Everyone seems to have their favorite streaming service nowadays. With so many options to choose from, it’s no surprise that someone would finally come up with a language learning program that allows you to stream awesome shows and learn at the same time!
Lingopie is a program that provides access to thousands of hours of native content in eight different languages. You can stream shows from Spain, Mexico, Russia, Germany, and more. This means nearly limitless listening practice. Not only that, but this program also has interactive subtitles, so no matter what your current fluency level is, you won’t miss a single detail.
This program has been around for a few years, but they recently added a few key features that caught my eye (Hint: Think Netflix), so I decided to do a deep dive to find out if this program is truly as good as it sounds. Come along for a detailed review if you’re as curious as I was.
As always, here’s a quick list of my likes and dislikes just so you have an idea of what we’re looking at.
Likes And Dislikes
This program is available only by subscription. There are four Membership Options:
Lingopie Language Options:
Getting started with this program is as easy as pie! Don’t mind the pun. All you have to do is hop on their website and click on the big orange Start Your Free Trial button.
Now all you need to do is create your login information. You can create a new registration using your email address or you can use an already existing Facebook or Google account. When your account is created, you’ll then be asked a couple of simple questions such as what language you speak and what language you want to learn.
You will then be asked what level you’re at with your target language. Don’t worry, this program offers content for everyone from beginners to advanced learners. If you’re not sure what your level is, they have a helpful guide to give you an idea of what they mean by beginner, intermediate, and so forth.
The next step is to create your personalized account by answering a few more simple questions such as how much time you want to practice each day and how many days a week you want to practice. It’s important to have goals.
Before you can access your account, you’ll be given the subscription options. Like most language programs nowadays Lingopie offers a variety of subscriptions to fit your budget and lifestyle. They have a quarterly, yearly, and even a lifetime plan (for more detailed pricing check out the pricing section above). Each plan comes with a 7-day free trial (which you probably already guessed based on the orange button).
Once you’ve chosen the plan that sounds right for you, you will be asked to provide payment information. Your card will not be charged until after your 7-day trial is complete, giving you plenty of time to change your mind if the program doesn’t meet your needs. Keep in mind that this price is for all of the languages that Lingopie provides. One subscription and you can immerse yourself in eight different languages!
The first step will be going through a quick tutorial. This tutorial focuses on three simple slides that give you the main features of Lingopie. Once you click through those, you’ll be asked to choose three genres you enjoy. After that, you’ll be given a selection of shows that should fit your learning needs as well as your taste in entertainment.
The entire signup process, from start to watching my first show, took approximately 5 minutes. It was simple and extremely intuitive, which is a plus. The only problem I had with it was that the tutorial was too short.
There are a lot of features on this program, more than could be listed in three simple slides. I understand that not everyone loves details as much as I do, but I think at least a quick mention of the other features would have been helpful.
Since the main purpose of Lingopie is learning while streaming cool entertainment, I’ll start by going over all of the tools included with the media player. After that, I will discuss the extra features included with your subscription.
Learning Modes and Tools Within The Media Player
Normally, when I start using a new streaming service I spend a lot of time just scrolling through show titles. But, for this review, I didn’t want to waste hours scrolling, so I simply chose the first show on the list. Honestly, it was a good choice. It fit exactly what I was looking for, so I think their algorithm works pretty well.
Clicking on that first show immediately took me to the Lingopie media player which also includes a quick tutorial video. Again this tutorial was somewhat lacking. It only mentioned a couple of the features, I had to discover the rest on my own.
The first thing that is brought to your attention is the Learning Modes tool (a small wrench in the upper right corner of the player). Clicking on this tool shows you the three modes: Vocab For Your Level, Grammar Index, and Auto-pause. Each mode has the option to be turned on and off at any time throughout the video. The learning modes don’t affect your watching experience, they simply influence the subtitles.
You have the option to have two sets of subtitles: English and your target language. You can have either both languages on, only one on, or neither, based on your learning level and preferences.
The media player also comes with a variety of tools to help you make the most of your learning experience. These tools include all of the typical options you would find in a regular media player along with a few interesting additions. These additions include: Caption Skip, Grammar Coach, Sentence Speak, Say It, Loop Sentence, and Speed.
Caption Skip might be one of my favorite tools. It allows you to skip forward or backward in the show based on the subtitles instead of a set amount of time. This might sound like a little thing, but it is huge when just want to hear a certain word or phrase again.
Grammar Coach provides a detailed explanation of the grammar involved in whatever sentence is on the screen at that moment. This explanation pops up in the form of a chat box to the right of your video player so it doesn’t block what you’re watching.
Sentence Speak repeats the sentence that’s currently on the screen in a flatter and often easier-to-understand tone. Clicking this tool will pause your show and highlight the phrase in the subtitles so you can focus on one particular phrase for as long as you want.
Say It allows you to practice speaking while you watch your shows. Simply click the little microphone at the bottom of the screen and a box will pop up showing the sentence on the screen. You will hear the sentence then you can practice saying it. The program will record you and give you a score on how well you did.
Loop Sentence is exactly what it sounds like. It allows you to loop any sentence you want. Just wait until the sentence you want to hear comes up and click Loop, then you can listen to it as many times as you like.
Last, but not least, Speed. You can probably guess what this tool does. It allows you to adjust the speed of your show to fit your fluency level. There are four options: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Full Speed. You can change this at any time, which is quite handy when you run into a word or phrase that is particularly difficult to understand. Simply slow it down and listen again.
When you first click on a show, it will take you to an opening screen. Before you press play, look to the right. You’ll find a list of words and their translations. Don’t worry, this is not just a list of random words that you have to memorize.
These are words that will be featured in the show or movie you are about to watch. The list is conveniently sorted into parts of speech, (verbs, adverbs, nouns, and so forth) and is based on your vocabulary level. A quick review of these words will give you an idea of what to look for as you listen and learn.
Once you press play, this list will be replaced by a box with three tabs: Script, My Vocab, and Grammar.
The Script tab shows the written script of your current show. But, like most of the features of this program, it’s more useful than it seems. Not only does it allow you to practice your reading, but it can help you navigate through the show as well.
Click to the left of any line to be taken to that exact point in the show. You can also select individual words to see translations and pronunciations and add those words to your vocab list. By clicking on the lightbulb to the right of any sentence, you can access the Grammar Coach for some extra grammar insights.
The My Vocab tab includes any of the words that you click on during the video. I’ll talk more about this feature in the ‘Review & Practice’ section of this review.
Under the Grammar tab, you’ll find the most recent grammar explanation that you have received from the Grammar Coach tool.
Lingopie Streaming Options
Like most streaming services, Lingopie has a wide variety of options. There are shows for all ages, short shows, long shows, movies, and even music videos. The amount of content depends on the language, but there seems to be a good variety available for each language.
Did I mention that Lingopie is an ‘eight languages for one subscription’ package deal? Because that is an awesome streaming feature. Switching back and forth between languages is super easy. Simply click on the round language icon in the top right-hand corner of the main screen to switch languages as often as you like.
I spent the majority of my time looking through the Spanish content, but I found interesting options in all eight languages. I also found that you can go into your account and switch your interface language from English to either Portuguese, German, French, or Spanish. So if you’re feeling ambitious, you could practice your second language while trying to learn your third. Those are some lofty learning goals!
Netflix and Learn
If you can’t find anything that looks interesting in the Lingopie catalog, or you just love having more options, you can use your Netflix account to expand your choices. By downloading the Lingopie extension (available for both Chrome and Safari), you can add a special selection of Netflix shows to your Lingopie Must Watch list.
Music and Shorts
If you’re not ready to watch an entire show in your target language, you might want to check out the music video section. The music option is only available in Spanish and Korean right now, but Lingopie is always updating so hopefully this will be included with the other languages in the future.
Watching music videos in your target language is a fun way to improve your listening skills and build your vocabulary in small bursts.
There are also a wide variety of shorts, many of which are educational. Most of the ones I watched were only a minute or two long, but still helpful. Short videos like these can make it easier to squeeze a little language learning into even the busiest day.
Learning With Littles
As I mentioned, there are shows for all ages, which means kid-friendly content is included. If you’re learning Spanish there is a separate section just for the kiddos.
Unfortunately, the other languages don’t have this separate section yet, but there is still children’s programming available. If you do want your littles to join in, I recommend going into your account and toggling on the ‘Hide Mature Content’ option, just to be safe.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you’ve watched a few shows and have added words to your vocab list, you will have two sections where you can practice what you’ve learned: The My Vocab tab and the Review & Practice section.
This is one of the tabs that you can find to the right of the media player. At any time while you are watching a show, you can click on that tab and see your list of selected words. This will only show the words that you have clicked on during your current show.
The list provides a translation as well as the category of each word. You can edit your list by deleting words or selecting the Know button. You can also listen to each word from this screen as well.
At the bottom of the list, you’ll find a button that allows you to take a quick multiple-choice pop quiz about the words you’ve selected. Your list is saved to the episode, so you can watch it today and come back for the pop quiz later. I think this is a particularly good feature.
Review & Practice
Your next practice option is the Review & Practice section. This is a new section for Lingopie, so it is a bit limited but still a good start.
You’ll be able to practice all of the words you have selected so far in this section. There are three ways to practice: Flashcards, Pop Quiz, and Word Master.
The Flashcards are much like what you would expect, with the added benefit of video clips. Each flash card has a clip of the show you chose the word from as well as the written words. Simply click the card to see the translation then answer ‘no idea’, ‘not sure’, or ‘I know it’ to go to the next card. Depending on your answer, the flashcard will remain in your “deck” or be removed.
This Pop Quiz game is just like the one in the My Vocab tab, only longer because you have more words to practice.
Word Master is a matching game. Simply match the words to their proper translations to win.
None of these practice options are revolutionary, but they are tried and true methods that everyone is used to using, so I think they were a good choice for this newly established practice section.
Lingopie seems to be the kind of program that is continuously growing, so I’m sure there will be lots more cool features in the future. That being said, there are already quite a few good ones to be explored. Their extra features include a Discord Channel, Community chats, and even private lessons.
Many of these features are similar to those you would find in other language programs with the exception of the Community Chats. These chats are live group classes that are included in your subscription. It’s rare to find any live classes that are included for free, so I thought that was a very nice touch.
Every program has its good parts and its bad parts. Here are a few things that I thought could be seen as drawbacks.
More Content for Some Languages Than Others
Every language program that offers multiple languages has more content for the more commonly learned languages (excluding perhaps the Uncovered series from Olly Richards). Lingopie is no exception. Since Spanish is such a popular language that is spoken in so many countries, there is tons of Spanish content. The same cannot be said for Japanese or Korean. Although there is still quite a bit of content for these languages too, so I can hardly call this a serious drawback.
Spelling and Translation mistakes
The people creating these programs are only human, so there are bound to be some translation mistakes or spelling errors in the subtitles. Thankfully, there is an option to report mistakes in every section of the program, so if you spot a mistake, help them out and report it.
I did not run into anything too inappropriate, but there are a lot of programs with strong language and adult themes so just be mindful when little ears are around. Remember, you can go into your account and remove the mature content.
Not A Structured Learning Program
Although this was not a huge issue for me, I could see where some people might be bothered by this. There is no structured lesson plan or learning path in this program, so you could almost view it as more of a learning aid than a program. The content is marked by fluency level, but some learners, especially beginners, may find the lack of direction challenging at first.
The closest alternative that I have found would be FluentU. FluentU is also a streaming service that allows you to watch native content and make use of interactive subtitles. It is a bit more expensive, but definitely worth a look if streaming and learning at the same time is your vibe.
If you’re looking for a more structured learning path but still want to learn through stories, try out the Uncovered Series. This series is available in 11 languages. Each language course takes you through a unique story so you can be entertained and learn at the same time!
Lingopie REVIEW: Final Thoughts
Overall, I would say that if binge-watching is one of your favorite hobbies, this is the perfect way to turn your hobby into a learning experience. Once I was used to the format, I found the interactive subtitles to be very helpful and I learned quite a bit even in the short amount of time that I was testing this out.
With the addition of the Netflix extension, you’re bound to find programming that you’ll enjoy and learn from. Since they offer a 7-day free trial with any of their subscriptions, I would say at
least give it a try, you might be surprised by how much you like it.
If this program doesn’t quite fit your learning style, why not check out some of our other program reviews? You’re sure to find something that will help you along your language journey.