While you may have met plenty of individuals from Ireland, watched television shows set in Ireland and even visited the country, it’s totally possible that you could’ve not even realized that Irish is its own language.…
Verbling is an online language-class marketplace where you can take lessons with teachers of your choice. It has some student-friendly extra features, including a built-in online classroom, flashcards, homework calendar, and a filing system for lesson materials. There are also useful but disorganized forums where you can discuss languages, share writing for critique, and do free language drills and exercises.
The lessons are generally high quality and well structured, plus the filters make it easy to find teachers who specialize in everything from accent reduction to interview preparation.
However, it can be slightly pricier than alternatives, so if you’re on a tight budget, you may want to look elsewhere. It also has fewer languages than some of the bigger competitors, so it might not be a good choice if you want to study Azerbaijani, Khmer, or Yoruba.
There are some less experienced teachers, but I found the lessons to be more consistently high quality than on italki.
The classroom technology, flashcards, and filing system are fantastic for learners and easy to use.
Some teachers charge more than on italki, but you get better classroom technology, more privacy, and fewer disorganized teachers.
- I quickly found great teachers.
- The platform’s extra features, such as teacher-made, personalized flashcards, help you review the material learned in each lesson.
- It seems focused on long-term progression as well as immediate student satisfaction.
- You don’t have to give out your contact details, thanks to the classroom technology.
I Don’t Like
- Some teachers don’t use the platform’s flashcards and materials system.
- There are fewer languages available than on italki.
- You can only pay in US dollars, plus there’s a hidden fee.
- The forums need more moderation.
Prices are set by the teacher and range from $5 to $75 for an hour-long lesson. You can get discounts for buying packs of 5, 10, or 20 lessons with a teacher. Every student gets one free trial lesson, after which they’re $6 each.
I’ve got a confession to make: italki is one of my least favorite online language-learning resources. However, it was my go-to option for a long time, and I understand why people love it: it’s cheap, has teachers in nearly every language imaginable, and the app has a bunch of extra community features.…
My Language Exchange
Freemium, Gold Memberships start at $6/mo
My Language Exchange has been growing since 2000. Although the website seems out of date, it still has an active community of millions of language-learners who speak almost 200 native languages (including less commonly studied languages). You can choose a pen pal by reading their bios, or there is a chat room available for you to instantly connect with a language exchange partner — note that if you create a Gold account, you can initiate chats with other users, but as a regular user, you will have to wait to be contacted. Using the Cormier Method, the website provides tools to help intermediate speakers effectively practice with other learners. It advertises a Chat Companion with lesson plans to accompany your exchange, or lesson plans developed by teachers (although the quality of these resources varies drastically). You can also find language teachers on the site, but given that the transactions take place directly between you and the teacher, you may feel safer using a 3rd party platform like italki or Verbling. Although there are outlines on how to participate in language exchanges, how these outlines are followed depends entirely on you and your partner(s). My Language Exchange will help you build connections with other learners, but it’s up to you to plan how to practice. The concepts can also be used with any language exchange platform, such as Lingbe, italki, Tandem, and Amikumu.
Although Lexilogos seems to have entirely neglected its aesthetics, it holds more than meets the eye. If you click on one of the 130+ languages listed at the bottom of the page, you will find a series of resources to support your studies. This is especially useful for less-studied languages, like Marathi, Basque, and Pashto. Although the lists don’t provide recommendations for applications, they do provide a list of dictionaries, keyboards, news sites, books, and research papers. Additionally, if you switch to the French version of the site, there are even more languages and resources available for you to explore. Within each language’s page, there is also a dictionary search function. You will notice that more commonly studied languages will have dozens of dictionaries to choose from, while less commonly studied languages may only have one or two. Overall, Lexilogos is a great option for finding resources for less commonly studied languages. They regularly update their site, so make sure to check back if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first time around.
Duolingo is a super popular free language-learning app. It’s available for desktop as well as mobile and offers over 90 different language courses in over 20 different languages — there are currently 35 languages with English instruction. The Duolingo approach is gamified and easy to use, but the bite-sized lessons don’t offer much in the way of in-depth practice. The Duolingo tag line is “Learn a language in just five minutes a day.”
It’s easy and fun to use, but some pronunciation and grammar instruction is of low quality, especially for Asian languages.
The app works well for learning the basics, but there’s little speaking practice and grammar instruction is limited.
It’s a lot of content for free, but you’ll need to use supplementary resources.
- The short lessons are ideal for quick, convenient practice
- The game-like features make the exercises engaging and fun
- The community aspect is motivating
I Don’t Like
- There’s no opportunity to create your own sentences
- Grammar instruction isn’t part of the lessons
- Text-to-speech audio is sometimes low quality
Duolingo is totally free. Duolingo Plus offers a few additional features and is available for:
$12.99/month (paid monthly) $6.99/month (12-month subscription)
Their family plan is $119.99 a year
Duolingo is one of the most popular language-learning programs out there. It’s been on the scene since 2012 and offers instruction in 35 different languages. It even offers courses in three constructed languages (perfect for brushing up on your Esperanto or High Valyrian).…
Rosetta Stone is one of the most well-known resources for learning languages. It takes an immersive approach to teaching and is widely used by corporations and individuals alike. High levels of repetition and an absence of translations or explanations are hallmarks of the course.</span> <span style=”font-weight: 400;”>A Rosetta Stone course could be most suitable for learners that don’t mind repetitive exercises and prefer to learn from pictures and context rather than translations and explanations. It’s probably not a good option for anyone wanting to significantly improve their speaking or writing skills, or those looking for an engaging course.
The platform is a bit clunky on desktop, but the material is accurate and presented clearly; lesson mechanics are fairly intuitive.
Without much opportunity to build your own sentences, I don’t think you’ll reach a conversational level with any notable speed.
I think there are many more efficient and less expensive ways to learn a language.
- The audio quality is very good.
- Lessons progress naturally and logically.
I Don’t Like
- It’s repetitive and boring.
- You don’t get to generate your own sentences.
- Speech recognition doesn’t work very well.
- No grammar explanations in core material.
A three-month subscription to one language is $35.97, which works out to be $11.99/month.
A year-long subscription to one course is $95.88, which is $7.99/month. Both of these subscriptions are automatically recurring.
Lifetime access to all Rosetta Stone language courses is available for $179.
Chances are, this isn’t the first time you’re hearing about Rosetta Stone for learning languages. The company has been hugely successful since its early start in the computer-assisted learning scene in 1992, and part of that is thanks to stellar advertising efforts.…
Pimsleur is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning a foreign language. Its courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills. There are over 50 language courses available with Pimsleur, and the bulk of the material is taught with audio lessons.
The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use. The content seems to be of high quality at all levels.
Timely repetition and active practice work well, and lessons build on each other nicely, but the “intermediate fluency in 30 days” claim may be a stretch.
The subscription option provides good value for some, but there may be more efficient ways to learn some languages.
- The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length.
- There are both male and female native speakers.
- Lessons build on each other nicely.
- The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing.
I Don’t Like
- There’s very little visual content.
- Lesson speed isn’t customizable.
Subscriptions of either $14.95/month or $19.95/month are available for courses with at least 60 lessons. Prices otherwise range from around $20 to over $500. All purchases come with a 7-day free trial.
Frankly, it’s an institution. The name comes from linguist Paul Pimsleur, author of many books on language acquisition and applied linguistics, and developer of what is now known as the Pimsleur Method.…
Master Any Language
Master Any Language has a counterintuitive interface with activities that are frustrating to navigate. Its only perk is that it supports less-studied languages, but even if you do find yourself lacking resources in your target language, this website will probably detract from your learning. You will jump through hoops trying to find the audio recordings by native speakers, so you may want to try ilovelanguages or Learn101 instead; they have low ratings, but they won’t make you lose your motivation to learn altogether. Most of the activities on Master Any Language are matching games that require you to click on two identical characters, words, or letters: the purpose of this is unclear because it tests neither recall nor recognition. Another activity asks you to form or match nonsensical sequences of words (Ex. Find the sentence identical to “el el el el tchèque tchèque tchèque el el tchèque tchèque”….). Ultimately, you would probably be better off trying to decipher a page of text with absolutely no guidance than to even attempt to wrap your head around MAL’s activities.
Verbix is a verb conjugator website and app developed by an independent non-profit organization. It conjugates over 100 languages, including Old English, Latin, and Yiddish The amount of information on the conjugation page varies depending on how common the language is. At its best, it will display nominal forms, most common verb conjugations, verbs that have similar conjugations, translations, synonyms, antonyms, cognates, and a section on etymology. Sometimes there are sample sentences (without translations) that seem to come from articles and books. The final section on additional information seems a bit random, and its purpose is unclear. To conjugate a verb in another language, you have to know the verb in its infinitive form. Unfortunately, although Verbix has a translation function, it doesn’t seem to cover all of the available languages, so you may not be able to find the verb you are looking for in the first place. A fun page to explore is Verbix’s list of over 6000 languages with a map depicting where each of these languages is spoken. Otherwise, Verbix seems a bit random and incomplete. It may be a helpful resource for less commonly studied languages, but check out Reverso Translation, Cooljugator, and SpanishDict first. Also, if you want to practice verb conjugations in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Latin, check out Conjuguemos
Tatoeba is a sentence-focused reference dictionary, not word focused. Therefore, by searching for a word in any language, you are searching for examples of that word in context. The site is community-driven, but you don’t have to be multilingual to contribute to the site — it needs native-speaking writers to expand the example database and proofread user sentences. All of the translations are interconnected: even if there is technically no direct translation from Zulu to Chinese, an English translation for the same sentences in both languages will provide direct translations between them. Although Tatoeba supports about 388 languages, about 200 of these languages have less than 100 sentences, and about 58 have less than 10. Nevertheless, the database is continuously growing, and with more community members, the less common languages may have a chance to develop further. It is prohibited to use a translation tool or copyrighted sentences to contribute to the translation database. Unfortunately, some contributors write in a language in which they are not proficiently fluent. As a result, the site has grammatical mistakes and sentences that don’t sound natural. You may have to do some digging to figure out if the contributor is a native speaker or not. Because of the potential user errors on the site, you may want to check out WordReference, Pleco, SpanishDict, Kanji Study , and Linguee to find words in context for more commonly studied languages.