Why am I starting with the conclusion? Because you’re a busy person. You don’t have time to read this incredibly detailed review of LingoHut. You want the good stuff, and you want it now.
So if you read no further, know this: LingoHut is absolutely worthwhile if you’re looking for a free introduction to a language or a free travel audio phrasebook. Did that answer your questions? If not, read on…
So what did I learn? Actually, more than I expected. I learned a lot of words and phrases and not just in the languages that I’m not proficient in. I learned a bit of grammar, albeit through deduction or asking my expert source (i.e., my husband). I practiced my pronunciation and fluidity. I learned that not everyone in the language-learning community is out to make a quick buck off you.
What I liked about it: The tedium of language learning never set in. In fact, I found myself wishing for an app so that I could take it with me and practice whenever I had a few minutes of spare time. I liked that it was easy to navigate. Don’t want to learn colors? Skip colors. Want to learn how to check into a hotel? Go to Hotel: Checking In. I loved the fact that the platform was stable. So often you’ll find a free resource that you like only to have it crash every few minutes. This never happened with LingoHut.
The vocabulary range is rather impressive. I learned words that I hadn’t come across in years of studying French. And it’s 100% free. Can I say that again? 100% free. No sign-up. No email list. No free e-book in exchange for your immortal soul. Free.
What I didn’t like about it: Not really a dislike, just suggestions – make an app (please make an app) and make flashcards customizable and spaced-repetition. This is just me being lazy because I have a customizable, spaced-repetition flashcard app that I can put the vocabulary into to practice but it would miss the audio. So really, there is no downside here.
Would I recommend it to a friend? I would, and I have already. The program won’t make you Shakespeare in your chosen language, but it will certainly help you get through a week-long trip to Italy or be able to start a conversation with your new neighbors. If you’re looking at paying for a similar program, I’d suggest starting out with this one and seeing if it doesn’t cover your needs. You really have no excuse not to.
Now if you need to know more, here’s the rest of my review…
Practical Details: Lingohut’s website is lingohut.com. The price is 100% free. It offers language flashcards in Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish plus it offers an extensive range of languages in its English as a Second Language (ESL) side.
Features: Lingohut’s system is essentially words and phrases on flashcards. There are five accompanying games which will test your knowledge of the words and phrases that you just learned. The site also has a blog on language learning, and they have bilingual guest bloggers.
Target Audience: The system is geared toward people either just starting out in a language, who are checking out a language to see if they want to study it, or who are traveling to another country and need to know some vocabulary to handle common interactions in the local language. The lessons are short making it ideal for people who aren’t going to be sitting down to study a language for 30 minutes at a time. You can do a lesson in about 5-10 minutes. The English as a Second Language (ESL) side of the website is great for new ESL learners as it provides an easy introduction to the language although I didn’t personally try it.
• Mosalingua Lite
Methodology: I decided to review the system on the strength of four languages: French with which I’m familiar; Italian which I’m arguably a beginner (A1/A2 level), German a language that I struggle with, and Japanese of which I know two words (hai and arigato, if you’re curious). I spent five days on each language going through as many lessons as I could.
Glossary: Spaced-repetition – a system whereby the material is reviewed at increased or decreased intervals depending on your ability to recall it. To know more, click this link.
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) – a guideline to assess how much a learner knows or is able to produce in a language. To know more, click this link.
• Noun flashcards include the gender, which makes future learning easier,
• Intuitive – Easy to use, easy to figure out
• Good selection of phrases and words, range includes words not included in similar products
• Broken down into themed categories – learn what you want, leave the rest
• Site is 100% free. No sign-up, no account, no email address needed,
• Stable platform
• If a language has multiple words for one English translation (example: ma, mon, mes in French all translate as ‘my’ in English), some of the games can be somewhat frustrating
• Adjectives are not changed per gender (example: silencieux (m) silencieuse (f))
• The time to repeat the flashcard is great for one or two words but is too short for repeating full sentences
• Flashcards are not spaced repetition
• In rare cases, the audio isn’t exactly what is on the card.
How it could be improved:
• A Lingohut app would be awesome.
• The ability to pick and choose words that you’re struggling with to create a new, personalized deck.
• A quick start guide describing how to use the site may seem superfluous as the site is largely intuitive, but it would help to know the small features so that they aren’t missed by end users.
• A button to play and pause the audio rather than it being automatic.
• A brief grammar guide to help people deconstruct the language, even if it is based on hacks (example: words that end in ‘a’ will likely have an adjective that ends in ‘a’).
About the Reviewer:
If you’ve made it this far, why not a few more sentences…
I met the owner of LingoHut in a language group, and she asked if I would be willing to write an honest review of LingoHut. I am not a professional reviewer, and I have no product to sell you. I am not employed by, affiliated with, or paid to write this by LingoHut.
I wanted to write a review because I’ve found that language learning site reviews tend to fall into three categories:
• Affiliate link – the author writes a glowing review because they get a commission if you buy the product.
• Friend review – the author writes a positive review because it’s a product their friend has developed or is selling.
• Testimonial – the author has gathered together a bunch of small quotes from people exclaiming how great the product is and how it has revolutionized their life.
That’s not to say that candid reviews don’t exist, but it can be difficult to separate the analysis from the sales pitch. In fact, in researching how to write this review, I discovered that no tried-and-true guidelines for reviewing language-learning products exist. So I’ve done my best here. I encourage you to use the system and tell me what your experience was in the comments.
We welcome anyone to review our site and language learning platform. If you are interested in reviewing LingoHut, please share your findings with us. Send us your review and we will be happy to post it.