words.

Value

The free app is a great supplementary tool to help round out your vocabulary, but the paid app doesn’t offer many useful extras.

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.

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Mondly Review – Far From My First Choice For Learning A Language

Quick Review

2.7 

Summary:

Mondly is a below average online language learning resource in my opinion. It does some things right and other things poorly. It’s pretty cheap, and a decent enough crash course that could help you before a trip abroad. Still, it wouldn’t be my first choice.

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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35 Best (And Worst) Online French Courses: We’ve Tested Them

Whether you’ve been dying to visit the Eiffel Tower or you think it’ll be a cool language to add to your resume, I’m willing to bet that at some point in your life you’ve dreamt of speaking fluent French.

Thanks to the digital era and the dozens of online courses floating around, it has never been easier to make that dream a reality. But how do we know which ones to trust?

Luckily for you, we’ve tried and tested the best and worst courses the internet has to offer so you’ll know which ones are worth dipping into your holiday savings and which ones are best left untouched.

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Lingodeer Review – A Better Alternative To Duolingo, Busuu, Rosetta Stone, etc.

Quick Review

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

It has a great design and everything works well with only a few minor issues.

Thoroughness

Not as thorough as some other courses but it’s good for what it is.

Value

Quite a bit of content is free and the premium plan is very affordable.

Price

$11.99/mo, $29.99 for 3 months, $55.99 for a year. There’s also a lifetime option for $119.99.

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Transparent Language Review – Their Courses Are Awful!

Quick Review

1.8 

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. But, even then, I’d try to find other resources first.

Quality

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

I hardly came across any explanations at all; practice was almost exclusively memorizing words and phrases.

Value

I would only consider using if it were free and I was studying a very rare language.

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.

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Michel Thomas Method Review – Avoid At All Costs

Quick Review

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

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

In my opinion, Michel Thomas doesn’t go into much depth and any explanations he offers up are just at a surface level.

Value

I wouldn’t use these even if they were free due to Michel Thomas’ teaching style which ruined the material for me.

Languages: Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Modern Standard), Dutch, French, Greek, German, Hindi, Italian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Price

There are several different courses available with prices ranging from $11.99 to $100.

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30 Awesome YouTube Channels For Learning French

Compared to some languages, written French can be easy for English speakers to learn, since it derives a lot of words from the same Latin roots – just like Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. But for new students, it can be hard to get used to French pronunciation. Words that look one way sound altogether different when spoken aloud.

That’s why YouTube videos and podcasts are among the best ways to improve your French. Not only will you get familiar with different accents and dialects, but you’ll get to see how native speakers pronounce their words and can follow along with on-screen subtitles.

Fortunately, there are dozens of great YouTube channels out there, including videos by French teachers. As you improve your grammar and vocabulary, you can move on to videos produced by native French speakers and YouTube stars to practice your listening comprehension skills.

You won’t run out of videos anytime soon. We’ve put together this list of the top YouTube channels to learn French to help you get started. Bonne chance! (more…)