Russian

HelloTalk Review – Make Friends & Practice Languages

Quick Review

4.5 

Summary

HelloTalk is a mobile app for language learners interested in language exchange. It facilitates communication between native speakers and those learning their language with the use of built-in language tools. It also offers audio lessons in 10 languages as part of a separate subscription.

Community

There’s an active community of dedicated learners, but you’ll have to do some searching.

Features

The app is easy to use and the language tools are helpful, but you could end up relying on google translate.

Value

Both the basic and VIP membership provide great value. The paid audio lessons probably aren’t worth it however.

Languages: There are over 150 languages supported for language exchange, and there are audio lessons for 10 languages: English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Arabic, and Portuguese.

Price

The basic features of HelloTalk are free. Audio lessons require a separate subscription after a short trial period.

HelloTalk VIP is available for:

$4.99/month
$2.17/month (12-month contract)
$124.99 for lifetime access

The HelloTalk audio lessons are available for a one-year subscription at prices ranging from $99 to $119 depending on the language.

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Duolingo Review: Useful But Not Sufficient – 2 Language Learners Test It (With Video)

Quick Review

3.7 

Summary

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.”

Quality

It’s easy and fun to use, but some pronunciation and grammar instruction is of low quality, especially for Asian languages.

Thoroughness

The app works well for learning the basics, but there’s no speaking practice and grammar instruction is limited.

Value

It’s a lot of content for free, but you’ll need to use supplementary resources.

Languages: Duolingo offers 35 language courses with English instruction, three of which are constructed languages. Courses are available in most popular languages, including Spanish, French, German, etc.

Price

Duolingo is totally free. Duolingo Plus offers a few additional features and is available for:

$9.99/month (paid monthly)
$7.99/month (six-month subscription)
$6.99/month (12-month subscription)

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Preply Review – Tutors Should Be Paid For Trial Classes

Quick Review

3.8 

Summary

Preply is an online educational platform that matches tutors with students. There are tutors on Preply offering instruction in a wide range of languages and other subjects. As a learner, you can find a tutor that works best for you by browsing their demo videos and filtering by price and rating. Each tutor’s teaching style is their own.

Quality

A little bit of everything. There are trained professionals with years of experience and tutors trying it out for the first time.

Thoroughness

The platform is easy to use, but offers little in the way of extra features in my opinion.

Value

There’s a huge range of prices and scheduling options, but you have to purchase packages with a single teacher.

Languages: Preply’s tutors teach 27 languages. These include popular languages such as Spanish, Chinese, French, and German, as well as some less common languages.

Price

Each tutor sets their own price, but for most popular languages the average hourly price is around $15.

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Language101.com Course Review – The Worst I’ve Ever Tried!

Quick Review

0.6 

Summary

Language101 (not to be confused with LanguagePod101) is the worst course I’ve ever tried. The platform has ten different languages for you to choose from and focuses on teaching speaking and comprehension. Consequently, you likely won’t learn how to spell, write or translate the language, or even learn any of the grammar. I found the courses to be poorly designed — each ‘lesson’ is identical in form, and the fast-paced learning method seems inefficient; it is doubtful whether even beginners will learn much. To make matters worse, the price is obscenely expensive.

Quality

Easy enough to use, but I thought the content was severely lacking.

Thoroughness

There are virtually no explanations at all. You just learn to parrot and memorize words and phrases.

Value 0 star

Terrible value in my opinion. It honestly feels like a scam. Not worth using even if it were free.

Languages: Spanish, German, French, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Danish, Canadian-French

Price

Language101 has lots of different subscription plans for you to choose from. A one-time payment for access to all of its languages costs $727 or $97/month if you opt for the monthly installments option (that would end up working out at $1,164 if you chose the latter!!).

For ‘1 Package’ of the language of your choice it is then $227 for lifetime access or $527 if you want all 3 packages in a given language.

Alternatives: Literally anything else on the Internet (or in a bookstore) would be better!

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Memrise Review – Useful But Don’t Overuse It

Quick Review

Summary

Memrise is a super popular language-learning app available online and on mobile. It functions much like a gamified flashcard app, and it offers a lot of content for free. A lot of the content is user-created, and there is a premium subscription that provides access to additional features. Memrise can be a great tool in your arsenal, but you’ll need more to learn a language seriously.

Quality

The mobile app looks great and is easy to use, but the website is clunky. Works very well for memorization.

Thoroughness

There are quite a few official Memrise courses, and the number of user-created courses is massive, but you’ll benefit from using additional resources.

Value

The free version of the app provides a lot of value, but the paid version doesn’t offer much more.

Languages

There are currently official Memrise courses for 21 languages.

Among others, these include: Spanish, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Russian.

If you count the user-generated courses, the list of languages is nearly endless.

Price

For the full version of Memrise, the subscription prices are:

$8.99/monthly
$59.99/annually
$99.99 – lifetime subscription

Memrise also offers a ton of content for free. User-created content is available on their sister site, Decks, and signing up for a free account with Memrise automatically gives you access to limited versions of their official courses.

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Fluent Forever App Review – Lots Of Potential But Not There Yet

Quick Review

3.2 

Summary

The Fluent Forever mobile app is a language learning program currently available in eight languages. The approach it takes is based on the methodology described by Gabrial Wyner in his book, Fluent Forever. It uses flashcards and a spaced repetition algorithm to help the learner create meaningful connections with the language and commit language items to long-term memory.

It’s best for people who are able to dedicate ample time and supplementary resources to learning a new language.

Quality

I noticed some spelling errors in the language I was learning. The activities aren’t super intuitive.

Thoroughness

Pronunciation is explained very well, but I was hoping for some grammar explanations as well. Some features are still in development.

Value

The price is reasonable, and the time spent using the app is productive.

Languages: There are currently eight languages available on the Fluent Forever app: Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Korean. Six more are currently in development.

Price

$9.99/month when paid on a monthly basis.
$53.94 for a 6-month subscription ($8.99/month)
$95.88 for a 12-month subscription ($7.99/month)
$167.76 for a 24-month subscription ($6.99/month)

There’s a free 14-day trial available that gives you full access to all of the languages on the app. You’ll be prompted to select one language if you decided to pay for the app after the trial. If you pay for a subscription instead of per-month, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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uTalk Review – Learn Set Phrases But Not A Language

Quick Review

3.2 

Summary

uTalk is a software program and mobile app offering learning material in over 140 languages. Its approach is based on learning set keywords and phrases through gameplay. It covers a wide range of set phrases and offers pronunciation practice. It does not offer any in-depth language instruction or grammar.
uTalk is most useful for people who want to learn key phrases in a new language and aren’t interested in a more comprehensive understanding.

Quality

The app is very user-friendly, and the content is mostly useful, but the features are limited.

Thoroughness

The opportunities for focused practice are somewhat lacking.

Value

The price is very low, and there’s a decent amount of content, but there are more time-efficient ways to learn.

Price

$2.99/month on a monthly basis and can be canceled at any time
$1.67/month for a year-long subscription
$1.00/month for a two-year subscription

*This is the price for the more popular languages like Spanish, German, Arabic, etc. Less common languages such as Afrikaans and Tibetan cost slightly more.

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Living Language Online Course Review – Not Very Good

Quick Review

2.7 

Summary:

Living Language provides numerous learning materials for multiple languages, including complete and essential courses that come with textbooks and CDs. They also have specialty courses covering business, travel, and several jobs. However, their standard online version isn’t very practical, and it’s difficult to tell if you’re actually learning or simply going through the motions. While the resource might be useful for those who want access to a large vocab list with grammar reading materials, there are better, cheaper options.

Quality

Though the information itself is useful, Living Language’s presentation reads more like a database than an educational/interactive tool.

Thoroughness

Again, a lot of the information is there, but it’s scattered. Additionally, some of that information appears incorrect.

Value

Cheaper options offer the same amount of content with more interactive features.

Price

An annual plan costs $150, and half a year costs $75. Three months is $50 and 1 month is $39.

Languages: American Sign Language, Arabic, Dothraki, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, and Vietnamese

An Overview of Living Language

Living Language offers you the opportunity to choose between over 20 languages. Once you pick your language, you’re taken to the home screen which has options for Essential, Intermediate, and Advanced categories. You can start with any of these options and jump back and forth between them.

 

After making your choice, you’ll start with Lesson 1.

Each lesson will include flashcards all related to a specific topic, such as food or clothing. The flashcards will feature the word in your chosen language beside a picture, and if you click on it, you can hear that word spoken. Once you complete the flashcards, you’ll move onto a grammar/vocab summary, followed by more flashcards.

Then, you’ll end the level by listening to a conversation and playing some games.

In truth, you can hop around these lessons as well, starting with the games and ending with Vocabulary 1 or 2. You can also hop in, listen to Vocabulary 2, and then switch to a different category entirely. Though the site provides a suggested order, it has no qualms with you following your own plan.

The number of lessons per category varies, as does the amount of words per level. Additionally, the games are worth certain percentage points, and your completion rate will go up as you work your way through them. You’ll also earn badges, medals, and stickers each time you beat a game.

However, as previously stated, simply beating a game doesn’t mean that you’re learning.

Getting Started with the Online Course

It’s fairly simple to get started with Living Language. Rather than sign up, you can opt for the free week option. I’d certainly suggest this option, as it will give you an idea of whether or not the site is right for you. However, it’s worth noting that the free version is limited to a few lessons from the Essential category.

After signing up, you can dive right into the learning materials. As previously stated, you can start with any category or level. You can even jump directly into the games. Of course, going in order makes the most sense for a beginner, and it might also be useful for someone more advanced; it can be hard to predict which lessons cover which words, and if you skip around, you might miss something important.

 

Lessons and Games

Assuming you attempt the lessons in order, the first lesson includes vocabulary flashcards on the topic of Greetings.

You can mark these cards as “Send to Mastered,” signifying that you know them fully. However, mastering a material doesn’t appear to change anything; it simply results in the word being removed from rotation. Once all the cards in a lesson are marked as Mastered, you have the chance to put them back in the rotation by choosing “Send to Study.”

After completing this vocab section, you’ll move onto reading material about the vocabulary and/or grammar you’ve learned. From there, you’ll listen to a conversation, which might bring in words you haven’t learned before. Oddly, the speaker’s gender doesn’t always match the speaker’s honorific (ex. a male speaker would sometimes speak for someone with the honorific Mademoiselle).

The games are definitely the most entertaining part of the site in my opinion.

There’s a large variety, including word searches, sentence builders, and fill in the blanks. You can also pop bubbles or answer multiple-choice questions in order to defeat a dragon.

At first, I enjoyed the games and felt like I was doing well with the material. However, after several rounds, the novelty of these games wore off. Additionally, it’s easy to guess the correct answers to several of the games, meaning you might win without really covering the material. I wasn’t trying to outsmart the games — I was simply trying to win them. In this case, winning has nothing to do with comprehension or retention; it simply meant I’d figured out the patterns.

My French knowledge is fairly basic, but I was able to complete several games in the Advanced category without reading any of the lessons beforehand.

If you complete a game with minimal errors, you’ll earn a gold badge. If you win with several errors, you’ll earn a silver or bronze badge. You’ll also earn a certain amount of percentage points, which appear on the home page under each category. And after multiple wins of the same game-type, you’ll start collecting badges.

Admittedly, I was curious to see what badges were available, and I think they work as a fun incentive. In this way, Living Language is kind of like a video game where you want to achieve 100% completion–but again, this isn’t necessarily helpful when trying to gauge your knowledge of the materials.

Once you finish your first grouping of lessons, you’ll move onto the next level, which will be based on a different subject. From there on, there’s not much variation in lesson set-up: it’s flashcards, a summary, a conversation, and games. It should also be noted that you have to click on the games yourself, or the lesson will simply skip them and move onto the next set of flashcards.

Oddly, some of the images don’t seem to align with the vocab. While I didn’t notice a ton of errors, it was enough to make me worry about the correctness of other translations, especially because of errors other users spotted.

 

Plans and Prices

Along with the monthly version, you can also purchase annual plans, 6-month plans, and 3-month plans. Value-wise, the 6-month plan and annual plan cost the same when looking at the price per month, whereas the 1-month plan is the most expensive and the 3-month plan falls somewhere between them.

A one month subscription costs $39, 3 months costs $50, 6 months costs $75, and 1 year costs $150.

Some languages don’t offer monthly versions, while others offer specialty courses for travel or specific occupations. For instance, Spanish lessons are available in Business for three-month increments at $60.

Furthermore, traditional book and CD sets are available at various price points. As I didn’t use these options, I can’t speak to their value, though reviews on Amazon are mixed.

Final Thoughts

Living Language provides several resources for language learning, including online courses, specialty courses, and CD/textbook options. While I can’t speak to all of these resources, the French Comprehensive course wasn’t very useful for me. The flashcards and grammar lessons are fairly basic, and the games, although fun at first, ultimately don’t reveal much about what you’ve learned.

Living Language could do more to take advantage of its online platform. The games and audio are a good start, but the site’s actual test value is missing. Additionally, while these resources could potentially be useful, there are cheaper options out there that offer more interactive features and in-depth explanations.

While I don’t think it will hurt your language learning efforts, I’d recommend looking at other resources first. As each language has different resources available, our top recommendations would depend on the language you’re studying. To find the ones we recommend, click on the language you’re learning below.

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Drops App Review – Decent As A Supplementary Resource

Quick Review

3

Summary:

Drops is a phone app for iPhone and Android that covers 33 languages. Daily games test the user on thousands of vocabulary words, and many of these words are ideal for everyday use. Drops has an entertaining, user-friendly interface, but it also lacks grammar lessons, and it works better for some languages than others. For anyone looking to supplement their vocab lessons, this app is worth considering; however, the free version might be more worthwhile than the paid version.

Quality

Though cute and easy to use, several visuals are hard to distinguish, and some games aren’t too useful for retention.

Thoroughnes

This app won’t help with grammar or verb conjugation. However, it does offer hundreds of unique vocab words.

Value

The free app is a great supplementary tool to help round out your vocabulary, but the paid app doesn’t offer many useful extras.

Price

A monthly subscription costs $9.99, a yearly subscription is $69.99, and a lifetime subscription is $159.99. You can use the app up to five minutes every ten hours for free.

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Review Of Red Kalinka’s Russian Course – Exceptionally Comprehensive

Quick Review

4.7

Summary:

The ‘Largest Russian School in the World’, Red Kalinka has lots of different products that will get you learning Russian. Its main course – Red Kalinka Russian Course – is very well thought-out and will certainly improve both beginners’ and intermediates’ reading, writing and comprehension skills. While it is not the most entertaining thing in the world, the videos and exercises are exceptionally thorough. Without a doubt, if you stick with this course, your Russian will become very good.

Quality

Red Kalinka’s videos and exercises might not be that innovative or entertaining but you’ll learn a ton.

Thoroughnes

Red Kalinka goes into a lot of depth when it comes to vocabulary, grammar, and cultural explanations – possibly too in-depth!

Value

It’s not the cheapest course you’ll find but worth the cost.

Price

The Red Kalinka Russian Course costs 29 euros a month. However, through the link below, you can save 20% on the subscription cost each month, making it only 23 euros per month.

They also have a bunch of different products such as audiobooks, one-to-one lessons and online exercises for you to sign up for.

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