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Bluebird Languages Mini-Review: Over 160 Languages Available

Bluebird Languages

Rating 2.5

Free, Premium subscriptions cost $13.99/mo, $144.99/year


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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FunEasyLearn Mini-Review: Build Vocabulary The Fun Way


Rating 2.6

Freemium, monthly subscriptions starting at $11.99


Not only does FunEasyLearn have a slick app 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 to use another resource if you want to learn more than basic vocabulary words.

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


Rating 4.3

10.99€/mo, 27€/quarter, 49.98€/half-year, 69.96€/year


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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Bite Size Languages Mini-Review: Good for Beginners

Bite Size Languages

Rating 3.8

$99 per course


Bite size language was developed by the creator of the Actual Fluency Podcast. Each of the 5 languages consists of 100 lessons for beginners to develop their listening comprehension and pronunciation. You will learn grammar within the context of short dialogues and acquire relevant every-day vocabulary. Each lesson seems doable within a 15-25 minute study session; they contain lesson notes, transcripts, translations, vocabulary, and a grammar section. It seems like the dialogues speed up slightly as you advance through the lessons, but the final lessons do not reach a natural speed. This is understandable, however, as the program is aimed at beginners who have little or no exposure to the language (you can listen to some sound clips from various lessons here). You may be expected to repeat every lesson a few dozen times to get the most out of the course. If you are studying Russian, the creator emphasizes that you don’t need to learn the Russian alphabet because the dialogues are the core of the lessons. But, all of the accompanying materials, including transcripts of the dialogues, are written in Russian.

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Lingua Boost Mini-Review: Use Pimsleur Instead

Lingua Boost

Rating 2.2

1 level costs $19.90, two levels cost $33.90


Lingua Boost’s website sells downloadable volumes of phrasebook-like lessons that teach everyday phrases in context. The lessons are about 10 minutes long; they are narrated by native speakers and focus on vocabulary within a specific topic. Although each lesson seems to contain something that resembles a dialogue, every phrase is spoken by the same person. Additionally, many of the lessons initially appear to be dialogues, but end up as a list of sentences. For example, the first line of a lesson might be, “what do you like to do?” followed by a series of statements such as “I like to read books,” or “I like to go swimming.” Furthermore, for languages that have more difficult pronunciation, such as Russian and Hindi, the lessons do not break down pronunciation. In Pimsleur, for example, they use an excellent technique of working backwards with each syllable in a word. In Lingua Boost, it seems that you are expected to just listen and gradually catch on, even from the absolute beginner level. Finally, each volume must be purchased separately, but you can test out the first 5 lessons for free on their website. If you’re looking for a similar course that breaks down pronunciation, has interactive activities and helps you learn full dialogues in context, check out Pimsleur’s subscription plan.

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Seedlang Mini-Review: Funny, Effective, and Affordable


Rating 4.3

$8.99/mo, $20.97/quarter, $59.98/year


Seedlang is a funny, affordable, and effective resource for German learners. It focuses on speaking practice, grammar, and vocabulary, accompanying every word and sentence with a video of a german speaker. Seedlang encourages you to record your voice while both mimicking pronunciation and the movement of the speaker’s mouth. You will be pleasantly surprised at the humour of each lesson, with detailed grammar and vocabulary explanations depicted in a variety of clever contexts. Although the program is advertised for A1-B2 German learners, you will get the most value as a beginner starting from lesson 1 of their 200-story tree. Nevertheless, even as a lower-intermediate learner, the content is sure to keep you engaged. In addition to progressive lessons, there are also trivia games, custom and pre-made word-reviews, and gender practice for nouns. Try out some of the free content to see if you enjoy Seedlang’s method – you may find yourself laugh-out-loud entertained by its quirky creativity!

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


Rating 2.0



Kendal and Philipp, the creators of the LingoHut, are passionate about teaching languages. Their website supposedly helps 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. The lessons are essentially a series of phrases that 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. There is also 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. Furthermore, some sentences switch between formal and informal language without explanation, which would not be intuitive for an A1 learner. 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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Lirica Mini-Review: Grammar and Vocabulary Through Songs


Rating 4.2

Free trial, $8.49/mo, $19.99/quarter, $24.99/year


Lirica is a paid app that focuses on listening comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar through songs in Spanish, German, and English. It also elaborates on important common phrases, explains colloquialisms, and provides interesting facts about the target language. Each song is assigned either Beginner 1, Beginner 2, or Intermediate, in addition to a specific learning goal, such as “Making affirmative sentences negative” or “expressing misunderstanding”. It’s surprisingly effective at supporting comprehension and memorization of various songs. Lirica continually expands its song library, with new songs added weekly, so a yearly subscription may be worth your time. Also, by purchasing the app you continue to support the artists, as Lirica has entered licensing agreements with each label. Check out their 7 day free trial! If you are looking for a free version that does not provide any vocabulary or grammar explanations, check out Lyrics Training.

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L-Lingo Mini-Review: Textbook Content, Depends On Your Style


Rating 3.0

$14.95/mo, $75/half-year, $120/year


Each language on L-Lingo contains 105 lessons and 5000 words. The lessons seem to be the same in every language, and will teach you typical textbook lessons, such as booking a hotel reservation, naming different colours, or navigating to an airport. If you are looking for something that will help you communicate naturally with native speakers, this probably isn’t the resource for you. Similar to Rosetta Stone, L-Lingo plays an audio recording of a sentence or word, and then asks you to find the image that corresponds to what you just heard. Unlike Rosetta Stone, L-Lingo provides seemingly clear and concise grammar explanations of the concept you are about to learn. They provide three types of quizzes with every lesson, and also use Spaced Repetition Software to help you remember new vocabulary. There are currently some technical difficulties signing up on the website, but you can access their content on your mobile device. The program has mixed reviews on various platforms, but you can check out the first five lessons for free to see if it suits what you’re looking for.

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Storyling Mini-Review: Simple, Quality Content


Rating 4.0

$ 15


Storyling solves the problem of looking for reading content appropriate to your language level. Each story has been written, translated, and narrated by native speakers, and are divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. They cover a variety of topics, including stories, history, news, and trivia. You can click on each word in the story for a translation, or you can reveal a full translation of each paragraph as needed. You can also save unknown words to review in a flashcard section, although it is unclear whether the flashcards use SRS or are sorted randomly. The Spanish section already contains over 150 stories, while the other languages are still developing in the Beta phase. Compared to other products, it is a bit pricey for what is offered, but they do have a very simple, intuitive, and attractive user interface with quality content. For more reading or listening that is concentrated on current events, check out News in Slow; for more dialogue-based listening and reading, check out LanguagePod101.

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