Lingopie

    lingopie

    Lingopie is a new language learning app based around language immersion using videos. While there have been a few browser extensions such as Language Reactor (formerly Language Learning with Netflix) with a similar aim, Lingopie offers an all-in-one solution. After signing up under their seven-day free trial, you're asked what language you're learning, and taken to the explore page which should be familiar to users of any popular streaming service.

    Videos are sorted by category, and come from networks or independent producers. Clicking on a video takes you to a watch page, though this might be a little different from what you're used to. By default, the transcript is shown on the right of the screen, and subtitles on the video itself. Clicking on a word in either the transcript or subtitle brings up a simple definition in English. There are also buttons on the player to loop a sentence, and slow down playback (though not speed it up). Finally, there are a few buttons dedicated to built-in speaking practice, including a button to play a line in isolation — though strangely it is machine generated rather than the scripted line in the video — and another which allows you to record your own voice and then compare. Flashcards are auto-generated based on "keywords" from the video, though I didn't see any way to generate my own flashcard, or choose which I think are relevant to me. You can do a small pop quiz after watching a video, which tests your understanding of the words used.

    It's a neat concept, but as it's in its early days for Japanese, it is lacking in a few areas. For one, the content is a little sparse, and quality varies dramatically. Some videos seem like something you might stumble upon on YouTube, while a few are noticeably better, such as a mini-documentary about an artist. Videos don't seem to have a way to adjust the resolution of the videos, either, and everything I watched played back weirdly low-res. Finally, the translations provided can be a bit odd. If your goal is simply to immerse yourself in native content, this is less of an issue, but a few of the definitions I got — along with the answers for the quizzes and flashcards — left a bit to be desired. Still, as the site grows, I'd expect these rough edges to get smoothed out a bit, and turn it into the great immersion tool it has the potential to be.

    Web App
    Immersion
    Listening
    Speaking