Spanish

lexilogos

3.5 
Price: Free

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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.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

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Duolingo

Quick Review

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 little 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:

$12.99/month (paid monthly)
$6.99/month (12-month subscription)

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Rosetta Stone

Price: Subscriptions start at $35.97 for 3-months

Quick Review

2.7 

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.

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.

Quality

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

Thoroughnes

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

Value

I think there are many more efficient and less expensive ways to learn a language.

Languages

There are courses in 25 different languages — popular ones like Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, and less-studied languages like Greek, Hebrew, and Swedish.

Price

Subscription Type Subscription Length Total Price* Price Per Month
One Language 3 Months $35.97 $11.99
All Languages 12 Months $179 $14.92
All Languages Lifetime $199 N/A

 

*This is the amount you’ll pay.

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Polly Lingual

Price: Freemium, yearly subscriptions start at $2.99/mo

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Polly Lingual is a phrasebook app and website with a series of basic word lists, flashcards, and memory games. Some of the phrases are pronounced by native speakers, while others use text-to-voice.

Unlike other phrasebook apps that focus on phrases alone, Polly Lingual introduces the basic alphabet in languages with non-romanized scripts. You can quiz yourself on the basic vowels and consonants in Russian, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese, and Arabic. Polly Lingual may be helpful for a quick review of what you’ve already learned, but if you’re keen on learning to write a new script, you may want to check out Write It! or Write Me.

There are also Polly Ambassadors — tutors who will provide short videos of language learning tips throughout the site. You can send them a personal message or hire them as a private tutor.

Overall, Polly Lingual only teaches basic phrases and will probably not help you learn how to construct your own sentences. If you’re just beginning to learn another language, check out French in Action, Red Kalinka (Russian), Chinesefor.us, 90 Day Korean, Portuguese lab, or Pimsleur to get more out of your time. Also, Italki will give you more options for private tutors, if that’s what you’re looking for.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

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YouGlish

Price: Free

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YouGlish is a website that has indexed millions of video clips to put words in context for language learners. After searching for a word in your target language, you will see a YouTube video with subtitles and your target word highlighted in yellow. When you have heard the word, you can continue listening to the video or move on to the next example. You can also slow down the speed of the audio, click on a sentence in the transcript to replay it, or skip backwards 5 seconds to listen again. Sometimes you can watch over 1000 videos with your target word, other times there may only be a couple dozen available.

Some languages also allow you to choose between different regional dialects, such as: French from Canada or France; Chinese from Taiwan or China; and Spanish from Spain or Latin America.

You will need to search for the word in your target language, so you can check out WordReference or Linguee to get a translation. Forvo also provides audio clips of native speaker pronunciation, but with YouGlish, you can practice listening to these words in context.

If you want help with reading the subtitles, you can download Readlang for on-screen translations. The Zhongwen Chrome extension will be better for Chinese learners, as it provides the pronunciation of each character as well as a definition.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

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Conversations - IWTYAL

3.5 
Price: $197

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Conversations by I Will Teach You a Language is a downloadable program that uses Comprehensible input (CI) as a strategy to improve your language level. Comprehensible input is when you consume second language material that is just above your current level, which in IWTYAL’s case, is about A2-B1 on the CEFR scale.

The Conversations program includes material of a manageable length with full transcripts and English translations. It is 20 chapters long and follows six characters, two of whom have just moved to the countryside from the big city. You will listen to realistic dialogues between the characters and learn everyday colloquialisms and slang. The characters have a variety of accents within each language, and they speak at a relatively natural speed. The series has the same content in each language, but there are variations based on cultural differences.

IWTYAL probably has good quality materials, but it is quite expensive compared to other CI resources. Intermediate learners can check out innerFrench, Japanese With Noriko, Russian With Max, and Dreaming Spanish for some high-quality, free alternatives. Chinese learners might want to check out Du Chinese and The Chairman’s Bao for graded readers with audio. 

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

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audiria

Price: Free

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Audiria’s podcasts are structured like lessons, with about 20 different topics to choose from. They focus on humour, art, short scenes, songs, and books, not to mention slow podcasts and podcasts for beginners.

On Audriria‘s website, each podcast contains a full transcript with exercises and tests, allowing you to fill in the blanks, put sentences in order, and choose the right sentence to fill the transcript. Unfortunately, the interface is not very user friendly and the layout makes it difficult to navigate some of the activities: sometimes the images don’t load on the test pages, and often you will find that your chosen podcast has been deleted from the source.

Audiria has good-quality and helpful content, but the website makes it less desirable to use. If you can find a podcast that has not been deleted, then it may be worth checking out, but other podcast-based resources have more consistent quality and reliable platforms. Spanishpod101, Unlimited Spanish, Notes in Spanish, and Spanish Obsessed are just a few other options.

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

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Instituto Cervantes

4.7 
Price: Freemium archives, lessons start at 20€, courses start at 75€

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The Instituto Cervantes is a non-profit Spanish organization developed by the Spanish government to promote the study of Spanish language and Culture.

On their website, you can find self-guided courses for levels A1 to C1. Sixteen 30-hour courses cover 48 topics, each with videos, reading material, and interactive exercises. There is a 3 month limit on access to courses, and a 3-week limit on the individual 10-hour lessons.

You can also purchase an affordable 1-year membership to their library of digital content, which has thousands of books, audiobooks, databases, online dictionaries, and more for studying Spanish.

Although the user interface is not very modern, the Instituto Cervantes has some of the few online platforms that meticulously takes you through each of the CEFR levels with structured, high-quality, and interactive lessons. If you know you can motivate yourself to self-study and have some spare cash to invest in your learning, it will probably be time and money well spent. Unfortunately, each course must be purchased separately and they are quite expensive. You can take a look at the archived lessons here and decide if you want to purchase the full course to provide more structure. 

Beginners may want to download the Readlang Chrome extension to help with translation, as most of the webpages are entirely in Spanish. Also, nothing beats learning through speaking the language, so check out italki, SpanishVIP, and Baselang for online Spanish tutors.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

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SpanishVIP

Price: Starting at $49/month

Quick Review

4.5 

Summary:

SpanishVIP is a service that connects students and teachers of Spanish for online video lessons. It offers an “unlimited lessons” model for a monthly subscription and could be extremely cost effective for learners that take several lessons per week.

It’s best suited for learners of Latin American Spanish at any level that want to improve their listening and speaking skills. It might not be the best fit if you’re mostly interested in Iberian Spanish or if you live in an Asian time zone.

Quality

The teachers are well trained and the materials are of high quality. 

Thoroughness

You can really study whatever you like; the teachers are focused on helping you achieve your own specific goals.

Value

If you can take enough classes each week, the price is excellent.

Languages

Spanish

Price

In total there are six different subscription options with SpanishVIP: three for group classes, and three for private classes. Group classes come with a 7-day free trial, though you’ll still have to provide payment information upfront.

Private Classes Group Classes
1 Month $119 1 Month $49
3 Months $299 3 Months $129
6 Months $499 6 Months $229

 

Mention ALR to get a free month of group classes with any private class purchase.

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Pimsleur

Price: Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo

Quick Review

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

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

Thoroughnes

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

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

Languages

There are courses in over 50 languages; you’ll find popular ones like German, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese alongside less common languages like Albanian, Finnish, and Haitian Creole.

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.

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