LingoDeer is a popular app among learners of Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin, but they’ve been so wildly successful that they’ve expanded to several others! What made it so successful? This LingoDeer review will tackle just that.
Continue reading this LingoDeer review to learn everything you need to know about this super popular language app!
As mentioned, while LingoDeer is known for Asian languages, learners of other languages shouldn’t necessarily skip it. LingoDeer offers:
Considering LingoDeer offers all these languages when they’ve only been in business since 2017, it really looks like the sky’s the limit!
Each language has some combination of the following courses: introductory, lower & intermediate, conversational skills, and travel phrasebooks; some languages have some, some all. It’s really a toss-up.
I do love how this differentiates the content you’ll be working through depending on your current skills and your future goals. Total beginner? Start with French 1. Not a total beginner anymore but want to get past some of those intermediate obstacles? French 2. Ready to go straight to practicing conversational skills? Fluent French. Don’t really care about all that, just want to have a few key phrases under your belt? Travel Phrasebook it is!
Once you select the course that aligns with your goals, you’ll get a screen kind of reminiscent of the Duolingo tree, though it’s obviously more geared towards your specific goals, which I love!
Then, each lesson of the course is broken up into a handful of quick, easy-to-swallow mini lessons.
Obviously, you start out with lessons 1 and 2. In fact, it won’t let you go straight to “Practice makes perfect”. That’s not necessarily a good or a bad thing, just something to be aware of if it’s a feature that will really bother you.
Nonetheless, I do like how the lessons tell you exactly what you’ll be learning, right down to the specific words you’ll be practicing. This way you’re not stuck learning words and phrases that aren’t relevant to you.
Each lesson is then broken up into a handful of modern, gamified (but not annoyingly-so) exercises that get you comfortable using the language in a variety of ways.
Here’s what I love about these:
First of all, it’s beautiful! It’s very smooth and is genuinely enjoyable to play around with. There’s cute little sound effects, and the animations are really nice. The colors are super palatable as well. Even so, almost all of these features are totally editable! Go into the settings of any lesson to:
- turn the sound effects or animations on/off,
- change the background color,
- increase/decrease the font size, and
- speed up/slow down the audio
Second of all, these lessons provide A+ exercise to all of the language muscles. It’s not a conversation (but remember, there’s a whole other section for that), but LingoDeer provides you with a good baseline to start off with some confidence to jump into using the language in a variety of other ways.
I do wish one of the options in the settings were to turn the translations on/off, though. Especially at an intermediate level like this, I’d like to be pushed a bit, and not have any little handicaps like that forced on me.
Once you complete the lesson once, you can review it in a few ways: rehashing the same lesson again, or giving yourself a bit of a challenge.
Classic Mode will put you through the same lessons again, but Challenge Mode and Pop Quiz are fun! With these, you throw away any multiple choice options and practice active recall. No more just passively tapping buttons and calling with studying – now you’ll have to actually think!
There doesn’t seem to be a huge difference between Challenge Mode and Pop Quiz, though. The biggest difference is that Pop Quiz doesn’t work your speaking/listening skills, just writing, and it’ll give you results at the end. So kind of like a pop quiz in school, I guess? I tried Googling it and didn’t find any explanations there, either.
Nonetheless, here’s a couple of shots from a Pop Quiz (again, just like Challenge Mode, just without speaking or listening skills).
The active practice (left screenshot) comes with a ton of flexibility depending on your skill level and energy level! I was feeling lazy so I opted for letters/spaces to give me hints, but if you tap “let me type” those will all go away and you’re left with your keyboard.
Or, if you’re here and still stuck, tap that little eyeball on the left and your next tile will do a little bit of a wiggle to clue you in. Rad!
Once you get through the actual lessons, it’s time to practice! The “practice makes perfect” options will now all be available to you, so you can go through them as you please.
All of these lessons build you up to having a mock conversation based on the vocabulary you learned (and is assumed that you know at this point), at higher and higher stakes. These exercises are split into:
- Dialogue Warm-up
- Dialogue Practice
While the Warm-Up isn’t much different from the prior lessons, hold onto your pants because Dialogue Practice will really poke at your active language skills! Here you can see the challenge being upped more and more the deeper into the conversation you get:
While you may not be speaking (yet), you are being pushed to actively recall the words and grammar that you’ve been working with. So yes, while there may be a bit of multiple choice here and there, you still have a ton of opportunity to really learn the language in a way that preps your brain for actual language use.
But wait, there’s more! Dialogue Practice is still a stepping stone to the real shebang: Speaking! This material you’ve been working on mixed with speech recognition gives you practical conversational practice in-app. This is, again, a really excellent way to take theoretical knowledge and turn it into practical experience.
(Featuring Christine, who is apparently not pooping!)
It’s your average speech recognition: you’re given a phrase, you’re lead to repeat the phrase, and you tap on the bottom to finish and move on. What you don’t see in this screenshot, though, (for the sake of a readable review) is that at the upper left-hand corner of this screen is the word “Easy”. This is just one of the ways that Lingodeer allows you to take control of your language learning in this section!
In total, you have flexibility over four features of this Dialogue section: difficulty, show/hide translation (I wish this feature was everywhere!), audio speed, and a cheat sheet.
Beautiful. Chat bots like this aren’t a new concept in language apps, but I haven’t yet found one with so much flexibility! And that includes the fact that you can go to the next question, even if it says you didn’t say it perfectly. So so functional!
Last but not least, we have Tips. Basically, this is where LingoDeer explains the words/concepts you’ll be learning and practicing.
While this is a really helpful section, I wish it was the first one, not the last one. I went through all the lessons and was able to figure it out as I went fortunately, but if I had known this was here I would have given myself a second to review and been a lot more confident about what I was doing.
I’m glad it’s optional, don’t get me wrong, but having the instructions appear at the very end of the lessons is…strange to me.
Nonetheless, these are the exercises you’ll go through as you make your way through LingoDeer’s curated lessons. Now it’s time to move onto all the other nooks and crannies of this LingoDeer review (remember, we’ve still got Fluent French and Travel Phrasebook)!
When you select the Fluent [insert language here] lessons, you’ll be taken to a collection of conversations. These are normal, real-life conversations that any ol’ person may have, which is excellent for, you guessed it, Fluent language practice!
Yeessssss to easy access to all four of the language skills!
First you listen to the conversation, tapping any words or phrases you’re not sure of, then you repeat it, then you write it out.
And, of course, with tons of flexibility. In the listening section, you can speed up or slow down the audio as much as you like, or even have the audio go word-by-word. In the writing section, you can opt to either use the pre-selected letters, or type it out yourself (just tap the keyboard button in the upper right-hand corner).
Need grammar help? Go back to the front page of the dialogue itself and tap Key Points at the bottom.
Finally, for language learners looking for a simple, easy, yet effective collection of vocab to prepare you for a trip, LingoDeer’s got ya covered! They’re separated into categories – like Basics, Food, Emergency, Entertainment, etc. – and you can see how many terms there are at a glance.
It’s important to be aware that this section is meant strictly for travelers, not those looking to have real conversations, so starting here as a beginner won’t be the most helpful if you go in with the wrong intentions. Know what you need!
Go through the list of terms and tap the ones you’d like to learn. You get this view, where you can opt to play the audio on repeat, record yourself saying it (highly recommended if you ever want to actually use the term), and you can tap the star to favorite it and return to it later.
Again, this is simply just an audio clip and recorder, so you can speak to your device and record yourself saying the term. Tap the term to have the audio clip repeat and compare your audio to the native audio. Easy! And useful – not a bad idea to learn how to say “pain” when traveling to a foreign country.
LingoDeer Review review
Last but not least, we have LingoDeer’s review feature. Tap the middle icon in that bottom menu to get there; you can either tap the deer icon or Favorites.
Favorites is where you’ll find any term that you’ve starred (like in the Travel Phrasebook) so you can easily return there and review anything that wasn’t quite getting into your brain like you wanted it to.
Or, tap the big yellow icon and LingoDeer will automatically give you terms that it thinks you need to review and I gotta say….I’m kind of in love with this part (with a healthy dose of criticism, of course).
Tap the deer to listen to an audio of the term, see if you can tell what the term is. Listen to it as many times as you need, then tap “show answer”. There’s one thing I really really love about this, and one thing I really really don’t.
I love that you self-report how easy or difficult that particular term is! This is one of my favorite features of language resources when I find them, and the only other places I’ve found it is in Anki and in Rocket Languages. Technology is great and all, but it really doesn’t beat humans when it comes to how well we do or don’t know a certain thing.
What I don’t love? That pesky translation! I can understand having the option to translate the term, but I don’t want to be forced to see it. I even went into the settings to try to turn it off but couldn’t. SO annoying, but obviously that’s my own personal opinion.
LingoDeer review: prices
Surprisingly, LingoDeer’s prices aren’t the most obvious. I’ll chalk it up to a website-usability thing though, because a LingoDeer membership is certainly worth the price, in my professional opinion.
According to LingoDeer support, free LingoDeer users get alphabets, the first unit, Test Outs, Flashcards, and Reviews. Everything else is priced really reasonably, though!
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? If you’re thinking “wow, that’s a really ugly page considering how pretty the LingoDeer app is”, you are thinking what I’m thinking. Doesn’t make a single difference to the actual experience or effectiveness of the LingoDeer app, it’s just kind of weird.
LingoDeer review: who should try it
Okay, so this LingoDeer review has proved to me that I love this app. I’ll be honest. I have a few issues with it, but they aren’t make-or-break issues. The flexibility? The push for active recall? The whole experience? Beautiful.
But there’s still an important question to answer: who is LingoDeer NOT right for?
If you want to talk to a human, LingoDeer isn’t right for you. Like, if you need the personal connection of a language tutor or language exchange partner, there are other places to find that. LingoDeer will definitely get you started, but you’ll need to stretch your wings eventually.
If you want to be able to practice your language creatively, LingoDeer ain’t it. LingoDeer will give you plenty of phrases, words, and dialogues to use, but if you’re likely to feel stifled by that and would rather respond to a prompt, look somewhere else.
Other than that, this LingoDeer review has shown me an excellent, well-rounded language app that’ll flex your brain muscles in all the right ways!
Wanna give LingoDeer a whirl? Click here to get started!