multiple languages

AmazingTalker

2.5 
Price: From around $10 per 50-minute class

Resource Image

AmazingTalker is an italki and Verbling competitor that lets you book classes with language teachers and academic tutors of your choice. It has a lot of attractive features for students, but teachers complain about high commission rates and lack of support.

It boasts a 3% acceptance rate for teachers and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with your class, they’ll rebook you another one for free. There are lots of teachers to choose from, or you can also use their AI Matching Service to find a tutor. The teachers’ profiles include videos, reviews, and their résumé.

However, AmazingTalker doesn’t seem a great choice for teachers. It charges English and Japanese teachers astonishingly high commission rates of up to 30%. While these rates fall as teachers earn more through the site, they have to make $1,500 a month before the commission reaches levels comparable to italki and Verbling. Making it worse, there’s an additional 8% fee for payment processing and tax that all teachers have to pay, no matter what language they teach. 

There have also been complaints on Reddit from teachers claiming to have been harassed by students and fellow teachers. However, we cannot corroborate these.

Given all this, we’d recommend trying italki (review) or Verbling (review) first. Alternatively, check out our guide to the best platforms for online language classes.

Visit

The Best italki Alternatives: Language Classes Compared

italki is a market leader for online language classes, and it’s easy to understand why: it has a huge range of teachers for everything from Arabic to Zulu; it’s cheap; and the app has some fantastic community features, including free feedback on your writing and audio clips.

However, italki isn’t for everyone. Perhaps you’re fed up with all the hidden fees and payment idiosyncrasies that make you feel like you’re buying tickets from a budget airline. Maybe you don’t like choosing between the buggy italki Classroom and Skype. Or it could be that you’re looking for a platform that offers more structured learning, whether it’s a syllabus, flashcards, or simply regular feedback on your level.

Fortunately, if you’re getting frustrated with italki, there are plenty of competitor platforms to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite italki alternatives and what sets them apart.

Man smiles at a camera, while text to the right of the photo says

(more…)

TeacherOn

1.6 
Price: Classes from 50¢ to $80 per hour

Resource Image

TeacherOn is an italki competitor that allows you to book online or in-person classes with language and/or academic tutors of your choice. It can attract scammers and the tutor quality seems hit or miss, but for some languages, it’s probably the only platform with available teachers.

The website started life as TutorIndia, and it still leans heavily towards Indian teachers. For example, it has around 4,500 Hindi teachers compared to italki’s 89. There are also over 300 Kannada teachers, 38 Assamese ones, and 42 Odia ones; in contrast, italk only has 4 teachers for Kannada and 0 for Assamese or Odia.

You can contact the first three teachers for free. After that, you can either post your requirements so that teachers can contact you or pay extra to contact more teachers.

However, you should be cautious when using the platform, especially if you’re paying off site or meeting your tutor in person. We were shown fake profiles, while TeacherOn publishes a list of people banned for being scammers. There are no student reviews, either. TeacherOn encourages students and teachers alike to do due diligence on people before contacting them, and we echo this sentiment.

TeacherOn has plenty of issues. However, for certain languages, it’s invaluable. It may be the only way to study some of them from abroad.

Visit

Verbling

Quick Review

4.6 

Summary:

Verbling is an online language-class marketplace where you can take lessons with teachers of your choice. It has some student-friendly extra features, including a built-in online classroom, flashcards, homework calendar, and a filing system for lesson materials. There are also useful but disorganized forums where you can discuss languages, share writing for critique, and do free language drills and exercises.

The lessons are generally high quality and well structured, plus the filters make it easy to find teachers who specialize in everything from accent reduction to interview preparation. 

However, it can be slightly pricier than alternatives, so if you’re on a tight budget, you may want to look elsewhere. It also has fewer languages than some of the bigger competitors, so it might not be a good choice if you want to study Azerbaijani, Khmer, or Yoruba.

Teacher Quality 

There are some less experienced teachers, but I found the lessons to be more consistently high quality than on italki.

Platform 

The classroom technology, flashcards, and filing system are fantastic for learners and easy to use.

Value

Some teachers charge more than on italki, but you get better classroom technology, more privacy, and fewer disorganized teachers.

Languages

Verbling lists 65 different languages on their platform, from Spanish and Mandarin Chinese through to Twi and Berber. Not all of them have available teachers, however.

Price

Prices are set by the teacher and range from $5 to $75 for an hour-long lesson. You can get discounts for buying packs of 5, 10, or 20 lessons with a teacher. Every student gets one free trial lesson, after which they’re $6 each.

(more…)

Olly Richards 101 Conversations

3.7 
Price: Kindle books cost $0.99

Resource Image

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, but this review focuses on 101 Conversations.

His 101 Conversations series has a beginner and intermediate book for every language, though both books are appropriate for level A2 on the CEFR scale. You will learn natural phrases that you can use in everyday conversation through following the story of six people. Each chapter has a dialogue between some of these characters, which you can engage with through the practical learning methods that Olly outlines at the beginning of each book. While the first chapter in the first book may have one-sentence exchanges, the characters get chattier and the grammar becomes more complex as you continue reading.

Overall, Olly’s 101 Conversations series is fun to follow, particularly because each book sets out to solve a mystery. They are less expensive than his Short Stories series, but also contain less content (there are no comprehension questions or summaries at the end of the chapters, but there are short vocabulary lists). Nevertheless, both are probably a good investment to advance your conversational Spanish abilities.

Visit

The Best Duolingo Alternatives: Fun, Gamified Language Apps

Duolingo is one of the most popular and well-known language apps around, and it’s not hard to understand why: it’s free, easy to use, and will teach you over 30 languages.

Yet Duolingo isn’t everyone’s ideal app. Perhaps you’re looking for something that will teach you traveling phrases right off the bat, instead of Duolingo classics such as “the duck is swimming in money” and “the groom is a hedgehog.” Maybe you’re looking for more grammatical information or better audio. Or it could be that Duolingo doesn’t teach your language (or is pretty bad at it).

In fact, even if you like Duolingo, you might find your language studies will benefit from using it alongside another app. Let’s take a look at some of the other gamified phone apps that will help you learn a language in just five minutes a day.

(more…)

Elon.io

3.3 
Price: Free

Resource Image

Elon.Io is a website that teaches basic Japanese, Turkish, and Spanish writing, vocabulary, and grammar. As you complete each lesson, a checkmark will appear beside it in the table of contents. You can also sign up for a free account to keep track of your progress. 

You can review concepts from your errors in the SRS quizzes, but these review lessons carry into every language. So, if you have reviews leftover from Japanese, you will review them during your Turkish and Spanish studies.

In Japanese and Spanish, the lessons seem to build on one another. For example, you may learn some basic kanji and then use them in the next lesson with a new grammar concept. In Turkish, however, you will have to look at the “exercises” section of the lesson to succeed in the quizzes.

Unfortunately, the lessons put a strong emphasis on translation, and the Japanese version often uses romaji instead of kana or kanji. Although it’s free, you might want to check out our other recommended resources first.

Visit

DeerPlus

3.7 
Price: Freemium; $8.99/month, $35.99/year, $59.99/lifetime

Resource Image

DeerPlus, also known as LingoDeer Plus, is a cute, gamified app from the makers of Lingodeer. It sets out to teach you words, phrases, and grammar through 11 different games, but it’s best used as a supplementary tool.

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

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

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

Visit

Lingo Mastery Conversational Dialogues

3.5 
Price: Kindle books cost $4.60

Resource Image

Lingo Mastery provides over 100 short dialogues in a series of advanced beginner books (about A2 on the CEFR scale) for various languages. 

Lingo Mastery’s Conversational Dialogues doesn’t take the immersive approach that you will find in other graded readers. Instead, they provide a full English translation of each text. There are no vocabulary lists or comprehension questions like in their Short Stories series, but you will read conversations that take place in over a hundred different scenarios. If your goal is to accumulate vocabulary based on situations that you may encounter in your everyday life, then Lingo Mastery is probably a good investment.

If you want to follow real-life conversations that are part of a continuous story, you may want to check out Olly Richards’ 101 Conversations. Also, if you are looking for a series of books that will keep you captivated, Mandarin Companion and ESLC provide graded readers that simplify famous stories into Chinese and Spanish.

If you do decide to invest in these readers, make sure to buy the Kindle version, which is about 20% of the paperback price. There are also previews available on Amazon.

Visit

Lingo Mastery Short Stories

3.7 
Price: Kindle Books cost $4.60

Resource Image

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

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

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

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

Visit