Urdu

Oxford Dictionaries

4.2 
Price: From free to €16.99, depending on the language

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Oxford Dictionary has published numerous bilingual dictionaries over the years, many of which are not designed to be comprehensive. While some are “complete” dictionaries, others are called “mini”, “concise”, “essential” or even “shorter”.

Even the smaller ones are pretty thorough, however. The Oxford Mini Greek dictionary contains 40,000 words and phrases, many of which also contain multiple translations. It’s a lot shorter than the Oxford Hindi dictionary, at 100,000 entries, or the New Oxford American English Dictionary at 350,000 – but it’s still got a wider vocabulary than the average English speaker.

You can purchase the books themselves, but most learners will prefer the convenience of the apps with their regular updates and learner-friendly features. Search Autocomplete, Fuzzy Filter, Wild Card and Voice Search help you find words you don’t know how to spell. Favourites help you save useful words and phrases, while Word of the Day will introduce you to new words. Some dictionaries also contain audio recordings and thesauruses. And the freemium Oxford Dictionary with Translator will translate words and paragraphs to and from 14 languages.

For some languages, learners already have plenty of free, thorough dictionaries available to them. Spanish learners, for example, will probably prefer to combine the free apps SpanishDict and Diccionario RAE (Google Play, App Store). Mandarin Chinese learners will likely find Pleco more useful. But for some languages, these dictionaries may well be the most thorough and reliable ones available.

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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6 Best Podcasts to Learn Urdu in 2021

Not only does Urdu have more than 100 million speakers across the Middle East and Asia, but it’s also a very useful language to learn if you’re studying the history of the Middle Ages. The classical language got its start in the 12th century and was used widely in literature and other areas by the 1300s. Urdu has heavily influenced and been influenced by languages such as Arabic, Hindi, Turkish and Sanskrit. As such, if you’re learning one of these languages, then Urdu could likewise be helpful.

Just like when learning any language, when you’re learning Urdu, you can find quite a few online resources to help you along your language-learning journey. One of the most popular resources is podcasts. Podcasts can be an excellent complement to either an in-person or online Urdu course, as they’re available any time, anywhere, and can help you brush up on difficult-to-understand concepts, vocabulary words and more. You can even just use podcasts to help you learn a little bit more about a language’s context and the history and culture from which it stems.

Looking for podcasts to help you better grasp the Urdu language? Check out these six options. (And if you’re looking for even more ways to learn Urdu, from apps and courses to movies and novels, check out our roundup of Urdu-learning resources.) (more…)

AmazingTalker

2.5 
Price: From around $10 per 50-minute class

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AmazingTalker is an italki and Verbling competitor that lets you book classes with language teachers and academic tutors of your choice. It has a lot of attractive features for students, but teachers complain about high commission rates and lack of support.

It boasts a 3% acceptance rate for teachers and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with your class, they’ll rebook you another one for free. There are lots of teachers to choose from, or you can also use their AI Matching Service to find a tutor. The teachers’ profiles include videos, reviews, and their résumé.

However, AmazingTalker doesn’t seem a great choice for teachers. It charges English and Japanese teachers astonishingly high commission rates of up to 30%. While these rates fall as teachers earn more through the site, they have to make $1,500 a month before the commission reaches levels comparable to italki and Verbling. Making it worse, there’s an additional 8% fee for payment processing and tax that all teachers have to pay, no matter what language they teach. 

There have also been complaints on Reddit from teachers claiming to have been harassed by students and fellow teachers. However, we cannot corroborate these.

Given all this, we’d recommend trying italki (review) or Verbling (review) first. Alternatively, check out our guide to the best platforms for online language classes.

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TeacherOn

1.6 
Price: Classes from 50¢ to $80 per hour

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TeacherOn is an italki competitor that allows you to book online or in-person classes with language and/or academic tutors of your choice. It can attract scammers and the tutor quality seems hit or miss, but for some languages, it’s probably the only platform with available teachers.

The website started life as TutorIndia, and it still leans heavily towards Indian teachers. For example, it has around 4,500 Hindi teachers compared to italki’s 89. There are also over 300 Kannada teachers, 38 Assamese ones, and 42 Odia ones; in contrast, italk only has 4 teachers for Kannada and 0 for Assamese or Odia.

You can contact the first three teachers for free. After that, you can either post your requirements so that teachers can contact you or pay extra to contact more teachers.

However, you should be cautious when using the platform, especially if you’re paying off site or meeting your tutor in person. We were shown fake profiles, while TeacherOn publishes a list of people banned for being scammers. There are no student reviews, either. TeacherOn encourages students and teachers alike to do due diligence on people before contacting them, and we echo this sentiment.

TeacherOn has plenty of issues. However, for certain languages, it’s invaluable. It may be the only way to study some of them from abroad.

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My Language Exchange

4.2 
Price: Freemium, Gold Memberships start at $6/mo

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My Language Exchange has been growing since 2000. Although the website seems out of date, it still has an active community of millions of language-learners who speak almost 200 native languages (including less commonly studied languages).

You can choose a pen pal by reading their bios, or there is a chat room available for you to instantly connect with a language exchange partner — note that if you create a Gold account, you can initiate chats with other users, but as a regular user, you will have to wait to be contacted.

Using the Cormier Method, the website provides tools to help intermediate speakers effectively practice with other learners. It advertises a Chat Companion with lesson plans to accompany your exchange, or lesson plans developed by teachers (although the quality of these resources varies drastically). 

You can also find language teachers on the site, but given that the transactions take place directly between you and the teacher, you may feel safer using a 3rd party platform like italki or Verbling

Although there are outlines on how to participate in language exchanges, how these outlines are followed depends entirely on you and your partner(s). My Language Exchange will help you build connections with other learners, but it’s up to you to plan how to practice. The concepts can also be used with any language exchange platform, such as Lingbe, italki, Tandem, and Amikumu.

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lexilogos

3.5 
Price: Free

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Although Lexilogos seems to have entirely neglected its aesthetics, it holds more than meets the eye. If you click on one of the 130+ languages listed at the bottom of the page, you will find a series of resources to support your studies. This is especially useful for less-studied languages, like Marathi, Basque, and Pashto. Although the lists don’t provide recommendations for applications, they do provide a list of dictionaries, keyboards, news sites, books, and research papers. Additionally, if you switch to the French version of the site, there are even more languages and resources available for you to explore.

Within each language’s page, there is also a dictionary search function. You will notice that more commonly studied languages will have dozens of dictionaries to choose from, while less commonly studied languages may only have one or two.

Overall, Lexilogos is a great option for finding resources for less commonly studied languages. They regularly update their site, so make sure to check back if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first time around.

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Alter Gyan/Learn X Quickly

3.2 
Price: Free; watch an ad or pay to unlock some themes

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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.org

1.6 
Price: Free

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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

0.2 
Price: Free

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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

2.3 
Price: Free

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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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