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German Resources

Live Lingua
3.8 
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Live Lingua is an online language school that pairs students with certified teachers for one-on-one online classes. The platform aims to provide a more personalized service than online tutor directories by assigning a personal class coordinator and a customized curriculum for each student. Lessons are available in seven different popular languages and for a variety of different courses.

Bite Size Languages
3.8 
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Bite size language was developed by the creator of the Actual Fluency Podcast. Each of the 5 languages consists of 100 lessons for beginners to develop their listening comprehension and pronunciation. You will learn grammar within the context of short dialogues and acquire relevant every-day vocabulary.

Each lesson seems doable within a 15-25 minute study session; they contain lesson notes, transcripts, translations, vocabulary, and a grammar section.

It seems like the dialogues speed up slightly as you advance through the lessons, but the final lessons do not reach a natural speed. This is understandable, however, as the program is aimed at beginners who have little or no exposure to the language (you can listen to some sound clips from various lessons here). You may be expected to repeat every lesson a few dozen times to get the most out of the course.

If you are studying Russian, the creator emphasizes that you don’t need to learn the Russian alphabet because the dialogues are the core of the lessons. But, all of the accompanying materials, including transcripts of the dialogues, are written in Russian.

Reverso Translation
3.8 
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Reverso is a translation and spell check app. Its features primarily target French and English learners, although it also translates into a handful of other languages.

Compared with BonPatron, Reverso’s spell-check function (available only for French and English) is less attuned to general mistakes, such as capitalization or inappropriate commas. Reverso only catches some of the errors related to inappropriate accordance of genders or numbers from “The House of Être” verbs. Nevertheless, it does a decent job of catching obvious mistakes, and it will provide you with synonyms to enrich your writing. You are encouraged to use the spell check function at each stage of the writing process because when you correct one error, the program may identify new ones. The free version allows you to check 1200 characters at a time, and upgrading to a premium version will allow you to check unlimited characters.

The Reverso Contexto dictionary is an excellent resource for most of the available languages. While Linguee takes examples from relatively formal sources, Reverso Contexto provides example sentences professionally translated from movies, dialogues, official documents, websites, and newspapers. 

Other resources include Reverso’s dictionary (which is usually from Collin’s) a verb conjugator, French and English grammar articles, a thesaurus, and a document translator.

Open Learn
3.8 
Price: Free
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Open Learn offers an entire section dedicated to language learning, with beginner, intermediate, and advanced content for German, Spanish, and French. You will also find some basic courses for Chinese, Welsh, English, and Italian.

The courses seem to emphasize understanding the culture that the language originates from, and will teach you vocabulary through specific topics (like food and drink for beginner Italian, or ‘getting around’ for beginner Spanish). This may feel a little over the top when you end up studying holiday plans for 20 hours, but at the same time, you will probably feel quite confident in your abilities by the end of the course.

Most of the beginner courses, other than Chinese, German, and Welsh, seem to be for false beginners. You will probably need to develop a basic foundation of your target language (maybe a section or two of the Duolingo tree, or the introductory courses on Coursera) before diving in, unless you want a challenge.

Overall, Open Learn language courses are good for improving your language skills on specific topics, but you may not feel fulfilled in the area of practical conversation. Moreover, the user interface is not as attractive or easy to navigate as other resources, like Coursera.

For some other free options that may give you more practical language skills, check out Coursera, edX, Deutsche Welle (German), TV5 Monde (French), Duolingo, HelloChinese, or Language Transfer.

uTalk
3.7 
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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.

HiNative
3.7 
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HiNative is a Q&A app for language learners that want to have questions answered by native speakers. It’s available for iOS, Android and desktop, and it has over three million registered users. A free version is available that offers the basic features of the app.

Chatterbug
3.7 
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Chatterbug is a language learning platform designed with the aim of bringing together the convenience of digital learning apps and the value of one-on-one speaking practice. It was founded in 2016 and currently offers courses in German, Spanish, and French. Some of its features are available on iOS and Android; the full version is available for desktop.

Speaky
3.7 
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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.

Lingo Mastery Short Stories
3.7 
Price: Kindle Books cost $4.60
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Lingo Mastery provides 20 short stories in a series of advanced beginner books (about A2 on the CEFR scale) for various languages. Each book has a vocabulary list, reading comprehension questions, and a summary in both English and the target language.  

If your primary goal is to acquire new vocabulary, then Lingo Mastery’s Short Story series may be helpful to increase your skills. Each chapter has a specific language focus, such as directions, verbs, nouns, or activities. These stories have a considerable number of unique words, so you may find yourself referring to the vocabulary list more frequently than in other graded readers.

Keep in mind that the stories are not as engaging as a novel you might read in your native tongue, but the repetition is helpful to familiarize you with different concepts. Other graded readers, like those by Olly Richards, ESLC, and Mandarin Companion follow a single storyline — each chapter in Lingo Mastery, however, follows a separate storyline. Therefore, although the chapters are a manageable length, finishing one may not make you eager to move onto the next.

If you do decide to invest in these readers, make sure to buy the Kindle version, which is about 20% of the paperback price.

DeerPlus
3.7 
Price: Freemium; $8.99/month, $35.99/year, $59.99/lifetime
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DeerPlus, also known as LingoDeer Plus, is a cute, gamified app from the makers of Lingodeer. It sets out to teach you words, phrases, and grammar through 11 different games, but it’s best used as a supplementary tool.

You’ll drill vocabulary, build phrases, select the right particles, decide if a sentence is grammatically correct or not, do conjugation exercises, answer listening comprehension questions, and more. What you won’t do is learn the material prior to being tested like you do with LingoDeer (review), DeerPlus’ sister app. 

DeerPlus is a fun supplementary tool that would work well alongside most resources, but especially LingoDeer. However, it’s a shame that there aren’t SRS features in what is essentially a review app.

A word of warning: you can study in a range of languages, but not all the games have been translated. We were shocked when we switched from studying Japanese via Spanish to Japanese via English and discovered grammar and “integrated” games in addition to the five vocabulary and phrase-based ones we had been playing.