Useful for practicing pronunciation, but not a comprehensive learning tool
Speechling is a language learning app that focuses on pronunciation and listening. Most activities are flashcard-based: You listen and then write or speak the phrase. You can get feedback from a tutor on your recordings, too. Speechling does not include any grammar or language explanations, so it might not work well for beginners. It’s a strong app overall though and can definitely help you improve your pronunciation.
- Many free features
- Listen to native speakers
- Nonprofit that supports language learning for all
- No explanations
- No course structure
- Repetitive exercises
Languages Available on Speechling:
Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), French, English (US), English (UK), German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional)
Table of Contents
Speechling is an education nonprofit based in California, USA. Their goal is to provide language learning to everyone around the world, regardless of their economic situation. Speechling uses a mix of artificial intelligence and 1-on-1 coaching. With AI technology, you can learn words and phrases using your computer or phone. A tutor is also assigned to you and will give you feedback on recordings of yourself speaking the phrases. There are other practice activities such as dictation, quizzes, and flashcards.
As a language learner, I know I have some trouble spots, and good pronunciation is certainly one of them. No matter how much I improve my grammar or vocabulary, native speakers can immediately pinpoint which country I’m from. So I was excited to try out Speechling to see if it could help me improve.
Because it’s meant as a tool to help listening and pronunciation, it isn’t the most effective way for beginners to learn the overall language. There are no grammar explanations, so if you don’t already know some of the language, you might not understand what you’re saying. But I did find it useful for the languages I had at least a basic level of understanding. Listening to the native speaker and recording my pronunciation was helpful. Although no one likes to hear their own voice, I was able to hear my trouble spots and improve them.
You can access Speechling’s learning tools for free, but you have limited 1-on-1 coaching. To access all features of the platform and 1-on-1 coaching, you can subscribe to Speechling Unlimited for $29.99 per month. If you pay every 3 months, it costs $71.97 ($23.99 per month) and if you buy a yearly subscription it costs $239.88 ($19.99 per month).
The monthly price of Speechling is similar to other apps such as Glossika, but with Speechling you get the coaching that many other language apps don’t offer. The price per month costs about as much as one live class with a teacher on platforms like Verbling, Preply, and italki. Other traditional apps such as Babbel and Rosetta Stone have cheaper monthly subscriptions but are more expensive if you take live classes.
Speechling Free Trial
Speechling does not offer a free trial because they have a lot of free content. You can access the automated language learning tools for free and can receive a limited amount of feedback from a tutor.
Speechling doesn’t offer a discount. Since they are a nonprofit and their mission is to make language learning accessible to everyone, they offer scholarships to people who have financial or educational needs. To receive a scholarship, you have to submit a video explaining your situation and how you can benefit from using Speeching.
Speechling Review: How It Can (or Can’t) Help You
Getting started on Speechling is easy. To set up your account, you answer a series of questions such as what language you want to learn and what level you want to start with. There is no placement test, but you can change the level if your current one is too easy or difficult. You don’t have to enter credit card information unless you want to sign up for Speechling Unlimited.
There are a lot of challenges language learners face, whether they’re just starting out or have already achieved some level of fluency. Let’s take a look at whether or not Speechling can help you overcome these common challenges.
Challenge #1: Starting a New Language
Speechling is not the most effective language learning app for beginners. There are no explanations or grammar activities. You might learn new words and phrases, but you won’t know why you are saying them. I found myself getting frustrated and feeling like I wasn’t progressing at all. When I start a language, I prefer to have more explanations. I would rather use an app like Rocket Languages or Pimsleur that walks me through a new language step-by-step.
Challenge #2: Learning & Remembering New Words
Speechling is useful for learning new vocabulary. Most of their activities are flashcard-style, so you flip through the words and phrases. The app uses artificial intelligence and spaced repetition, so you will see difficult words more frequently to help you remember them. There are different settings so you can hide translations, practice old words, or learn new words. There are some other excellent vocabulary apps available that offer even more words, like Drops and Clozemaster.
Challenge #3: Understanding & Speaking to Native Speakers
Since the app is all about pronunciation, it will help you understand native speakers. You listen to someone saying the phrase and then you repeat it back. There are also dictation activities, so you hear the phrase and write down what was said. There aren’t any speaking practices, so Speechling won’t help you have a conversation. You can get feedback on your recordings from your tutor though, so you know if you are speaking correctly.
Challenge #4: Making Language Learning a Routine
The mobile app and online platform are synced so you can learn on any device. There aren’t any lessons, so you can practice as much or as little as you want. It doesn’t use any gaming aspects that some other apps use (like Duolingo and Mondly) to keep your interest, but there are ways to check your progress to see how much you’re learning.
The following languages are available on Speechling: Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), French, English (US), English (UK), German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional).
With both the free and paid version, you have access to all 10 languages available. It’s easy to switch between them without losing your progress. The material for each language is the same, so you learn the same words and phrases in each course. Let’s take a look at some of Speechling’s most popular languages.
Speechling Spanish Review
The Speechling Spanish course is divided into 4 levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. The beginning level starts with very basic words and phrases such as “on the right” and “I like it.” The advanced and expert levels have longer sentences that get complex. There are also phrasebooks that cover common topics like money, restaurants, and hotel. This could be useful for a traveler to learn some basic phrases before a trip. Overall, I’d recommend using other Spanish apps to learn conversational Spanish though.
Speechling English Review
English is the most commonly studied language in the world and is a very popular language on Speechling. The English course follows the same layout as the Spanish one. There are no placement tests and you choose what level you want to start with. You can also choose if you want to learn US or UK English to hear the type of pronunciation you want to learn. All in all, Speechling can help you improve your pronunciation and learn some vocab, but there are other English learning apps that teach you a lot more.
Speechling Japanese Review
I found the Speechling Japanese course to be very difficult. Since I am a complete beginner, I don’t know the characters and Speechling doesn’t include the phonetic pronunciation, so I had no idea if my pronunciation was even close. I think it would be better to learn some basic characters using different Japanese apps before starting with Speechling. The dictation practices also don’t work if you don’t have a Japanese keyboard installed.
Speechling Chinese Review
For the Speechling Chinese course, you can choose if you want to learn Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese. As with the Japanese course, it would be better if you already knew some basic Chinese characters before starting. But the Chinese flashcards include the phonetic pronunciation, so you can understand a little more clearly what you are saying. Pronunciation is a difficult aspect of Chinese, so I think Speechling provides value in this area. You can combine it with other apps to learn Chinese to get a more well-rounded approach, too.
Speechling Review: Overall Learning Experience
Overall, I would use Speechling for the languages I already know, but not for learning a new language. It isn’t comprehensive enough to teach you a new language. I did feel like my pronunciation was improving and learned some new words though. I think Speechling could be used as an additional tool to help practice listening and pronunciation, but it isn’t a stand-alone app.
Speechling Review: Areas of Improvement
Speechling is a solid app, but there are some areas that could improve. First of all, there is no course structure so I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing. This is similar to other apps like MosaLingua and LingQ. There are a couple of different activities, but I didn’t know if I should do all the activities in one day or just focus on one at a time. Most language apps give you a goal, like taking 3 lessons a day or learning 20 new words. Speechling doesn’t have any of this guidance, which helps motivate me. One app that does this particularly well is Mango Languages.
The exercises are a bit repetitive, too. Although there are a couple of different activities, in the end, they’re all similar. You listen to a phrase and then write it down, say it, or answer a question about it. And because every activity requires listening, you can only use the app if you are in a place where you can turn the sound on or use headphones. I prefer apps like Yabla, Lingopie, and FluentU when it comes to variation.
Speechling Review: Alternatives & Competitors
If you think that Speechling isn’t right for you, there are tons of alternatives out there. If you want a flashcard-style app, Glossika and Lingvist are similar. If you want to practice pronunciation, Pimsleur or ELSA Speak are both good to practice this skill. If you want to practice speaking with a person, you can take classes with a native teacher on Lingoda, italki, or Baselang. Babbel and Rocket Languages are better if you want to learn topics like grammar.
Speechling vs Pimsleur
Speechling and Pimsleur both have a strong focus on pronunciation. Pimsleur has audio lessons and you follow a set course, while Speechling lets you practice whatever you want. Speechling offers a lot of its content for free, but the monthly subscription to Speechling Unlimited is more expensive than Pimsleur’s monthly cost. I recommend Pimsleur because it has more explanations and I prefer to have a course structure to follow. You can see if it’s right for you in this Pimsleur review.
Speechling vs Glossika
Glossika is the most similar to Speechling. They both use the flashcard-style format and have you listen and repeat the phrase. Glossika only has this one type of activity, whereas Speechling has a few different types of practices to choose from. The price of these two apps is very similar, but Speechling gives you a lot of content for free. I like Speechling more because of the variety of practice activities. To learn more about Glossika, you can read this review.
Speechling vs Lingvist
Speechling and Lingvist are both flashcard-style apps. But Lingvist focuses on vocabulary, and Speechling focuses on pronunciation and listening. Although Speechling has free content, Lingvist’s subscription is much cheaper than Speechling’s. I recommend Lingvist for beginners and Speechling for advanced speakers. To see if Lingvist might be right for you, you can check out this Lingvist review.
Speechling vs ELSA Speak
ELSA Speak is another app that trains pronunciation but is only available for English pronunciation. ELSA Speak uses videos and Speechling uses independent practice activities. ELSA Speak’s monthly price is much lower than Speechling’s. If you are learning English, ELSA Speak is better because it focuses exclusively on English, but Speechling is a good choice for learners of other languages. If you want to learn more about ELSA Speak, you can read this review.
Frequently Asked Questions
Speechling is a language learning app. It focuses on listening and pronunciation. Different practice activities help you train these skills.
Speechling is a good app for certain skills. It is good for practicing pronunciation and listening. It does not offer grammar topics or language explanations, so it might not be the best app for beginners looking for a more well-rounded approach to language.
Speechling offers a lot of its content for free. If you want access to all the features, including unlimited coaching from your tutor, you can buy a subscription.
There is a free version, or you can get Speechling Unlimited for $29.99 per month. If you pay every 3 months, it costs $71.97 ($23.99 per month) and if you buy a yearly subscription it costs $239.88 ($19.99 per month).
About This Speechling Review
This is an independent Speechling review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I used the app for a few hours to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the Speechling website to verify my findings.