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.
Reading on LingQ is really easy though there are some features I’d like to see improved or removed
Although there isn’t much original content, there’s still a lot of material to read regardless of your level
The price is fitting for the value provided
I Like… It’s easy to add your own content which makes reading more fun.
The content is quite diverse and comes from lots of different places.
Looking up words is quick and easy.
I Don’t Like… Reviewing words is chaotic. Every word you look up gets added to a huge queue that quickly becomes unmanageable.
The extra features are overpriced and can be found other places for cheaper.
Very little of the content is original. Much of it was uploaded by users from other places.
The free version is extremely limited.
Price: A Premium subscription to LingQ costs $12.99/month.
Languages: Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, English, Korean, French, Russian, German, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Greek, Polish, Esperanto, Latin, Ukranian. There are also 11 additional languages in Beta.
Alternatives: If you’re studying Chinese, I’d recommend Du Chinese or The Chairman’s Bao. For most other languages, LingQ seems to be the best option for practicing reading.
Summary: These audio lessons focus on teaching you authentic French that is used in everyday life. As everything is in French, it is not suited to beginners although it will certainly help intermediate learners gain fluency and improve their comprehension skills. Speaking and writing are not featured much but the listening and reading resources are generally very good. It will help you improve these skills but it is up to you to put in the time to practice the lessons.
Very easy to use with good content. Could maybe vary up the exercises a bit more.
The vocabulary explanations in French are great though this approach means you learn grammar intuitively without any analysis of how it works.
Very authentic and is worth checking out. Not everyone will be a fan of the heavy amount of repetition. Cheaper than a lot of resources.
Everything is in French which is great! The complete immersion will help you improve.
The PDFs accompanying the audio lessons are very useful as you can read them while listening.
The vocabulary explanations were very clear and serve to clarify the meaning in your mind and give you other ways in which you can use the word or phrase.
Motivation is key and Johan provides you with clear instructions on how to get the most out of his teaching method.
I Don’t Like…
This method is a bit too repetitive for me. I don’t think I could listen to the audios ten – thirty times as is recommended.
Speaking and writing takes a backseat. This is because Johan believes that improving your comprehension skills and your vocabulary will eventually lead to speaking and writing coming naturally.
The audios are clear to listen to, authentic and well done but are not the most riveting things in the world.
You are supposed to learn intuitively and automatically which explains why there is no in-depth focus on grammar. Not all learners will relate to this approach.
Price: Divided into three bundles of courses that increase in difficulty, Pack 1 costs 49 euros and contains 4.5 hours of audio which should take you at least three months to complete (according to the website). Pack 2 costs 99 euros and Pack 3 is 149 euros. All three packs together cost 199 euros and this includes 3.45 hours of video, 36 hours of audio, 355 pages of text and should take you over a year and a half to complete.
For a look at how Francais Authentique is taught and whether it fits your learning style, you can access a week of free lessons on the website.
Summary: Earworms is a unique language resource that relies on audio lessons mixed into music. The theory is that you will find the music catchy and thus remember your lessons easily. The whole idea behind Earworms is the psychological theory of memory association. You would associate some information with the music and thus remember it easily. However, the music used in these lessons will not appeal to everyone, at least it didn’t for me. Moreover, the lack of visual aid and no exercises to assess your skills make it harder. I would only recommend this for people who have failed to learn through other online resources or perhaps someone looking to learn a few phrases before a trip.
With a lack of exercises and visual aids, I can’t really say that it will prove to be a useful resource.
All the lessons are comprised of various phrases that they think will be useful for anyone willing to learn French. Unfortunately, they’re too shallow and poorly structured.
With such low utility, it is important to have a low-price tag. Fortunately, they have followed this idea and thus you won’t be losing out too much if you opt for this.
The repetition of the phrases
Some of the tracks aren’t half bad
I Don’t Like…
Tracks aren’t as catchy as I expected
Lack of visual aids
Complete absence of a testing system
Price: Each volume can be purchased as an mp3 download for £8.32 or as a CD for £14.99. You can save a little money by purchasing bundles as well. You can also purchase via the app for £9.99 per volume.
Summary: Duolingo is a great mobile learning application that teaches you the basics of several languages. While it is far from comprehensive and doesn’t go too deep, it excels at getting people to study a little bit every day. Duolingo makes learning French fun, easy, and free.
It takes a while to get used to the teaching methods, but otherwise the quality and design are great.
Duolingo is made for people who just want to learn the basics of the language without going in too deep. It touches the surface of almost all the topics.
This resource is completely free and accessible to everyone. You could, however, learn French faster with other resources.
The option to learn French from languages other than English
It is completely free
The incentive system keeps you motivated and coming back day after day.
I Don’t Like…
The low content depth
The ads in the mobile app get irritating after a while
Price: All the content available in Duolingo is free. If you want, you can pay to remove the advertisements and get a chance to download offline lessons. You can do this at $9.99 a month for one month, $7.99 a month for 6 months or $6.99 a month for 12 months. Other than that, there are only some in-app purchases that might make your learning more fun, but nothing pertaining to the actual educational content, save 2 or 3 bonus lessons.
Summary: Pimsleur consists of audio lessons whereby learners listen to a native speaker before repeating the sentence after them. As the vocabulary, the complexity of the phrases and the difficulty level increase, repetition of previous words helps to hammer home what you have already learnt. For speaking and listening comprehension it is definitely effective although there is no focus on reading, grammar or cultural immersion. The format will almost certainly help you improve your language skills but the method seems outdated and monotonously boring. On top of that, it is prohibitively expensive for what it offers. This review focuses on French but it’s just as applicable to other languages.
The audio quality is great but that’s all the course really consists of! Easy to use but very repetitive.
There is no in-depth analysis of grammar or the cultural context. Listen, repeat, listen, repeat is how you are meant to learn the content.
Insanely expensive for what it is. There are way better options out there that are much cheaper than Pimsleur.
The format does make you think and engage with the material. By listening to the narrator and then answering their questions, you really have to focus on the lessons.
I’m pretty sure that if you followed the audio lessons for a while you would improve your French and increase your confidence.
I Don’t Like…
While you may improve your speaking and comprehension skills, you won’t actually understand why the language is formed like that. Consequently, it may be hard to divert away from the prescribed conversations they provide you with.
Some people will respond well to the Pimsleur formula but many will find it outdated and boring. There is a lot of repetition and I didn’t find the content particularly enjoyable to work through.
So expensive! Almost insultingly so for what they are offering.
Price: There are an almost infinite number of different payment options for Pimsleur’s French audio lessons (take a look down below for more information). For people looking to try Pimsleur’s learning method before delving into the 150 French lessons on offer, you can access the first lesson for free on their website. Level 1 of the course consists of 30 lessons and costs $119.95 while the complete French course comprising all five levels will set you back $550.
Alternatives Speechling is a great (and free!) option that, much like Pimsleur, allows you to get lots of practice speaking French. Premium users can also receive unlimited corrections on their pronunciation – save 10% with the coupon “ALR123”.
Glossika is much like Pimsleur in that they offer lots of speaking practice but the materials are a bit more advanced and move much quicker.
Rocket French offers a structured course for beginners and FrenchPod101 has tons of podcast style lessons at an affordable price.
With most language learning resources, people will generally agree on if it’s useful or a waste of time and money.
Pimsleur is a bit unique in this regard. I haven’t yet come across another course where opinions on it are so divided; many people swear by it while others would rather use anything else.
Pimsleur offers courses for lots of different languages but the overall content and quality remains consistent. For a more positive take on Pimsleur, I’d suggest reading our Pimsleur Italian review. Despite being Italian focused, it’s just as applicable to French learners.