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Tandem Review

Tandem Review: A Tinder-esque Language Exchange App?

Tandem

Rating 4.7

Summary

Tandem is a popular language exchange app with over one million active users. It’s available for iOS and Android and aims to bring language learners from all over the world together. It’s largely centered around its chat capabilities and language tools that facilitate communication, but there is also a tutoring service offered in the app.


Quality 5.0

There are lots of active language learners, especially those looking to pair with native English speakers.

Thoroughness 4.5

The interface is intuitive and the language tools are simple and effective, though you’ll quickly run out of free translations.

Value 4.5

The free version is all most people will need. Tandem Pro doesn’t add a ton of extra value.

I Like
  • There are plenty of language partners
  • The interface is easy to use and attractive
  • The free version offers a lot of value
I Don’t Like
  • You’ll need to use other learning resources as well
  • Though Tandem has some safety features, you may encounter people using the app as a dating tool
Price

There is a limited free version of Tandem and a pro version available at $6.99 for one month, $10.67/month for three months, and $6.67/month for a year’s subscription.

Tandem Review: A Tinder-esque Language Exchange App? Read More »

An Honest Review of Mango Languages With Image of Girl on Computer

Mango Languages Review – Pretty Good For Beginners

Mango Languages

Rating 3.5

Summary

Mango Languages is a pretty good resource with numerous languages available along with their regional variations.  It’ll work the best for beginners or for those interested in studying a few languages at the same time. Anybody past the intermediate level won’t find Mango Languages very useful.


Quality 4.0

It is well designed, has a beautiful interface, and is intuitive to use.

Thoroughness 3.0

There are some gaps in terms of writing and grammar, along with a lack of materials for intermediate or higher level students.

Value 3.5

The price is fair and will give you access to materials for over 70 languages.

I Like
  • It’s very easy to use and has a slick design.
  • The intense drilling of useful real life sentences and words during lessons will really help you remember them.
  • Cultural and grammar notes incorporated in the lessons are well-prepared to help you understand the language you’re learning better.
  • The subscription gives you access to over 70 languages.
I Don’t Like
  • Most courses finish around the intermediate level with some less popular languages ending before that.
  • There’s not enough grammar practice.
  • During drilling, when a student is prompted to complete a task such as coming up with an appropriate translation of a sentence, the command is read out loud. Listening to someone repeat very similar commands over and over again is tedious.
  • The Google Translate plugin is a rather lazy and disappointing way to give students answers about words or sentences they’d like to translate.
Price

A subscription to Mango Languages costs $14.99 a month or 179.99 yearly.

Mango Languages has high-quality beginner to intermediate level lessons in tons of different languages.

Mango Languages Review – Pretty Good For Beginners Read More »

An Honest Review of Babbel With Image of Woman on Computer

Babbel Review – Nothing Flashy, But Good, Trusted Courses At Reasonable Cost

Babbel

Rating 4.2

Summary

Babbel is an online language-learning platform with over 1 million active users. It’s available on the web, for iOS, and for Android. The app aims to get learners to a conversational level as quickly as possible through the use of a variety of exercises and spaced repetition for review. The courses are well put together and relatively inexpensive; there are 14 different languages available.


Quality 4.5

It’s well-designed and the content is immediately useful.

Thoroughness 4.0

The material provided is effective and covers a lot, but isn’t ideal for advanced levels.

Value 4.0

The price is relatively low for what’s offered, but you’ll have to purchase each language separately.

I Like
  • The content is practical for real-life use
  • It’s easy to use
  • The lessons are fairly short
I Don’t Like
  • The exercises can get repetitive
  • The review exercises don’t include grammar concepts
  • Speech recognition isn’t the best way to learn pronunciation
Price

Babbel uses a recurring subscription model and offers a 20-day money-back guarantee. Price per month depends on the length of the subscription and only includes access to one language.

Monthly – $14.95/mo Every 3 Months – $12.65/mo Every 6 Months – $11.15/mo Every year – $7.45/mo

The prices listed here are for customers in the United States; they otherwise vary by region.

What is Babbel?

With over 1 million active users, Babbel is one of the more popular language-learning platforms out there. Since it became available in 2007 it’s been expanded to offer curriculum-based instruction for 14 different languages on the web, iOS, and Android.

Babbel Review – Nothing Flashy, But Good, Trusted Courses At Reasonable Cost Read More »

An Honest Review of Clozemaster With Image of Boy on Computer

Clozemaster Review: Limited Focus But Fun Way To Grow Vocab

Clozemaster

Rating 4.2

Summary

Ideal for people who are already at an upper beginner/intermediate level, Clozemaster will help you build your vocabulary and learn new words and sentences in context. While you won’t learn much grammar or improve your speaking and writing much, it is great at what it does and the videogame aspect makes it fun and addictive to work though. Although the exercises are all pretty much identical, there are various ways in which you can increase the difficulty and Clozemaster’s free account is almost as good as the Pro User one.


Quality 4.0

Very easy to use with thousands upon thousands of sentences for you to work through, Clozemaster’s main exercises are well-designed though some features are a bit hit and miss.

Thoroughness 4.0

Although you aren’t given any explanations, Clozemaster’s huge database of sentences allows you to learn words in context.

Value 4.5

The free version offers a ton of value, but for those who use Clozemaster regularly, it may be worth upgrading to a Pro account.

I Like
  • There is an insane number of words and sentences for you to learn, and you’re exposed to them within the context of a sentence.
  • Just using the free account you are sure to learn a lot with only some extra (and undoubtedly useful) features being included in the Pro plan. This makes learning accessible to everyone.
  • Lots of languages available to learn, and you can do so from a wide range of languages, making it very useful for non-native English speakers or those who want to study two languages at once.
I Don’t Like
  • A couple of features such as the Cloze-reading and the speaking exercises seemed like they could have benefited from a bit more thought and effort put into them.
  • There is no real progression and you are basically given an endless array of different words and sentences to work through and the various exercises are all pretty much identical.
  • Sentences are sourced from
Price

The free version is very useful, but you can upgrade to a pro account for $8/month or $60/year.

Having never heard of Clozemaster before and having no idea what it was all about, I was immediately taken by its videogame-looking aesthetics and fun fill-in-the-missing-words exercises.

Clozemaster Review: Limited Focus But Fun Way To Grow Vocab Read More »

An Honest Review of HelloTalk With Image of Person on Tablet

HelloTalk Review – Make Friends & Practice Languages

HelloTalk

Rating 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.


Quality 5.0

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

Thoroughness 4.0

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

Value 4.5

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

I Like
  • It’s exciting to practice communicating with real people
  • The built-in language tools are helpful
  • It’s easy to pick up and put down whenever you like
I Don’t Like
  • It’s too easy to rely on google translate
  • It can be hard to find good partners
  • The paid audio lessons probably aren’t worth it
Price

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

HelloTalk VIP is available for:

$6.99/month and $45.99/year or $175.00 for lifetime access

Learning a new language when you’re nowhere near other speakers of that language can be tricky. For example, I’m currently in Nepal and trying to learn Italian. I don’t exactly get a lot of opportunities to practice Italian here.

HelloTalk Review – Make Friends & Practice Languages Read More »

Review of Preply

Preply Review – Tutors Created Tailored Lesson Plans for You

Preply

Rating 4.5

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, but they all receive teacher trainings and resources to improve their style.


Quality 4.5

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

Thoroughness 4.5

The platform is easy to use, and tutors who specialize in subjects beyond languages, such as math and music are available. Lots of supplementary resources help reinforcement of lessons.

Value 4.5

There’s a huge range of prices and scheduling options, and tutors offer tailored lesson plans adapted to each student’s objectives and preferences.

I Like
  • The number of available tutors is massive
  • Searching for a tutor is easy
  • Many tutors are very inexpensive
  • Finding a tutor with a schedule that works is easy
I Don’t Like
  • You have to purchase a package of hours ahead of time
  • Teachers aren’t paid for trial lessons
Price

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

Exclusive 50% discount for ALR readers! Make sure to use our link to receive it.

With nearly every language-learning resource I’ve used, I run into the same problem. I don’t feel like I’m getting adequate speaking practice. I know from experience that learning a language academically and using it in the wild are two very different beasts.

Preply Review – Tutors Created Tailored Lesson Plans for You Read More »

An Honest Review of Language101.com With Image of Woman on Computer

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

Language101.com Course

Rating 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 1.0

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

Thoroughness 1.0

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

Value 0.0

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

I Like
  • They provide you with a literal translation of the phrase you are asked to produce.
  • Despite coming away thinking this is a terrible product (and it is), I liked being asked to produce words and phrases.
I Don’t Like
  • I don’t agree with their ‘teaching’ method which basically asks you to produce words and phrases in a language you have never learned before as quickly as possible.
  • The ‘courses’ are a muddled mess, I didn’t see any logical progression, and there is only one exercise for you to do ad infinitum until you lose your mind.
  • It is insanely expensive. My god. It is insulting how much money they are charging for a product this terrible.
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!

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

An Honest Review of Memrise With Image of Man Holding Phone

Memrise Review – Useful But Don’t Overuse It

Memrise

Rating 4.0

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 4.0

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

Thoroughness 4.0

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 4.0

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

I Like
  • The spaced repetition software is effective for memorization
  • The huge range of available content
  • It’s more interactive than other flashcard apps
I Don’t Like
  • It’s not enough for continued language learning
  • Website navigation is clunky
  • Premium version isn’t much more valuable than the free version
Price

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

$8.99/monthly $59.99/annually $119.99 – lifetime subscription

Signing up for a free account with Memrise automatically gives you access to limited versions of their official courses.

What do you get when a Grand Master of Memory and a Princeton neuroscientist team up to create a language learning app?

Memrise Review – Useful But Don’t Overuse It Read More »

An Honest Review of Fluenz With Image of Woman on Floor With Computer

Fluenz Review – Academic Approach With Thorough Explanations

Fluenz

Rating 4.0

Summary

Fluenz is a language learning software that is available on most devices and offers offline functionality. Its primary objective is to simulate the one-on-one tutor experience with the use of video tutorials that break down the language you’re learning. There are ample explanations of language concepts in English, and the instruction is very thorough. It’s designed for the user with a bigger budget that’s looking for an in-depth and serious learning experience.


Quality 4.0

The activities are easy to use and very effective, but they can be a bit dry.

Thoroughness 4.5

Extremely thorough. Frequent video tutorials and podcasts provide in-depth explanations and lots of practice.

Value 3.5

Maybe not the fastest way to learn a language, but there’s a great deal of content. Made for those who prefer an academic approach.

I Like
  • I found the thorough explanations to be very helpful.
  • The video tutorials were engaging and added a lot of value.
  • The podcasts are great for more passive practice.
I Don’t Like
  • The pace of the activities can be slow.
  • Some of the activities feel too repetitive.
  • It’s expensive.
Price

Except for Mandarin, each language is available in five levels of difficulty. The full five-level course is $408 (currently discounted at $378). The Mandarin course contains three levels of difficulty and is available for $322 (currently $308). For each language, you can buy a smaller bundle of levels based on your ability.

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An Honest Review of Fluent Forever App With Image of Man Holding Tablet

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

Fluent Forever App

Rating 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 2.5

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

Thoroughness 3.0

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

Value 4.0

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

I Like
  • Creating my own flashcards was usually easy, fun and memorable.
  • The pronunciation activities were enlightening and practical.
  • Using the same sentence to learn multiple words got me speaking longer sentences quickly.
I Don’t Like
  • I wanted to have more control over what I practiced and when.
  • Creating flashcards was sometimes time-consuming and difficult.
  • There are no explanations for grammar points.
  • There’s no offline functionality, and the app is only supported on mobile devices
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)

My first introduction to the world of Fluent Forever was a TEDx talk done by its Founder, Gabriel Wyner.

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