Learning a new language takes time, effort and a lot of patience. It can be especially hard to learn Spanish if you're stuck with a desktop program. Language Zen is similar to traditional learn Spanish programs in content and format, but is based entirely online. This means you can access Language Zen from your phone, tablet or laptop.
The program s layout is the same online and on mobile devices. Whether you're accessing the site through iPhone, Android or tablet, you use the same controls and complete the same exercises.
Language Zen is a good fit for serious and casual learners alike. With its Freemium model, you can begin lessons as soon as you arrive to the website. The free account has a lesson limit for each day. However, most of the standard features are included with the free version. As you learn, Language Zen tracks your progress, teaches Spanish with music, offers topical courses and adapts the lessons to your progress.
For serious learners, there is a premium account for less than $10 a month that doesn t have ads and provides more content and in-depth metrics. You can subscribe for as little as one month to as long as an entire year.
When you begin Language Zen lessons, you can take one of three paths. Thankfully, there is no set course or instruction; you simply choose between the Special Courses, Start Learning or Learn from Music paths to begin learning Spanish.
The Special Courses path focuses on conversational topics like greetings, travel and family. This course is best for travelers or people who want to learn the basics fast. Each lesson section shows a progress bar to indicate how far you are in the course.
The Start Learning course is another fast track option that covers the most frequently used Spanish words. Most of the exercises consist of writing and dictation, but you encounter the occasional matching exercises. All of the activities are timed. This means the faster and more accurate your answers are, the more points you earn.
The most outstanding feature of Language Zen is the musical lessons. The Learn from Music path takes you to a menu featuring Top 40 hits in Spanish music. The song description tells you what the song is about, album information, genre information, artist and accent info, so you know what to expect in the song.
Before you begin any lesson, you can select your own learning level, and the program quizzes you with a quick Spanish sentence. Language Zen plays the song and quizzes you on its content. While the song plays, you can see the lyrics in Spanish or English.
After you listen to the song, the program picks through words and phrases you heard. The quizzes replay clips from the song matched with the spoken word. If you have trouble understanding, you can slow the phrase down or listen at regular speed. Once you're finished with the lesson, Language Zen gives you a summary of your lesson, goals to improve fluency and your progress. You can even share your favorite Spanish songs on Facebook or Twitter.
There are some tools on Language Zen to help you study as well. The review section is a functional online glossary. Instead of being sorted alphabetically, the glossary is organized based on your lessons. You can sort through words based on those you know, don't know or need to know. The review section isn't limited to simple vocabulary. The facts section is a handy grammar guide that covers topics like possessive adjectives, nouns, expressing obligation and time.
Support from Language Zen is minimal, but you get a response quickly. Part of the perks of a membership is the weekly reminders and updates from the CEO of Language Zen. Support consists mainly of email and the small feedback dialogue box at the bottom of the page.
Language Zen is the only program we encountered that uses music to teach Spanish. This is great news for auditory learners. The program adjusts to your skill level and moves quickly, requiring you to absorb all the Spanish you can. If you want to learn Spanish fast and on the go, check out Language Zen's affordable online options.