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The Best italki Alternatives: Language Classes Compared

italki is a market leader for online language classes, and it’s easy to understand why: it has a huge range of teachers for everything from Arabic to Zulu; it’s cheap; and the app has some fantastic community features, including free feedback on your writing and audio clips.

However, italki isn’t for everyone. Perhaps you’re fed up with all the hidden fees and payment idiosyncrasies that make you feel like you’re buying tickets from a budget airline. Maybe you don’t like choosing between the buggy italki Classroom and Skype. Or it could be that you’re looking for a platform that offers more structured learning, whether it’s a syllabus, flashcards, or simply regular feedback on your level.

Fortunately, if you’re getting frustrated with italki, there are plenty of competitor platforms to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite italki alternatives and what sets them apart.

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The Best Duolingo Alternatives: Fun, Gamified Language Apps

Duolingo is one of the most popular and well-known language apps around, and it’s not hard to understand why: it’s free, easy to use, and will teach you over 30 languages.

Yet Duolingo isn’t everyone’s ideal app. Perhaps you’re looking for something that will teach you traveling phrases right off the bat, instead of Duolingo classics such as “the duck is swimming in money” and “the groom is a hedgehog.” Maybe you’re looking for more grammatical information or better audio. Or it could be that Duolingo doesn’t teach your language (or is pretty bad at it).

In fact, even if you like Duolingo, you might find your language studies will benefit from using it alongside another app. Let’s take a look at some of the other gamified phone apps that will help you learn a language in just five minutes a day.

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Lexilize flashcards

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Lexilize is an SRS flashcard application that adds slightly more interaction than the average SRS app. When you learn each deck, you will engage in matching, guessing, recall, and typing activities to test your memory. You can later choose specific activities for review, making it somewhat more engaging than simply flipping over the card and seeing if you got it right or not.

When you add a language, you can add default categories, like fruits or feelings — however, it’s probably best to make your own set of flashcards, as these probably won’t help you learn to speak a language very efficiently.

For each new card you add, you can insert a transcription, example sentence, and image to your card. Lexilize seems to automatically insert text-to-voice, so if you don’t mind listening to a robot, this feature can be useful.

Another option is Anki, whose user interface is a little outdated but 100% free. Brainscape is also comparable to Lexilize, but they each have their own strengths. While Lexilize has a variety of flashcard activities, Brainscape only has one type of card. However, Brainscape’s free decks for language learning teach you words and phrases that build on each other as they advance, rather than just focusing on simple vocabulary. Brainscape also has refined the SRS system by letting you identify your recall strength on a 5-point scale, while Lexilize only lets you identify ‘forgotten’ or ‘recalled’.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

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Lingbe

4.5 
Price: Freemium, Add-ons start at $0.99

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Lingbe is like chat roulette for language learning, instantly initiating voice calls between users who want to practice or help others learn different languages. After your call with another user, you can choose to become friends on the app and continue to message or call each other (although calling them still requires Lingos). As this app was created for Spanish and English speakers, learners of other languages may have more difficulty finding someone to practice with. However, the community is growing, so it may not be difficult for long.

Although it may be an introvert’s nightmare, this app might be the fastest way to practice languages with native speakers. By helping other users learn your native language, you can earn ‘lingos’ and then trade them in to practice your target language. You receive more lingos per minute by answering calls in your native language than in a practice language. Because making calls costs the most Lingos, you will probably spend more time speaking your native language than practicing your target languages. However, you can also earn lingos by answering questions or by increasing your level (through helping more people).

The Pro version seems to give you access to unlimited calls, take away ads, and let you know who you are talking to as soon as the voice call starts.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

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Amikumu

Price: Free, Premium subscriptions cost $4.99/mo, $19.99/half-year, $19.99/year

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Unlike Tandem, which sometimes feels more like a dating app than a language exchange site, Amikumu’s users seem to be serious language learners looking to connect with other serious language learners. There are community chats and private messages, and users can arrange to meet in person (or online) to practice their skills. This is an awesome app for people who are travelling (or at home) and want to find fellow language learners.

The Amikumu community is mostly composed of polyglots, with an average of 5 languages per person. If you have been looking for a platform to practice minority languages, this is the place for you! The site was originally created for Esperanto learners, but has over 650 languages within the community, including several dialects of sign language.

Amikumu will display 100 people who are geographically closest to you that speak at least one of the languages you are learning; even if no one is physically nearby, you will always have someone to chat with through the app. Moreover, with a Gold membership you can ‘teleport’ your location and chat with people anywhere in the world.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

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(Resource Name) Mini-Review: This is just an example

Chinese Grammar Wiki – 4.2 

Chinese Grammar Wiki is an excellent place to learn Chinese grammar, and it’s free. Grammar points are arranged according to difficulty level and include lots of example sentences. It’s a great way to learn what you need to learn at the level you’re at, without getting weighed down with too much information. It is also available as a book.

Visit The Chinese Grammar Wiki

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

The Best Language Learning Apps – We’ve Tested 40+ Options

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What a time to be alive! The number of language learning apps out there is mind-boggling. New resources are constantly being released, and the classics are continually being improved upon.

This is great news for language learners. It’s never been easier to find quality resources that cater to your learning style, level, language, and interests.

While the variety of language apps is impressive, so is the range of quality. The truth is that some work really well and some really don’t. We’ve tried a gazillion of them (okay, half a gazillion), and have found total gems alongside scams and flops.

This isn’t one of those reviews that only lists the Top Five Language Apps of All Time. We’ve pulled from the neverending list of apps we’ve tried and grouped them into categories to provide a more comprehensive list.

While this list is long, it isn’t exhaustive. We haven’t included any language-specific apps that are only available in one language.

Within each category, you’ll see our Top Picks, the ones we like the most, and Other Options — apps that are commonly recommended but aren’t necessarily our favorites. You’ll see why we like certain apps more than others and hopefully get a feel for some that are right for you.

General Courses

Top Picks: Pimsleur, Babbel, Duolingo, LingoDeer

Other Options: Rocket Languages, Busuu, Coursera, edX, Mango Languages, Udemy, Chatterbug, Mondly, Rosetta Stone, Word Dive

Vocabulary Acquisition

Top Picks: Memrise, Anki, Lingvist, Clozemaster

Other Options: Speakly, Quizlet, Mosalingua, Drops

Reading and Listening

Top Picks: Innovative Languages, News in Slow, LingQ, Beelinguapp

Other Options: FluentU, Yabla, Audible, Flowlingo

Speaking and Writing

Top Picks: Speechling, italki

Other Options: Glossika, HiNative

Tutors and Language Exchange

Top Picks: italki, Tandem, HelloTalk

Other Options: Verbling, Preply, Rype App, Speaky (more…)

Hiring – YouTube

All Language Resources is looking for someone to take over our YouTube Channel. Mateo, who was previously creating the videos, has had some things come up in life and isn’t available to continue. The videos would primarily be reviews of language learning resources. Our aim is to provide detailed and unbiased information to make it easier for language learners to figure out which resources are worth using.

Job Responsibilities

  • Test out language learning resources
  • Collaborate with blog writer (who also tested the resource), including filling out notes ahead of time and a Skype call to discuss the resource in question
  • Recording and editing videos so that they are not only informative but also entertaining
  • Uploading videos and other misc. tasks
  • Be available ~10 hours per week.

The ideal candidate would be…

  • Passionate about language learning. Ideally, you’d have reached a high-level in multiple languages, with self-study playing an important role.
  • Knowledgable about the landscape of language learning resources and have tried multiple apps, courses, podcasts, etc.
  • Amazing at creating videos and preferably have some sample videos to show.

If you’re interested, please email nick@alllanguageresources.com with the subject ‘YouTube Channel’. Please also include some info about yourself, links to any videos you’ve created elsewhere, and mentions some language-learning resources you like/dislike and why. Also, please include your salary expectation based on ten hours per week.