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AmazingTalker Mini Review: Not Our Top Pick for Web Classes

AmazingTalker

Rating 2.5
Price:

From around $10 per 50-minute class

Summary

AmazingTalker is an italki and Verbling competitor that lets you book classes with language teachers and academic tutors of your choice. It has a lot of attractive features for students, but teachers complain about high commission rates and lack of support. It boasts a 3% acceptance rate for teachers and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with your class, they’ll rebook you another one for free. There are lots of teachers to choose from, or you can also use their AI Matching Service to find a tutor. The teachers’ profiles include videos, reviews, and their résumé. However, AmazingTalker doesn’t seem a great choice for teachers. It charges English and Japanese teachers astonishingly high commission rates of up to 30%. While these rates fall as teachers earn more through the site, they have to make $1,500 a month before the commission reaches levels comparable to italki and Verbling. Making it worse, there’s an additional 8% fee for payment processing and tax that all teachers have to pay, no matter what language they teach.  There have also been complaints on Reddit from teachers claiming to have been harassed by students and fellow teachers. However, we cannot corroborate these. Given all this, we’d recommend trying italki (review) or Verbling (review) first. Alternatively, check out our guide to the best platforms for online language classes.

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Verbling Review: Online Classes With Helpful Revision Tools

Verbling

Rating 4.6

Summary

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.


Quality 4.5

There are some less experienced teachers, but I found the lessons to be more consistently high quality than on italki.

Thoroughness 5.0

The classroom technology, flashcards, and filing system are fantastic for learners and easy to use.

Value 4.5

Some teachers charge more than on italki, but you get better classroom technology, more privacy, and fewer disorganized teachers.

I Like
  • 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.
Price

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.

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Internet Polyglot Mini-Review: Word Lists With Games

Internet Polyglot

Rating 1.3
Price:

Free

Summary

Internet Polyglot is a website for memorizing vocabulary words in dozens of languages. It has 44 “lessons” that cover topics like cars, time, religion, politics, feelings, measurements, and more. Each lesson is essentially a word list with native speaker pronunciation, an English translation, and a link to a picture to help you remember each word. There are picture games, matching games, guessing games, and typing games, plus a word search and a slide show that reviews all of the words in the lesson. Given that none of the vocabulary words in Internet Polyglot are taught using example sentences or context, learning vocabulary using this site may not be the best use of your time. You are probably better off using Anki to curate personalized vocabulary lists and downloading native speaker audio files from Forvo to accompany your flashcards. Nevertheless, you may find it useful if all you are looking for is a site that already has lists of vocabulary words with native speaker audio. If you are looking for audio files for less commonly-studied languages in context, you can check out iLoveLanguages.

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Complete Language Lessons Mini Review: Almost Useless

Complete Language Lessons

Rating 0.2
Price:

$8.99 for the CD/$1.29 per track on Amazon, free on Spotify

Summary

Complete Language Lessons has audio courses for numerous languages on Amazon, Spotify, and Deezer. We tried out the Swahili audio course, Learn Swahili Easily, Effectively, and Fluently – and were extremely disappointed. The audio tracks we sampled consist of Swahili phrases repeated over and over again, with no translations, explanations, or anything in English. The audio quality isn’t great, either, and the occasional muted club music adds to the bizarreness.  It feels to us like the audio tracks are supposed to accompany a textbook, but we couldn’t find one. If one existed at some point, we suspect it’s no longer available. If you already speak the language and are looking for native audio recordings to help you improve your listening and pronunciation, you might get some value out of Complete Language Lessons. However, if your aim is learn the language, we would skip these CDs.

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My Language Exchange Mini-Review: Millions of Active Users

My Language Exchange

Rating 4.2
Price:

Freemium, Gold Memberships start at $6/mo

Summary

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.

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Lexilogos Mini-Review: A Resource Bank For Dictionaries and Books

lexilogos

Rating 3.5
Price:

Free

Summary

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.

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Rosetta Stone Review — Updated and Improved…And Needs More Improvement

Rosetta Stone

Rating 3.2

Summary

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. 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.


Quality 3.0

The platform is a bit clunky on desktop, but the material is accurate and presented clearly; lesson mechanics are fairly intuitive.

Thoroughness 3.0

Without much opportunity to build your own sentences, I don’t think you’ll reach a conversational level with any notable speed.

Value 3.5

Rosetta Stone’s Lifetime Subscription ($199 on sale) is quite attractive if you like the Rosetta Stone Method. Shorter subscriptions are quite reasonable, too.

I Like
  • 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.
Price

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 $199.

ALR Readers Exclusive Holiday Deal!! Get the Lifetime Subscription for 25 languages for $179 (everywhere else it’s $199 right now!). See details on the website.

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.

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Pimsleur Review — Learn While You… Do Just About Anything

Pimsleur

Rating 4.0

Summary

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.


Quality 4.5

The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use. The content seems to be of high quality at all levels.

Thoroughness 4.0

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.

Value 3.5

The subscription option provides good value for some, but there may be more efficient ways to learn some languages.

I Like
  • 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.
Price

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.

What is Pimsleur?

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.

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iLoveLanguages Mini-Review: Another Phrasebook SIte

ilovelanguages.org

Rating 1.6
Price:

Free

Summary

iLoveLanguages seems similar to iLanguages and Learn101 in that every language has the same content and grammar. The eighteen 30-minute beginner ‘lessons’ in every language are essentially lists of phrases and vocabulary words, with audio recordings by native speakers. The site seems to provide a local teacher for each language, but for some reason, the same teacher offers at least 11 of the languages (including Gaelic, Basque, Filipino, Marathi, and Cantonese). Oddly enough, this teacher also appears in stock photos around the internet. Considering that the website advertises each language class as being taught by a native speaker, perhaps be cautious if you are considering taking a class from this site — maybe try italki or SpanishVIP for private lessons instead. iLoveLanguages may be helpful if you want to hear native speakers pronounce words in South-Eastern languages, like Marathi, Gujarati, Vietnamese, or Malay. You can compare the pronunciation with the speakers from either iLanguages or Learn 101 (but not both, as they use identical audio files). You could also check out Forvo, which is probably the most extensive pronunciation database on the internet right now. 

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Master Any Language Mini-Review: No Words To Describe the Nope

Master Any Language

Rating 0.2
Price:

Free

Summary

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.

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