Mondly is a super fun, super easy language app that has earned itself a plethora of awards for its tech including Augmented Reality and chatbots. Is Mondly the language app for you? In this Mondly review, you’ll learn where Mondly shines, its flaws, and what exactly you can expect from it.
Mondly Languages review
One of my favorite things about Mondly is its selection of languages; not only does it support a ton of them, but each language in this list can be learned through any of the other languages in this list. That’s no small feat!
You can use Mondly to learn/learn from:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- English (American)
- English (British)
- Filipino (Tagalog)
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
- Portuguese (European)
I love this because Mondly has made language learning super accessible to not only those interested in laddering (learning a third language through a second language) but also native speakers of languages besides English!
Mondly’s website boasts “it’s faster to learn from your native language” and they’re absolutely right.
For this Mondly review, I decided to learn a bit of Afrikaans to see if the content is consistent across languages (unlike Duolingo, where there is a clear preference for more commonly-learned languages).
Mondly review: the good
Let’s get started with this Mondly review. This is how all the Mondly languages are set up: collections of lessons (generally 6 or 8 apiece) organized by category and presented in an artistic version of a map.
These lessons are very simple multiple-choice, so it’s a great option for quick, low-key practice. All of the content presented in the language you’re learning is accompanied by native audio, not a robot voice, so Mondly also does a very solid job of training your ear to recognize the words you’re learning.
Mondly hits all the senses
Another thing I love about Mondly is how it caters to all the senses and, therefore, all different types of learners. This game isn’t difficult, but it does change up the format of the questions (while always supplying audio), so it pokes at all the senses just right.
Now, if you’ve ever tried using Duolingo before, you know that a lot of the sentences you end up translating are sentences that don’t make any sense, and therefore you’ll never use them. If you’re not a fan of “implicit learning” like that, Mondly may be a good alternative for you, as you learn with everyday sentences.
While the above quizzes are pretty passive learning, Mondly also helps you to practice speaking the language in a couple of different, fun ways. Let’s start with the chatbot.
Mondly’s chatbot is available both on desktop and via the app and can be found inside a category (select the lessons labeled “Conversation”). There you’ll find a pre-written conversation for you to mimic and practice speaking the language with.
While many chatbots depend on speech recognition (which is iffy technology and can keep you stuck on a phrase even with perfect pronunciation) Mondly guides you through a conversation while letting you be the judge of your speaking!
These conversations are one of the last lessons in any given category, so you’ll learn the vocabulary before you’re led to use it in a conversation. As you can see, here’s how your first conversations go:
- read and listen to the first phrase
- record yourself repeating the phrase
- compare your audio to the original, trying again if necessary
- continue to the next phrase and repeat
You’ll respond to both sides of the conversations for double the practice.
I’m really glad Mondly’s going in this direction (in the past they’ve relied on speech recognition and other kinds of confusing features)! Chatbots aren’t unique to Mondly, but you know what is? Augmented Reality.
Mondly’s Augmented Reality
The big perk that helps the Mondly language app stand out from all the other apps is its Augmented Reality, or “AR”. The concept is really awesome: as long as you have an AR-capable device, Mondly can help you procure images of things that don’t exist through your phone’s camera! Because of this feature, Mondly advertises itself as the future of language learning. Only time will tell!
To access the AR, you’ll need to download another app that’s included with all Mondly Premium accounts (we’ll discuss free vs premium later). It looks like most if not all languages are available for AR experiences, but not all languages have all lessons/conversations.
P.S. Mondly also has a very new VR feature…looks really buggy for now, but I’m excited to see what comes of it!
The first feature of Mondly’s AR is lessons. It’s a cool option and I’m excited to see how it develops over time, but for now, it’s almost more like a party trick than anything else.
It’s a very engaging way to learn beginner vocab, but most of it isn’t actually in the target language. That’s a personal preference though, and may not be a big deal to you. AR is a new science, so be wary of your expectations; Mondly’s AR still relies on speech recognition, and the vocabulary words themselves are spoken by a robot voice (a different robot voice than the AR lady’s robot voice). I wish they could at least use the same audio clip that they use for the regular lessons!
You may notice at the end that the video just…stops. This is a great feature but it is prone to crash.
I’m also not sure if it was Mondly or my device that muted the audio, but it was mostly robotic English.
While I would rather stick to Mondly’s normal lessons over the AR, I think the AR conversations are awesome!
Just like the AR lessons are a fancier version of Mondly’s regular lessons, AR conversations are a fancier version of the chatbots. The conversations have the potential to go a lot more smoothly because instead of recording every phrase every step of the way, you’re relying on speech recognition to accurately understand your side of the conversation.
Speech recognition is faulty in general, but Mondly does offer the option to skip any particular part of the dialogue for those times when you’re saying it right but it’s just not taking it.
As you can tell, this feels much more like a real conversation, which is awesome practice for the real deal!
…if you could hear it. You’re just going to have to trust me!
Daily, weekly, & monthly practice
If you like using the daily streak feature of popular language apps to keep you consistent and accountable, you’ll love Mondly’s version of the daily streak!
Many language learners get burned out by this feature because they find themselves coming back to their app every day out of guilt over the potential of losing their streak and therefore their motivation. This feature changes that.
Instead of just a reminder to do something, or even a reminder to do a particular activity, Mondly triples down on this motivation tactic with not only a daily streak but lessons every week and month that are only accessible if you complete all the lessons of that week and month, respectively.
They’re bite-sized, and they might not be new content, but it’s a great way to poke at your new language consistently every day. Even if you’re not necessarily learning something new, it keeps the language fresh in your mind to prevent forgetting anything
If you’re worried about these little snippets not being enough, don’t. If there’s one thing I learned from the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge, it’s that the important thing is that you’re working on your language consistently. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot, but as long as you’re using it, your skill will keep growing.
Mondly review: the not-so-good
While I love the unique direction Mondly is taking language learning, it’s not for everyone. For example, Mondly is beginner content only, and really best for starting a language from scratch.
Mondly can also be kind of inconsistent between different languages, features, and categories. Not every category has chatbot conversations, not every language has the same categories, etc. You’ll have to check your target language in particular to see your options.
Finally, Mondly’s statistics. Clearly, it’s a beautiful feature that can make you feel good about the time you’ve spent on a language, how many words and phrases you’ve seen and your daily streak. These statistics pop up after every lesson.
This isn’t any worse than most apps’ statistics feature, but I’d love to see some sort of SRS or even how well you know different terms. For example, I love the Memrise feature that shows your knowledge of a term going from short-term memory to long-term (theoretically, obviously, but I still like it).
Mondly Premium: worth the splurge?
With Mondly free, you get access to:
- daily lessons (for daily streak lovers)
- fun quizzes
- chatbot conversations
Mondly’s free features are a great way to get to know the app and see if it’s right for you without any commitment. If you do love it, Mondly Premium includes features like:
- full access to all 41 language courses (1,320 language combinations!)
- vocab organized into practical categories (including business categories)
- over 50 real and stimulated native conversations
- grammar lessons
- access to all daily, weekly, and monthly quizzes created since 2015
- access to Mondly AR and the Mondly Kids app
And the Mondly app is updated consistently over time, which makes lifetime access to all languages and updates a steal if it suits your language learning goals.
Or, if you’re enjoying the app but still commitment-phobic, you can always spring for a monthly membership and upgrade later.
Mondly review: who it’s for
From this Mondly review alone you can see the sheer amount of potential there is in this app, and I love seeing it develop over time!
I hate to use the word “polyglot”, but honestly, Mondly is a great investment for language learners who want a super fun, engaging way to access over 1,000 different language courses for native speakers of different languages.
It’s a great resource for getting beginner vocab as well as ease into conversations. The AR lessons need some work, but it’s still new tech and Mondly is at the front of the line with this stuff.
But if you’ve got your basic vocab covered and you’d rather stick to conversations with real human beings, Mondly isn’t going to be for you. Same for those who aren’t particularly into gamification or features like daily streaks.
Wanna give Mondly a shot? Use my link to get 20% off!