Summary: LingQ is a language learning platform that makes it easy to read and listen to interesting content at varying difficulty levels. As you read, words will be marked as known and LingQ tracks the total number of words you “know”. The content comes from lots of different places with very little of it being original. They also make it very easy to upload your own content.
Quality Reading on LingQ is really easy though there are some features I’d like to see improved or removed
Thoroughness Although there isn’t much original content, there’s still a lot of material to read regardless of your level
Value The price is fitting for the value provided
I Like… It’s easy to add your own content which makes reading more fun.
The content is quite diverse and comes from lots of different places.
Looking up words is quick and easy.
I Don’t Like… Reviewing words is chaotic. Every word you look up gets added to a huge queue that quickly becomes unmanageable.
The extra features are overpriced and can be found other places for cheaper.
Very little of the content is original. Much of it was uploaded by users from other places.
The free version is extremely limited.
Price: A Premium subscription to LingQ costs $12.99/month.
Languages: Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, English, Korean, French, Russian, German, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Greek, Polish, Esperanto, Latin, Ukranian. There are also 11 additional languages in Beta.
Readlang can do much of what LingQ does and is available for free. I didn’t realize all of its functions when writing this review, otherwise, I would have been a bit less enthusiastic about LingQ.
Summary: Earworms is a unique language resource that relies on audio lessons mixed into music. The theory is that you will find the music catchy and thus remember your lessons easily. The whole idea behind Earworms is the psychological theory of memory association. You would associate some information with the music and thus remember it easily. However, the music used in these lessons will not appeal to everyone, at least it didn’t for me. Moreover, the lack of visual aid and no exercises to assess your skills make it harder. I would only recommend this for people who have failed to learn through other online resources or perhaps someone looking to learn a few phrases before a trip.
With a lack of exercises and visual aids, I can’t really say that it will prove to be a useful resource.
All the lessons are comprised of various phrases that they think will be useful for anyone willing to learn French. Unfortunately, they’re too shallow and poorly structured.
With such low utility, it is important to have a low-price tag. Fortunately, they have followed this idea and thus you won’t be losing out too much if you opt for this.
The repetition of the phrases
Some of the tracks aren’t half bad
I Don’t Like…
Tracks aren’t as catchy as I expected
Lack of visual aids
Complete absence of a testing system
Price: Each volume can be purchased as an mp3 download for £8.32 or as a CD for £14.99. You can save a little money by purchasing bundles as well. You can also purchase via the app for £9.99 per volume.
Summary: Pimsleur consists of audio lessons whereby learners listen to a native speaker before repeating the sentence after them. As the vocabulary, the complexity of the phrases and the difficulty level increase, repetition of previous words helps to hammer home what you have already learnt. For speaking and listening comprehension it is definitely effective although there is no focus on reading, grammar or cultural immersion. The format will almost certainly help you improve your language skills but the method seems outdated and monotonously boring. On top of that, it is prohibitively expensive for what it offers. This review focuses on French but it’s just as applicable to other languages.
The audio quality is great but that’s all the course really consists of! Easy to use but very repetitive.
There is no in-depth analysis of grammar or the cultural context. Listen, repeat, listen, repeat is how you are meant to learn the content.
Insanely expensive for what it is. There are way better options out there that are much cheaper than Pimsleur.
The format does make you think and engage with the material. By listening to the narrator and then answering their questions, you really have to focus on the lessons.
I’m pretty sure that if you followed the audio lessons for a while you would improve your French and increase your confidence.
I Don’t Like…
While you may improve your speaking and comprehension skills, you won’t actually understand why the language is formed like that. Consequently, it may be hard to divert away from the prescribed conversations they provide you with.
Some people will respond well to the Pimsleur formula but many will find it outdated and boring. There is a lot of repetition and I didn’t find the content particularly enjoyable to work through.
So expensive! Almost insultingly so for what they are offering.
Price: There are an almost infinite number of different payment options for Pimsleur’s French audio lessons (take a look down below for more information). For people looking to try Pimsleur’s learning method before delving into the 150 French lessons on offer, you can access the first lesson for free on their website. Level 1 of the course consists of 30 lessons and costs $119.95 while the complete French course comprising all five levels will set you back $550.
Alternatives Speechling is a great (and free!) option that, much like Pimsleur, allows you to get lots of practice speaking French. Premium users can also receive unlimited corrections on their pronunciation – save 10% with the coupon “ALR123”.
Glossika is much like Pimsleur in that they offer lots of speaking practice but the materials are a bit more advanced and move much quicker.
Rocket French offers a structured course for beginners and FrenchPod101 has tons of podcast style lessons at an affordable price.
With most language learning resources, people will generally agree on if it’s useful or a waste of time and money.
Pimsleur is a bit unique in this regard. I haven’t yet come across another course where opinions on it are so divided; many people swear by it while others would rather use anything else.
Pimsleur offers courses for lots of different languages but the overall content and quality remains consistent. For a more positive take on Pimsleur, I’d suggest reading our Pimsleur Italian review. Despite being Italian focused, it’s just as applicable to French learners.
Summary: Duolingo in general uses a ‘gamification’ approach to make learning fun and to motivate learners to study. You progress somewhat like in a video game by leveling up to reach the next set of challenges with each task aimed at making you learn the language.
The Portuguese version includes elements of Brazilian and European Portuguese though you will learn next to nothing about the culture of these places. While it is free, there are a number of downsides to what is on offer. It could, however, be useful for learning vocabulary but that’s about it. A beginner will learn a bit of Portuguese but they would do much better looking elsewhere.
Duolingo is really well put together and is easy and fun to use. Unfortunately the content itself isn’t great.
The content is very poor in comparison with other learning resources. Barely any explanations so you just mimic everything.
It’s great that it’s free. For learning vocabulary it could be useful but only in addition to something else.
It is really nicely designed which makes it enjoyable to use.
By making language learning a game it helps encourage people to keep studying.
They’ve helped democratise language learning by making the resource free.
The ‘Stories’ part of the resource is an interesting and innovative way to ‘read’ a story.
I Don’t Like…
It’s basically an endless matching game where you match Portuguese words to their English equivalent.
The content is poorly explained (if at all) so you learn by copying rather than by actually understanding how the grammar matches up.
You might learn some words and phrases but it is highly unlikely that you’ll be able to communicate very well. The fact that there is no cultural immersion does not help either.
Nonsensical content. Some of the sentences are completely useless and don’t make sense.
Price: The best thing about Duolingo is that it’s free. While there are a couple of ads every now and again, they are unobtrusive in comparison with other platforms. You can pay to remove them, however. One ad-free month is 9.99 Euros otherwise it’s 6.99 Euros if you pay for 12 months.
Summary: PortuguesePod101 is a great option for anyone looking to learn Portuguese. The platform offers its users a wide range of lessons (in podcast format) that delve into Portuguese grammar and explore the rich culture of Brazil. While the Beginner lessons are mostly in English and focus on grammar and vocabulary, the Advanced options are entirely in Portuguese. A downside is that there is no speaking involved unless you pay for the Premium Plus plan.
Confusing to navigate on all the interfaces (PC, mobile and app) – the high production value makes up for it.
A huge range of lessons explore a plethora of subjects as the presenters explain the vocabulary and grammar.
Great value for vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening and learning about the culture. Not so good for speaking and writing.
The in-depth exploration of grammar points is very useful.
You learn a lot about Brazilian culture in a short period of time.
They look at a huge range of topics and real-life situations that will come up.
Good progression from the Beginner modules to the Advanced lessons.
I Don’t Like…
I found it quite hard to use the platform. It often took me a few tries to find what I wanted.
There is no way to practice speaking unless you pay for the Premium Plus plan.
Price: The Basic subscription costs $8/month. The Premium plan is $25/month while the Premium Plus plan is $47/month. If you sign up for a longer subscription, the price will drop further. There are several options for subscription length, all the way up to two years.
Use the coupon code “ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES” to get 25% off your subscription.