We recently had the pleasure of testing a language learning tool called Mondly. It helps you learn new languages using your favorite web browser or an app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. We love learning new things, so we were eager to see how Mondly works and whether it can truly help you learn a new language with ease. After using it for a time, here are our impressions:
NOTE: Mondly now has a temporary back-to-school promotion with 50% off. You can take advantage of it, here. Outside this promotion, Digital Citizen readers can purchase a Mondly subscription, with 30% off. You can purchase a Premium 1 Language - Monthly Subscription with a 30% discount, or you can use the digitalcitizen30 promo code when purchasing any other plan, to benefit from this discount.
Mondly: Who is it good for?
Mondly is an excellent choice for people who:
- Want to learn new languages using their computers, smartphones or tablets
- Want to learn a new language using their native language as a starting point
- Do not have time for long lessons and want to learn a new language mostly in their spare time, a couple of minutes per day
Pros and cons
Mondly has many good things going for it:
- It offers a long list of languages that you can learn: 33 to be more exact
- It works on many platforms and devices: web browsers, Android, and iOS
- You can use it as a free user or with a premium membership
- The premium content includes 250 lessons, 36 vocabulary builders, daily lessons, weekly quizzes, monthly challenges, speech recognition, and grammar lessons
- Its lessons cover most real-life situations, ranging from things like how to say Hello, to family, romance, seasons, traveling, transportation, sports, food and drinks, business and so on
- It uses native speakers for the voice recordings, and that means proper pronunciation
- It includes a chatbot that you can use to simulate conversations with a real person
The only less positive aspect is the fact the to get access to everything Mondly has to offer, you have to pay for a subscription. Even so, we do not feel that the premium membership is pricey, considering how many languages and lessons it offers.
We like Mondly, and we believe that it can be a good start for anyone who wants to learn a new language. There are many lessons and features to help you learn, and they cover real-life situations. Although we cannot yet say that you can use Mondly to fully learn a new language with all its nuances, we feel that it is a promising start. Considering that it also includes grammar lessons, Mondly can make you learn new languages just like in a classroom. We recommend it to anyone who wants to be able to speak a new language at least on a fundamental level. And, if you are genuinely dedicated to doing so, the price it asks for all its premium content, is undoubtedly worth it.
What is Mondly?
Mondly is a service that aims to help you learn new languages. You can use it in a web browser on any PC. You can also download its apps from the Play Store if you are using an Android smartphone or tablet, or from the App Store if you are using an iPhone or an iPad. Mondly was launched in 2013 and now, in 2018, says that it has over 30 million users in over 190 countries.
Mondly's most important feature is that it lets you learn 33 different languages using 33 native languages. What does that mean? Well, it means that if your native language is among those 33 supported by Mondly, you can use it to learn a new language. You are not confined to a limited set of primary languages. You do not have to know English to learn Greek, for instance. If your native language is Portuguese, you can use Portuguese to learn Greek, as Mondly gives you translation directly from Portuguese to Greek.
Mondly can help you learn one of these 33 languages: British English, American English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Romanian, Afrikaans, Croatian, Polish, Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Hindi, Indonesian.
It is a long list if you ask us, and it covers most of the commonly used languages spoken around the world today.
What content can you access and how much does it cost?
Regardless of what device or browser you use, Mondly gives you access to the same content. There are, however, two different types of content available: Free and Premium. To access them, you have to create an account. As a free user, you can access:
- The first section of Mondly, which includes 6 lessons, one conversation, one vocabulary section, and a Chatbot conversation (in which you are talking to a bot in the new language that you are learning)
- One new lesson each day
- Weekly quizzes and monthly challenges
If you buy a subscription to Mondly, you get access to many more features:
- 250 lessons that are organized by topics
- 33 conversations
- 36 vocabulary builders
- Daily lessons (365 lessons per year), weekly quizzes and monthly challenges
- Speech recognition that helps you learn pronunciation
- Conjugation tables and grammar lessons
The Premium membership costs $9.99 per month or $47.99 per year.
First impressions, or how to start learning a new language with Mondly
Our first encounter with Mondly was in a web browser. We visited the official website - Mondly.com - and we saw this:
You just have to select the language that you speak and the one you want to learn. Then, Mondly immediately shows you what it is like to learn that new language by starting a conversation. It truly looks easy!
Regardless of whether you have a paid subscription or if you are using a free user account, you get the same kind of lessons in the starting tutorial: moving words over correct answers, translating sentences, swiping correct words over the right pictures, and so on. At the end of each lesson, you get points, move to the next levels, and so on.
Once we saw what Mondly looked like in a web browser, we were curious to see if there are any differences between it and the Android and iOS apps. As we soon found out, the apps look and work just the same.
Our first encounter with Mondly was unexpectedly fast. Both in the web browser and on an iPhone or an Android smartphone, Mondly is easy to start using. You visit the website or install and open the app on your smartphone/tablet, choose what language you speak, and the one you want to learn, and Mondly immediately starts teaching you basics. It is a good start in our opinion.
Using Mondly, or what it is like to learn a new language with Mondly
First of all, we have to mention that we used Mondly with a paid subscription, so we had access to all the premium content available. If you are using the Mondly as a free user, you do not have access to every lesson, and to all the features it offers.
We tried Mondly by using American English as the language we speak and German as the language that we want to learn. During our first week of using it, Mondly has walked us through a few Hello lessons in which we learned how to say, well, Hello! But also how to say who we are, ask other people what their names are and so on. These were simple lessons that we could pass rather quickly.
Mondly uses many pictures and displays words in both languages (the one you speak and the one you want to learn). When it shows them on your screen, it also speaks in both tongues, making it reasonably easy to remember what a certain word or sentence is spoken in the new language. That should also help you with your pronunciation later on.
Mondly asks you to try to translate sentences by selecting the right ones from a list, or by adding the right words in translation fields. Even if you do not know anything about the language that you are trying to learn, it feels quite natural to select the right translations by merely removing the words that do not feel right or the ones you did not hear when Mondly spoke.
Sometimes, however, we thought that the language curve was a bit too steep. Mondly was OK, but there are times when it asks you to type the translation of a sentence in the language you are learning, and that was troublesome, at least for us.
One thing that we loved and believe it is handy, is the fact that Mondly can use speech recognition. There are many lessons in which you are asked to speak sentences, and Mondly listens to your pronunciation. This, together with the fact that Mondly uses native speakers for the recordings that you hear, helps you learn how to speak correctly.
Another thing that makes Mondly stand out from the crowd is the fact that it offers a Chatbot. That is a bot (artificial entity) to whom you can speak and which helps you simulate a real life conversation you might have with someone, in the language that you are learning.
Some lessons also let you investigate and learn more about grammar. You can learn conjugations and tenses just by tapping on words. This makes Mondly feel a lot like a traditional classroom. Some people might want to learn new languages in detail, and this surely will be to their liking. If you are not one of them, you can just ignore the grammar. 🙂
Each time you finish a lesson, you also get points for all the right answers. They are used to assess your skills and even rank you against other users who are learning the same language as you.
Another thing we appreciated about Mondly is that the lessons do not take long to go through. They are all short, and you can end them in just a few minutes each, which makes them perfect for the busy lives we all have. You can learn a little more each day while you are waiting for your metro, for example. Given the fact that Mondly offers the same platform on all your devices, it also means that you can learn while commuting on your smartphone and continue on your laptop when you get home, for instance.
Although we have not used Mondly for a long time, and we cannot brag about already having learned a new language using it, we must say that it looks like a promising and modern way of language learning. We like the way it teaches new languages and the various methods it uses. It has many languages available, and the spoken parts are offered by native speakers of those languages, which means that pronunciation is excellent. We will continue using Mondly for the months (maybe years?) to come, and hopefully, we will learn at least one new language. 🙂
Do you like Mondly?
After a week of testing, we must say that we like Mondly. It can be an excellent tool if you want to learn a new language and, considering the number of available languages that you can choose from, we also believe that its price is not high. What do you think? Did you try Mondly? Use the comments section below to share your opinion about this service.