best

Best Apps for Learning Arabic in 2021 – We’ve Tested Dozens

It’s one of the world’s most widely-spoken languages, but it’s still considered mysterious by many for its right-to-left script and unique looking characters. Discovering Arabic and developing an understanding in it can be as rewarding as it is intimidating, and there are many ways to go about it.

We’ve already compiled a list of the best online courses for learning Arabic as well as a list of the best podcasts for studying the language. This time, we’ll take a look at the best apps to help you with your language learning journey.

As this list only includes resources that are available as apps, it leaves out some quality options that simply lack mobile capability.

It’s also worth noting that this list doesn’t cover every app trying to teach the language. Instead, we’ve pulled from the great many we’ve tested ourselves, plus some that are commonly recommended, and grouped them into categories based on what they do best. Hopefully, it will help narrow the field a bit and point you in the right direction.

General Courses as Apps

Best for Developing Communication Skills: Pimsleur

Best Podcast-Style Lessons: ArabicPod101

Best for Feedback on Writing: italki

Best Free Way to Get Started: Madinah Arabic

Apps for Learning Vocabulary

Most Fun Way to Learn Vocabulary: Memrise

Most Customizable Way to Practice Vocabulary: Anki

Best Way to Learn Vocabulary From Context: Clozemaster

Best Dictionary App: Hans Wehr

Apps for Practicing Reading and Listening

Best Reading Content: LingQ

Best for Reading Alongside Your Native Language: Beelinguapp

Best Radio App: Radio Arabic

Best for Learning the Arabic Alphabet: Arabic Alphabet

Apps for Tutors and Language Exchange

Best for Online Tutors: italki

Best for Language Exchange Partners: Tandem and HelloTalk

Best for Help with Random Questions: HiNative

general courses as apps

Pimsleur Pimsleur Logo

Pimsleur has been producing language learning courses for over 50 years — they must be doing something right. Now available as an app for Android or iOS, Pimsleur offers an Arabic course that will get you speaking and listening to Arabic quicker than almost any other resource. The course gets users to speak almost immediately through participatory audio lessons, helping to build confidence and an ear for pronunciation right away.

The approach is especially good for those that are aural learners or are most interested in practicing the language as it is spoken. The tradeoff is that it isn’t a good option for anyone interested in developing their reading and writing skills or grammar explanations. Don’t let the brand’s age fool you, the app is refreshingly attractive and easy to use. Review.

Visit Pimsleur

ArabicPod101Arabicpod101 Logo

The fact that the lessons are presented as a podcast lands this resource in the best apps for reading and listening category, but it actually provides quality practice in a variety of skills. The ArabicPod101 course manages to be entertaining while delivering valuable grammar, vocabulary, and cultural information via audio lessons.

The app covers a range of levels, from beginner to advanced, but really shines at the intermediate level. There’s a fair amount of English at the beginner level, but it’s replaced by more Arabic as you progress and the material becomes more challenging. There are also videos to keep things engaging and transcripts to maximize the learning potential. Review.

Save 25% with the coupon code ‘ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES

Visit ArabicPod101

italki logo

Similar to pronunciation, writing is a skill in which computers just aren’t that good at providing quality feedback. They can do things like check grammar and spelling, but they aren’t nearly as good as humans when it comes to understanding tone and context.

One great way to get free feedback on your writing from other humans is through the Exercise function in italki’s community features. It allows users to post pieces of writing on any subject that interests them with the goal of getting feedback from another user that’s proficient in the language. A good option for anyone looking for some Arabic-speaking penpals. Review. Right now get a $10 credit with your first purchase.

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Best Apps For Learning French: We’ve Tested Over 40 Of Them

Interested in learning French? Your options for study are many. Fortunately for those that require the convenience afforded by digital methods, this includes a great number of apps.

We’ve tested a ton of these resources ourselves and have seen that the quality of apps out there is as varied as their number. This list attempts to highlight some of the best in specific categories but makes no claim to be exhaustive. Instead, it will hopefully help you narrow your options and find the ones that fit your needs.

Courses

Best Course for Speaking and Listening Skills: Pimsleur

Best Podcast-tStyle Lessons: FrenchPod101

Best for Finding a Tutor: italki

Best Interactive Courses: Babbel

Vocabulary

Best for Learning Vocabulary Easily: Memrise

Best for Customizable Vocabulary Practice: Anki

Best for Learning Vocabulary From Context: Lingvist

Best Free Way to Learn Vocabulary From Context: Clozemaster

Best Dictionary Apps: Wordreference and Linguee

Reading and Listening

Best for Interesting Content Across All Levels: News in Slow French

Best Audiobooks for French Learners: French Today

Best for French Immersion: Francais authentique

Best for Reading Practice: LingQ

Best Free Reading Content: Manga Method

Best French Radio App: Radio France

Speaking and Writing

Best for Getting Feedback on Pronunciation: Speechling

Best for Getting Feedback on Writing: italki

Best for Getting Answers to Quick Questions: HiNative

Tutors and Language Exchange

Best for Finding a Tutor: italki

Best for Language Exchanges: Tandem

top overall french apps

FrenchPod101

Podcasts are an increasingly popular method for learning a language. They’re accessible and have serious potential for providing ample listening and reading practice with the use of transcripts.

FrenchPod101 uses podcast-style lessons to deliver comprehensive lessons in French through material that’s engaging and relevant. A strength of this resource is that it also teaches a good deal of cultural information, useful for any learner of French.

The resource is updated continually, which means there is always fresh material available. The mobile app might not be quite as good as the desktop version, but you can still use this one on the go. Read the full review of FrenchPod1010 here.

Save 25% on a subscription to FrenchPod101 by using the coupon ‘ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES’.

Visit FrenchPod101

Pimsleur

Feel like studying grammar is a waste of time and just want to get speaking? That’s this app’s guiding philosophy. With Pimsleur, you’ll get speaking right away. The focus with this app is very much on acquiring communicative skills rather than building foundational skills.

Speaking practice is lacking in a lot of resources, and that makes this one refreshing. The Pimsleur app is also easy to use and visually appealing, which is a plus. That said, the practice activities do get repetitive. Read our full review here.

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FLUENTU

FluentU is a language-learning platform that uses real-world videos and interactive subtitles to create an immersive learning experience. The videos take on a variety of forms, including commercials, music videos, interviews, and more. Accompanying quizzes give users the chance to practice language used in videos.

FluentU offers videos in nine different languages and is available for iOS, Android, and on the web. Most of its content is beyond the beginner level, but it has videos for learners at all levels. Check our full review here!

Visit FluentU

italki

While italki is primarily a place to go for one-on-one lessons with teachers, it’s also got some really cool community features that are available for free in the app. In the Exercise section of the app, users can submit pieces of writing on any subject they want or respond to prompts. The writing will be visible to other users on the platform that can offer corrections and feedback. The people offering feedback are usually native speakers in the language you’re learning or at least highly proficient.

This is one of the best ways to get writing feedback because it involves humans. It’s free to use, and you can repay the favor by correcting someone else’s writing. We wrote a full review of italki here. Right now get a $10 credit with your first purchase.

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The Best Apps To Learn Spanish – We’ve Tested 40+ Of Them

 

There’s an absurd number of apps available for studying Spanish, and searching through the options in the Apple or Android app stores can be overwhelming. The apparent quality of a lot of these apps, however, can be discouraging.

Luckily, a quick scroll through the app store doesn’t accurately represent the quality of Spanish learning apps available today. There are actually a lot of excellent apps out there that can teach you nearly every aspect of the Spanish language – though it does take some mix and matching. 

The apps will be loosely organized into categories, based on what they do best. A lot of them could fall into a few different categories, so I’ll try to put them into the section that makes the most sense.

Let’s see what we’ve got…

GENERAL COURSES available as apps

Best for Oral Communication Skills: Pimsleur

Best Lessons in the Style of a Podcast: SpanishPod101

Best for Finding a Tutor: italki

Best Lesson Structure: Babbel

apps for READING AND LISTENING practice

Best Latin American Listening Practice: Lupa

Best Reading Content: LingQ

Best Free Reading Content: Manga Method

Best for Side-By-Side Reading Practice: Beelinguapp

Best  Audio Course: Pimsleur

apps for SPEAKING AND WRITING practice

Best for Feedback on Writing: italki

Best for Feedback on Pronunciation: Speechling

VOCABULARY AcQUISITION apps

Best Dictionary App: SpanishDict

Best for Easy Vocabulary Practice: Memrise

Most Customizable Vocabulary Practice: Anki

Best for Free Practice in Context: Clozemaster

Best for Learning Words in Context: Lingvist

apps for TUTORS AND LANGUAGE EXCHANGES

Second-Best for Finding a Tutor: Verbling

Best for Language Exchange: HelloTalk and Tandem

Top overall spanish apps

Pimsleur

Pimsleur**Pimsleur is running an ALR exclusive discount (up to 20% off!) on 3-month subscriptions. Must go through our link to see the discount**

Pimsleur is an old-school course that began long before apps were even a thing. 

My favorite thing about the course is that it gets you speaking Spanish right away. The lessons mostly ignore the written language and grammar, focusing on listening and speaking instead.

This means that students who use Pimsleur’s courses will almost certainly develop oral language skills more quickly than with other resources. Considering most people studying Spanish want to be able to use it in conversations right away, that makes it pretty appealing. Review.

Visit Pimsleur

SpanishPod101

SpanishPod101 could potentially belong in the general courses category because it offers practice in a variety of skills. I’ve put it here because the lessons are mostly audio and the course structure isn’t completely linear.

The app contains a ton of content — there are nearly 2000 lessons ranging from absolute beginner to advanced levels, though the majority of content is designed for learners at a lower level.

Lessons are presented in a podcast-style format. Two hosts discuss and translate a dialogue, providing plenty of grammar notes and cultural information. There’s quite a bit of English happening at the lower levels, but this phases out as you progress to more advanced material. Review.

Save 25% on a subscription by using the coupon code ‘ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES‘.

Visit SpanishPod101

FLUENTU

FluentU is a language-learning platform that uses real-world videos and interactive subtitles to create an immersive learning experience. The videos take on a variety of forms, including commercials, music videos, interviews, and more. Accompanying quizzes give users the chance to practice language used in videos.

FluentU offers videos in nine different languages and is available for iOS, Android, and on the web. Most of its content is beyond the beginner level, but it has videos for learners at all levels. Check our full review here!

Visit FLUENTU

ITALKI

italki is the most flexible and affordable place to find a tutor for the language you’re learning. They have a huge number of teachers offering classes to students of over 100 different languages. As a learner, you’ll be able to find a tutor that best fits your learning style, schedule, and personality. Teachers are able to set their own prices and make their own schedule. Check our our full review here!

Visit ITALKI

 


A few of the resources mentioned in the video aren’t available as apps, but can be found in our post about the best Spanish courses. Be sure to subscribe and stay tuned for the second video where we cover 12 more good apps and courses for learning Spanish.
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Best Apps for Learning Mandarin Chinese: We’ve Tried Them All

There are a ridiculous number of apps out there for learning Chinese, and, while having plenty of options is certainly a good thing, finding the ones that are best for you can seem daunting.

Hopefully, we can help with that. We’ve tested dozens of them, and have included the standout performers in this list. These are apps that will help you improve a number of language skills, and we’ve categorized them based on whether they’re best for speaking, listening, reading, or writing.

The major benefits afforded by language apps are that they’re convenient and inexpensive, often free. Since this post focuses on apps, it will leave out some great resources that simply aren’t available as apps.

General Courses Available as Apps

Best Communication Skills App: Pimsleur

Best Interactive App: HelloChinese

Best Reading Practice for Beginners and Up: Du Chinese

Best for Writing Feedback: italki

Apps for Learning Vocabulary and Grammar

Best Dictionary App: Pleco

Best Easy-to-Use Way to Learn Vocabulary: Memrise

Best for Learning Words in Context: Clozemaster

Best Customizable Study Tool: Anki

Best for Grammar Practice: Chinese Grammar

Apps for Reading and Listening Practice

Best for Learning Chinese Characters: Outlier Linguistics

Best for Reading About Current Events: The Chairman’s Bao

Best Interactive Reading Practice: WordSwing and M Mandarin

Best Audio Lessons in a Podcast Format: ChinesePod

Apps for Speaking and Writing Practice

Best for Learning to Write Chinese Characters: Skritter and TOFU Learn

Best for Pronunciation Feedback: Speechling

Apps for Tutors and Language Exchange

Best for Finding an Affordable Tutor: italki

Best for Structured Lessons: TutorMing

Best for Language Exchange: HelloTalk and Tandem

Best Q&A App: HiNative

Top overall chinese apps

Pimsleur

The Pimsleur course has been around for a very long time, but its app is refreshingly user-friendly and visually appealing. In addition to the nice design, this course is good for the amount of speaking and listening practice it offers.

The 30-minute audio lessons in the Mandarin course are designed to get you thinking and participating in Chinese right away. You’ll get lots of practice repeating dialogue and answering questions aloud. Immediate speaking practice this in-depth isn’t something you’ll see in a lot of other apps, and it’s what makes this one stand out. Review.

Visit Pimsleur

ChinesePod101Improve your Chinese listening comprehension with ChinesePod

ChinesePod is one of the biggest names in the industry, recommended by nearly everyone, and remaining a solid option for over a decade. They have a massive library of lessons across all difficulty levels that make for a great way to improve your listening skills.

Material at higher levels is taught entirely in Chinese, and an appropriate amount of English is used at the lower levels. Though this scales well, the lessons don’t necessarily build on each other intentionally. Following along with a textbook or another course will help make sure you don’t end up with gaps in your knowledge.

You can get $50 off an annual Premium subscription to ChinesePod by using the coupon code “ALLLANG50”. Review.

Visit ChinesePod

italki

It can be hard to find good places to get feedback on your writing. Most apps don’t offer any chance for feedback, and those that do frankly don’t often do a very good job.

italki, better-known as a place to find an online language tutor, has a community feature called Exercise that makes a great solution for getting writing feedback. The feature allows users to publish a piece of writing in their target language on any subject they wish. Other users can then freely offer corrections and feedback. This tool is free to use! You can also help other users out by providing feedback on writing done in your native language. Review. Right now get a $10 credit with your first purchase.

Visit italki

FLUENTU

FluentU is a language-learning platform that uses real-world videos and interactive subtitles to create an immersive learning experience. The videos take on a variety of forms, including commercials, music videos, interviews, and more. Accompanying quizzes give users the chance to practice language used in videos.

FluentU offers videos in nine different languages and is available for iOS, Android, and on the web. Most of its content is beyond the beginner level, but it has videos for learners at all levels. Check our full review here!

Visit FluentU

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The 20 Best Online German Courses Tested & Rated

German gets a bad rap, but if you ask us, it’s entirely undeserved. It’s the language of some of Europe’s greatest thinkers and writers. What’s more, it’s simultaneously fun and poetic, expressive and logical, and incredibly useful.

After all, German has given us terms like schadenfreude, kitsch, and doppelgänger – and those are just the ones that made it into English. What other language would describe overtaking lorries that block the road as elephant racing? Or have words for the therapeutic experience of being alone in a forest, thinking of the perfect retort too late, and being pained by the world?

As for the myth that German is difficult? Granted, the grammar can be challenging for native English speakers, yet it’s widely reported that around a quarter of English words are of Germanic origins. We can’t be sure that this statistic is correct, but there’s no denying that German and English share a lot of vocabulary. As you start your studies, you’ll quickly discover how easy it is to recognize new words.

And with the right course, you’ll find German grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary even less challenging. You’ll start to understand how German works, and perhaps even more importantly, you’ll enjoy learning, stay motivated, and be able to speak it confidently.

We’ve rounded up our best-rated German courses – and there were plenty to choose from. Here at All Language Resources, we’ve reviewed over 100 German resources, and we haven’t shied away from being honest: our current ratings range from 0.2 to 5 out of 5. All the courses that made it onto this list scored at least 3.5.

What’s more, every course on this list has something that sets it apart. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for audio lessons, gamified apps, a traditional approach to language-learning, pronunciation practice, intermediate grammar breakdowns, or something else altogether: you’ll find it on this list.

Sort By:

4.5/5
Price: $249 (excl VAT)
smartergerman
An intense story-based course that will teach you to understand German

If you’ve ever scored 100% on a German app or exam but still felt like you wouldn’t know how to create your own sentences or handle a real conversation, then you’re not alone. smarterGerman, however, could be the answer. 

Rather than getting you to memorize highly specific phrases and then quizzing you with questions that are far too easy to guess, it forces you to problem-solve your way through a German crime story. Along the way, you’ll learn about grammar, practice free speaking in German on topics of your choice, study vocabulary, write about topics without using a dictionary, and more.

With smarterGerman, you will practice all the main skills – reading, writing, speaking, and listening – as well as learning vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. There’s a huge range of exercises and drills.

For dedicated students, smarterGerman is an excellent introduction to the language. However, it’s undeniably a challenging course. You will have to push yourself hard, and even motivated students will likely find it intense. 

Alternatively, if you like the sound of smarterGerman’s methods but want a more relaxed approach, take a look at the story-based course German Uncovered (review). Grammar Hero (review) is another story-based course that’s designed for intermediate learners.

Pros

  • A comprehensive course, with reading, writing, speaking, listening, vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar
  • Encourages you to understand rather than memorize German
  • Lots of drills and practice activities
  • An interesting story

Cons

  • Challenging approach
  • May be intimidating for absolute beginners
  • Focused on translation
4/5
Price: $297
Learn German through reading and listening to a novel

Wouldn’t it be nice if your German textbook was as interesting as your favorite novel? Well, with German Uncovered, it could be.

This course is designed to take you from complete beginner to intermediate-level speaker. But unlike most courses, it does so through a 20-chapter novel. That’s right, even if the only German words you know are hamburger, hamster, and über, you’re still going to begin by reading a novel. 

First, you’ll read and listen to a chapter of the novel. Then, you’ll study the relevant vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Finally, you get a workbook and quiz, along with a practice document that you can use with a teacher. Next stop is chapter two. 

There are also some bonus materials specific to the German Uncovered course, such as a list of vetted tutors and a video on German dialects.

Not everyone likes being thrown into the deep end. Some learners may prefer a more traditional German course, like Babbel or Pimsleur. And then there are those who like the sound of German Uncovered, but want something even more challenging. (If that’s you, try smarterGerman.)

But for some learners, German Uncovered is the Goldilocks of German courses: fun but with quality explanations. Challenging, but with plenty of support. And a story that keeps you coming back for more. 

Pros

  • Lots of reading and listening practice
  • A well-written, interesting story
  • It’s fun

Cons

  • Some learners could feel overwhelmed
4/5
Price: From $28 per course (excl VAT)
Coffee-Break-German-Logo(1)
Relaxed podcast-style German lessons

Feeling intimidated by German? Ease yourself in with Coffee Break German. These chilled-out lessons will help you feel at ease with der–die–das–die and much more.

Coffee Break German has two parts: a free podcast and a range of premium courses. Listen to the podcast to hear German taught in pressure-free lessons. You’ll pick up grammar, vocabulary, important phrases, cultural insights, and more.

With most premium courses, meanwhile, you’ll get ad-free podcast lessons, access to lesson notes with words’ orthography, a video version of the course, and a bonus audio lesson with additional vocabulary and translation exercises.

There’s a wide variety of courses for you to choose from: the standard Coffee Break German; A Flavour of German, which focuses on idioms; Reading Club, where you get audio lessons alongside weekly texts; and more.

Pros

  • A lot of the course is free
  • Fun, interesting, and unintimidating
  • Cultural insights

Cons

  • Serious learners will need something more in depth
  • No writing practice, and in most courses, no reading practice
4/5
Price: $14.95–$19.95/month
Pimsleur375
High-quality audio courses centered around vocabulary retention

Feeling overwhelmed by the 144 flashcards you need to review today? Struggling to remember your German vocabulary lists? Wondering if das Eichhörnchen will ever flow smoothly off the tongue?

It’s these highly relatable struggles that the Pimsleur method sets out to solve. It evolved out of Dr. Pimsleur’s scientific research into language acquisition, and has four principles: never learning too much at a time, studying new vocabulary in context, revisiting the vocabulary after increasingly longer intervals, and giving you time to formulate the correct answer. 

There’s far more to Pimsleur than just vocabulary, however. You’ll also pick up essential phrases, some basic grammar, cultural insights, and more. 

In each 30-minute audio lesson, you’ll hear the new vocabulary used in conversation, followed by some brief explanations. Then, you’ll practice saying the target phrases and creating the sentences yourself. You’ll also use a technique called backchaining to help you get the hang of German pronunciation. 

Most learners will want to use additional resources, however. You don’t get much writing or reading practice; grammar explanations are also minimal. And if you’re an impatient person, the audio lessons can feel slower than traveling on one of Germany’s many long-distance train routes.

Pros

  • Well-structured lessons that build on each other
  • The lessons encourage active rather than passive learning
  • The method is backed up by scientific research
  • You can learn on the go

Cons

  • The 30-minute-long audio lessons can drag
  • Limited focus on grammar
  • Very little reading and writing practice
  • Visual learners may find it’s not the best resource for them 
  • The supplementary practice activities feel basic and not overly useful
4.2/5
Price: From $12.95/month
Gamified courses for nearly all levels and skills

Some courses focus on writing. Others focus on speaking. And others on vocabulary. With Babbel, however, you can have it all. As well as the standard level-based courses for newcomers through to independent (pre-advanced) speakers, there are ones for grammar, vocabulary, speaking and listening, reading and writing, business German, idioms, and German culture.

Babbel is another 5-minutes-a-day gamified app. It’s not quite as fun as Duolingo (review) or LingoDeer (review); in fact, it verges on being repetitive at times. However, it’s a bit more in depth than most gamified apps. There are also lots of speech recognition and listening comprehension exercises.

There’s a heavy focus on memorizing set phrases. On one hand, this has its positives: you learn the new language in context. On the other hand, you’re not encouraged to apply the language to other situations. As such, most learners will benefit from doing some independent study alongside Babbel, especially writing practice and grammar reviews. 

However, for casual learners looking for a one-stop course that’s not too challenging, Babbel is a good option. In fact, one ALR team member successfully used Babbel to learn a language, and they found it enabled them to communicate confidently while traveling.

Pros

  • Courses for newcomers through to “independent” speakers
  • Courses on specific skills and topics, including grammar, vocabulary, speaking and listening, and reading and writing
  • Speech recognition exercises
  • Listening comprehension exercises

Cons

  • Doesn’t have material for advanced learners
  • Less entertaining than other gamified apps
  • The main courses have limited grammar reviews
4.2/5
Price: $197 per language
Intermediate-level grammar taught through a story

Studying German can feel like an exercise in memorizing conjugation and declination tables, and this doesn’t stop once you reach the intermediate level. Grammar Hero, however, takes a novel approach to it (quite literally). Rather than getting you to recite charts and learn long grammatical names, it sits you down and tells you a few stories.

Each original story heavily features one of five challenging grammar points: prepositions in the accusative and dative cases, two-way prepositions, personal and possessive pronouns, verb positions, and​ relative clauses.

First, you’ll read and listen to the story as many times as you need. Then, you’ll be presented with an explanation of the grammar point and some examples – no memorization required. You’ll re-read the story to see the grammar in practice, and then wrap up with some exercises to help you remember it. These include spotting errors, translation exercises, writing compositions on a topic of your choice, and more.

Grammar Hero is pricey, but it makes grammar feel less academic. If you’re comfortable learning German grammar with the resources you’ve got, then you might not want to invest in this course. However, if you’re sick and tired of prepositions and pronouns, then it might help you get a better handle on them.

Pros

  • Engaging stories that are different for every language
  • Good-quality audio
  • Focuses on the grammar points that you’re most likely to struggle with

Cons

  • You can study the same grammar topics with other courses for much less – although you might not enjoy it as much
  • The exercises are pretty standard
  • You won’t get any feedback on your writing composition
3.8/5
Price: From $47
BITE-SIZE-LANGUAGES-01-1
Beginner-appropriate courses with lots of listening practice

Tired of German lessons that are 80% English – or more? You might find Bite Size Languages to be a refreshing change.

Bite Size Languages’ courses use comprehensible input. This is a common language-learning technique backed up by plenty of studies. The idea is that listening to or reading interesting material that you can understand but is slightly above your level will help you naturally learn the language. 

As such, you dive straight into short dialogues that are designed to introduce you to level-appropriate vocabulary and grammar. You can just listen to the dialogues, or you can make use of the additional materials: transcripts, word-by-word translations, cultural tips, and concise grammar notes.

The lessons are designed to be bite-sized. Even if you use all the additional materials, you’ll probably only spend 15–25 minutes on them. There’s plenty of content, however, since there are 100 different lessons.

Pros

  • Lots of listening practice
  • The audio recordings slowly get faster
  • Good audio quality
  • Very limited use of English

Cons

  • Grammar explanations may be too brief for some users
  • No practice activities
4.2/5
Price: From $38.97 for 3 months
OUINO Language Learning Black Friday Discounts
Ideal for false beginners and rusty learners

Have a vague idea of der–die–das? Memories of learning the genitive case, but dispiritingly few memories of what it actually is? A rough idea of German pronunciation, paired with a hazy recollection of the vocabulary? Ouino might be a good choice for you.

With Ouino, you can choose between following their recommended study path or diving into the topics you want to study. This means it’s ideal for false beginners and pre-exam revision. 

Ouino is the kind of course that’s easily overlooked. Next to innovative or gamified German courses like German Uncovered (review) and LingoDeer (review), it just doesn’t seem that exciting. 

Yet Ouino’s got plenty to offer. The high-quality lessons will teach you pronunciation, vocabulary, sentence structure, verb conjugation, natural dialogues, and more. The grammatical explanations are detailed, with color-coding used to underscore linguistic patterns. 

There’s material up to the upper-intermediate level, although there’s less content at higher levels. Exercises are repetitive but effective, while you can choose to read or listen to lessons. And with over 400 lessons, 1,200 exercises, and 60 short stories, you won’t run out of things to study any time soon.

Pros

  • Huge amount of material
  • Practical conversation practice
  • Detailed pronunciation guide
  • Can study the recommended pathway or pick and choose the lessons that interest you
  • Good for visual and aural learners

Cons

  • You have to download the software
  • The exercises can be repetitive
  • Absolute beginners may find the amount of content overwhelming
  • No pronunciation feedback or voice recognition
4.5/5
Price: $429 (excl VAT)
smartergerman
An intense story-based course that will teach you to understand German

If you’ve ever scored 100% on a German app or exam but still felt like you wouldn’t know how to create your own sentences or handle a real conversation, then you’re not alone. smarterGerman, however, could be the answer. 

Rather than getting you to memorize highly specific phrases and then quizzing you with questions that are far too easy to guess, it forces you to problem-solve your way through a German crime story. Along the way, you’ll learn about grammar, practice free speaking in German on topics of your choice, study vocabulary, write about topics without using a dictionary, and more.

This is an incredibly comprehensive course that’s designed to take you up to B1/lower intermediate. Meanwhile, follow-up courses German Mastery and German Excellence should take you to B2/upper intermediate and C1/advanced respectively.

With smarterGerman, you will practice all the main skills – reading, writing, speaking, and listening – as well as learning vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. There’s a huge range of exercises and drills.

For dedicated students, smarterGerman is an excellent introduction to the language. However, it’s undeniably a challenging course. You will have to push yourself hard, and even motivated students will likely find it intense. 

Alternatively, if you like the sound of smarterGerman’s methods but want a more relaxed approach, take a look at the story-based course German Uncovered (review). Grammar Hero (review) is another story-based course that’s designed for intermediate learners.

Pros

  • A comprehensive course, with reading, writing, speaking, listening, vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar
  • Encourages you to understand rather than memorize German
  • Lots of drills and practice activities
  • An interesting story

Cons

  • Challenging approach
  • May be intimidating for absolute beginners
  • Focused on translation
4.3/5
Price: Free
Short-and-sweet podcast lessons will teach you how to build sentences

Most courses start off with learning how to introduce yourself. Language Transfer skips that and starts by explaining the relationship between English and German. That’s because its aim is to help you understand the German language so you can quickly make your own sentences, expand your vocabulary, and more.

Don’t mistake Language Transfer for a dry and academic course, however. There are no dull linguistics lectures. In fact, these short podcast lessons feel like you’re listening in on a relaxed conversation between Mihalis and his students. But in doing so, you’re picking up on a lot of useful information.

On its own, Language Transfer isn’t enough to teach you German. You’ll want to pair it with additional practice activities as well as courses that will teach you essential German phrases.

However, Language Transfer makes for an accessible introduction to the language or useful supplementary material. It will help you feel capable of expanding beyond the material in other courses, textbooks, and apps – and it will only take up 5 to 10 minutes of your day.

Pros

  • Helps you understand how German works so you can expand beyond learned material
  • Relaxed yet effective
  • Interesting

Cons

  • No survival phrases
  • No expansion activities and drills to help you practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking
  • Poor audio quality
4.3/5
Price: Free
Plenty of free lessons for beginner to advanced students

The biggest challenge when using Deutsche Welle might well be picking a course. There are over 20 to choose from, all organized by CEFR language levels. Some of them contain hundreds of lessons.

For example, German on the Go has A1–B1 video lessons with plenty of practice materials and explanations. Deutschtrainer focuses on vocabulary. Deutsch – Warum Nicht teaches you through an audio drama, as does Mission Berlin. Jojo Sucht das Glück is a soap opera. Harry – gefangen in der Zeit borrows from science-fiction tropes. In Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten, you’ll listen to the news. 

Some of these courses are dated, having been published in the ‘90s or earlier. Not only will the content and spelling be potentially out of date, but many of them used Adobe Flash for interactive exercises. Those parts of the courses will no longer function.

However, there’s plenty of gold on Deutsche Welle – even if you have to dig to find it.

Pros

  • Well-designed courses
  • Variety of courses for different interests
  • Huge amount of material

Cons

  • Some of the courses are outdated
  • Most courses have limited writing and speaking practice
4.3/5
Price: Free
Free, comprehensive, but dated textbooks and audio files

Let’s go back in time to the 1960s, when the US Foreign Service Institute created language courses to quickly help diplomats achieve working proficiency. Said diplomats studied the language in intensive classes before jetting off to use their newfound language skills.

Now, in the 2020s, you can access most of the original textbooks and audio files used in these courses for free. They’ve been scanned and converted into PDF and audio files, and hosted on numerous websites – although generally speaking, the scanned texts are hard to read, especially on small screens.

Of course, you won’t learn facebooken, postfaktisch, or trans from the FSI textbooks (let alone the 1,200 new German words about pandemic life). These courses were written decades ago, and contain outdated vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and attitudes. They also tend toward formal German. 

However, the FSI courses are comprehensive, well-structured, and free. If you’re not able to pay for a course, these may be some of the most detailed resources available to you. Just make sure to pair them with other resources so you can get speaking practice and learn up-to-date vocabulary, from technology and politics through to slang and gender-neutral German.

Pros

  • Comprehensive
  • Well-suited to more academic learners

Cons

  • Dated
  • The scanned materials can be hard to read
  • Only in PDF format
4.3/5
Price: From $8.99/month
Gamified app that teaches you German through humor

Hands up if you find it easier to understand written German than spoken German. If that’s you, then Seedlang might help you out. Every single phrase and flashcard uses a video – and since it’s equally as important that people can understand you, there are lots of pronunciation activities and drills.

There’s more to Seedlang than just speaking and listening practice, though. There are detailed grammar breakdowns, vocabulary lists, games, and more. Plus, the lessons are set up as stories – and they’re funny, too.

With Seedlang, it’s hard to find something to complain about. Bear in mind, though, that you’ll probably want to pair it with some extra reading and writing practice.

Pros

  • Strong focus on pronunciation and listening
  • Clear grammar explanations
  • Lots of practice activities and games
  • Entertaining

Cons

  • Limited reading and writing practice
4.3/5
Price: $11.99/month or $55.99/year
Gamified app with good grammar explanations and drills

German grammar can be tough. You’ve got 16 different ways to say “the” alone – and knowing which one to use depends on how well you’ve understood the grammar. Enter LingoDeer: a gamified app that takes no more time or effort than Duolingo or Memrise, but has a much bigger grammar focus.

This app is designed to take you up to B1/lower-intermediate German. The levels are divided into units, each of which contains a grammar explanation, two to three short lessons, a listening comprehension task, and the chance to record yourself saying a German monologue or dialogue.

The lessons drill the grammar point and target vocabulary with a variety of generally interesting games: matching the word and the picture, writing sentences, choosing the correct response, multiple-choice quizzes, spotting the error in a sentence, and more. Along the way, you’ll get cheered on by a cute little deer.

Like all gamified apps, LingoDeer probably isn’t enough on its own. You’ll likely want to pair it with extra word lists or vocabulary builders, as well as more writing, speaking, and reading practice. Alternatively, LingoDeer makes for a fun app that supplements a different German course or textbook.

You can also download LingoDeer’s companion app, DeerPlus. It has extra vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension exercises. It’s a fun expansion option that will add some variety to your drills, but it isn’t included in your premium subscription.

Pros

  • Clear grammar explanations
  • Listening comprehension activities
  • Variety of practice tasks and drills
  • Fun but effective

Cons

  • Subscribing to two different apps, while optional, is annoying
  • Serious learners will want to combine it with other resources
  • No speaking feedback or pronunciation breakdowns
4.3/5
Price: From €49 for three months
Video and podcast lessons with plenty of practice activities

Lingoni grew out of a successful YouTube channel, and you can still find a lot of the videos for free on their channel. Their paid-for course, however, contains hundreds of additional videos as well as podcast lessons, a vocabulary trainer, and over 600 worksheets and 16,500 exercises. It’s designed to take you from complete beginner to upper intermediate/B2.

You’ll learn plenty of grammar and vocabulary, as well as practicing your listening comprehension. Users who sign up for a 12-month subscription also get access to a pronunciation trainer. 

Fans of Lingoni praise its easy-to-understand explanations. They also tend to like the way you can’t move onto the next lesson until you’ve scored 70% in the exercises. Ironically, Lingoni’s detractors will tell you the exact same thing. They find having to memorize material that doesn’t seem relevant to them to be frustrating. This might seem like an odd complaint, but it’s worth bearing in mind that there are hundreds of lessons in each level.

While Lingoni has a lot in its favor, you’ll probably want to pair it with additional speaking, writing, and reading practice.

Pros

  • Plenty of practice opportunities
  • Clear explanations
  • Listening comprehension activities
  • Tracks your level

Cons

  • Have to subscribe for a minimum of three months
  • Some features are only available if you sign up for 12 months
  • No phone app
4.2/5
Price: From $12.95/month
Gamified courses for nearly all levels and skills

Some courses focus on writing. Others focus on speaking. And others on vocabulary. With Babbel, however, you can have it all. As well as the standard level-based courses for newcomers through to independent (pre-advanced) speakers, there are ones for grammar, vocabulary, speaking and listening, reading and writing, business German, idioms, and German culture.

Babbel is another 5-minutes-a-day gamified app. It’s not quite as fun as Duolingo (review) or LingoDeer (review); in fact, it verges on being repetitive at times. However, it’s a bit more in depth than most gamified apps. There are also lots of speech recognition and listening comprehension exercises.

There’s a heavy focus on memorizing set phrases. On one hand, this has its positives: you learn the new language in context. On the other hand, you’re not encouraged to apply the language to other situations. As such, most learners will benefit from doing some independent study alongside Babbel, especially writing practice and grammar reviews. 

However, for casual learners looking for a one-stop course that’s not too challenging, Babbel is a good option. In fact, one ALR team member successfully used Babbel to learn a language, and they found it enabled them to communicate confidently while traveling.

Pros

  • Courses for newcomers through to “independent” speakers
  • Courses on specific skills and topics, including grammar, vocabulary, speaking and listening, and reading and writing
  • Speech recognition exercises
  • Listening comprehension exercises

Cons

  • Doesn’t have material for advanced learners
  • Less entertaining than other gamified apps
  • The main courses have limited grammar reviews
4.2/5
Price: $197 per language
Intermediate-level grammar taught through a story

Studying German can feel like an exercise in memorizing conjugation and declination tables, and this doesn’t stop once you reach the intermediate level. Grammar Hero, however, takes a novel approach to it (quite literally). Rather than getting you to recite charts and learn long grammatical names, it sits you down and tells you a few stories.

Each original story heavily features one of five challenging grammar points: prepositions in the accusative and dative cases, two-way prepositions, personal and possessive pronouns, verb positions, and​ relative clauses.

First, you’ll read and listen to the story as many times as you need. Then, you’ll be presented with an explanation of the grammar point and some examples – no memorization required. You’ll re-read the story to see the grammar in practice, and then wrap up with some exercises to help you remember it. These include spotting errors, translation exercises, writing compositions on a topic of your choice, and more.

Grammar Hero is pricey, but it makes grammar feel less academic. If you’re comfortable learning German grammar with the resources you’ve got, then you might not want to invest in this course. However, if you’re sick and tired of prepositions and pronouns, then it might help you get a better handle on them.

Pros

  • Engaging stories that are different for every language
  • Good-quality audio
  • Focuses on the grammar points that you’re most likely to struggle with

Cons

  • You can study the same grammar topics with other courses for much less – although you might not enjoy it as much
  • The exercises are pretty standard
  • You won’t get any feedback on your writing composition
4.2/5
Price: From $38.97 for 3 months
OUINO Language Learning Black Friday Discounts
Ideal for false beginners and rusty learners

Have a vague idea of der–die–das? Memories of learning the genitive case, but dispiritingly few memories of what it actually is? A rough idea of German pronunciation, paired with a hazy recollection of the vocabulary? Ouino might be a good choice for you.

With Ouino, you can choose between following their recommended study path or diving into the topics you want to study. This means it’s ideal for false beginners and pre-exam revision. 

Ouino is the kind of course that’s easily overlooked. Next to innovative or gamified German courses like German Uncovered (review) and LingoDeer (review), it just doesn’t seem that exciting. 

Yet Ouino’s got plenty to offer. The high-quality lessons will teach you pronunciation, vocabulary, sentence structure, verb conjugation, natural dialogues, and more. The grammatical explanations are detailed, with color-coding used to underscore linguistic patterns. 

There’s material up to the upper-intermediate level, although there’s less content at higher levels. Exercises are repetitive but effective, while you can choose to read or listen to lessons. And with over 400 lessons, 1,200 exercises, and 60 short stories, you won’t run out of things to study any time soon.

Pros

  • Huge amount of material
  • Practical conversation practice
  • Detailed pronunciation guide
  • Can study the recommended pathway or pick and choose the lessons that interest you
  • Good for visual and aural learners

Cons

  • You have to download the software
  • The exercises can be repetitive
  • Absolute beginners may find the amount of content overwhelming
  • No pronunciation feedback or voice recognition
4/5
Price: €49.90
Translation-based learning with authentic dialogues

“Learning languages is child’s play.” That’s the philosophy behind Assimil’s textbooks and e-courses, but don’t let it confuse you: their courses are less about playing games à la Duolingo and more about learning through immersion and mimicry, like a child does.

In fact, it’s not until you reach lesson 50 that you’ll practice speaking German and actively learning grammar. Until that point, you’ll just be listening to well-written dialogues, translating them, and doing comprehension exercises.

Assimil is arguably the blue cheese of language courses. Some love it. They believe its approach helps them achieve conversational fluency faster and avoid sounding like they swallowed a textbook. Others, however, are put off by having to wait so many weeks before starting to practice output. 

Pros

  • Realistic dialogues
  • Extremely thorough grammar indexes and appendixes
  • Some cultural information
  • High-quality audio

Cons

  • Heavily focused on translation instead of output
  • The pronunciation explanations and feedback could be improved
  • Less engaging than other courses and apps
4/5
Price: From $28 per course (excl VAT)
Coffee-Break-German-Logo(1)
Relaxed podcast-style German lessons

Feeling intimidated by German? Ease yourself in with Coffee Break German. These chilled-out lessons will help you feel at ease with der–die–das–die and much more.

Coffee Break German has two parts: a free podcast and a range of premium courses. Listen to the podcast to hear German taught in pressure-free lessons. You’ll pick up grammar, vocabulary, important phrases, cultural insights, and more.

With most premium courses, meanwhile, you’ll get ad-free podcast lessons, access to lesson notes with words’ orthography, a video version of the course, and a bonus audio lesson with additional vocabulary and translation exercises.

There’s a wide variety of courses for you to choose from: the standard Coffee Break German; A Flavour of German, which focuses on idioms; Reading Club, where you get audio lessons alongside weekly texts; and more.

Pros

  • A lot of the course is free
  • Fun, interesting, and unintimidating
  • Cultural insights

Cons

  • Serious learners will need something more in depth
  • No writing practice, and in most courses, no reading practice
4/5
Price: Freemium; subscriptions from $8.99/month
Large variety of official and community-made courses

Memrise is designed to teach you essential German phrases and vocabulary in just a few minutes a day. Two things set it apart from most gamified language apps: the focus on jazzed-up flashcards and the community-made courses.

Here’s how Memrise works: first, it introduces you to new phrases and encourages you to create mnemonics so you can remember them. Next, you’ll practice correctly matching the phrase to its meaning. Each time you do, a little plant grows. And when all the plants flower? You’ve mastered that level. It’s flashcards, but flashier.

Memrise does have more than just flashcards: there are several handy review activities, and some courses have videos featuring native speakers and pronunciation tasks. Grammar exercises and explanations, however, tend to be minimal. 

There is also a wide range of free, community-made German courses for vocabulary, grammar, idioms, and much more. These are a great way to expand beyond your current studies – or even create your own courses from external vocabulary lists.

Pros

  • Good for memorizing essential phrases and vocabulary
  • Lots of community-made courses
  • A range of review activities
  • Videos featuring a variety of native speakers

Cons

  • Not all features are available on the web app
  • Limited explanations
  • Not as thorough as some courses
  • Best used as a supplementary resource
4/5
Price: $297
Learn German through reading and listening to a novel

Wouldn’t it be nice if your German textbook was as interesting as your favorite novel? Well, with German Uncovered, it could be.

This course is designed to take you from complete beginner to intermediate-level speaker. But unlike most courses, it does so through a 20-chapter novel. That’s right, even if the only German words you know are hamburger, hamster, and über, you’re still going to begin by reading a novel. 

First, you’ll read and listen to a chapter of the novel. Then, you’ll study the relevant vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Finally, you get a workbook and quiz, along with a practice document that you can use with a teacher. Next stop is chapter two. 

There are also some bonus materials specific to the German Uncovered course, such as a list of vetted tutors and a video on German dialects.

Not everyone likes being thrown into the deep end. Some learners may prefer a more traditional German course, like Babbel or Pimsleur. And then there are those who like the sound of German Uncovered, but want something even more challenging. (If that’s you, try smarterGerman.)

But for some learners, German Uncovered is the Goldilocks of German courses: fun but with quality explanations. Challenging, but with plenty of support. And a story that keeps you coming back for more. 

Pros

  • Lots of reading and listening practice
  • A well-written, interesting story
  • It’s fun

Cons

  • Some learners could feel overwhelmed
4/5
Price: $14.95–$19.95/month
Pimsleur375
High-quality audio courses centered around vocabulary retention

Feeling overwhelmed by the 144 flashcards you need to review today? Struggling to remember your German vocabulary lists? Wondering if das Eichhörnchen will ever flow smoothly off the tongue?

It’s these highly relatable struggles that the Pimsleur method sets out to solve. It evolved out of Dr. Pimsleur’s scientific research into language acquisition, and has four principles: never learning too much at a time, studying new vocabulary in context, revisiting the vocabulary after increasingly longer intervals, and giving you time to formulate the correct answer. 

There’s far more to Pimsleur than just vocabulary, however. You’ll also pick up essential phrases, some basic grammar, cultural insights, and more. 

In each 30-minute audio lesson, you’ll hear the new vocabulary used in conversation, followed by some brief explanations. Then, you’ll practice saying the target phrases and creating the sentences yourself. You’ll also use a technique called backchaining to help you get the hang of German pronunciation. 

Most learners will want to use additional resources, however. You don’t get much writing or reading practice; grammar explanations are also minimal. And if you’re an impatient person, the audio lessons can feel slower than traveling on one of Germany’s many long-distance train routes.

Pros

  • Well-structured lessons that build on each other
  • The lessons encourage active rather than passive learning
  • The method is backed up by scientific research
  • You can learn on the go

Cons

  • The 30-minute-long audio lessons can drag
  • Limited focus on grammar
  • Very little reading and writing practice
  • Visual learners may find it’s not the best resource for them 
  • The supplementary practice activities feel basic and not overly useful
4/5
Price: Freemium; subscriptions from $12.99/month
duolingo
The most famous gamified language app

Duolingo changed the language-learning world when it first launched. Its heavy use of gamification was designed to make you not only enjoy the process of learning but want to study every single day. And it works: Duolingo’s points, levels and streaks make it a surprisingly addictive app.

The curriculum, on the other hand? That’s debatable. Duolingo completely redid its German course in late 2020, removing a lot of the grammar explanations but increasing the amount of A1-level vocabulary. The change proved controversial

German is a grammatically challenging language, and it can be hard to intuitively pick up things like cases – and if you don’t understand them, working out if a new noun is masculine, feminine, or neuter becomes even more difficult.

On the other hand, there are things in Duolingo’s favor. It’s unintimidating, motivating, and a way to dip your toe into the world of learning German.

Plus there’s the user community. Duolingo boasts an incredible 500 million active users. Pop into the forums and you’ll find answers to any questions you might have, alongside support, motivation, and inspiration. There are even Duolingo events and meetups.

Duolingo won’t get you fluent in German. But you will have fun, alongside learning Duolingo classics like “we do not visit drunk doctors” and “everyone has to die.” Alternatively, for a gamified app with good grammar explanations, take a look at LingoDeer (review). Or, for something more in depth but still entertaining, try German Uncovered (review) or Coffee Break German (review).

Pros

  • Lots of beginner vocabulary
  • The gamification makes it motivating
  • Unintimidating
  • Community forums and events
Cons
  • Increasingly limited grammar explanations
  • Errors in the audio might leave you memorizing incorrect material
  • Limited speaking, writing, and reading practice
4/5
Price: From $187
A classroom experience from your computer

Using Fluenz feels a bit like going back in time, to a world before Duolingo existed and when you were potentially still in school. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.

It doesn’t make use of gamification, but it pairs comprehensive tutorials with a wide range of practice activities. You almost feel like you’re sat in class, watching as your teacher writes on the board. And with all these drills, from role-playing dialogues through to dictation tasks, you’re getting lots of practice with the material.

Of course, not everyone wants a return to school. For some students, Fluenz will be dull and less motivating than an app that gives them points or lets off animated fireworks after correct answers. For dedicated students who want a one-stop course with plenty of theory and drilling, however, Fluenz could be a good choice.

Pros

  • Comprehensive: teaches grammar, vocabulary, spelling and writing, speaking, reading, and listening
  • Well-structured course 
  • Plenty of practice activities
  • Thorough explanations

Cons

  • Can feel slow and repetitive
  • Flashcards don’t use spaced repetition
  • The learner community isn’t very active
3.8/5
Price: From $47
BITE-SIZE-LANGUAGES-01-1
Beginner-appropriate courses with lots of listening practice

Tired of German lessons that are 80% English – or more? You might find Bite Size Languages to be a refreshing change.

Bite Size Languages’ courses use comprehensible input. This is a common language-learning technique backed up by plenty of studies. The idea is that listening to or reading interesting material that you can understand but is slightly above your level will help you naturally learn the language. 

As such, you dive straight into short dialogues that are designed to introduce you to level-appropriate vocabulary and grammar. You can just listen to the dialogues, or you can make use of the additional materials: transcripts, word-by-word translations, cultural tips, and concise grammar notes.

The lessons are designed to be bite-sized. Even if you use all the additional materials, you’ll probably only spend 15–25 minutes on them. There’s plenty of content, however, since there are 100 different lessons.

Pros

  • Lots of listening practice
  • The audio recordings slowly get faster
  • Good audio quality
  • Very limited use of English

Cons

  • Grammar explanations may be too brief for some users
  • No practice activities
3.8/5
Price: FrEE
openlearn
Free, beginner and intermediate university German courses

Studying a course with OpenLearn is like ordering a starter at a restaurant. It’s delicious, but it’s meant to be followed up with something a little more filling.

That’s because OpenLearn is part of The Open University, a British university that is no stranger to creating online courses. In fact, it’s known for only offering most courses online. And OpenLearn’s online language courses, many of which run to a few hours long, are taster extracts from longer Open University modules that could potentially count toward a degree.

The course content can vary, but they generally include a range of multimedia lessons and activities. You’ll get text-based explanations, audio clips, drag-and-drop exercises, and more. The beginner courses are suitable for complete beginners.

Interestingly, the courses also touch on the German used in Austria, Switzerland, and different regions of Germany.

Pros

  • Well-structured
  • Lots of practice activities
  • Writing, listening, and reading practice
  • Cultural information

Cons

  • Designed as taster courses for more in-depth, paid-for modules
3.5/5
Price: From $7.99/month
Mango-languages-Logo
Compare your pronunciation to a native speaker’s

No matter how many pronunciation drills and tongue twisters you do, sometimes it’s hard to get your pronunciation just right. But with Mango Languages, you’ll be able to polish your pronunciation while learning vocabulary, grammar, and essential phrases.

It’s similar to Pimsleur: you start off by listening to a dialogue and then receiving a grammar or cultural explanation. You then practice building your own sentences and questions using the target language. Repetition is a key feature of this method, but the lesson pace doesn’t feel quite as slow as Pimsleur’s. After all, it’s an app rather than an audio file: you can click “next” as quickly or slowly as you want to. 

For a language like German, however, Mango Language’s star feature is arguably the ability to record yourself speaking a German phrase and then lay it over a native speaker’s recording to compare the two. You can repeat this as many times as you want – meaning you have all the time you need to work on intonation, stress, and those tricky vowel sounds.

Bear in mind that Mango Languages is mainly focused on speaking and listening. For reading and writing practice, you’ll need to pair it with a different resource.

Pros

  • It’s great for spotting unnatural pronunciation
  • You’ll practice making sentences from the first lesson
  • Lessons build on each other well
  • Some North American libraries and universities offer free access

Cons

  • Limited focus on writing and reading
  • Some users find the heavy drilling monotonous
  • Only caters for beginner and lower-intermediate learners

Forget About the Paywalls: Learn French for Free

Until now, you may have been saving up to pay for your first French class. Maybe you’ve been eyeing a subscription to a language learning app that keeps showing up in your news feed. Or, perhaps you’ve given up all hopes of learning French because it will cost too much.

What if we told you that you could learn French without touching your wallet? That you can start your learning journey today, for free?

It’s true.

With our experience testing hundreds of resources, we know that it’s possible—and we’ll show you how. You won’t need to put aside money for monthly payments or splurge on a new textbook; all you need is your motivation and a digital device.

So keep reading and let’s explore a ton of high-quality resources to keep your French studies free!

Choose Your Resources

If you want to learn French for free, you may need to adopt an eclectic approach to French resources. What is limited access in one may be free in another, so don’t get discouraged if you hit a paywall.

We’ve made sure to include resources that tackle reading, writing, speaking, and listening. You can mix and match, but at the beginner and intermediate levels you may want to establish an overarching structure with step-by-step courses.

We’ll first introduce some course options, then offer some podcasts, YouTube channels, and reading tools to enrich your studies.

Next we’ll point you towards a plethora of practice activities to refine your skills and some reference sites for when you need a quick answer for grammar, pronunciation, nuances and more.

It’s often more fun to learn with others, so we’ve also handpicked some community sites for language exchanges and writing and speaking feedback.

Finally, you’ll find out how to get some paid resources for free and assess your French level based on the CEFR scale.

And don’t forget, if you sign up to be an app tester on the ALR website, you can get free access to paid resources in exchange for your honest opinions.

(more…)

Our Top 30 Japanese Podcasts for Learners of All Levels

Need a break from kanji practice and memorising conjugation tables? Podcasts are an excellent way to unwind while still improving your Japanese.

There are podcasts dedicated to teaching beginner Japanese, pronunciation, slang, vocabulary and more. And then there are the podcasts where the hosts talk in Japanese about their day-to-day life, culture and society, history, technology and everything else you can think of.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new Japanese student or an advanced learner looking for more specialist topics. Podcasts will help you improve your listening and pronunciation, gain a more intuitive understanding of grammar and common expressions, and above all, enjoy learning and using Japanese.

Plus, the language used will often be more natural than in anime, manga, novels and even your textbooks – because after all, podcast hosts are real people having a genuine (if at times semi-scripted) conversation.

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up some of our top picks for Japanese learners and organised them by level. Of course, identifying the level can be subjective, depending on the vocabulary and accent you’re used to, as well as the episode you’re listening to. So, don’t be put off if one seems harder (or easier!) than you might have expected. Just give another podcast on the list a go.

Japanese Podcasts for All Levels

Some highly prolific podcast creators have gone out of their way to produce content for Japanese learners of all levels – and on the same channel. Never fear, though, because we’ve only included ones that clearly state the target level for each episode in the title. Read on for some podcasts you’re unlikely to outgrow:

JapanesePod101

JapanesePod101 has literally thousands of Japanese lessons. They go all the way up to advanced, although – like most resources – there’s more material at lower levels. With so many podcast and video lessons, it can feel disorganised. Opt for a pathway and use it alongside a textbook or a resource like Wasabi’s grammar reference to help you stay on track.

Although you can get some material for free, for full access, you’ll need to sign up for a premium account. You can use the code ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES for a 25% discount. Check out our in-depth review for more information.

Visit Japanesepod101

JLPT Stories

This podcast has something for pretty much every learner, although you’ll want to get the essentials under your belt first. It contains short stories categorised by JLPT level, from an N5-level story about trying to ask a girl out at Disneyland to an N1-level story of a woman touring Hokkaido on a 50cc motorbike – despite her mum’s nervousness.

Unfortunately, it looks like this podcast might be discontinued. For now, though, there are plenty of previous episodes for you to listen to.

Let’s Talk in Japanese

Learners from N4 (upper beginner) up to N1 will find plenty to listen to on this podcast from Japanese teacher Tomo. The topics vary greatly, from food and sightseeing to Japanese culture and everything in between. Despite being a teacher, Tomo doesn’t set out to teach you anything. Instead, he gives you plenty of level-appropriate listening practice. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Japanese Swotter

Listening to this podcast won’t just improve your listening and teach you new Japanese vocabulary and grammar. It’s designed specifically to help you improve your speaking, no matter how little – or much – Japanese you know. Although most of the content is aimed at beginner and lower-intermediate speakers, there is an advanced level. Patreon subscribers also get access to full transcripts and translations.

Japanese Podcasts for Complete Beginners

If you know zero Japanese, this section is the one for you. You’ll learn how to say things like “My name is…” and “Do you speak English?”.

There aren’t many podcasts that cater for complete beginners, and many of them are behind a paywall. But once you’ve learnt the basics, you’ll find there are a lot more podcasts available for you. So as soon as you’re ready, take a look at the next section: Japanese Podcasts for Beginners.

olly (I will teach you a language)

Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language, has written a series of books for beginner and intermediate learners to improve their conversation skills in several languages. He also has a Short Stories series.

Most of the languages use the most common words in your target language, with natural phrases that you would overhear locals using while conversing amongst each other. In the short story lessons, the plot follows the same characters and adventures, with some adjustments for cultural differences.

NHK Easy Japanese

This 48-episode Japanese podcast-based course may be dated, but it’s suitable for complete beginners who prefer audio learning and are looking for a gentle introduction to the language.

The lessons start off with an English-language explanation, before playing a dialogue. Then there will be a breakdown in English of the language used. Finally, there’s a “learning point” from the programme supervisor. This is an – admittedly slightly awkward – stage that involves the programme supervisor saying a sentence of Japanese that your regular host then translates into English for you and explains further.

You may find yourself reaching for Google to look up unexplained English-language grammar terms, like “predicate”, but one thing’s for sure: you won’t be overwhelmed by the Japanese.

FUN Japanese Listening

This podcast only has 20 short-and-sweet episodes, filled with even shorter-and-sweeter textbook-style dialogues. Yet the series packs in a surprising amount of basic Japanese grammar and vocabulary. It won’t replace your Japanese course or textbook, but it will give you some extra listening practice in new contexts.

You can also download accompanying worksheets here, read Asuka-sensei’s blog posts about Japanese culture here or sign up to her free hiragana and katakana courses.

Pimsleur

If you liked the idea of the NHK Japanese podcast, but the dated nature and slightly awkward interactions left you unimpressed, you might find Pimsleur more to your taste.

This is a paid-for podcast-esque course that will introduce you to beginner-level Japanese. Some people criticise it for its slow pace and 30-minute lessons, but there’s also a lot in its favour. It’s well-structured and really drills your pronunciation and listening. Even if you already know the material, you’ll likely find your speaking improves after a few lessons.

Read our in-depth review of Pimsleur’s Japanese, German and Spanish courses to find out more.

Visit Pimsleur

Japanese Uncoveredjapanese uncovered course

This pay-to-use audiobook is not quite a podcast, not quite a course. It’s a 20-chapter original novel designed to transform you from a complete beginner into an intermediate-level speaker.

First, you’ll listen to a chapter at either slow or normal speed. Then, you’ll get a PDF transcript and translation and do a series of video lessons based on the chapter: vocabulary, grammar, keigo, pronunciation, writing and culture. Each one comes with a worksheet, and you’ll wrap up the unit with a quiz and some recommended speaking activities. Finally, it’s time to move onto the next chapter.

The only catch? It’s one of the priciest Japanese resources around. Check out our detailed review of the Languages Uncovered series for more information.

Japanese Podcasts for Beginners

You’ve mastered the absolute basics, such as これは何ですか and 今日はあついです, but you’ve still got plenty to learn. The podcasts in this section will reinforce basic Japanese vocabulary and grammar, help you learn some more natural phrasing and improve your listening and pronunciation.

Most of these podcasts use English as well as Japanese. However, towards the end of the list, you’ll also find some slowly spoken, all-in-Japanese podcasts that will let you work on your listening comprehension. がんばって!

LearnJapanesePod

Looking for beginner-friendly podcasts that will introduce you to natural phrases? LearnJapanesePod mixes lessons with interviews, and it focuses on conversational Japanese. Expect to hear phrases like すし好き? instead of the textbook-esque あなたはおすしが好きですか. And since it focuses mainly on situational Japanese, it’s a nice supplemental option to more grammar-orientated podcasts and courses.

Some learners may be frustrated by the heavy use of English, but there are plenty of cultural explanations that make it worthwhile. The hosts also have genuine chemistry. But, if you don’t want to listen to the English, don’t worry: they also publish a dialogues-only version of each lesson.

Beginning Japanese

Have you ever learnt a Japanese phrase by heart and then confidently used it in conversation, only to discover that the person you’re speaking to couldn’t understand you?

Often, you’ve actually remembered the phrase perfectly. You just need to work on your pronunciation. Maybe it’s the intonation, maybe it’s the vowels, or maybe it’s that little sokuon or っ sound that can be so tricky. Whatever it is, something’s not quite right.

That’s where the Beginning Japanese podcast comes in. Each episode takes just one word or phrase with one example sentence. Then, it gets you to shadow the hosts, saying it as they say it, so that you pick up natural pronunciation and intonation. It’s a win-win situation: you improve your vocabulary and your Japanese speaking at the same time. And it works nicely alongside a flashcard app like Anki, too.

Manga Sensei

Get ready to expand your vocabulary. Each episode of this podcast is focused on a single Japanese word or phrase, which are generally N5–N3 level. But this podcast doesn’t just explain the basics. There’s plenty of information about natural, non-textbook Japanese so you can choose how to express your personality, gender identity and age when you speak.

Confusingly, the podcast titles and descriptions often use a non-standardised form of romaji transliteration that seems to be based on a US American accent. For example, they sometimes use “d” instead of “r”, add an “h” to the end of vowels or skip vowels. Take あいだ (間): Manga Sensei writes it as “idah” instead of the standard romaji spelling of “aida”.

As such, low beginners should probably approach this podcast with caution. Until you’re familiar with Japanese pronunciation and spelling rules, the non-standard spelling can make it extremely difficult to look up further information or use the language when writing.

Nihongo Master

Nihongo Master mixes cultural insights with language lessons. The latter kick off with an English-language explanation of the target grammar or vocabulary. Next, you’ll hear dialogues, followed by translations or quizzes, and then breakdowns or vocabulary recaps. The episodes can at times feel rushed, but they’re an entertaining supplement to your regular studies.

Tofugu

Tofugu’s a well-known name in the Japanese-learning community, and for good reason: the website contains a wealth of in-depth blog posts, grammar guides and more. Their podcast used to be devoted to information about Japan, but since 2018, they’ve been uploading more and more ones about the language itself.

Most of the topics are beginner-level, although they’re far from superficial. It often feels more like a discussion than a lesson, and intermediate learners may also pick up useful titbits. That said, some learners may feel frustrated by the heavy use of English.

Sakura Tips

It’s time to ease into all-in-Japanese podcasts. Don’t be nervous, though: this is a very slowly spoken podcast that uses easy Japanese. Your host Mari’s pronunciation is extremely clear, and you can also read the Japanese and English transcripts on the website.

Japanese Podcast for Beginners (Nihongo con Teppei)

Ready to take your Japanese listening to the next level? The short-and-sweet episodes of this beginner-level podcast may use basic vocabulary and phrases, but they feel less artificial than most textbooks. The target phrases are used multiple times to help you out, while Teppei’s speaking starts off painstakingly slow and gradually gets faster. As such, it’s a good way to challenge your listening comprehension without throwing yourself in the deep end.

Japanese with Teppei and Noriko

Does one of these names sound familiar? We’ve already mentioned Teppei’s beginner-level solo podcast. In fact, you’re going to see both these names quite a lot on this list, because Noriko and Teppei are prolific podcasters with a good grasp of what makes Japanese tricky for learners.

This entertaining podcast doesn’t use difficult vocabulary or grammar, but even so, it might seem hard at first. This is because it’s the first podcast on this list that features natural, unscripted conversations in Japanese. Listening to a conversation is nearly always more challenging than a dialogue, but it’s also more realistic.

So fasten your seatbelts and get ready to listen to Teppei and Noriko as they discuss Nutella, their Spanish studies, different Japanese accents and much more. This podcast will not only give you more exposure to beginner-level vocabulary and phrases, but it will also help you prepare for conversations with multiple people. Bear in mind that the audio quality of earlier lessons is pretty poor, but it improves over time.

よ・み・き・か・せ JXTGグループ 童話の花‪束

This podcast may be designed for children rather than language learners, but it’s a great way to practise your listening comprehension and broaden your vocabulary. In each episode, the narrator reads out a story – complete with different voices, sound effects, and more. While you might not understand everything, you’ll be surprised by how much you can follow.

Japanese Podcasts for Intermediate Learners

As an intermediate-level speaker, you already have fairly good listening comprehension – providing the podcast host speaks slowly and uses basic Japanese grammar and vocabulary. Now, though, you’re ready to be challenged with more complex language and faster speaking speeds. There’s virtually no English used in most podcasts at this level.

にほんごのたね

Looking for a gentle introduction to intermediate-level content? Try this immersion podcast, in which your host Yumi talks slowly and clearly about Japanese culture, her daily life with her family and much more. It’s designed for upper beginner and intermediate learners, and each episode is just a few unintimidating minutes long.

Learn Japanese with Noriko

Let’s step up the difficulty slightly with this next podcast. We looked at Noriko’s collaboration with Teppei in the beginner section, but lower-intermediate level learners will likely prefer her solo podcast. It’s slightly more difficult, the episodes are a bit longer and yet it’s just as entertaining. Topics vary, but with hundreds of episodes to choose from, you’re bound to find several that interest you. The audio quality is also excellent.

Nihongo con Teppei

We’ve already mentioned the beginner-friendly version of this podcast above. Now it’s time to dive into the intermediate-level version of the Nihongo con Teppei podcast, with its 600+ episodes. The vocabulary and grammar are more challenging, so don’t worry if you can’t understand everything at first. Keep listening, and you’ll be surprised by how much you improve over time.

Nihongo SWiTCH

Podcaster Iku Yamamoto might speak slower than some other podcasters, such as Noriko and Teppei, but don’t dismiss this podcast. She uses more difficult vocabulary and grammar, and the topics are often slightly more challenging too. In fact, her target audience is intermediate and advanced learners.

Most of her episodes are about learning Japanese or Japanese culture. She talks about Japanese news and surveys; traditions, including the less-well known ones; and natural Japanese phrases and vocabulary that might not appear on the JLPT but will come in handy nonetheless.

Let’s learn Japanese from small talk!

If there’s one thing that strikes fear in most language-learners’ hearts, it’s a multi-person conversation. That’s why podcasts like this one are so useful. Two Japanese women studying in the UK chat about their experiences. It’s entertaining, not overly challenging and a great way to get used to more conversational Japanese. They also publish a vocabulary list for each episode online, so if you’re struggling, check that out.

Nあ~ casual nihongo

This relaxed podcast will help you pick up more casual, natural Japanese phrases, especially Kansai-ben. Thanks to the slow speech and online episode guides, it’s not too challenging to listen to. However, there are some interesting topics, such as reverse culture shock and when you can switch to calling a Japanese person by their first name.

Conversations

This 20-chapter pay-to-listen podcast is designed to provide comprehensible input for lower-intermediate speakers. This means it speaks slightly above your level, but not so much above it that you can’t understand it – albeit with a little bit of effort and perhaps a few replays. Although at first this might be frustrating and challenging, it’s a good way to improve your listening comprehension. Bear in mind, however, that Conversations is on the pricier end.

News in Slow JapaneseNews in Slow

Are your vocabulary and grammar better than your listening comprehension? You’re not alone in that. Don’t worry, though, because we’ve got the podcast for you. News in Slow Japanese is designed for intermediate and advanced learners, but you can play the recordings at two speeds: fast, which is still pretty slow; and slow, which is incredibly slow. In short, it’s a great catch-up tool for your listening comprehension.

They’ve uploaded the transcripts on their website, and premium subscribers also get access to worksheets along with shadowing tools that should help you improve your pronunciation. If you don’t want to use the website, however, you can find all the episodes on Apple Podcasts.

Sound Library

Love fiction? You’ll enjoy this podcast-turned-radio programme in which actress Tae Kimura reads stories aloud. It’s proved so popular that an accompanying book has also been published.

While it’s designed for native speakers, we’re including it in the intermediate section because of the slow speaking speed. The vocabulary and grammar may at times challenge you, but it’s a good way to ease yourself into material designed not for learners but for the average Japanese speaker.

Japanese Podcasts for Advanced Learners

As an advanced student, you’re ready to take on content that’s designed for native speakers – and that’s exciting. You’re no longer limited by what’s available. You can listen to anything you want to. Interested in history? There are over 10 million Google results for 歴史のポッドキャスト. Feminism? There are many to choose from. Politics? Just pick your flavour.

So ironically, this section is one of the shortest. After all, you don’t need our recommendations. And even though we’d like to, we can’t possibly tell you which Japanese-language podcasts are most worthy of listening to – that’s going to depend on your personal interests.

The podcasts that we have included are either extremely popular with Japanese learners or include lots of guests. Treat them as useful starting points – but don’t be afraid to branch out on your own.

Tokyo Midtown presents The Lifestyle MUSEUM

Purists may not be impressed by this podcast, which isn’t actually produced by a native speaker. However, your host is a fluent Japanese speaker who not only lives and works in Japan but also presents TV programmes on NHK World. Each episode includes different guests – who are typically native speakers – so the topics vary greatly.

ひいきびいき

This old podcast remains hugely popular with Japanese language-learners, and for good reason. The hosts Daichi and Haruka have genuine chemistry and are animated speakers, which makes for engrossing listening. And since each episode focuses on a different one of “their favourite things”, you’re bound to find a topic that interests you.

ひいきびいき is no longer updated, and the recordings stopped functioning on most podcast platforms in 2020. However, around 300 episodes are still available via The Internet Archive.

Rebuild

This podcast is all about tech, software and gadgets. You can expect some specialist vocabulary and plenty of geeky content. Sometimes, the topics verge onto sociology, too, but it’s always done through the lens of science.

Your main host, Miyagawa, articulates clearly and the audio quality is good. The guest hosts, however, sometimes have thicker accents. If you find yourself struggling, try a different episode. And if you find a guest host whose perspectives you find interesting, check out the web version of the episode. You’ll be able to click on the host’s image and see every other episode they’ve appeared on.

Honourable Mention:

Audiobook.jp

We’ll hold our hands up and admit it: this isn’t a podcast. It is, however, a website that will let you buy Japanese audiobooks without a Japanese bank card or billing address – and that’s something of a rarity.

Audiobooks and podcasts aren’t really the same thing. Podcasts will often introduce you to more casual, conversational language. Yet audiobooks will also improve your listening, broaden your vocabulary and help you internalise tricky grammar. And there is no shortage of topics. Whether you love fantasy novels or like to learn more about business, you’ll find something here.

So there you go: 30 podcasts, audiobook sites and podcast-esque audio courses to help you improve your listening comprehension, pick up new vocabulary, and above all, have fun learning Japanese.

Podcasts might be less structured than traditional study materials, such as courses and textbooks, but they’re an excellent language-learning tool. You’ll get used to hearing how Japanese people really speak, whether you’re listening to a one-person monologue or a multi-host conversation. So don’t hesitate to add a couple of the podcasts on our list to your study routine.

And of course, as you learn more Japanese, you can expand from our list to find the podcasts that really interest you – whether that’s geeky lectures about science or history, passionate breakdowns of current affairs or lighthearted explorations of popular culture.

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14 Best Arabic Courses: Stories, Dialogues, Reading, and More!

You may be getting ready to take your first steps in learning Arabic—or, you may have been studying for a while but are seeking more structure in your studies. With about 30 varieties of Arabic to learn, it can be difficult to know where to look for guidance.

Though there are not many comprehensive courses available to Arabic learners, we’ve collected some great picks to support your studies. Even some of our lower-rated suggestions may provide inspiration and motivation. 

Whether you’re learning for everyday communication, making new friends, or reading the Quran, you’ll likely find something enjoyable and educational on this list. So let’s get started!

4/5
Price: $14.95 OR $19.95/MONTH
Interactive audio lessons with speaking practice

If you are keen to get speaking from day one, Pimsleur’s audio courses may be just what you’re looking for. You won’t spend much time reading or writing in Arabic, but you will learn to have basic conversations relatively quickly. 

The course uses backchaining to rapidly improve your pronunciation and fluidity. It also effectively builds on each of the previous lessons, so you won’t feel lost moving from the beginner to advanced levels. 

Through interacting with dialogues and responding to prompts from the narrator, you will soon be speaking full sentences in Arabic. You can also top up your skills with some quizzes and flashcards, though these aren’t necessary to succeed in the course.

Pros

  • Structured lessons
  • Practical speaking practice
  • Intuitive user interface

Cons

  • May be a bit slow for some learners
  • No reading or writing practice
  • No real-world listening comprehension practice
4.2/5
Price: $8-$47/MONTH
arabicpod101
Hundreds of audio lessons with flashcards and transcripts

If you want to learn Arabic and gain insight into Arab culture, look no further than ArabicPod101. With comprehensive grammar explanations, lesson notes, transcripts, and quizzes, you can enjoy many hours of learning in one place.

You won’t have to worry about repetitive topics with the numerous lesson paths to choose from. You also won’t get bored listening to the hosts, as their interactions with each other and their listeners are both friendly and personable.

Some lessons appear more like phrasebook dictionaries, but you can pick through dozens of lesson paths to see which one suits you best.

Pros

  • Lots of content in multiple dialects
  • Hosts have a nice dynamic
  • There is less English as the lessons progress
  • Great cultural context

Cons

  • Not very structured
  • The website is a bit confusing and has lots of advertisements
  • Not much speaking or writing practice
3.3/5
Price: $9.99/month for Premium, $13.99/month for Premium Plus
Structured design with speaking and writing practice

Busuu’s Arabic course leaves a lot to be desired, but it can be both fun and educational if you already have a basic understanding of grammar and pronunciation. There are about 115 lessons that follow a logical progression and loosely adhere to the CEFR scale. Each lesson teaches practical language that you can use in your everyday life. 

If you have no background in Arabic, you’ll likely find it more difficult to follow along. The course teaches you through quizzes and repetition, but it makes little room for you to understand grammar or pronunciation before advancing to the next topic. Luckily they provide both the Arabic script and romanized script, so you won’t have to learn to write before using the app. 

One awesome feature that Busuu provides is the opportunity to practice your writing and speaking skills with fellow community members. Busuu invites free and paid users alike to interact with each other through correcting exercises in their native language. 

Our rating for Busuu would be higher if it wasn’t for the Arabic and Chinese courses, but it’s still a fine resource to provide structure and keep you motivated.

Pros

  • The design is engaging and the interface is easy to use
  • Conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is free

Cons

  • Some exercises don’t include translations
  • Grammar explanations aren’t the best
3.2/5
Price: $30/MONTH, $299.88/YEAR
Glossika Logo
Speaking and listening practice for intermediate learners

Glossika won’t teach you explicit grammar rules, pronunciation, or the Arabic script—but if you enjoy learning through repetition and speaking, you may enjoy its extensive phrase bank. 

This resource uses spaced repetition to drill key phrases, then invites you to practice what you’ve learned through dictation and speaking exercises. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet learned the Arabic script, as you can read and type the romanized characters. 

Though Glossika will familiarize you with the Arabic language through extensive repetition, this isn’t the best resource if you are looking for dynamic practice and direct instruction for grammar and pronunciation.

Pros

  • Vocabulary covers a wide range of topics
  • Uses spaced repetition
  • Has audio recorded by native speakers

Cons

  • Expensive for what it offers
  • No grammar explanations
  • Can get too repetitive
  • Doesn’t break down pronunciation
4.3/5
Price: FREE
Understand Arabic without memorization

Don’t worry about having to memorize extensive vocabulary lists or drill repetitive phrases.
With Language Transfer you’ll problem solve, deconstruct and build your own sentences, and identify patterns in the Arabic language. The goal is to understand Arabic—not memorize it—making you more confident to tackle more advanced material in your future studies.

This course is for beginners with little to no exposure to Arabic and is entirely audio based. You won’t need to take notes, but you will need focus to engage with Mihalis’s practice activities and prompts.

The best part? It’s 100% free.

Pros

  • Free
  • Has well-structured lessons
  • Thoughtfully developed

Cons

  • No native speakers
  • Uses a lot of English
  • The pace might be too slow for some learners
4.3/5
Price: $11.99/MONTH OR $55.99/YEAR

Who wouldn’t want to learn Arabic in the company of an adorable deer with glasses?

If you’ve tried Duolingo, you’ll be familiar with LingoDeer’s format. But, you may be pleasantly surprised to find something that Duolingo’s Arabic course has yet to develop: detailed grammar explanations. LingoDeer adds short readings to its gamified format so you can get more out of your studies.

It may be difficult to get through the first four lessons of unit one without prior knowledge of the Arabic alphabet, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be home free to learn basic conversational topics.

Keep in mind that the Arabic course is still in the beta phase. They currently have 30 units for total beginners, but you may want to hold off on getting a membership if you are looking for more than the absolute basics. Luckily, you can also test out several lessons without signing up to see if you like it.

Pros

  • Detailed grammar explanations
  • Native speaker audio
  • Fun

Cons

  • Limited speaking practice
  • Only has content for absolute beginners
  • Need to look elsewhere to practice the Arabic script

FSI and DLI courses

4.3/5
Price: Free
Outdated but comprehensive courses for multiple dialects

The Foreign Services Institute (FSI) and Defense Language Institute (DLI) are probably the most comprehensive, free language learning resources in the world. Unfortunately, they are also very outdated.

With the FSI’s moderate focus on politics and the DLI’s attention to military terminology, you will probably need to learn and forget several sections of the course. But, if you are motivated and disciplined, you can follow in the steps of past diplomats who persevered through hundreds of hours of self-study course material. Your hard work will pay off when you have your first conversation with an Arabic speaker—though you may want to spend time listening to recent podcasts or videos to update your vocabulary beforehand.

Beginners can choose a dialect and start studying today. If you already speak Egyptian or Levantine Arabic, the FSI’s Comparative Arabic Course will help you transition into the other dialect.

Pros

  • Free
  • Teaches multiple dialects
  • Courses are structured and comprehensive

Cons

  • Can be dry and boring
  • Outdated and sexist language
4.3/5
Price: free
Learn the Arabic Alphabet

Arabic Quick! dedicates its text-based lessons to teaching you the Arabic script. It has an attractive, colorful interface that gives you clear structure for your learning and is probably the most comprehensive free guide you’ll find on the internet.

The lessons are dedicated to each letter of the alphabet, which are broken down by how they are written at the start, middle, and end of a word. You’ll find examples and explanations for different pronunciation rules, plus mnemonic devices to easily remember how each letter is written. Arabic Quick! also helps you compare differences between similar-looking letters so you are prepared to avoid mixing them up in the future.

This is a great place to start or continue your studies of the Arabic script. It can easily be used alongside other resources that teach you conversational Arabic.

Pros

  • Detailed explanations of how to write each letter
  • Color-coded examples 
  • Helps you remember each letter and the differences between them

Cons

  • No quizzes or writing exercises
  • Very little audio pronunciation
  • Requires a lot of reading
4/5
Price: Free
duolingo
A fun way to dip your toes into learning Arabic

If you’ve been too intimidated to start learning Arabic, you’re in luck. Though Duolingo’s Arabic course has less than 50 sections, it may be one of the more fun options to start learning the basics.

The lessons teach you through patterns and repetition, and you’ll probably have to follow along with a pen and pencil to get the most out of each lesson. But, the supportive owl and gamified format will ensure that you won’t get bored.

Once you’ve learned a bit of the script, you can progress through the learning tree to acquire new vocabulary and grammar structures.

Duolingo won’t teach you very practical language, and you’ll have to look elsewhere to learn the more complex aspects of the Arabic script. But, it will help you dip your toes in the language without getting discouraged.

Pros

  • Free
  • The gamified aspect is fun and potentially motivating
  • The repetition builds basic skills
  • Makes the Arabic script unintimidating for new learners

Cons

  • Only teaches the basics of the Arabic script
  • Impractical language
  • Only teaches Modern Standard Arabic
3.5/5
Price: $7.99/month for one language, $17.99 for all languages
Mango-languages-Logo
Learn both formal and colloquial Arabic

Though Mango Languages isn’t usually our first choice for resource recommendations, its Arabic courses are surprisingly high-quality for beginners. Not only do they teach Modern Standard Arabic, but they also teach three different dialects: Egyptian, Iraqi, and Levantine. This way you’ll be able to engage in both formal and informal communication.

With 5 separate units and hundreds of lessons, you’ll go from making introductions to talking about your feelings and career. You’ll probably be able to have simple conversations by your last lesson, but the lack of attention to grammar means that you’ll need to look elsewhere to have more complex discussions.

This resource also has a unique feature that compares your voice recording to the original speaker in real time. By playing the recordings simultaneously, you can make a more accurate assessment of your pronunciation.

Pros

  • You can compare your voice in real time to the original audio recording
  • Some libraries offer it for free in the US and Canada
  • Effective drilling of new concepts
  • Cultural explanations

Cons

  • Material only covers the beginner level
  • Lack of grammar explanations
3/5
Price: From $8 – $47/month, less for longer subscriptions
A massive lesson library and thorough explanations

It’s difficult to find comprehensible input for beginners that gets incrementally more difficult. Usually, podcasts and resources divide their content into three or four levels; Arabic Workshop, on the other hand, divides its content into 15 difficulty levels from beginner (A1) to intermediate (B1). 

You can listen to short monologues or dialogues about practical, everyday topics with animated drawings. Or, you can read along with an interactive transcript. Though the lower levels take most of the content, the team behind this resource seems to be continually adding to the library. 

Keep in mind that other than listening to the audio multiple times or doing self-study activities, Arabic Workshop doesn’t add anything to reinforce what you have learned. Also, the transcripts only have translations for individual words and no romanized script. 

Check out some of the free sample videos before subscribing to a monthly membership.

Pros

  • Manageable jumps in difficulty
  • One of the few resources with comprehensible input for beginners
  • Teaches practical vocabulary

Cons

  • No full-sentence translations
  • No activities to reinforce what you have learned
  • Expensive for what it offers
2.8/5
Price: free
For learners studying the Quran

If you are learning Arabic to communicate in your everyday life, you’ll definitely want to look to other resources. But, if you are interested in learning classical Arabic to read the Quran, then you can use Madinah Arabic as a free, comprehensive resource.

With some self-discipline you can learn a lot from the text-based lessons and quizzes. Start with the Arabic script or dive into almost a hundred beginner lessons. There are also vocabulary lists with animations showing how to write specific words.

The website design feels a bit clumsy, and it isn’t very pleasing to the eye. But, the lessons are free and can provide your studies with some structure.

Pros

  • Free
  • Very comprehensive

Cons

  • Unattractive user interface
  • Won’t teach you to speak Arabic
  • Not very engaging
2.7/5
Price: $36/QUARTER; UP TO $179 FOR A LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION
Expensive and repetitive, but helpful for beginners

Though Rosetta Stone can get a bit repetitive, stick around if you’re a total beginner looking to develop a strong foundation of basic vocabulary and sentence structure.

Rosetta Stone has excellent audio quality recorded by native speakers, plus a logical progression from one lesson to the next. You’ll spend a lot of your time matching pictures and words, and no time building sentences or reading grammar explanations. This makes it a better option for individuals looking to learn grammar and vocabulary through immersion.

Recently, some extra features have been added to the resource’s curriculum. The Stories feature invites you to simultaneously read and listen to various texts, then record yourself reading aloud. And, instead of providing translations for keywords, you’ll see images to ensure you maintain an immersion environment.

Also, if you subscribe to Lifetime Plus, you can join other learners in 25-minute lessons with live tutors. These lessons focus on specific units, so you can pick one that directly relates to what you are learning.

Given the limited course options currently available for Arabic learners, Rosetta Stone is actually a fine choice to help you establish a foundation of basic Arabic.

Pros

  • Helps you learn basic vocabulary
  • Lessons get increasingly difficult
  • Interesting stories for reading, listening, and speaking practice
  • Livestream tutor if you subscribe to Lifetime Plus

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Repetitive format
  • Nothing for advanced learners
2.7/5
Price: £59 – £250
Maybe suitable for some learners

We wouldn’t recommend Arabic Online to total beginners, but their Advanced Arabic and Grammar Explorer courses may be helpful to intermediate learners. With interactive activities and texts, you’ll practice sentence building, reading comprehension, and grammar.

Unfortunately, we found that the beginner levels repeated several of the same themes and weren’t very engaging. These levels also had a lot of bugs in their programming.

If you’d like to try something new and just want to keep motivated, you can give Arabic Online a go. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to check out the other resources we recommend.

Pros

  • Reading comprehension activities at higher levels
  • Specifically designed for Arabic learners

Cons

  • Repeats a limited variety of themes
  • Lots of bugs that slow down the website
  • Expensive for what it offers
  • Dashboard is confusing

17 Awesome Podcasts for Your Arabic Studies

Though most language learning resources teach Modern Standard Arabic, the spoken Arabic you might hear in the real world depends on the regional dialect. Arabic podcasts will help turn your textbook Arabic into something to connect with people in everyday life. Plus, they provide an excellent means of improving your listening comprehension and getting to know Arab culture.

With some digging, we managed to find these 17 podcasts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners alike. Though most of them focus on Levantine and Egyptian Arabic, many touch on other dialects as well. With the wide range of topics and thoughtful lessons available, we’re sure that you’ll find something to enrich your communication.

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Improve Your Korean with 16 Fabulous Podcasts

Now that K-Pop has made its way to the top-40 charts in North America, you may be keen to start learning Korean. Or, you may have already decided to improve your language skills after finishing season 5 of your favorite K-drama.

Wherever you are in your Korean studies, podcasts are an excellent medium to listen to authentic conversations with Korean speakers and improve your listening comprehension.

We have searched the internet for these 16 podcasts to support your learning endeavors. We hope you find something educational, or at least entertaining, to take with you wherever you go with your digital device.

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