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So, you want to learn Spanish but the options are muy confuso. Or, maybe you’re visiting Paris and want to speak the native language to fit in with the French? What are the best ways to learn a language without living immersed in the country’s language and culture? Language learning software! It has increased in popularity because it allows you to learn at your own pace and on the go. And their lessons are fun, engaging and motivate you to keep growing and improving your skills. We’ll help you decide which language learning software is right for you based on your goals and preferences. So vamos (let’s go)!
Why Consider Language Learning Software?
First off, why should you choose language learning software over other more traditional learning options like taking a college course?
- College courses are large and impersonal. Software is individualized to you and your specific learning style and needs.
- College courses can drag on or go too fast. With software you have control over the speed of the course – if you need more time to re-review or skip through a lesson.
- College courses tend to focus more on grades rather than whether you’re actually learning the language.
- College courses and textbooks are expensive whereas software is much more affordable.
- Classes take time to travel to and are during a set schedule. Software allows you to control when and where you learn.
What Is The Best Language Learning Software?
Now that you’ve probably convinced why software is a superior option it’s time to pick a company. But deciding which is the best language learning software for you can be a little more challenging. The marketplace is filled with different techniques, formats and price points, so we dissected several leading programs to help you choose the best software. Note our review is geared towards learners who speak English as a first language.
Fluenz is best known for its Spanish learning program for English speakers, although they do offer 6 other languages. Many users prefer Fluenz over other software programs because it makes them feel like they are taking an actual class with a teacher, but in their own time and home. This also awards it our #1 choice along with their excellent customer service available via phone, email and live chat. If you contact them via email they try to respond within a few hours (24 hours max is their promise). With Fluenz you’ll learn grammar, writing, speaking, listening and reading for the desired language.
- Learn Spanish 1 (30 sessions of up to 2.5 hours each): $177.00
- Learn Spanish 1+2+3+4+5 (1500 sessions of up to 2.5 hours each): $368.00
Pimsleur’s method is solely based on audio learning replicating the way you learn a language as a child. No other language learning program uses this method. They are so confident in their program, Pimsleur guarantees spoken proficiency if you complete the first 30 lessons of one of their programs. I received access to their Unlimited online software in exchange for an honest review. Although I’m only a few lessons in, I am loving it so far. The lessons are around 30 minutes long and with one a day and 30 lessons total you could do one level per month. The Unlimited plan also comes with an iPhone or Google Android app. You can use the app to track your progress and do other interactive reviews and engaging exercises to reinforce what you’re learning via audio. Pimsleuer works well for people like me who are audio learners (or have long commutes and can practice in the car).
- Spanish Level 1: $150
- Spanish Level’s 1-5: $575
What’s appealing about Instant Immersion is its large section of languages to choose from at a low price. Instant Immersion’s software works on older computers, which is handy if you don’t upgrade systems often. The interface isn’t “snazzy” but it gets the job done…that is if you don’t have issues with the software. In our research we read that many users have gone back and purchased Rosetta Stone to make up for what Instant Immersion lacks.
- Spanish Levels 1, 2, & 3: Check on Amazon
Best Free: Duolingo Review
Duolingo is a completely free website and is also available as an app, making it easy to use on the go. You learn by playing a series of short games which makes it fun and easy to squeeze in to downtime – like when you’re commuting or eating breakfast. Duolingo focuses more on phrases than words, which you may find to be a positive or a negative depending on your end goal and learning style. Duolingo is great for those of you who live busy lives and want to test out learning a new language before taking it seriously and committing more money towards it. This is why we’ve chosen it as our #3 pick.
Learning a foreign language can make you smarter, more decisive, and even stave off Alzheimer’s. Anne Merritt, international writer and EFL lecturer, elaborates on this in her article on the benefits of bilingualism.
Language Learning Comparison Table
|Fluenz||Pimsleur||Rosetta Stone||Instant Immersion||Duolingo||Mango||Livemocha|
|Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
|Visit Website||View on Amazon||Visit Website||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 Day||30 Day||3 Month Trial||90 Day||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Format||DVD, CD, MP3, Online, Mobile, Tablet||CDs||PC, Mac, Mobile, Tablet Apps, CD||Software, Audio Download, Workbook, Online Tutorial||App, Online||Online, Mobile, Tablet apps||Online|
|Number of Languages||7||50+||30+||125+||27 (some still in Beta)||70+ including pirate and sign||35|
What Other Language Learning Software Is There?
We review four other popular language learning software options, and give you our pros and cons for each:
The Livemocha community has been bought by Rosetta Stone and will be closed April 22, 2016.
Mango Languages is no longer available online but their web-based program is available at many public libraries. So check your library or visit their website to find a library near you that has Mango in the language you are interested in. The interface is fairly easy to use and they have a colorful layout to make it more interesting.
Rosetta Stone is probably the most well-known language learning software. It teachs via “Dynamic Immersion” which means they try to teach you the language similar to the way you learned your native language as a child. The biggest negative is that Rosetta Stone is extremely expensive. So you may not want to spend $100-$500 on language learning software that you may not stick with. They do offer a brief demo via free trial on their website of each language in case you want to test it out before committing. Although you must pay a pretty penny for this software it has a history of being successful making it our #2 choice.
Video: Your Language Learning Software Questions Answered
Check out this video of Fluenz founder, Sonia Gil, answering questions from fans about some of the challenges you might face when learning a language.
What’s The Best Language Learning Software For Me?
Whether your goal is to become smarter, learn for business, for international travel, to talk to your grandmother, or simply for fun, it’s important to know how you learn best and how fluent you wish to become in the language. If you’re looking for the basics and want to learn a new language for fun, then Duolingo may be a great fit. If you’re serious about learning a new language, then Fluenz will likely suit you better. Once you’ve got a basic vocabulary going, a great way to extend your skills and eventually become fluent is to immerse yourself in a culture that speaks the language you’re learning. Wondering where to go? Check out our cruise line reviews for various itineraries, or if you’re on the adventurous side our adventure vacation reviews. Once you have an idea of where you want to go, use our travel website comparison to get the best deal on flights, and consider a vacation rental option using these providers we review.
Which language would you like to learn and why?