Reviews of Major Language Learning Programs

Name

Type

Free Trial

Best For

Price
Rocket Spanish




Audio Course

Yes, 3 Free Lessons

Find them here


Auditory Learners

Babbel



Mobile App
&
Online Software

Yes, 1 Short Lesson

Find it here


Visual Learners

SynergySpanish




Audio Course


No


Absolute Beginners

Assimil Spanish




Book & CD


No


Readers

The Pimsleur Method




Audio Course

Yes, on their website

Find it here


Business Travel


Rosetta Stone




Software


Short trial on their website


N/A: Babbel is cheaper/similar

The Michel Thomas Method




Audio Course



No


Grammar &
Confidence


Fluenz
Classroom Style
Program
Yes, on their websiteThose who like
the classroom
environment



 

1) Rocket Spanish

Overview: This is an audio course which contains 99 interactive audio lessons, 7 modules, some language and culture lessons and a survival kit. Each lessons is between 20-40 minutes long.

The lessons begin with a 1 to 2 minute conversation between Mauricio, the native Spanish speaker, and Amy who is the a native English speaker, who communicates in Spanish with Mauricio.

The rest of the lesson involves dissecting each section of the initial conversation and some interactive questions to help you speak and memorize the vocabulary introduced in that lesson.

Great to listen
to on commute,
gym, walks, runs

Many lessons for those
travelling soon

60 day Money-Back Guarantee


Many fake reviews ruining
their reputation

Check Price on Rocket's website

 

Conclusion
In conclusion, this is one of the best audio courses on the market.

It’s similar in style to Pimsleur, but I think it is more engaging, and it’s cheaper too!

The interactive element get you speaking Spanish from the first lesson.

Try their 3 free lessons here



2) Babbel

Overview: Babbel is a web-based language learning program. You can also download their app and use their software on your smartphone!

The Spanish course on Babbel includes about 600 lessons! Each lesson takes about 10-15 minutes to complete!

The format of the lessons is similar to Rosetta Stone, in that you match words with images, write out translations and test your pronunciations in a listen and repeat section.

However, while Rosetta Stone can become frustrating due to the lack of explanations, Babbel actually has an information button, which you can click and everything is explained to you!

Large Catalog of Content

Natural and Interesting Content

Very Reasonably Priced


Much less content
for less common languages
Less content on
Russian, Polish, Dutch etc

Check Price On Babbel's website

 

Conclusion
In conclusion, Babbel is a similar program to Rosetta Stone, except that it’s better because it also offers clear explanations to help you when you don’t understand something.

Babbel use a subscription model which works out cheaper than most other programs, while maintaining a high quality!

Try 1 free lesson with Babbel here

 

3) Synergy Spanish

Overview: SynergySpanish is a course designed by Marcus Santamaria, who claims that he can help you get by in Spanish by teaching you only 138 words! He then claims that these 138 words will allow you to formulate 88,000 phrases!

It’s a strong pitch, so I tried it to see if it lives up to the hype!

Basically, Marcus decided to skip all the BS and just focus on 138 interchangeable word-phrases which will get beginner learners speak Spanish as quickly as possible and speaking as much as possible with the least amount of effort and least number of words learned.

It does have some drawbacks too though.

A great starting point for beginners

Will teach you fast and efficiently!

It's a great confidence booster!


Not suitable for intermediate
or advanced speakers
Not much focus on grammar & vocabulary
Check Price On The
SynergySpanish website

 

Conclusion
In conclusion, Synergy Spanish is not for everyone.

However, if you are a complete beginner and want to start speaking some Spanish as quickly and efficiently as possible, then Synergy Spanish is probably your best choice!

Check out the SynergySpanish website

 

4) Assimil

Overview: The Assimil Method was developed in the 1970’s! Despite being developed almost 50 years ago, it withstood the test of time and many polyglots still use Assimil even today!

Assimil is basically a book and an audio CD!

The book has the Spanish phrases on the left page and the translation in English on the right page. It takes you from simple phrases in the first few pages to complex sentences by the time you reach the last few pages.

The CD’s contain audio files of the 100 lessons in the book, so you can hear the pronunciation as well!

Best book for learning Spanish

Withstood the test of time

Can teach a lot of Spanish!

Check Price On Amazon
Not the most engaging way to learn Spanish

Check out the Amazon Reviews

 

Conclusion
In conclusion, Assimil is a simple program, but it is probably the best book for learning Spanish!

If you would like to learn Spanish from a book, then Assimil would be great for you! Otherwise, there are probably other more engaging methods to learn Spanish.

Check out Assimil on Amazon

 

5) Pimsleur

Overview: The Pimsleur Method was also developed in the 1970’s! Despite being developed almost 50 years ago, it withstood the test of time and it’s still one of the highest rated language learning programs!

Pimsleur is an audio course compiled of 5 Levels, with each Level having 30 lessons of 30 minutes. So the full 5 Levels have 75 hours of material. This is for the Spanish course, but the less popular languages may have fewer levels available.

Pimsleur’s secret sauce is spaced repetition. The research states that we need to listen to the new information at certain intervals – very often at the beginning when the information is new and less often as time passes.

The exact numbers are: 0 seconds, 5 seconds, 25 seconds, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 5 hours, 1 day, 5 days, 25 days, 4 months, 2 years.

When listening to Pimsleur, you will hear a dialogue at the beginning of a lesson. The dialogue will then be explained and repeated. This will be following by getting you to repeat the material you just learned at the intervals suggested by the research.

Backed by scientific research & findings

Withstood the test of time

An effective audio course
It's expensive
Can feel a bit boring at times
Check Pimsleur Reviews on Amazon
Conclusion
In conclusion, Pimsleur is an effective audio course and there is a reason why it’s still so popular after 50 years!

However, it does come at a price and the last time I checked, the 5 Levels for Spanish had a cost of $575.

[Edit: now available with Audible.

Get 10 FREE lessons with Pimsleur with an Audible free trial]

See price and reviews on Amazon

P. S.
If $575 is too much for a course, I believe a good alternative is Rocket Spanish.

Both are audio courses with a similar content and structure, but Rocket has a lower price tag!

See price and reviews of Rocket Spanish

 

6) Rosetta Stone

Overview: Rosetta Stone is the most famous language learning company! They are traded on the stock exchange and are currently worth $220 million.

They have a great marketing department and everyone knows about them!

However, they are also a program that actual polyglots very rarely use! It’s often a program that is bought by people who think it would be great to learn a new language after seeing one of their advertisements, but then they end up never using it!

In my opinion, while the “immersion” concept sounds great in theory, it’s actually an ineffective way to learn the language!

It becomes very frustrating when you are “immersed” in a language, but then you’re not sure what an image represents and you are not sure of any grammar rules because there are no clear explanations of any concepts.

Largest language learning company

Can be good for vocabulary building

See Rosetta Stone Price
on Amazon
Not the most effective way
to learn a new language
Poorly rated in the polyglot community
See Rosetta Stone Reviews
on Amazon

 

Conclusion
In conclusion, Rosetta is a very well known program, but I don’t believe it’s not very effective.

It’s also quite expensive, so it’s not something that I would use.

Check Rosetta Stone’s Reviews and Price on Amazon

P. S.
In my opinion, a better alternative to Rosetta Stone is Fluenz.

They have similar pricing but Fluenz has much better reviews, as you can see by clicking here.

 

7) The Michel Thomas Method

Overview: The Michel Thomas Method was developed in the 1970’s! Despite being developed almost 50 years ago, it withstood the test of time and many polyglots still use the Michel Thomas Method even today!

Michel Thomas is a decorated war veteran. After World War II, he emigrated to the United States where he developed the Michel Thomas Method for learning new languages.

Michel claimed his method requires no homework, no books, no writing, no memorization exercises, and can allow students to become conversationally proficient after only a few days’ study!

Thomas had many clients including diplomats, industrialists, and celebrities! He also participated in a documentary called The Language Master, which can be found on YouTube.

His program is a 10 hour audio course, where he teaches 2 students the structure of the Spanish language including some introductory vocabulary. He has a relaxing way of teaching and teaches a lot in that 10 hours period of time, however it’s limited by the fact that it is only 10 hours of content.

Teaches a lot of the structure
of the language

Michel is great at giving
students confidence

Michel has a very
relaxing way of teaching

Check Price On Amazon
Quite short, not
enough material
Can make you feel a better
speaker than you really are
Michel is not a native Spanish speaker


Check out the Amazon Reviews

 

Conclusion
In conclusion, the Michel Thomas Method is a great introductory audio course into a new language!

You can learn a lot about the sentence structure of the new language and gain a lot of confidence in your ability to become fluent in that language!

It’s a highly rated course too, but do keep in mind that the course is quite short (8-10 hours), so while the learning in that time is very efficient, you won’t become fluent after such a short time.

Check out The Michel Thomas Method Price & Reviews on Amazon

8) Fluenz

Overview: Fluenz uses a classroom-type environment for teaching Spanish.

It looks to me like the founder of Fluenz looked at how expensive it is to take a Spanish class in college, and decided to record a few semester’s worth of teachings, and then sell it at a much lower price than college classes.

Then, they also noticed how many language learners get frustrated and complain about how Rosetta Stone lacks explanations of concepts.

So they developed a course which explains everything in as much details as possible!

The content of this program is similar to some of the audio courses mentioned earlier like Pimsleur and Rocket Spanish, except that Fluenz is in a classroom format rather than audio format.

You first listen to a dialogue in Spanish. Then, the tutor will explain each section of that dialogue, and then reinforce those lessons in your mind through translating, transcribing and voice recording.

Contains clear explanations

Focus on vocabulary
for daily situations

Highly rated course

See Reviews On Amazon
It's expensiveA lot of repetition

Check price on Amazon

 

Conclusion
In conclusion, Fluenz is a great choice  if you like learning in a classroom style environment!

The explanations are clear and the focus is on learning language which you are likely to use in daily situations!

See Fluenz on Amazon (best price)!

 

 So go ahead and pick which of these programs suits you best and I hope you’ll enjoy your Spanish learning journey! (:  

 

Name

Type

Free Trial

PriceBest For

Rocket Spanish

Audio Course

Yes, 3 Free Lessons

Find them here



Auditory Learners
Babbel
Mobile App
&
Online Software
Yes, 1 Short Lesson

Find it here

Visual Learners
SynergySpanish

Audio Course

No

Absolute Beginners
Assimil Spanish
Book & CD

No

Readers
The Pimsleur Method

Audio Course
Yes, on their website

Find it here



Business Travel
Rosetta Stone
Software
Short trial on their websiteN/A: Babbel is cheaper/similar
The Michel Thomas Method


Audio Course


No




Grammar &
Confidence
Fluenz Classroom Style
Program
Yes, on their website

Those who like
the classroom
environment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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