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Tamil

Learn Indian Languages Quickly With Alter Gyan: Mini Review

Alter Gyan/Learn X Quickly

Rating 3.2
Price:

Free; watch an ad or pay to unlock some themes

Summary

Alter Gyan’s apps set out to teach you essential words and phrases in 13 different Indian languages. The series include Learn Hindi Quickly, Learn Punjabi Quickly, and Learn Bengali Quickly. What makes it even better is the fact that you can learn from other common Indian, East Asian, and European languages – not just English. Although Alter Gyan (also called Altergyan) has also made apps for European and East Asian languages, we can’t recommend them. Our score is solely for the apps for the Indian languages. This is because the biggest selling point of these apps is the variety of languages for which, frankly, there aren’t always many resources. When you open the app, you can view word lists for over 30 themes. You can drill them with flash cards, take multiple-choice quizzes, and even record yourself speaking and listen back. If you can find your language on something like uTalk (review), Ling (review), Simply Learn Languages (review), or Vocly (review), we would recommend studying with those apps instead. We find them more effective, engaging, and comprehensive. However, if these apps aren’t an option, or if you want to learn from Tamil or Telugu, Alter Gyan’s Learn Quickly apps could help you memorize basic words and phrases for essential situations.

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iLoveLanguages Mini-Review: Another Phrasebook SIte

ilovelanguages.org

Rating 1.6
Price:

Free

Summary

iLoveLanguages seems similar to iLanguages and Learn101 in that every language has the same content and grammar. The eighteen 30-minute beginner ‘lessons’ in every language are essentially lists of phrases and vocabulary words, with audio recordings by native speakers. The site seems to provide a local teacher for each language, but for some reason, the same teacher offers at least 11 of the languages (including Gaelic, Basque, Filipino, Marathi, and Cantonese). Oddly enough, this teacher also appears in stock photos around the internet. Considering that the website advertises each language class as being taught by a native speaker, perhaps be cautious if you are considering taking a class from this site — maybe try italki or SpanishVIP for private lessons instead. iLoveLanguages may be helpful if you want to hear native speakers pronounce words in South-Eastern languages, like Marathi, Gujarati, Vietnamese, or Malay. You can compare the pronunciation with the speakers from either iLanguages or Learn 101 (but not both, as they use identical audio files). You could also check out Forvo, which is probably the most extensive pronunciation database on the internet right now. 

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Master Any Language Mini-Review: No Words To Describe the Nope

Master Any Language

Rating 0.2
Price:

Free

Summary

Master Any Language has a counterintuitive interface with activities that are frustrating to navigate. Its only perk is that it supports less-studied languages, but even if you do find yourself lacking resources in your target language, this website will probably detract from your learning. You will jump through hoops trying to find the audio recordings by native speakers, so you may want to try ilovelanguages or Learn101 instead; they have low ratings, but they won’t make you lose your motivation to learn altogether. Most of the activities on Master Any Language are matching games that require you to click on two identical characters, words, or letters: the purpose of this is unclear because it tests neither recall nor recognition. Another activity asks you to form or match nonsensical sequences of words (Ex. Find the sentence identical to “el el el el tchèque tchèque tchèque el el tchèque tchèque”….). Ultimately, you would probably be better off trying to decipher a page of text with absolutely no guidance than to even attempt to wrap your head around MAL’s activities.

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Verbix Mini-Review: Adequate for Less-Studied Languages

Verbix

Rating 2.3
Price:

Free

Summary

Verbix is a verb conjugator website and app developed by an independent non-profit organization. It conjugates over 100 languages, including Old English, Latin, and Yiddish The amount of information on the conjugation page varies depending on how common the language is. At its best, it will display nominal forms, most common verb conjugations, verbs that have similar conjugations, translations, synonyms, antonyms, cognates, and a section on etymology. Sometimes there are sample sentences (without translations) that seem to come from articles and books. The final section on additional information seems a bit random, and its purpose is unclear. To conjugate a verb in another language, you have to know the verb in its infinitive form. Unfortunately, although Verbix has a translation function, it doesn’t seem to cover all of the available languages, so you may not be able to find the verb you are looking for in the first place. A fun page to explore is Verbix’s list of over 6000 languages with a map depicting where each of these languages is spoken. Otherwise, Verbix seems a bit random and incomplete. It may be a helpful resource for less commonly studied languages, but check out Reverso Translation, Cooljugator, and SpanishDict first.  Also, if you want to practice verb conjugations in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Latin, check out Conjuguemos

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Tatoeba Mini-Review: A Community Writing Sentences in Context

Tatoeba

Rating 3.3
Price:

Free

Summary

Tatoeba is a sentence-focused reference dictionary, not word focused. Therefore, by searching for a word in any language, you are searching for examples of that word in context. The site is community-driven, but you don’t have to be multilingual to contribute to the site — it needs native-speaking writers to expand the example database and proofread user sentences. All of the translations are interconnected: even if there is technically no direct translation from Zulu to Chinese, an English translation for the same sentences in both languages will provide direct translations between them. Although Tatoeba supports about 388 languages, about 200 of these languages have less than 100 sentences, and about 58 have less than 10. Nevertheless, the database is continuously growing, and with more community members, the less common languages may have a chance to develop further. It is prohibited to use a translation tool or copyrighted sentences to contribute to the translation database. Unfortunately, some contributors write in a language in which they are not proficiently fluent. As a result, the site has grammatical mistakes and sentences that don’t sound natural. You may have to do some digging to figure out if the contributor is a native speaker or not. Because of the potential user errors on the site, you may want to check out WordReference, Pleco, SpanishDict, Kanji Study , and Linguee to find words in context for more commonly studied languages.

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101 Script Writing App Mini Review: Good for Indian Languages

101 Script Writing App

Rating 2.2
Price:

Freemium; one-off payment of $1.30 for full access

Summary

Kannada 101, Tamil 101, Telugu 101, Marathi 101, Bengali 101: these are just some of the apps from developer Uma Loganathan. You can also download Arabic 101, Vietnamese 101, and even English 101 and German 101. If you’re learning these languages, though, we’d take a look at Write Me instead. We feel that the Write Me app is generally a more well-designed option, especially since it also tests you on your ability to match the right character to an audio recording. However, the Write Me app barely has any Indian languages, and that’s where the 101 series shines. You’ll be able to trace the characters; switch between easy, normal, and freestyle modes; and receive a score out of 100. The stroke order and direction are clearly explained. Whenever you make a mistake, you receive instant feedback: the music stops and the “ink” stops flowing. This allows you to self-correct immediately, rather than practicing it wrong. The series has its flaws: like with most apps, you won’t learn how to join up characters. However, we think it’s a useful tool for beginners.

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iLanguages Mini-Review: Almost Identical to Learn 101

ilanguages

Rating 1.3
Price:

Free

Summary

Learn 101 is almost identical to iLanguages; they have the same native speaker audio files, languages, and mostly identical ‘lesson’ layouts. The main differences are that Learn 101 seems to have added some grammar explanations and reformatted a bit, while iLanguages seems to have added some extra phrases. Since every one of the languages’ “lessons” has the exact same format, including the grammar section, you will learn how to say ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘or’, in 107 languages, but you will not learn where these types of words fit within a specific language’s sentence structure. Every page is just a list of words with a translation (and sometimes an IPA symbol transliteration). This site could be used if you want to hear native speakers pronounce basic words in very rare languages, or if you want to look up the IPA symbols of a rare language’s alphabet — otherwise, you’re probably better off making flashcards yourself on Anki or trying one of the hundreds of other resources we recommend on this site.

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Learn101 Mini-Review: A Re-Formatted Version of iLanguages

learn101

Rating 1.3
Price:

Free

Summary

Learn 101 is almost identical to iLanguages, but neither of them seem to be very helpful; they have the same native speaker audio files, languages, and mostly identical ‘lesson’ layouts. The main differences are that Learn 101 seems to have added some grammar explanations and reformatted a bit, while iLanguages seems to have added some extra phrases. Since every one of the languages’ “lessons” has the same format, including the grammar section, you will learn how to say ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘or’, in 107 languages, but you will not learn where these types of words fit within a specific language’s sentence structure. Although there are examples of various grammatical structures, the explanations for these structures are also identical for every language, which, practically speaking, doesn’t seem plausible. This site could be useful if you want to hear native speakers pronounce basic words in less-common languages, or if you want to look up the IPA symbols of a less-common language’s alphabet — otherwise, you’re probably better off making flashcards yourself on Anki, or trying one of the hundreds of other resources we recommend on this site.

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iTranslate Mini-Review: 5 Apps To Support Communication

itranslate

Rating 4.0
Price:

$ 0.00

Summary

iTranslate is a dictionary, thesaurus, and phrasebook. At first glance, it seems similar to Google Translate’s free app, but a couple of extra paid features make a big difference. Like with Google Translate, you can take pictures of text in your surroundings, such as signs or newspapers, and receive instant translations into your native language. It differs in that you can also take pictures of objects in your surroundings and receive translations into your target language (although it’s not clear what the boundaries are on this function). Two people who don’t speak the same language can use iTranslate Converse as a mediator between them, translating each sentence to create a transcript on their phone (with a slight delay). You can also use the iTranslate Keyboard in any texting app to receive instant translations. To get the most out of your subscription, iTranslate includes five different apps that can support language learning and communication through text, voice, and games. Although iTranslate translates into over 100 languages, check the website to verify which languages are supported in the other apps. iTranslate seems suitable for traveling and communication in different languages. If all you need is a dictionary to support your studies, try WordReference and Linguee, or Pleco for Chinese and SpanishDict for Spanish.

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Vocly Mini-Review: Expand Your Vocabulary in Less Common Languages

Vocly

Rating 3.0
Price:

$ 11.99

Summary

Vocly is a vocabulary learning app that uses a couple of different techniques to reinforce new words (although it’s unclear whether or not the app uses an SRS system). Each word comes with audio pronunciation by native speakers and a toggle to either reveal or hide the romanization of the word. As with most of Simya Solution’s apps, Vocly is best for languages with fewer available resources. Instead of using English translations in the flashcard activities, the app will prompt you to associate the new word with a small picture. On one hand, this will help you make fewer translations into your native language. On the other hand, the pictures can be ambiguous and you may forget what they symbolize. The flashcard activities include matching activities, identifying new words that fit under a specific category, matching the sound of a word to an image, and asking you to spell the word in the language’s script. Unfortunately, the free version only allows 7 minutes of learning per day, which can feel rushed. Ling is a more comprehensive option for learning multiple facets of a language, but if your goal is to expand your vocabulary, Vocly has over 1600 words. The paid version is quite expensive for what it offers compared to other resources, but for less common languages it is a fun and interactive option.

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