This is going to be a long post, be warned ^^
Karen from L-Lingo contacted me a few weeks back and kindly offered a free premium license for one of their languages and also 5 more for a giveaway! I’ve chosen Japanese instead since my review will probably be more accurate and useful from the point of a beginner. However, I have also included a review for the Korean app from the free lessons available.
As this is meant to be a review/feedback, I’m going to be candid and honest. Good points are duly given credit and flaws are pointed out too.
What is L-Lingo?
L-Lingo is a language-learning application that specializes in Asian languages. Aside from the popular Asian languages like Japanese, Korean and Mandarin Chinese, they also offer it in Tagalog, Vietnamese, Burmese etc! Learning resources in these languages are hard to come by and I’m glad that there is a site that focuses on them!
On to the Japanese and Korean App review! ^^ A summary is included right at the bottom! Giveaway details follow~~
Japanese App Review!
I’m a total beginner at Japanese and I’ve been using L-lingo as a supplementary material in addition to a few textbooks. I like it best for learning how Japanese sounds like and also to pick up basic vocabulary fast.
An MP3 file is available for download for each chapter. It contains all the words that are in the chapter and also sample sentences. It’s a good way to listen to it and get accustomed to how Japanese sounds like.
The part below is probably my most fav part of the application. It follows after the guided training (which introduces the vocabulary one by one). This shows all the new vocabulary side by side and it automatically pronounces each word as you hover above the picture!
I like how they included kanji right from the start! It’s fine for me, since I know Mandarin Chinese and hence have no problems with the characters. However, I would like it much more if they included the furigana (is that how the called the hiragana written on top of the kanji?) instead. I can figure out the pronunciation looking at the romanization, but I’d rather see it in hiragana instead.
As for the textbook, the sample sentences can be difficult to follow as I do not know enough Japanese grammar yet. A basic section on the grammar will help alot here! As of now, I have no idea how Japanese verbs work and hence seeing verbs on the 3rd lesson can be daunting.
Korean App Review!
The content is the equivalent of the Japanese application. It’s useful if you are still not familiar with the sounds of Korean. The review after each guided training allows you hear each word repeatedly and this helps you to remember.
They still used the McCune-Reischauer Romanization system instead of the new Revised Romanisation promoted by the Korean government. This may make it daunting for beginners, who needs time to adjust to the not-so-transparent system.
They have different types of quizzes, ranging from guided, picture, translation and writing quiz. It’s useful for people who likes drills and loads of reinforcement.
In the fifth sentence, they switched to the 아/어요 form with 반가워요 instead of 반갑습니다 which will confuse beginners.
This was taken from another of their chapter’s textbook. I find the example sentences weird. I think you can say 기차역의 남자 still sound reasonable, but 소녀와 버스 정규장 DOESN’T translate to a girl at a bus-stop. >,< unless I’m very much mistaken.
And what’s with 자동차 위에 비행기? It’s an absurd sentence and to me, the translation should be THE plane ABOVE THE car instead.
For those who like the flashcard system, they have a well developed one that allows you to print them out.
L-lingo focuses more on vocabulary instead of grammar. I would be happier if they have a dialogue for each chapter as this will allow us to see the words in each chapter used in context and also get a better feel of how Korean sounds like.
All in all, L-lingo is a good supplementary site in addition to textbooks etc. It helps to reinforce what you have learnt from other places and also pick up new vocabulary etc. As mentioned above, people who cannot devote alot of time to textbooks will find the interactive nature of the site interesting and easy to learn from. Given that L-lingo is still developing, I feel that it’s a promising site ^^ Hopefully more content will be added in the future!
What I liked!
- the app is sleek and runs smoothly, and fast!
- interactive application, good for people who learn through visual and hearing
- ‘slow down speech’ button available
- focuses on reinforcement with quizzes
- excellent audio quality (I hate it when language learning sites have lousy audio quality!)
Things to improve on!
- No grammar notes (as of now)!
- example sentences can get a little weird at times
- inaccurate translations sometimes (at least for the Korean one!)
What I would like to see:
- more on cultural insights of each language (I am a strong believer that language and culture are inseparable)
- sample dialogues
Yay! Karen has kindly offered five 3-months L-Lingo Korean premium licenses for you guys! To win, simply:
retweet the post (if you have a twitter account) AND leave a comment on this post on how you started learning Korean! Or else I won’t know you RTed it (unless you tagged me). Don’t forget to fill in the field for email address when you post the comment!!
The giveaway will end on 8th September 2010 and winners will be notified by email! 😀
The giveaway has ended and the winners are as follows:
hope you enjoy the subscription~! ^^