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Flowlingo Mini-Review: Has Potential, Still Developing


Rating 2.6



Flowlingo allows you to browse websites and news articles in your target language while providing instant audio and visual translations when you tap on unknown words. They use an SRS based flashcard system to help you remember words you don’t know, and will automatically save flashcards from words that you translate.  This does mean, however, that you have less control over what is recorded in the flashcard deck, especially with the possibility of accidentally tapping on words you already know. The free content on Flowlingo’s app allows you to search the web and have access to instant translations. With a premium subscription, you can watch popular TV shows and movies, and upload your own books. The app seems to still be under development, and it is unclear whether the flashcard system only records unknown words with a premium subscription, or if the app currently has a bug. Either way, this is probably a good app to look into at a future time, but there are currently more refined apps that provide similar content. Check out Yabla to learn languages through videos or Readlang for flashcards and translations from webpages and other texts.

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MOSAlingua Mini-Review: Memorize Phrases and Words


Rating 3.3

Freemium, App costs $6.99


MOSAlingua is an SRS  flashcard app that provides useful phrases beyond the typical travel sayings you will find in other phrasebook apps. However, you will need need to use other resources if you are hoping to achieve fluency. After choosing your level or taking a placement test, you can learn through their bank of pre-made lessons and dialogues, or choose which flashcards you would like to focus on. As you progress, bonus lessons such as proverbs, quotes, jokes, and fun facts can inspire you to achieve more in your learning. To better understand new phrases, the app links to WordReference, Tatoeba, Twitter, and Google pronunciation to give you more context. If ever you are on the road and can’t look at a screen, hands-free mode will help you learn new phrases or review old ones by focusing on listening and repeating. All the content is offline, so you don’t have to worry about data or wifi for your studies. Overall, MOSAlingua seems like a useful app for learning new words and phrases. Unlike most other apps, upgrading to premium from the free content is permanent, although some bonus content comes at an additional cost.

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Hey! Lingo Mini-Review: Has Useful Phrases


Rating 3.0

$5.99/mo, $24.99/year, and $39.99/lifetime access


Hey! Lingo, with its flashy, modern, desktop interface, offers a series of phrasebook-like flashcard courses in 26 languages. Each language is divided into 50 lessons, the first 20 of which don’t require a subscription. A premium subscription will allow you to filter flashcard formats, focus on which cards have been difficult for you, and specify which cards you would like to learn in one lesson. The lessons focus on specific skills and each have 10 flashcards. They use both the official alphabet of the target language and a transliteration of the alphabet. The audio pronunciation for each card seems to use a lower quality text-to-speech program than we’ve seen in other apps, which can detract from the learning experience. Although Hey! Lingo is a phrasebook app, it does not focus on typical travel phrases, like how to order food at a restaurant. Instead, it teaches you practical phrases that get to the heart of expressing oneself. Here are some example sentences in the Korean 1 course: “I feel lonely,” “I envy him” and “Stop following me”. The lessons don’t seem to provide a solid foundation for beginners, and they probably won’t help you have conversations in your target language. However, if you enjoy learning useful phrases and already have a basic foundation of the language, Hey! Lingo could be a good option for you.

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Language Learning WIth Netflix Mini-Review: Easy to Use

Language learning with Netflix

Rating 4.0

Freemium, Free Trial, $4.95/mo


If you want to make language learning more accessible while watching Netflix, this chrome extension is for you. The free version allows you to skip subtitles forward and backward in case you didn’t catch what was said, and you can also choose to automatically pause the movie or show after each subtitle. The full transcript is also displayed on the side. By hovering over a word you can see a short translation and hear an audio pronunciation, or you can click on the word for more context and further links to various dictionary sites. With a Pro membership you can save words or phrases, receive translations that are closer to the meaning in the original language, and create subtitles for dubbed movies. LLN’s catalogue can help you find Netflix movies or shows with high-quality subtitles to improve your experience,

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Brainscape Mini-Review: Adaptive Flashcards


Rating 4.0

Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $9.99/mo


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


Rating 3.2
Visi Ling


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.

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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LingoHackers Mini-Review: Lots of Potential, Help It Grow!


Rating 2.7



LingoHackers is a community centred site that helps language learners develop their writing skills. It is managed by a small group of volunteers who are passionate about language learning. Although it is relatively new and still in the development phase, joining the community can help it grow! You can choose to respond to a series of challenges and then receive feedback from others who are both learning that language and who are native speakers. A ‘challenge’ consists of responding to prompts, such as describing a photo, creating a story with 3 random nouns, conjugating irregular verbs, or writing in a daily journal. You can set personal goals for how many challenges you want to complete per week, and you are highly encouraged to provide feedback to others’ writing. By completing goals and contributing to the community, you can gain ‘reputation points,’ which allow you to create your own thread on the community forum. As the community is quite small at the moment, you will probably be more likely to connect with others on the site. If you want to be part of a growing community and contribute to the development of the site, you can join LingoHackers for free. However, if you are looking for a similar resource with a larger community, check out LangCorrect.

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Lingolia Mini-Review: Clear Grammar Explanations


Rating 4.0

10.49€/quarter, 20.99€/half-year, 41.99€/year


Lingolia is a reference site that supports you in understanding grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation for school or work; it can be used as a tool to support your language studies when you require clearer explanations of these concepts. English and German are currently the only languages that contain additional sections on vocabulary with listening and reading exercises, although it’s possible that the Spanish and French sections will develop these in the future. Each page provides a simple explanation of your chosen topic, and then an exercise (or more if you get the premium plan) to practice your comprehension. The best part about the exercises is that they give you immediate feedback about whether or not your response was correct, providing you with the opportunity to reflect on your mistake and correct it. If you don’t want to invest in a premium plan, you can use Lingolia’s free exercises and then check out other resources that provide similar exercises for free, such as SpanishDict or Conjuguemos. Unfortunately, there is no audio on the site to train pronunciation, but Lingolia does seem to fulfill its mission of providing simple explanations to support your learning.

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Speed Learning Languages Mini-Review: Nope, Nope, Nope

speed learning languages

Rating 2.0

2 levels cost $197, 4 levels cost $394


Most of Speed Learning Languages’ content, except for perhaps the Italian course, seems to be a refurbished version of the 100% free FSI courses. This program is only recommended if you want to pay almost $200 for a clearer font and a few extra resources. Since Speed Learning Languages and the FSI courses seem to be essentially the same program, it should be noted that both will help you learn the language quite effectively; they are intensive programs that place a strong focus on listening to train your ear to understand native speakers, in addition to extensive exercises for grammar and vocabulary. If you follow along with the audio and respond to the prompts in each drill, you will also develop more confidence in speaking. Each full language course takes about 250 hours to complete, with each unit taking about 3-5 hours. Unfortunately, a lot of vocabulary is outdated, including both sexist and obsolete language. Additionally, the course was created for diplomats, so some topics are less relevant to most people’s everyday life. If you are interested in using Speed Learning Languages, use the free FSI courses instead for (comparatively) infinite return on your investment. Here’s the link again – all you need is an email address: FSI Language Courses

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50 Languages Mini-Review: Basically an online phrasebook


Rating 2.8



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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