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Russian Resources

Coursera
4.3 
Price: Free, with some courses starting at $39/month
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Coursera has several paid and free online language courses developed by accredited universities. The quality of the courses varies, but the following recommendations have been well received — these courses are primarily for beginners who want an introduction to a new language.

You can choose from a series of individual courses, or take a beginner specialization in RussianSpanishMandarin, and Chinese HSK 1-3 (with additional individual HSK 4-6 courses). 

If you have just started, or haven’t yet started, learning Korean, Yonsei University has one course for absolute beginners, and another for those who have a basic grasp of Hangul. 

Saint Petersburg State University’s beginner Japanese course is probably not as effective as other resources that we might recommend instead, such as JapanesePod101 or Pimsleur.

École Polytechnique offers the only French course on Coursera; it’s technically for B1-B2 learners, although B2 learners may find it too easy. 

Lastly, English learners can enjoy a specialization in intermediate grammaradvanced grammaracademic speaking and listening, or business English

If you are starting a language and enjoy structured courses with a (flexible) weekly schedule, Coursera is a great option — especially since Coursera offers financial aid for those who can’t afford to pay the course fees. Pair your studies with a tutor from italki or Verbling for speaking practice and you’ll be good to go!

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.

Lingodeer
4.3 
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Lingodeer may not be as well known as other language learning apps, but it’s actually better and cheaper than most of them. You’ll practice the language by completing lots of different types of exercises. They also include plenty of grammar explanations and opportunities to review what you’ve studied. All in all, it’s one of the better options for getting started learning a language.

RussianPod101
4.3 
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RussianPod101 is a fantastic resource that has hundreds upon hundreds of video and podcast lessons on offer. These take you all the way from learning your first word in Russian right up to an advanced level and so beginners and intermediates, in particular, will certainly learn a lot. While the course delves deep into Russian grammar, vocabulary and the cultural context of the language, the lack of speaking and writing practice means you would have to use it alongside another resource.

Speakly
4.3 
Price: 10.99€/mo, 27€/quarter, 49.98€/half-year, 69.96€/year
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Speakly focuses on reading, listening, speaking and writing to improve your confidence in your target language. It uses a Spaced Repetition System to help you push vocabulary into your long term memory, and teaches you the 4000 most statistically-relevant words in your target language.

Before using the program, you can take a placement test to estimate how many of the 4000 most common words you already know. Then, you will be placed in one of 9 levels. You will start with a series of sentences, learning words within context and then filling in the blanks for recall. After learning several words, you will be presented with a LIVE-situation where you will recreate a dialogue with the recording of a native speaker. The dialogues are also short enough that you can listen to them repeatedly, practice speaking along with the recording, and quickly notice improvement.

Besides flashcards and dialogues, there are also reading and listening exercises with interesting content. You can download the audio to study offline, which is helpful because Speakly encourages you to listen to the same exercise 3-5 days in a row to see improvement.

One of few downsides to Speakly is that for the basic flashcard sentences, all of the narrations use automatic text-to-speech rather than native speakers’ voices.

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.

Babbel
4.2 
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Babbel is an online language-learning platform with over 1 million active users. It’s available on the web, for iOS, and for Android. The app aims to get learners to a conversational level as quickly as possible through the use of a variety of exercises and spaced repetition for review. The courses are well put together and relatively inexpensive; there are 14 different languages available.

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.

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.

Grammar Hero
4.2 
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Grammar Hero is a product from Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language. It follows the story-based method of teaching languages, but this time with a focus on the most difficult grammar points. You start out by reading a story and the grammar point is underlined, later you learn the rules, then you re-read the story with explanations, and finally you’ll practice using the grammar point to express your thoughts and opinions. It’s a comprehensive method that’s meant to help you internalize the grammar.

Langu
4.2 
Price: Classes start at $10.50, some teachers offer a free trial
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Langu is an italki competitor with some compelling factors in its favor. Just like with italki, you search its online database of teachers to book private lessons with them at times of your choosing. You can read other students’ reviews and take trial classes.

Unlike italki, there are no booking fees and you can purchase in a range of currencies, including euros and British pounds. Langu also boasts its own intuitive, web-hosted classroom software, meaning you don’t have to download a program or give your teacher your contact details. This also means that all shared links, videos, and worksheets are stored on Langu.

The biggest downside to Langu, in comparison with italki, is that you’ll have a smaller choice of teachers and there are no community features (forum, exercise tools, etc.). The classes also tend to be slightly more expensive.

On the other hand, Langu claims that all its teachers are “top teachers” – they have to submit a video application and be approved before joining the website – and offers to give students personal recommendations for specific teachers via email, if needed. While we’ve taken classes with one Langu teacher and were impressed by the quality of the classes, we can’t comment on whether all Langu’s teachers meet the same standards.

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.

Clozemaster
4.2 
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Ideal for people who are already at an upper beginner/intermediate level, Clozemaster will help you build your vocabulary and learn new words and sentences in context. While you won’t learn much grammar or improve your speaking and writing much, it is great at what it does and the videogame aspect makes it fun and addictive to work though. Although the exercises are all pretty much identical, there are various ways in which you can increase the difficulty and Clozemaster’s free account is almost as good as the Pro User one.

wlingua
Price: Freemium, $10.99/mo, $21.99/quarter, $64.99/year
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Wlingua relies on two methodologies for learner success: staggered repetition and progressive exposure. Staggered repetition seems identical to typical spaced repetition methods, while progressive exposure ensures that all new words and concepts are based on what you have previously learned. This ensures that there are no gaps in knowledge when it comes to tackling more advanced lessons. Additionally, each lesson focuses on one concept at a time in order to avoid overwhelming the learner, and there is a clear path for what you will be learning from beginner to the end.

Each new word is “linked to its precise meaning or use” so that you can use them in context. The program consists of new vocabulary, grammar, exercises, reading practice, and audio by native speakers with different accents. The downside is that there seems to be more focus on reading and comprehension than on listening and speaking.

Only Spanish and Russian are currently available from Beginner to Upper-Intermediate. Other languages are available at the beginner and elementary levels.

You can use the app without registering for an unspecified number of days. There is limited basic content available for free, while the premium plan offers unlimited access, practice reviews tailored to your learning, and downloadable PDF lessons.

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.