Updated: Oct 12, 2021
Which language app to use to learn a new language?
Nowadays, there are tons of gamified language-learning apps on the Internet. I guess that the most popular one is Duolingo. However, is it the best one? Are there better alternatives?
Well, I honestly tried to use Duolingo and to figure out why so many people are using it to learn new languages. My verdict - one needs to be extremely motivated to learn a language with Duolingo because it is really boring to use. Boring? Yes, boring, believe me because I have already tested other great apps which excel Duolingo at everything. In addition, I have found lots of mistakes in Russian language course when I was testing it for my students to give them my honest review. You might be tempted of course by the fact that Duolingo is a free application, but is it really worth your time? In addition, they have recently added advertisements that you can remove by paying for their Premium version. So, maybe it's time to find a better alternative?
Let me present you a better and more efficient alternative to it. And here is a review of an awesome application called Ling.
Ling was a great discovery for me in 2020. I was impressed to see that they provide over 60 languages including less common languages to learn such as Albanian, Khmer, Bosnian, Seribian and others. A real paradise for a polyglot, isn't it?
Ling Course Structure
The Ling course structure is well-organized. There are overall 50 units for each language divided into five levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert. Here is an overview of topics for a Russian language course divided by difficulty levels:
Units for Beginner Level:
Introduction, Basic Sentences, Numbers & Family, Numbers & Counting, Activities, Food & Tastes, Vegetables & Fruits, In the Café, Eating Out, Where is it?
Units for Intermediate Level:
Places & Locations, Navigation, Occupation & Workplace, Family Members & Mood, Shapes & Objects & Colors, Clothing, Accessories, Foot Wear, Date, Time.
Units for Upper Intermediate Level:
Travelling, In the Classroom, Music, Post Office & Bank, Sightseeing, Accommodation, At the Airport, Relationship, Emergency, Meet the doctor.
Units for Advanced Level:
Body & Appearance, Weather & Forecast, Reasoning, Dating, Romance I, Social Network, Romance II, Cooking, Telling a Story, In the Meeting
Units for Expert Level:
Business, Nature & Landscape, Disaster, Spaceship, In the House, In the Court, Health, Wishes I, Wishes II
There are four different lessons in each unit. The vocabulary teaching exercises are clear and very friendly for beginners. These interactive exercises are very engaging and help memorizing words without much effort.
Types of exercises
A great advantage of this app is that grammar is taught unconsciously by providing good examples that contain certain grammar constructions.
One of the best features of this language app is a dialogue section in the end of each topic. They contain transcription and you can either turn on or turn off the translation. You can choose a style of converstaion (formal or informal) and listen to these dialogues as many times as you want.
These dialogues are followed by exercises to help you memorize the phrases.
And of course, there is an exam in the end of each unit that assess how well you have learned a new topic.
There are also good features of the Ling app are speaking and writing practice exercises.
The writing part is for practicing writing Russian cursive. The speaking part is quite good and allows you to repeat the phrases you hear and see on the screen.
And my favorite feature - a chatbot. Even though I found that it's still quite basic but anyway it allows you to practice your conversational skills. The most important is not just to choose some random answers but to repeat them out loud. You can always turn of the translation.
And finally, an important detail. What are the prices to use this app?
Yes, Ling is not a free app. But after all, taking into account the amount of work these people are doing, how can we expect it to be free?
Here are monthly and yearly prices that will allow you to learn over 60 different languages out there. You will anyway have an opportunity to test this app yourself during 7 days of a free trial.
Click here to access Ling app for more details.
Ok, let's sum up advantages and disadvantages of this application:
Over 60 foreign languages;
Grammar is taught in context;
Audio files recorded by native speakers;
Engaging and challenging tasks;
Well-adapted for beginners;
Interesting features like a chatbot and dialogues;
Possibility to practice pronunciation;
Easy to use.
No direct grammar explanations (which can be seen as a disadvantage for some learners);
I noticed some minor bugs which hopefully will be fixed in the future.
It's addictive (really, I finally started to learn Spanish because it keeps me motivated to learn and practice every day).
This language app is really a great alternative to Duolingo. I take it very serious when I review language materials because I can get easily bored and I need learning materials which are very fun and challenging. I personally found everything I needed in Ling. Try it yourself and you will be able to decide whether it is worth it.
Hello! My name is Mila and I am a founder of Hack Your Russian language platform. You can find me here:
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