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.
Thoroughness 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.
I Like The daily reminders keep me accountable.
If you already know a word, you have the option of swiping up and removing it from your lessons.
Though the app works better for some languages, the sheer amount of languages is a plus.
Great audio examples.
I Don’t Like It can be difficult to tell certain images apart, which means you’ll likely identify them incorrectly during your review.
Some of the categories seem to include random, unrelated words.
This app isn’t ideal for beginners, as it skips over basic lessons.
Drops only teaches you a single verb form, meaning you’ll need different apps to learn how to conjugate.
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.
Summary: The Transparent Language Essentials Courses aim to get absolute beginners engaged and interacting with the language they’re learning and speaking the basics in no time at all. While there are lots of different exercises for you to work through, the material isn’t all that helpful and it does get very repetitive. Although the courses aren’t all that useful or in depth, with over a hundred languages on offer it might be worth checking out if you want to learn the very basics of a more obscure language such as Buriat, Kazakh or Turkmen. But, even then, I’d try to find other resources first.
Quality While the exercises are for the most part well-designed, diverse and easy to use, it is the core material itself which is lacking.
Thoroughness There are hardly any explanations at all, you just have to endlessly memorize words and phrases.
Value I would only consider using if it were free and I was studying a very rare language.
I Like I really like the fact that they offer up courses in languages that are usually overlooked.
It’s pretty well-designed, easy to use and has lots of different activities to work through.
I Don’t Like The core material is severely lacking and you won’t learn much grammar or how to form even a basic sentence yourself.
It gets very repetitive and so I didn’t find it that fun to work through.
You learn virtually nothing about the different cultural contexts of the languages you’re learning.
Their teaching methodology is the biggest issue, leaving you memorizing lots of words and phrases in isolation.
Price: There is a free two-week trial period for you to try it out. Otherwise, it is $24.95 per month or $149.95 for a whole year if you just select one language. If you want access to all of the languages it is then $49.95 per month and $249.95 a year.
Summary: The Language Transfer’s courses approach language learning with what has been coined as “The Thinking Method’. These audio courses serve as a great introduction to the nine languages currently available. They go into lots of depth on how each language works, teaching you all of the main grammar points and giving you the tools needed to learn independently and intuitively. For beginners looking to learn a language, these free courses are an effective and efficient way to start your journey.
Quality Might look a bit basic but the content is very well designed.
Thoroughness The courses don’t follow the traditional learning path but have a lot of depth.
Value It’s completely free and better than most paid resources.
I Like Lessons are efficient in that they cover a lot of material in a short amount of time.
The lessons teach you a mix of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation each time and so you really come away understanding how the language is formed.
Mihalis (the founder) presents everything in a very calm and relaxed manner, thoroughly explaining everything as he goes while encouraging the student who answers his questions.
For each language, the course is created independently and follows its own learning path.
I Don’t Like While the content is very good quality, it could maybe do with varying the presentation a bit as there are no exercises, quizzes or work for you to produce.
The lessons kind of progress in a strange manner as you don’t follow a traditional language learning route, such as starting off with greetings, etc.
You won’t hear any native speakers on most of the courses and you don’t ever actually hear a conversation.
Price: Completely free, but if you find the courses to be useful, consider making a donation.
Summary: Pimsleur’s courses primarily focus on oral language. They are one of the biggest names in language learning but was something I had a hard time recommending to people in the past because of the insanely high prices.
They recently added a subscription model with much more reasonable prices and a new app that is much better designed. This review focuses on the new subscription model which isn’t yet available to the general public from the Pimsleur website but you can find it here.
I was really impressed with the quality of the lessons and now that the price is much better, I’m happy to recommend studying with Pimsleur.
The lessons are very well structured and the new app works great
Pimsleur primarily focuses on oral language at the expense of grammar.
The new subscription cost is very affordable.
The lessons focus on oral language which gets students speaking right away.
The lessons are very active. You’re constantly being prompted and need to produce the language you’re learning.
The lessons build upon each other exceptionally well with previously learned material constantly being reinforced.
The app is well designed with lots of beautiful images and interesting cultural notes.
I Don’t Like…
The lessons aren’t terribly exciting.
The written language is much more of an afterthought and not heavily featured in the lessons.
The practice activities included in the premium plan aren’t particularly well done.
Price: A basic subscription costs $14.95 per month and a premium subscription costs $19.95 per month. This is a massive improvement over the old prices which cost as much as $550 for five levels.
You won’t find any information about this new subscription price on their website. The link below will take you to a page with more information on their subscription plans.
Summary: Memrise is one of the most popular language learning apps around. It’s basically a gamified flashcard app. It’s a good way to help build vocabulary and beginner students would benefit the most from it. While it can be very useful, it’s important to not try to use it as your main tool for learning a new language.
Quality The app is extremely well designed, but courses are user-made, so quality can vary.
Thoroughness There are courses covering tons of topics, but you’ll need to use additional resources.
Value Free and very useful. Awesome!
I Like It uses spaced-repetition software making it easy to learn new words and review them periodically. It’s a bit more fun than traditional flashcard apps. There are tons of different courses to choose from.
I Don’t Like I personally prefer other flashcard apps that are less gamified (Anki or Pleco for Mandarin). It should be used with other resources, not in isolation.
Price: It’s free. The Premium Plan costs $9 per month or $59 per year.