LingoDeer Review: The Better Alternative

LingoDeer Overview:

LingoDeer is a fairly new language app that uses a wide variety of activities to help you learn a new language from the ground up. The app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play or you can access the program online through your laptop or tablet.

You may not have heard too much about LingoDeer yet, but it is quickly gaining popularity as one of the best language learning apps for beginners. When it was first released a few years ago, they only offered lessons in three languages, but they have since branched out.

With a very affordable subscription plan that you can buy monthly, quarterly, or yearly, this is a great way to kickstart your language learning journey. If you are ready to make a serious commitment, they also offer a LingoDeer Lifetime Membership.

Before we get too far along, let me share a few of my likes and dislikes, then we’ll move on to a more detailed look at what LingoDeer is and how you can use it to improve your language skills.

Pros

  • Well structured lessons.
  • Wide variety of learning activities.
  • Extensive Grammar explanations.

Cons

  • Lesson subject matter is a bit disorganized.
  • Not enough speaking practice.

lingodeer pricing

One Month

$11.99

Three Months

$29.99

Twelve Months

$59.99

Lifetime Subscription

$99.99

LingoDeer Initial Thoughts

Let me just start by saying that the hype is true, this really is a great app for beginners.

It works in a way that is very similar to Duolingo, down to the cute animated mascot, but it has a few extra features that Duolingo is sorely lacking, such as extensive grammar explanations.

Many language programs try to teach new languages in a way that replicates how we learn our native language. Not through grammar lessons, but through practicing vocabulary words, learning how they fit into sentences, and extrapolating the grammar from there.

Although this method does work for many people, not everyone likes to fumble around guessing and hoping that they have their words in the right order.

This is where LingoDeer is a step ahead of its competitors. Each lesson block has an in-depth grammar explanation included in it, so no more guesswork.

Now, do not be put off if you do enjoy learning languages without heavy grammar lessons. The grammar tips are optional. You can do all the lessons you want without ever looking at a single grammar rule, although I wouldn’t recommend it. Grammar is important and this is a fun way to learn it.

What Languages Does LingoDeer Have?

You may have heard of LingoDeer, but thought that they only offered Asian languages. That is because when this app was first released, they only offered Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

They have since added:

You may have heard of LingoDeer, but thought that they only offered Asian languages. That is because when this app was first released, they only offered Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Korean

Japanese

English

Chinese

Spanish

French

German

Portuguese

Russian

Vietnamese

If you’re interested in learning more than one language, they offer a ‘multilingual pass’ that allows you to learn as many of these languages as you would like with your membership.

One nice feature is that you do not have to have a subscription to try out a few lessons in each language. Upon my initial visit to their website, I did a lesson in each of the languages (except English), just to see what they had to offer.

That may seem like a lot, but it didn’t feel like it took any time at all since the lessons are fairly short and quite entertaining.

For this review, I decided to choose a language that I knew nothing about so that I could see it through the eyes of a true beginner. So, come along with me and we'll take a look at LingoDeer German.

Getting Started

Signing up takes less than a minute, even less time if you use a pre-existing account such as Facebook or Google.

Once you log in, you go directly to the Lessons page which shows you the lessons that are available to you. The lessons are divided into groups according to the subject matter. Some of the subjects include Greetings, Questions, and Objects.

The subjects are different for each language, which I found very interesting. For example, the first lesson in Japanese is 'Nationalities' and the first lesson in Spanish was the traditional ‘boy’, ‘girl’, ‘man’, ‘woman’, and ‘lawyer'…

Wait, what? Lawyer? Nationalities? Yeah, let’s talk about this for a second.

This is one of the things I don’t care for on LingoDeer. Some of the lessons feel a bit disjointed and there are odd words thrown in that do not feel quite appropriate for the level of the lesson.

For full disclosure, I have to say that I am not familiar with Japanese at all, so I would not be able to say what the most appropriate starting point would be. That being said, I will say that I have never had a language program start by teaching nationalities. It was very unexpected.

I have to admit though, it was presented in such a way that I now know a few words in Japanese. Even though I can’t imagine where I will use them, I think it is a good sign that I learned new words in a completely unfamiliar language in just a matter of minutes.

Lessons

Since I’m starting from scratch, I can access the German Alphabet and the first lesson block which is called Basics.

The Alphabet lesson is a great feature that I wish more language programs would include. This is a great tool for beginners because not only does it have a written alphabet, but it is also a pronunciation guide.

You can click on each letter to hear how it is commonly pronounced. This allows you to begin practicing new sounds from the very beginning. This is not a substitute for quality speaking practice, but it is very useful if you are trying out a new language and aren’t sure about the new sounds you’re encountering.

In the LingoDeer Japanese, the Alphabet lesson includes a very interesting section on Japanese letters and the different forms of writing that you will encounter when learning Japanese. I can imagine this would be extremely helpful for those studying Japanese.

Best of all, you do not have to be a paying member to access this. So, even if you can’t afford a membership right now or you’re just not feeling it yet, I would still encourage you to check out the alphabet section under your chosen language. I think you'll be impressed.

Start Learning With LingoDeer

Time to check out the first lesson!

The lesson structure is very simple, but still entertaining. There are a variety of activities including:

  • Fill in the blank
  • Complete the sentence
  • Matching pictures and words
  • Listening practice
  • Writing practice
  • Remove the extra word
  • Matching words and definitions
  • Writing full sentences

I appreciate that they included all of these activities in the beginner lessons instead of the entire lesson focusing on just pictures or just word matching. The variety of activities makes every lesson go by quickly and it’s pretty fun, so it makes you want to practice more.

As you go through the activities, it will cycle out the questions that you answered correctly and repeat the questions that you answered incorrectly until you get them all right. Once you have completed every question you can finish the lesson and bank your XP.

You have to complete each block of lessons to move on to the next. Although this does help to maintain a more structured lesson plan, it is a little frustrating if there is a particular subject that you would like to focus on.

If you are more advanced in your chosen language, you can test out of each section until you reach the level that fits your learning needs. This is a nice feature if you have the basics down and do not want to learn, “This person eats bread.” yet again.

The only downside to testing out is that if you test out of a section, you can't go back and review the lessons in that section, so only test out if you’re sure that you won’t want to access any of those lessons for reviews.

LingoDeer Extra Features

Not only are the lessons fun and educational, but they also come with a few extra features that are also entertaining.

Each block of lessons includes Learning Tips, a story, a Vocabulary Review, and a few other review options.

The Learning Tips are those great grammar lessons that I mentioned early. Each one is tailored to the lesson block that you’re on. For example, the first set of Learning Tips in the German program includes information about noun gender, capitalization, and the ever-present Umlaut.

The Story is a simple little subtitled video in your chosen language. This is a fun additional bit of listening and reading practice. The videos are different for each language, which is nice.

If you are studying Japanese, Chinese, or Korean, the story section is much more involved. The stories include comprehension questions and even a chance to record yourself telling the story in your new language which is pretty cool. Hopefully, they will add this feature to the other languages very soon.

The Vocabulary section shows all the vocabulary words that you have encountered in that block of lessons. If you have only completed one lesson, then the vocabulary section will only have the words from the first lesson. As you complete more lessons, more words will be added.

Review Options

Although it is fun to keep moving forward and learning new words, it is also very important to go back and review occasionally. Thankfully, this is another area where LingoDeer excels.

There are multiple ways to review what you’ve learned including individual lesson reviews, flashcards, and pop quizzes.

The individual lesson reviews allow you to go back through a specific lesson to ensure that you're comfortable with the material.

The flashcard section is similar to most electronic flashcards. It will play a clip of a sentence and you determine whether you understood or not. Then you can reveal the answer and tell the app whether it was weak, good, or perfect. Your answers will determine which ones come back up for review, so be honest.

You can also review the material through pop quizzes. The quizzes work just like the lessons, but they are a fun and speedy way to refresh your memory.

Could Be Better, But Still Good

Just like every language program or app, LingoDeer has its shortcomings.

The biggest issue that I see is the lack of speaking practice. I understand that voice recognition is still a bit sketchy when it comes to language learning apps, but even so, speaking is a very important part of learning a language. Hopefully, LingoDeer will be able to add this feature in the future.

Thankfully, there are plenty of other apps that you can use to supplement your speaking practice such as italki or Speechling. Pimsleur also has a great program for those who want to improve their pronunciation skills.

Since LingoDeer is still fairly new, there are a few glitchy spots in the app, but nothing too serious. I appreciate the amount of work that they have put into it to make it as educational as possible while still being fun.

LingoDeer Review: Final Thoughts

Overall, I would say that LingoDeer is a good program that is definitely worth the cost of a subscription, especially if you get a LingoDeer Lifetime Membership.

There are a few shortcomings, such as the unusual subject matter for a few of the lessons and the lack of speaking practice, but those are only minor inconveniences when compared to the vast amount of good qualities to be found here.

I would not recommend this app as a standalone program, especially for those who are getting more advanced in their target language. It's just a bit lacking in materials when you get into the advanced sections.

That being said, I would recommend this program for new language learners. I would also say that it is a good tool for more advanced learners as a way to review what you’ve already learned in a fun way that will keep you coming back for more.

I hope you have found this information helpful and that is has encouraged you to try new learning methods and to continue moving forward in your language learning journey. Happy learning!

About the author 

Language Throne Team

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