Greek

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.

Visit Dino Lingo

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

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.

Visit 50Languages

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

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.

Visit Verbal Planet

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Linguaphone Mini-Review: Thorough but Vintage

Linguaphone – 3.3 

Linguaphone has been providing language-learning content since 1901. The principles of the Linguaphone method are that “You learn faster when you enjoy what you are doing,” and “You make progress if the sort of language you learn is useful and presented in a believable, familiar context.”

Through the acts of listening, understanding, and speaking, the program can teach you to read, write, and have an authentic accent in your target language. Apparently you will develop an active vocabulary and will be able to say that you truly speak the language.

They offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses in several languages. Each course is available as a hard copy, with CDs and books, and some can be downloaded directly from the site.

Although the artwork and content has been updated throughout the years, until maybe the 1990s, it’s difficult to find any images or videos of the course that do not depict extremely traditional gender roles. The course is thorough, but it does not seem to contain modern content.

You can try the courses developed by the Foreign Services Institute for an equally thorough, free-but-still-vintage alternative.

Visit Linguaphone

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Assimil Review — A Fresh Look at a Longstanding Resource

Quick Review

Summary

Assimil is a French company that has been selling language-learning resources since 1929. Assimil materials are available as books, CDs, and downloadable e-courses; there are a variety of available course types, and instruction is based on interacting with phrases in the target language. The popular Sans Peine or, With Ease, courses are for absolute or false beginners that would like to reach the B2 level, but we think you’ll need to incorporate some other study materials to make this happen.

Quality

The language materials are reliable, the audio is high quality, and the program is fairly easy to use after a bit of practice.

Thoroughness

Assimil is chock-full of explanations and thorough translations for all material, but you might need more to reach the advertised B2 level.

Value

There are cheaper resources out there, but Assimil provides super solid instruction for the price.

Languages

The majority of courses are for speakers of French, but instruction is available in 13 different source languages.

English speakers can find the popular With Ease courses in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. There are also phrasebooks and writing courses for a variety of other languages like Japanese, Chinese, and Russian.

Price

Prices vary by course. The Spanish e-course is €47.30, the Spanish With Ease book (no audio) is €25.50, and the Spanish With Ease Superpack is €71

(more…)

Early Indo-European Online Mini Review: Translation-Heavy

Early Indo-European Online – 3 

The University of Texas at Austin Linguistics Research Center offers 10-lesson classes in Albanian, Armenian, Armenian – Romanized, Baltic, Old English, Old French, Gothic, Classic Greek, New Testament Greek, Hittite, Old Iranian, Old Irish, Latin, Old Norse, Old Russian, Sanskrit, Old Slavonic, and Tocharian. They are focused on translation and can be dull, but can support you through reading short extracts from the classics.

Visit Early Indo-European Online

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

LangCorrect: Unlimited, Free Writing Practice With Feedback

LangCorrect – 5 

LangCorrect is a free community-driven writing site where users can both contribute to editing others’ work and receive feedback on their own writing.

After writing your piece, you may submit it to receive feedback from other site users. In order to ensure accurate feedback, multiple users can cross-check the corrections that were made and add comments.

Volunteers and Patrons have access to writing in up to 10 languages, but typical users can write in a maximum of two languages at a time. Everyone is encouraged to both write and correct others’ work on the site.

If you are looking to improve your writing skills in one of the over 100 languages available, trying out this resource is a must! However, if you’re studying a less common language and not finding many users to give you corrections, consider trying italki’s Notebooks.

Visit LangCorrect

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Interlinear Books Mini-Review: Better Bilingual Books

Interlinear Books – 3.8

Interlinear Books takes an old idea (bilingual books) and adds a unique twist to it. Instead of having a translation off to the side, the English translations are written directly below the target language in small font. Although this sounds like a small improvement, it makes reading what otherwise might be a difficult text, much simpler and more enjoyable. They’re also translated with language learners in mind, as words aren’t always translated individually, but instead, as a semantic unit. This way, expressions will sometimes be translated as one unit, making the translation easier to understand.

Visit Interlinear Books

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Cudoo Review — I Wouldn’t Even Use it if it Were Free

Quick Review

0.6 

Summary

Cudoo is an online learning platform that offers courses in over 160 languages. The platform also offers courses teaching soft skills and other professional development courses. Certificates are available upon course completion, and courses are provided to libraries and non-profits for free. We feel that the quality of the language courses is quite low, and that the prices are relatively high.

Quality

It’s nice to have native speaker audio, but I personally found the course to offer very little learning potential.

Thoroughness

The course didn’t cover everything listed under “Course Content” and offers no explanations.

Value

This course is way overpriced in my opinion. I wouldn’t even use it if it were free.

Languages

There are courses in over 160 languages on Cudoo. You’ll find languages as rare as Alsatian, Jerriais, and Navajo alongside more popular languages like Spanish and German.

Price

Price varies by course, from $4.99 to $24.99, with language bundles costing up to $199.

Visit Cudoo

(more…)