LingoPie is a fairly commonly used language learning resource; I’d heard of it here and there and decided to finally put the time into seeing what it’s all about. At the start, LingoPie advertises itself as binge-able language learning.
While that marketing isn’t wrong (at least it isn’t something vague like “learn a language!!!!!”), I feel like LingoPie is marketing the only good thing about it. And even then, it’s not necessarily much to write home about.
When I don’t like a language learning resource, I don’t keep it a secret. When I reviewed Mango Languages and Rype, for example, I made it crystal clear how I felt. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do for LingoPie!
Therefore, let’s walk through using LingoPie, why I feel the way I feel about it, and talk about what other alternative options exist for language learners.
Watching foreign TV with LingoPie
Right off the bat, LingoPie starts you off with a 7-day free trial. You do have to sign up and connect your credit card (nope, no PayPal! You’ll have to get up, find your credit card, and type in all your info), but that’s fairly low on the list of grievances for most any language learning resources.
(Actually, that was one of my issues with Rype, too, and it really tipped me off to how low-quality Rype is!)
At the moment, LingoPie is only available in Spanish and Russian. From the looks of the landing page, they seem to be planning to add a bunch of languages, but these images aren’t clickable, so I guess it’s more of an implication than a statement.
There’s no mention at all whatsoever about any of these other languages or any future plans for them to be available on the LingoPie platform, so this is either a misleading implication or just really poor communication.
When you sign up, LingoPie does ask you your level in the language, from A1-C1…but I’m not entirely sure why. While you can switch between Spanish and Russian at any point, you can’t switch your level. Do you get different content if you choose a different level? Who knows? It’s not like I can change my level to see.
What difference might that make? Well, an A1 language learner should absolutely not be jumping straight into any of these shows. If you’re a beginner, stick to kids’ stuff. So hopefully LingoPie changes this around with the different levels!
And yes, while you can slow all of these shows down (which you’ll see in a sec), it’s not so much the speed that’s concerning to a beginner language learner as it is the vocabulary. If you only have a couple thousand words in your brain, you need to be focusing on content that will use those words and gently expand your vocabulary.
Once you set up your account, you’ll see a Netflix-like page with all the shows LingoPie has to offer, separated by a few different genres…and that’s it. LingoPie does have content from different countries (which means different accents), but it’s not like you can narrow it down to look for a particular one.
For example, I definitely saw shows from Spain and shows from Mexico, but there isn’t any way for you to search from just those shows from just those countries.
There’s a big difference between Castilian Spanish and Mexican Spanish, and that can translate (pun totally intended) into a really frustrating experience, when you can’t understand a video that you feel like you definitely should.
What genres are you presented with, you might ask?
- Just added
- Cool & edgy
- Historical drama
- Music videos
I picked one show pretty much at random, and the show just went, which was kind of confusing. It wasn’t until I paused the video to see what was going on that this popped up.
This is a pretty decent explanation of the main platform – it’s all the tools that LingoPie offers you in any of their videos. It doesn’t mention what happens to the translations you request, but I’ll get to that in a sec.
Here it is in action!
And yes, I’m totally aware of how unsettling this screenshot looks out of context. I promise I wasn’t watching anything weird (or at least not intentionally)! This show is called Explainers (what’s ‘Explainers’ in Spanish? I dunno, cause LingoPie just used the English title)…and just happened to involve a shirtless guy talking about avocados…
Regardless! When you click an unknown word:
Why is there no las or unas behind it to help us keep track of masculine and feminine rule-breakers? I don’t know, but I don’t like it.
The LingoPie platform will keep track of the words that you translate in your videos in a couple of places. The first place is on that Netflix-esque page, where the first row is the shows that you’ve already started.
A couple of side notes while we’re here:
- Considering my actual Netflix has been in Spanish for years, I really don’t like how the platform is in English. It should be in your selected language!
- While it is helpful to keep the shows you’ve started in their own category, when I clicked back into Exploring Baja California, it restarted from the beginning. So I guess don’t expect LingoPie to keep total track of your progress? I might be a tad frustrated…
Anyways. Each show will tell you how many words you’ve translated. These words will also show up in your flashcard section automatically, like this.
You have a couple of options here:
- listen to an audio recording of the word
- play that particular phrase of the show
- click for an English translation
But…that’s it. You don’t even get the chance to tell LingoPie if you got it right! Nor do you get a good chance to practice learning your words, like you can with FluentU. These aren’t really flashcards, they’re just a list of basic translations with snippets of their original context, which is disappointing.
This is an incredibly inefficient way of learning vocab. It’s a great way to find the vocab, which is awesome, but not a good way of getting it into your long-term memory.
You can’t easily add these to an Anki deck or to Memrise…LingoPie doesn’t even have a mobile app for on-the-go vocab practice. All that said, I’m not sure how LingoPie expects you to learn these words effectively. Learning words in context is only the first part of learning vocab effectively!
When you start out your 7-day free trial, you’ll also be choosing which pricing structure you’ll go with, so long as you don’t cancel before your trial is up. And I must admit, LingoPie’s prices are very reasonable:
Not a bad deal, right?
There is zero difference between the membership levels you choose, just how much of a commitment you make. I don’t see any mention of a money-back guarantee, but since we’re already getting a free trial, I wouldn’t expect one anyways!
Before you get too excited, you don’t get that free book unless you give LingoPie your money. I say this because I did get excited, and then kind of disappointed when I didn’t get this free ebook!
LingoPie alternatives & why they’re better
Clearly, I’m not a fan. If I didn’t know there were other, higher quality options for language learners, I would probably like LingoPie better. But, unfortunately, I try out too many language learning products for that!
As I mentioned before, FluentU is one alternative that does a better job than LingoPie, especially when it comes to the vocab that you find with FluentU. Check out my review on it, and you’ll see what I mean.
What about the actual video content? Yes, FluentU does it better, but who does it best? I much prefer using Language Learning with Netflix or Language Learning with YouTube, like I talk about and walkthrough in this video. Why is that?
The biggest reason is the sheer amount of content! With both LingoPie and FluentU, you only have the videos that they’ve added to their own platforms. But if you can use ALL of Netflix and YouTube to practice your listening and find new vocab? There’s just no comparison!
Seriously, watch this video, and be ready to be BLOWN AWAY!
Oh yeah: both Language Learning with Netflix and Language Learning with YouTube are totally free!
What to know about LingoPie
Like I said, I don’t really like LingoPie. Sure, it’s a good idea, but there are other platforms (or free Chrome extensions) that already execute that idea much better, at least in my opinion.
And sure, LingoPie is reasonably priced, but so are free Chrome extensions that use much more populated websites that you’re probably already on anyways!
Do you prefer to use LingoPie? Let me know! Just because I don’t (or do) like a language learning resource doesn’t mean you’ll agree.
And just to reiterate, the other resources I’ve mentioned for watching Spanish videos and getting new vocab from it are: