Summary: Created by Idahosa, the Mimic Method’s ‘Elemental Sounds Masters Classes’ are not your traditional type of language learning course as you won’t learn any grammar or vocabulary. The focus is instead on learning the elemental sounds of the language. This is because once you can conceptualise them, then you can train your ear to hear and understand them and afterwards train your mouth to produce and pronounce these sounds. Useful for both beginners and advanced learners, you would obviously need to use it in conjunction with a couple of other resources to progress in your target language.
Easy to use and navigate, the production quality is fine without being amazing.
Quite technical throughout most of the course, Idahosa thoroughly explains the method and sounds in each language.
Very expensive for what it is, I think it is as interesting take at learning pronunciation but you won’t get anything else from it.
Some of the homework exercises are really interesting and quite unlike anything you’ll find on other language courses.
Idahosa goes into quite a lot of depth on how to pronounce the different elemental sounds of each language. At the end of the course you will know all the different sounds from the language that you are learning.
It was a fresh way of learning a language that I had never contemplated before
I Don’t Like…
I found the course to be very technical and while other people will surely find it interesting, it didn’t resonate so much with me unfortunately as it just wasn’t that fun to follow.
You would certainly have to use the course alongside other learning resources which actually teach you the grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking and cultural context of your target language.
You do not get much material for the high price that it costs.
Price: For lifetime access to a course, the Mimic Method website has slashed its cost from $394 to $197 although I am uncertain if it always stays that price.
Summary: Busuu is one of the most popular language learning courses around but it’s not worth paying for. The course content isn’t designed very well and there are better free alternatives. I do really like Busuu’s social features that make it easy to have your speech and writing corrected by a native speaker, but that part is free.
Busuu’s platform is well designed but their lessons aren’t.
The content of their courses leaves a lot to be desired.
Other free apps teach languages better.
The language exchange part of the app is awesome and free to use. It’s really easy to get your speech or writing corrected.
They use video and picture prompts to help you think of a topic to write or talk about.
I Don’t Like…
The lesson structure has you learn some obscure vocabulary before learning the essentials.
You can find better courses for free.
A lot of important things like pronunciation and grammar are left out or barely explained.
Price: Busuu costs $8.33/month with a 3-month minimum subscription.
Languages: Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, and English
Summary: Babbel is an affordable language learning tool that offers a lot of information and can be of great help to beginners and lower intermediate students. They structured the lessons very well, providing explanations and a lot of vocabulary for their students. The materials are easy to go through and fairly engaging. It’s not my favorite resource around but it’s not bad either.
Through its repetitive lesson structure, Babbel offers a solid starting point.
Babbel offers comprehensive and extensive lessons; they’ll work well for any beginner student.
The price is very reasonable.
I Like… Repetitive nature of the lessons
The lessons are connected and they build up your knowledge in a progressive way
Engaging content and comprehensive lessons
Flexible learning plan and self-directed – you have can choose what to learn and when to do it
I Don’t Like… No downloadable materials
Not a very unique learning structure, similar to Duolingo (matching words to images)
Won’t sufficiently develop your conversational skills
Price: The price for a personal plan varies depending on the length of the subscription. One month costs $12.95 and the price falls to $6.95/month if you purchase a full year. There are also 3 and 6 months plans available.
Languages: German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Indonesian, Russian, Danish, Norwegian, and English
Summary: Yabla is a platform that makes it easier for language learners to incorporate tv and other videos into their study routine. They support six languages, all of which have over 1000 short videos included. You’ll find captions in two languages and can click on unknown words to see their definitions. It’s pretty useful but I’m not so certain that it’s worth paying for.
It works fine but won’t be winning any design awards
Lots of variety in video content
The price is reasonable for a supplementary study tool.
Lots of multi-part video series.
Entertaining content covering a wide variety of topics.
Some useful activities to review the content from the videos.
I Don’t Like…
Although each language has over 1000 videos, most videos are only 1-2 minutes long.
The design could be improved, especially on mobile.
I had a hard time using it enough to justify continuing to pay for a subscription.
Price: A subscription to Yabla costs $12.95/month, $54.95/six-months, or $99.95/year.
Summary: Baselang offers unlimited Spanish classes for $149/month. It’s much more than just a tutoring service though as they also have an excellent curriculum, along with elective lessons and assessments. I was really impressed with Baselang. Anyone with enough time and money to fully utilize the service should strongly consider using it.
The curriculum is extensive but not meant to be worked through alone.
You can follow their curriculum, have casual conversations, or do whatever you’d like to in the classes.
If you use it enough, it’s absurdly good value.
I Like… The classes are truly unlimited.
Scheduling lessons is extremely flexible. Several times I schedule a class less than 5 minutes before it began.
The curriculum is well-structured and extensive.
The teachers were good and catered the lessons to my preferences.
I Don’t Like… All of the teachers are from Venezuela.
The internet connection could occasionally be a problem.
If you don’t have enough time to study, it’d be a poor choice.
Price: There are two programs – one for learning Real World Spanish and the other for DELE Exam Prep. The Real World program costs $149 per month and the DELE Exam Prep costs $199 per month.
You can try baselang out for one week for only $1. If you sign-up using the link below, you’ll get $10 off your first month.
If you end up purchasing a plan and later decide that it’s not for you, Baselang will pay you $20 as an apology for wasting your time.