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Spanish Resources

Synergy Spanish
2.3 
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Synergy Spanish is an often-recommended course, but I found it to be old, overpriced, boring, and not as good as competitors. The good side is that their lessons force you to start speaking right away. Even with a limited vocabulary, you’ll be able to express a lot of different things. Still, I wouldn’t recommend using it.

Udemy
2.3 
Price: Prices start from $24.99 - $149.99
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The first thing to remember about the Udemy course marketplace is that you should never buy a course full price. Many of the courses are priced well over the 100 dollar range, only to be discounted and sold for about $20. Also, signing up for Udemy usually gives you a massive discount in the first 24 hours.

With most of the courses rated four stars and above, it’s difficult to gauge which of the courses measure up to other available resources without looking through every course’s previews. You may find two courses rated 4.5 stars — one that’s essentially a phrasebook slideshow, and another that engages you in listening to conversations, learning new vocabulary, and grammar.

If you do decide to take a language course with Udemy, be aware that some of the courses are taught by non-native speakers, even if they have a native speaker as their cover image. A non-native speaker is not always a bad thing, but in some cases, specifically in Udemy’s case, it may result in learners acquiring incorrect pronunciation or grammar.

Overall, Udemy is probably not the best choice is you’ve finally mustered up the motivation to start learning a language now, unless you just happen to go to the site during a discount period and you’ve enjoyed the previews of your chosen course.

There are other resources with consistently better quality content, such as YoYo ChineseInnerFrenchPimsleurSeedlang (German), Marugoto (Japanese), 90 Day Korean, or Sistema Kalinka (Russian).

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.

take lessons
2.3 
Price: Classes start at $15/hour
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At Take Lessons you can find in-person and online teachers for various topics, including language learning. This review is specific only to language learning.

Once on the site, you can filter teachers based on their location, availability, and price, then view the teacher’s profile to see their experience, student ratings, and basic bio. Most of the teachers have great ratings, so the quality of teaching is probably not an issue. However, Take Lessons takes about 40% of whatever the teachers charge. Obviously teachers need to charge a living wage, so can expect to pay 25% more than most language learning platforms whose teachers are of comparable quality.

Why 25%? Because most platforms (like iTalki and Verbling for example) only take a 15% commission, if not less. The only difference is that you could potentially have in-person lessons with Take Lessons, while the previously mentioned platforms are all online.

Take Lessons is probably a handy site for other types of services, but there are many more teachers and features specific to language learning available through the above mentioned alternative platforms.

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.

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

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.

101 Script Writing App
2.2 
Price: Freemium; one-off payment of $1.30 for full access
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Kannada 101, Tamil 101, Telugu 101, Marathi 101, Bengali 101: these are just some of the apps from developer Uma Loganathan.

You can also download Arabic 101, Vietnamese 101, and even English 101 and German 101. If you’re learning these languages, though, we’d take a look at Write Me instead. We feel that the Write Me app is generally a more well-designed option, especially since it also tests you on your ability to match the right character to an audio recording.

However, the Write Me app barely has any Indian languages, and that’s where the 101 series shines. You’ll be able to trace the characters; switch between easy, normal, and freestyle modes; and receive a score out of 100. The stroke order and direction are clearly explained.

Whenever you make a mistake, you receive instant feedback: the music stops and the “ink” stops flowing. This allows you to self-correct immediately, rather than practicing it wrong.

The series has its flaws: like with most apps, you won’t learn how to join up characters. However, we think it’s a useful tool for beginners.

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.

Lingua Boost
2.2 
Price: 1 level costs $19.90, two levels cost $33.90
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Lingua Boost’s website sells downloadable volumes of phrasebook-like lessons that teach everyday phrases in context. The lessons are about 10 minutes long; they are narrated by native speakers and focus on vocabulary within a specific topic. Although each lesson seems to contain something that resembles a dialogue, every phrase is spoken by the same person. Additionally, many of the lessons initially appear to be dialogues, but end up as a list of sentences. For example, the first line of a lesson might be, “what do you like to do?” followed by a series of statements such as “I like to read books,” or “I like to go swimming.”

Furthermore, for languages that have more difficult pronunciation, such as Russian and Hindi, the lessons do not break down pronunciation. In Pimsleur, for example, they use an excellent technique of working backwards with each syllable in a word. In Lingua Boost, it seems that you are expected to just listen and gradually catch on, even from the absolute beginner level.

Finally, each volume must be purchased separately, but you can test out the first 5 lessons for free on their website.

If you’re looking for a similar course that breaks down pronunciation, has interactive activities and helps you learn full dialogues in context, check out Pimsleur’s subscription plan.

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.

Language Helpers
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Language Helpers provides a compilation of resources for various languages. Unfortunately, the organization of the site does not seem to have a lot of structure beyond the category headings.

If you search the free courses, you will be directed to a page with an assortment of YouTube videos in no particular order. At the top of this page, you’ll see a dropdown menu with a list of possible courses in your chosen language. However, these lists seem to have been automatically generated — you will find Spanish courses in the Italian section, and French courses in the German and Spanish sections (it’s also possible that the videos were automatically curated). There may be transcripts available for some videos, but most of them do not have one.

Besides the recommended courses section, all of the languages have an online translator, and some of them have basic word lists.

The creator of the site had good intentions to make language learning free, but the organization of the site seems more like a roulette game than structured learning courses.

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.

Dino Lingo
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Dino Lingo is a language learning program for children, consisting of videos and games that they can play independently at home. Dino Lingo recommends their program for children between the ages of 2 and 12, but based on the video lessons available for testing, kids over 8 will probably not find it engaging.

The videos will fully immerse your child in the language, with audio pronunciation and spelling in the target language. The main characters are dinosaurs, but each lesson also consists of both live and animated clips that illustrate vocabulary words. The clips are probably effective at introducing new vocabulary to children, however, it’s possible that the children may misunderstand the meaning of the new words based on how incoherent the images are. At one point they may think they are learning “the dog is being vacuumed”, but in fact they are learning “this is a dog.”

If you are looking for a program to support your child in learning a language but can’t find anything else, they will probably learn something from DinoLingo. However, it does not seem like a high-quality program and is also not without several editing errors. You can try a 7-day free trial before investing in it, or try out some cheaper options like Duolingo Kids or Gus On The 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.

lingohut
Price: Free
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Kendal and Philipp, the creators of the LingoHut, are passionate about teaching languages. Their website supposedly helps A1 and A2 language learners develop their confidence in listening and pronunciation. All audio clips were recorded by native speakers so that beginners can get accustomed to natural pronunciation, and each lesson has a series of matching games for listening comprehension and reading.

Unfortunately, the creators’ genuine intention to support beginners doesn’t seem to translate into their lessons. The lessons are essentially a series of phrases that are not adapted to each language’s culture; each of the 50 languages use the exact same set of sentences and lesson formats. This means that you will learn how to say ‘dumpling’ both in Chinese and Italian. There is also no section to learn the script of languages such as Korean, Hindi, or Arabic, nor are there transliterations to help beginners sound out the pronunciation. Furthermore, some sentences switch between formal and informal language without explanation, which would not be intuitive for an A1 learner.

If you want a free resource to listen to native speakers’ pronunciation of hundreds of common phrases, LingoHut is definitely a free option. However, there are other resources that can help you learn languages more effectively.

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.

StudySpanish.com - Camino Del Éxito
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StudySpanish.com has some useful free materials on their website, but their paid products should be avoided. Their Camino del Éxito audio course is a near exact copy of the free FSI Basic Spanish Course. They also have a separate subscription plan but none of the extra materials found within it are very useful and definitely not worth paying for.