Italian

Magic Lingua Mini-Review: Pricey But Potentially Worth It

magic lingua – 3.1 

Magic Lingua provides a series of individual courses for language learning. They advertise that you will gain enough confidence in speaking that you will be able to not only start a conversation with anyone, but do so without thinking about grammar and vocabulary. The full courses are offered for beginner, intermediate, and advanced speakers depending on the language (advanced is considered the B1 level).

The voice-recognition software seems to do an adequate job of recognizing which words you are pronouncing correctly, and it does appear to help improve speaking abilities by actively reenacting dialogues with you. Therefore, the app alone may help develop your confidence to start conversations in your target language.

Although not subscription based, each full course must be purchased individually. The 2-3 week crash courses seem more reasonable for the price, but the full 10 week courses are a hefty $200+. They consist of 10 modules plus hundreds of video lessons and speaking exercises. There is the option to complete the modules with live tutor sessions, or alone.

Magic Lingua is probably worth your time if you don’t mind spending a lot on one app, but with the current price it might be better to look for alternatives. There are some free lessons available on their website for you to test out, but check back for more languages and levels in the future.

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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.

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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

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LyricsTraining Mini-Review: Listening Practice Through Songs

LyricsTraining – 3.3 

Lyrics training is a free app that claims to improve your ability to recognize the different sounds in your target language. Through listening to different songs, you can reinforce vocabulary, expressions, and grammar concepts. Although it does not provide any translations or explanations for these skills, it does seem to train listening comprehension and memorization.

While listening to your chosen song, you will be provided with a choice of 4 words to help fill in an increasing percentage of lyrics; by the advanced level, you will be responsible for filling in 100% of the lyrics. Each of the 14 languages available seem to have a wide variety of song choices, and even if you don’t understand what the lyrics mean, you will probably be able to sing along.

If you would prefer an app that focuses more on comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar, check out Lirica.

Visit LyricsTraining

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.

Conjuguemos Mini-Review: Effective Language Drilling

Conjuguemos – 4 

Conjugemos is a website that drills verb conjugations, vocabulary, and grammar. You can choose to either drill different skills through typing the answers in a flashcard-like system, or through various games such as crosswords, memory, word search, and multiplayer games.

While it is free for anyone to use, additional resources are available to teachers through a paid plan.

It should be noted that although the site technically supports Korean learners, the Korean section only has one activity in the present tense.

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

Wordbit Mini-Review: Innovative Flashcards for Short Term Use

WordBit – 3.3 

WordBit is a free app that minimizes the effort and thought that goes into deliberate practice by presenting you with the opportunity to practice each time you open your lock screen.

Each time you open your phone, the app will overlay the lock screen and present you with either multiple choice translations for a given word, or a flashcard. You can choose to close the app to access the lock screen, or respond to the prompt. Although this app interferes with tasks on your phone that require immediate attention, it is no doubt effective at consistently exposing you to new vocabulary.

It is available in multiple languages, for both target and source languages, and there is a large vocabulary category bank to choose from, including vocabulary from each of the levels A1-C2.

There are some bugs in its programming, such as restarting your progress through each deck if you add or remove a category, and the ads at the bottom of the screen are easily tapped by accident.

Visit WordBit

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.

Beelinguapp Mini-Review: Reading & Listening Practice

Beelinguapp – 4.3 

Beelinguapp makes it easier to read and listen to interesting content in a number of languages. You’ll find short stories, news, fairy tales, music, and more. Their side-by-side reading functionality highlights the sentence in the language you’re learning, as well as in a language you’re familiar with. The karaoke feature makes it easy to follow the audio with the written text. Some of the content and features are available for free, but there are also premium plans to unlock more.

Visit Beelinguapp

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

Coffee Break Review: Italian, French, and German Courses

Quick Review

Summary

The Coffee Break Languages series teach languages through podcast-style lessons. The lessons have a casual feel and offer lots of explanations, building on each other nicely. Courses are available for a one-time purchase, but much of the material is also available for free as podcasts or Youtube videos.

Quality

The audio is of high quality and the instruction is thoughtful.

Thoroughness

There are lots of explanations, and you can start as an absolute beginner, but practice opportunities are limited.

Value

There is a lot of high-quality content available for free; the paid courses might not be worth the price for some.

Languages

Italian, German, French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Swedish, English

Price

Many audio lessons are free. The premium version of each season includes extra materials and costs £80 (roughly $100). 

One Season £80
Two-Season Bundle £145
Three-Season Bundle £210
Four-Season Bundle £255

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