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Brainscape Mini-Review: Adaptive Flashcards

Brainscape

Rating 4.0
Price:

Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $9.99/mo

Summary

Brainscape is a flashcard app that uses a Spaced Repetition System, also often referred to as ‘adaptive flashcards’, to help you memorize new vocabulary and facts. It has a team of scientists, engineers, and education experts working to optimize their program for effective learning. Brainscape is quite similar to Anki, but has a more modern and colourful interface. They also have Certified Classes, which are decks that seem to have been developed by experts in the chosen topic. The app adds what they call Intelligent Cumulative Exposure (ICE) to some of their Certified Classes; it seems to combine a Spaced Repetition System with gradually introducing new concepts, increasing the difficulty of the concepts, and providing context so you can build your own sentences. It has several Certified Classes for various languages (and other topics), and many more decks created by users. Unlike Anki, edits that creators make to user decks seem to sync up even after you have downloaded the deck. With the free version, you have limited access to premium decks but unlimited access to user-made decks.

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An Honest Review of Ling With Image of Man Looking at Phone

Ling Review — Gamified Practice in Less Common Languages

Ling

Rating 3.2
Visi Ling

Summary

Ling is a gamified language-learning app with courses on over 60 different languages. Practice happens through short themed lessons, making for convenient and entertaining study time. It isn’t the most comprehensive resource out there, especially for more popular languages, but it can make a decent way to get started with a less common language.


Quality 3.5

The app is easy to use and visually appealing, but I found some mistakes in the material.

Thoroughness 3.0

There aren’t many explanations, and the materials are the same for each language, but practice is varied.

Value 3.0

For many of its less common languages, there aren’t a lot of viable alternatives, but the price feels high.

I Like
  • It uses native speaker audio.
  • The activities are enjoyable and don’t become overly repetitive.
  • It’s easy to use and is visually appealing.
I Don’t Like
  • There are very few grammar explanations.
  • There are no translations for individual words.
  • Some activities can be buggy.
Price

Monthly is $8.99, Annual is $79.99, Lifetime is $149.99

Gamified learning is here to stay. The large pool of language-learning apps that leverage gamification in their courses is continually growing, and frankly, I’m happy about it..

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50 Languages Mini-Review: Basically an online phrasebook

50Languages

Rating 2.8
Price:

Free

Summary

It is clear that 50Languages aims to make language learning accessible to anyone with an internet connection There is no signup required to use the site, so its resources are both free, and anonymous. You can find 100 free downloadable audio files of native speakers and ‘lessons’ in over 50 languages, in addition to vocabulary, alphabets, quizzes, and games. Unfortunately, none of these resources follow a cohesive learning path, nor does the platform help you memorize any of the information provided. Only one section, the Translation Trainer, aims to help you retain phrases. However, if you have saved phrases in multiple languages, all of them will be bunched together into one review without an indication of which language you should be translating into. The audio files and phrasebook lessons contain a series of phrases that do not seem to build on what you have previously learned; learning from this website is essentially like referencing a phrasebook you might buy for a trip to another country. 50Languages has a lot of information available, but it doesn’t seem like it can be used as a standalone language resource. Perhaps you can take phrases and vocabulary that interest you and compiled them into an Anki deck to help with retention.

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LangCorrect: Unlimited, Free Writing Practice With Feedback

LangCorrect

Rating 5.0
Price:

Free

Summary

LangCorrect is a free community-driven writing site where users can both contribute to editing others’ work and receive feedback on their own writing. After writing your piece, you may submit it to receive feedback from other site users. In order to ensure accurate feedback, multiple users can cross-check the corrections that were made and add comments. Volunteers and Patrons have access to writing in up to 10 languages, but typical users can write in a maximum of two languages at a time. Everyone is encouraged to both write and correct others’ work on the site. If you are looking to improve your writing skills in one of the over 100 languages available, trying out this resource is a must! However, if you’re studying a less common language and not finding many users to give you corrections, consider trying the exercise section in italki’s community features.

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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An Honest Review of Cudoo With Image of Man Working on Computer

Cudoo Review — I Wouldn’t Even Use it if it Were Free

Cudoo

Rating 0.6

Summary

Cudoo is an online learning platform that offers courses in over 160 languages. The platform also offers courses teaching soft skills and other professional development courses. Certificates are available upon course completion, and courses are provided to libraries and non-profits for free. We feel that the quality of the language courses is quite low, and that the prices are relatively high.


Quality 1.0

It’s nice to have native speaker audio, but I personally found the course to offer very little learning potential.

Thoroughness 1.0

The course didn’t cover everything listed under “Course Content” and offers no explanations.

Value 0.0

This course is way overpriced in my opinion. I wouldn’t even use it if it were free.

I Like
  • Audio by a variety of native speakers.
I Don’t Like
  • I wanted more explanations
  • Practice opportunities felt severely limited
  • I found the material unengaging
  • Content doesn’t build on itself logically.
Price

Price varies by course, from $4.99 to $24.99, with language bundles costing up to $199.

This seems like a reasonable list of goals, depending on the meaning of “…and more!” even if it is a little bit light for the $25 price tag.

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An Honest Review of Speaky With Image of Girl Using Phone

Speaky Review: Better Than Other Language Exchange Apps?

Speaky

Rating 3.7

Summary

Speaky is a social language-learning app for people interested in language exchange. It’s available for iOS, Android, and the web. Users can chat with other language learners, share photos, leave voice messages or even have voice calls. The basic features on Speaky are free to use, but access to more than five translations per day requires a subscription.


Quality 3.0

There are some dedicated language learners on Speaky but not as many as similar apps.

Thoroughness 3.5

The platform is easy to use but lacks advanced features.

Value 4.5

Speaky is mostly free to use, extra features are available for a subscription.

I Like
  • It’s mostly free.
  • It’s easy to use.
  • There are a lot of users.
  • There are tons of languages
I Don’t Like
  • Many community members don’t actually seem interested in language exchange.
  • The web version doesn’t work well.
  • There are no extra social features.
Price

The basic features on Speaky are free to use. A premium membership is available for a subscription.

Speaky is a language exchange app. It facilitates exchange by allowing users to chat with others in the language they’re learning. Its function is pretty simple and straightforward — search for a partner with a reciprocal language combination and say hello.

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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.

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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?

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An Honest Review of uTalk with Image of Person on Computer

uTalk Review – For Beginners Who Want To Learn Key Words & Phrases

uTalk

Rating 3.7

Summary

uTalk is a software program and mobile app offering learning material in over 140 languages. Its approach is based on learning keywords and phrases through gameplay. It covers a wide range of phrases, each spoken by a female and male native speaker, consequently offering listening and pronunciation practice. uTalk is most useful for beginners who want to get started in a language by learning key phrases. It could also be useful for intermediates looking to fill gaps in their vocabulary and pronunciation, but it does not offer any in-depth language instruction or grammar explanations. It’s also worth mentioning that for some languages, such as Basque, the occasional overly literal translation leads to small errors and unnatural phrasing creeping in. However, we haven’t seen instances in which this would result in you being misunderstood, and there’s no denying uTalk’s value for languages with fewer learning resources.


Quality 3.5

The app is very user-friendly, and the content is mostly useful, but little variation in practice activities can become repetitive.

Thoroughness 3.5

The app does a good job of teaching key words and phrases, but review opportunities aren’t as transparent or comprehensive as they could be.

Value 4.0

The price is very low, there’s a lot of content, and the right learner could get some serious practical use out of the resource.

I Like
  • The number of languages on offer is staggering.
  • Each phrase is recorded by a male and female native speaker. This was especially helpful in learning pronunciation.
  • You frequently get to hear recordings of yourself producing the language. I found this motivating and informative.
I Don’t Like
  • The Memory Game exercise felt like a waste of time. It’s difficult to get a perfect score even if you know the language well.
  • I kept wishing there was a way to choose which phrases I could practice in games instead of them being randomly selected.
Price

$11.99 a month that can be cancelled anytime. 6 months costs $59.99 and for one year it is $99.99. 

This was my first encounter with uTalk, so I didn’t know what to expect before trying it out. A quick search on the internet showed third-party reviews saying everything from “It’s just ok” to “Become fluent in another language with uTalk.” My experience was something much closer to the former.

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