Today I want to talk to you all about LingoDeer!
I actually tried LingoDeer for the first time a couple of years back. I liked it well enough but it didn’t seem too different from other language apps. I’m so glad I gave it a second chance.
Now, personally I’m more of a textbook learner so the apps I use are never intended to be a one and done type of thing. I need apps to supplement my textbook learning well. I also don’t believe that any app will be able to get you to fluency in a language on its own. That being said, LindoDeer can help establish a solid foundation as it covers more than apps I’ve used in the past.
If you can’t go through the whole post right now check out the TL;DR below. I tried to hit on the most important aspects.
*Note: There are options to purchase just one language or the full suite of languages. While buying one language is ever so slightly cheaper, it’s honestly most sensible moneywise to purchase the whole suite. You never know what you’ll want to learn in the future!*
First thing’s first, choose your language! Though they started out with just Korean, Japanese, and Chinese, they now offer 11 different language options. In addition to those three they also have: English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Vietnamese, and Italian.
English not your first language or you’d prefer to use another language to learn? They’ve got you covered. For Korean alone you can start your studying in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Indonesian, and Italian.
Obviously, for the purposes of this particular review, I’m only going to be looking at studying Korean in English.
Once you decide on which language you want to learn, you’ll have the option of choosing your level. This is one of the first things that I truly appreciated.
I’m still a beginner in Korean but for something like German, I wouldn’t have wanted to be forced to start from scratch. If you’re at a more intermediate Korean level you won’t have to trudge through lessons on learning the alphabet and basic sentence structure.
If you’ve ever used Duolingo the main Learn tab will look familiar to you. It’s essentially a skill tree with specific topics and the option to test out at different points. Once you choose a skill to work on there are a variety of different exercises you’ll come across.
Then you’ll start the actual lesson. If you click the settings in the top you get a few choices to personalize your experience including changing the background color, changing the font size, toggling sound effects and animation, spacing, and (most importantly) the ability to turn off romanisation.
You guys already know how I feel about books/apps that have the reader rely on romanisation too long. It’s an asset in the complete beginning stages (i.e. learning the alphabet) but beyond that, it can become a hindrance. The LingoDeer app does a pretty decent job of walking you through learning Hangul so you won’t even need it for long.
One of the things that set LingoDeer apart is their Learning Tips. Unlike Duolingo (and most language apps to be honest), they give you more information about the focus of the unit topic you chose, the vocabulary, and also the grammar concepts you’ll be covering. They can also be favorited for review when offline!
There are a ton of vocabulary and grammar exercises. If you’ve used any popular language learning app the majority of them will be familiar to you. However, there were still a couple that managed to surprise me! Here’s a rundown of the types of activities available in the lessons:
- Select the correct picture for the given English word.
- Listen to the sentence and record yourself saying it as well. There’s an option to slow down the speech. You can also listen to your own recording and play it back to compare it with the native speaker.
- Listen to the given Korean word and choose the correct written option.
- Match the Korean and English words with each other.
- Read the question in Korean and choose the correct answer.
- Complete the sentence with the given vocabulary.
- Choose the correct vocabulary word and put it into the correct location in the sentence.
- Choose the correct vocabulary word.
- Choose the word that doesn’t belong in the sentence.
- Compose the sentence using vocabulary words.
- Type the sentence out in Korean.
- Choose the Korean Word that Matches the given English word.
Additionally, if you want to do some “silent studying” you can toggle the sound on your lessons.
There’s a learning level called Fluent Korean where the exercises are conversation-based. At first, I thought it was only for advanced through intermediate but it starts at the beginner level! You can choose from all kinds of situations from shopping to a conversation with a friend.
For each dialog, there’s an option to hit almost all of the study areas.
Listen and Learn
In Listen and Learn you’ll run through example conversations with explanations for vocabulary and grammar concepts. My favorite feature here is the ability to turn the sentence translations on and off. It’s a great way to test your comprehension quickly.
I also appreciate being able to change the length of the pauses between the sentences and it will give you a play by play explanation of every word in a sentence. You can even star/save the word to review later on.
It allows you to record the sentences from the aforementioned dialog and listen to yourself in comparison with the native speaker’s dialog.
Using the same sentences as before, finish the sentence (Fill in the blanks)/type out the conversation. You can either use the syllable blocks provided or, if you have a Korean keyboard already installed on your phone you can use that as well. A key takeaway for me is that this exercise definitely tested my ability to actually remember and comprehend the conversation rather than just generally recognizing words in context.
It’s no secret that I love to travel. I love that the app comes with a pretty extensive Travel Phrasebook. If you’re studying for a future trip to Korea it’s nice to have everything all in one place!
LingoDeer has a separate review mode to go over everything you’ve completed so far. The five-minute quiz is a test of everything you’ve learned so far. You get five minutes to get through as many questions as you can! There’s also the option of focusing on reviewing either vocabulary or grammar concepts individually. It’s a flashcard system similar to Anki.
Finally, there are the knowledge cards again that have more information on any concepts you’ve been introduced to. You can favorite them and also save them to your phone.
There’s also a few extras that I appreciate:
A dark mode for those of us who don’t want the blinding light of the heavens beaming out from our phone.
The ability to change the voice (man or woman)
You can set a specific time to get notification reminders or even turn them off if you don’t like them
You can turn off different sound effects and animations
You can download files for offline learning
A detailed Learning History. It shows the number of days in your streak and the total number of minutes spent studying. What I’m absolutely obsessed with is that it tracks, by day, how much time you’ve spent studying. So if you’re like me and sometimes forget, LingoDeer has you covered.
LingoDeer is one of the most comprehensive language learning apps I’ve seen. It has features of some of my staples (Anki) and the price is fantastic for what it offers. The only feature I would like to see added is an expanded ‘Fluent’ section. While it’s helpful to walk through conversations, I would love to see these same features applied to longer texts. Something along the lines of short stories or news articles.