Summary: Created by Idahosa, the Mimic Method’s ‘Elemental Sounds Masters Classes’ are not your traditional type of language learning course as you won’t learn any grammar or vocabulary. The focus is instead on learning the elemental sounds of the language. This is because once you can conceptualise them, then you can train your ear to hear and understand them and afterwards train your mouth to produce and pronounce these sounds. Useful for both beginners and advanced learners, you would obviously need to use it in conjunction with a couple of other resources to progress in your target language.
Easy to use and navigate, the production quality is fine without being amazing.
Quite technical throughout most of the course, Idahosa thoroughly explains the method and sounds in each language.
Very expensive for what it is, I think it is as interesting take at learning pronunciation but you won’t get anything else from it.
Some of the homework exercises are really interesting and quite unlike anything you’ll find on other language courses.
Idahosa goes into quite a lot of depth on how to pronounce the different elemental sounds of each language. At the end of the course you will know all the different sounds from the language that you are learning.
It was a fresh way of learning a language that I had never contemplated before
I Don’t Like…
I found the course to be very technical and while other people will surely find it interesting, it didn’t resonate so much with me unfortunately as it just wasn’t that fun to follow.
You would certainly have to use the course alongside other learning resources which actually teach you the grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking and cultural context of your target language.
You do not get much material for the high price that it costs.
Price: For lifetime access to a course, the Mimic Method website has slashed its cost from $394 to $197 although I am uncertain if it always stays that price.
Summary: Busuu is one of the most popular language learning courses around but it’s not worth paying for. The course content isn’t designed very well and there are better free alternatives. I do really like Busuu’s social features that make it easy to have your speech and writing corrected by a native speaker, but that part is free.
Busuu’s platform is well designed but their lessons aren’t.
The content of their courses leaves a lot to be desired.
Other free apps teach languages better.
The language exchange part of the app is awesome and free to use. It’s really easy to get your speech or writing corrected.
They use video and picture prompts to help you think of a topic to write or talk about.
I Don’t Like…
The lesson structure has you learn some obscure vocabulary before learning the essentials.
You can find better courses for free.
A lot of important things like pronunciation and grammar are left out or barely explained.
Price: A subscription to Busuu costs $9.99/month or $69.99/year.
Languages: Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, and English
Summary: Babbel is an affordable language learning tool that offers a lot of information and can be of great help to beginners and lower intermediate students. They structured the lessons very well, providing explanations and a lot of vocabulary for their students. The materials are easy to go through and fairly engaging. It’s not my favorite resource around but it’s not bad either.
Through its repetitive lesson structure, Babbel offers a solid starting point.
Babbel offers comprehensive and extensive lessons; they’ll work well for any beginner student.
The price is very reasonable.
I Like… Repetitive nature of the lessons
The lessons are connected and they build up your knowledge in a progressive way
Engaging content and comprehensive lessons
Flexible learning plan and self-directed – you have can choose what to learn and when to do it
I Don’t Like… No downloadable materials
Not a very unique learning structure, similar to Duolingo (matching words to images)
Won’t sufficiently develop your conversational skills
Price: The price for a personal plan varies depending on the length of the subscription. One month costs $14.95 and the price falls to $8.33/month if you purchase a full year. There are also 3, 6 and 24-month plans as well.
Languages: German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Indonesian, Russian, Danish, Norwegian, and English
Summary: Yabla is a platform that makes it easier for language learners to incorporate tv and other videos into their study routine. They support six languages, all of which have over 1000 short videos included. You’ll find captions in two languages and can click on unknown words to see their definitions. It’s pretty useful but I’m not so certain that it’s worth paying for.
It works fine but won’t be winning any design awards
Lots of variety in video content
The price is reasonable for a supplementary study tool.
Lots of multi-part video series.
Entertaining content covering a wide variety of topics.
Some useful activities to review the content from the videos.
I Don’t Like…
Although each language has over 1000 videos, most videos are only 1-2 minutes long.
The design could be improved, especially on mobile.
I had a hard time using it enough to justify continuing to pay for a subscription.
Price: A subscription to Yabla costs $9.95/month, $54.95/six-months, or $99.95/year.
Summary:Verbling is a language learning platform where you can find and book classes directly from a teacher. It’s very similar to italki with a few minor differences. Unfortunately, on Verbling, the cost of lessons are generally higher and the number of teachers to choose from fewer. Still, it’s a fairly good option for finding a teacher.
Professional teachers that have to submit an application
Doesn’t use Skype for lessons
Cheaper than most options, but more expensive than italki
I Like Teachers are experienced and professional. No need to deposit money or buy credits first. Can simply pay one lesson at a time. Also has many payment options including Bitcoin. Well designed platform that makes booking lessons easy.
I Don’t Like Lessons are more expensive compared to italki. Far fewer teachers to choose from compared to italki. Fairly expensive if you’re only looking for conversation practice.
Price: The cost of lessons varies depending on the teacher and the language. The average cost for an hour long Spanish class is $18, for French it’s $24, and for German it’s $31. There are many other languages available as well.