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Anyone tried Mondly learn & speak Russian app

Has anyone tried this app? It says it's a free app but I see "in-app purchases" so I'm curious what would be left to have to purchase.

I'm interested because it has native speaker recordings and a feature where you can record yourself and compare it to the app's spoken phrase.

November 8, 2015



Tried it, wasn't impressed by it. Good thing: free daily lesson. Bad thing: expensive to buy more lessons (unless the freebie thing worked) and I'm not convinced some of the grammar bits were put together by someone whose Russian was that great.

In the end it was just taking up space on my device. If gingerninja's code still works it might be worth a look.


I wouldn't recommend it. It's just a bunch of phrases repeated over and over again and some words aren't even taught that you're expected to know!


Agreed! I also think some of the things they do/don't teach are just weird.

For example (I don't remember if it was one of the freebie lessons or one of the daily ones) the first thing it taught was я умею, not у меня (есть), and in the lesson for "I would like tea/coffee" etc, they teach the conditional/subjunctive(? я хотел(а) бы, anyway), which - I mean, I'm not a native, and yes strictly speaking that's the literal translation for "I would like a..." but I don't remember that being the usual way to ask for a cuppa in Russian?? (My adopted бабушка used to just bark ты чай хочешь? the second you walked in the door, so it rarely came up ;))

More frustratingly, it wouldn't even accept я хотел бы or я хотела бы, but you have to literally type "я хотел(а) бы", which to me is both absolutely maddening and also a completely unnatural/unhelpful way to learn a language. Regardless of correctness or not of the phrase, typing it in with the feminine ending in brackets is just... what were they thinking??

Oh and stuff like, it expects you to use one wording, and one wording only, so in the tea and coffee lesson you have to know they expect you to say "a cup of tea" but "a coffee" (no cup), and if you get it "wrong", even if it's perfectly correct in terms of the language, it's marked wrong if it isn't exactly the phrase they are looking for.

I found the whole thing absolutely maddening. I presume the free lessons are supposed to be a loss leader, but my overall impression was well, I'm not spending any money on that, and it also made me think if I studied a language I knew nothing of, I might end up learning things that were wrong/weird and I wouldn't even know.


They let you take a couple of lessons for free but then they make you pay for the rest. However, if you enter MONDLY in the code section then you get everything for free. It worked for me. I haven't gone on it for ages though.


Where did you enter the code? I can't find any code section in the app.

[deactivated user]

    On the main page of mondly, where you see your lessons, click "Shop" it will be in the box that drops down.


    It appears to work on the full version of the website, but I can't find it on the app or the mobile website.

    ETA: And it seems if you get the freebies you can then use them on the mobile version of the website, but the website doesn't sync with the app at all, so unless anyone can find somewhere to add the code on the app, it looks like that's a bust. Handy for the website, though.

    Still not much impressed with it, but for free it's worth keeping the url handy!


    Someone who is a lot more technically able than I am said that you can only get the free lessons on the website. There is no way to get them on the app, which is unfortunate.


    It seems bizarre in the extreme to me that the app and the website don't sync. Oh well! I guess it means I have free lessons on the web when I can be bothered and I can pretty much ignore the app without feeling I'm missing out!

    I did send in a few "my answer should be accepted"s on Mondly, but I don't know how receptive they are, even though they give you the option. I did send a feedback thingy asking if there was any way to more efficiently give suggestions for the course (I didn't actually say "because at the moment it's rubbish", though I was tempted...) and got no response...

    From some of the exercises, I can only imagine they got native speakers, but didn't actually bother asking said native speakers to verify what they were recording actually made sense, etc :-/


    Ok thanks everybody. I won't bother with it then.

    I saw the memrise app. I didn't know they had an app, but it looks like it's still buggy from the comments I saw and that there is some type of payment but I'm not sure for what. I think for the pro version, but I've never used memrise so I don't know the difference between free and pro or what that would look like on the app


    I love the Memrise app on Android! (I didn't like Mondly much, for the reasons that RussianPolyglot and flootzavut described very well already.)

    The current differences between the free and the pro (payable) versions of Memrise on Android are that you have more ways of practicing using the pro version: in addition to just normal and speed review (the latter which I've never tried -- it's relatively new), you can focus on the words that have proven most difficult for you, or just practice listening. There's also something called immersion mode, which doesn't seem to be available for any of the courses I'm doing.

    But the plain vanilla free version of the app works like a charm for me, as long as I am prudent about which courses I pick and what goals I set for myself. Some of the courses I'm doing are near neigh impossible to do on the computer -- who remembers and can spell not just the nominative, but also the genitive, partitive and nominative plural forms of every single new Estonian word one learns? (I know one should...) So when the task on the app is mostly to tap on the right answer, and only rarely to write, I actually progress and do eventually learn, whereas when I do the same on the computer, I just want to cry...

    Edit: Ah, I just reread your post and realized you haven't used Memrise at all. The main thing to remember with Memrise, in my opinion, is that it is a bit of a free-for-all -- there are huge differences in quality between the different courses. So don't be afraid to kiss, and discard, a few frogs before you find the course(s) you like!


    Thanks, all great helpful information. Right now I've been leaning toward memrise. I've hesitated because it's yet another site to sign up with but it looks like it is really good from what people have been saying. I figured it was sort of a free for all like you said based on what I looked at the other day. I remember thinking "how can you tell which course is the best?"


    I wouldn't try learning a language just on Memrise, but I find it a very good complement to Duolingo: I learn the structures on here, and get to practice the words more (without that final bit in a long, tricky sentence going wrong...) on Memrise. With "easier" languages, it might even feel like a waste of time to just click through the vocabulary, as the learning style (at least for me) is more passive than on Duolingo, but it's very quick and easy, and the learning does add up.

    And you can focus just on one part of a language if you want; I've been drilling my French verbs using a course called ! Easy French Conjugation for ages now, and doing a little bit every day helps me much more than staring at conjugation tables and trying to memorize endings ever did.

    Anyway, since it's free, you can just try it out without having lost more than a bit of time and effort if you don't like it. I can also recommend the Russian course Moomingirl mentioned! I tried a couple of other of the popular Russian ones, but was less impressed...

    I know some people swear by Anki as a more versatile option than Memrise, but since I'm happy with what Memrise offers, I've never tried that one.


    I have anki and I really like it. I've made a couple of my own flashcard decks and there are shared decks to choose from. That's part of the reason I had not signed up for memrise yet as well. I still may sign up just for more words to learn.

    Anki does have a lot of options. You may want to try it. I've seen some people post decks with duolingo vocab too though I've never used those particular ones. Not sure if there are any Estonian decks to download, but you could make some for yourself.


    Ah, I'm too lazy to make my own decks. :-) Although I know that the making of the decks would in itself be great practice.

    But maybe I should give Anki a try at some point, since I've heard so many good things about it. We are spoiled for great, free learning methods nowadays...


    Yes I'm so grateful for "free"! Well I typed in Estonian in the deck search to see there would be less labor for you :) and there are two shared decks that came up. One has just under 1700 words and phrases. The other over 100. Of course other more common languages like French and such have lots to choose from. I'll be downloading a Russian one soon.

    If there are any other Estonian courses on there, they may be in another language so you'll have to search for them that way. Oh I didn't think to type Estonian in Estonian. Well you get the gist of what I'm saying.


    Thanks for this information! I'm still only halfway through my current Estonian course of 1095 intermediate words on Memrise, but I shall "put this behind my ear" for future reference, as we say...


    Try memrise, it's quite good for building vocabulary and mostly free. Very few features require subscription. I personally love it and use it all the time.

    Plus there's an excellent memrise lesson from someone here on duolingo covering the entire russian course! :D


    For anyone looking for that course, here is the link: http://www.memrise.com/course/378212/duolingo-russian-full-audio/

    It's by Cherub721, and the audio is by ShadyArc, who wrote a lot of the Russian course here on Duolingo. I've found it really helpful, and recommend it to anyone doing the Russian course here.


    Thanks for posting it


    I've tried Mondly and paid for it and like it. I don't go on it much now though because I have enough to do on Duolingo.

    One thing about Mondly is the language courses all mean the same thing, so if you do an easy language such as French that you already know, and then do a hard language that you don't know at all, such as Vietnamese, you can guess what the meaning is, because they are all the same sentences. The sentences are practical sentences that people would use in real life.
    Duolingo is better than Mondly but Mondly is good too. I think it's easier to learn the way Duolingo teaches.

    It's not like Duolingo that way, with courses individually tailor-made.

    It has Finnish anyway, which everybody has been asking for. Mondly has hearts and streaks for each language, but no lingots.


    I am desperate for a Finnish course, but even with the free lesson unlock code, I just couldn't bring myself to like Mondly enough to use it every day.


    I just couldn't bring myself to like Mondly enough to use it every day.

    Exactly my problem.


    I do Finnish on Mondly regularly (at least the daily lesson every day, sometimes more) and it's OK as a complement, but it won't teach you the language. Not even the basics. You'll learn some vocabulary and some phrases, that's fine, but it doesn't explain any grammar and does not help you practice.

    There are some lessons on grammar at the end of the lessons "path", but apparently like you said, they are all the same for all languages. You won't learn any language specifics there and sometimes they get even confusing (like they teach you the verb for "to have" and then give you sentences for "I have", "you have", which are constructed completely differently in Finnish and don't use the verb at all; Russian will have the same problem because they use a similar construction). It might work better for languages more similar to English.


    What I gather from what you and everyone else is saying is that the English translations are not very good at all.

    That this app would be more for someone who knows the vocabulary and grammar well, but just want to improve their accent?

    It seems most people are saying it really does have native speaker recordings, but a lot of the English translations don't match up with the recordings. Does this sound correct?

    If it really does have native speakers, then I could see trying it weeks from now after I've gotten some learning in (so I won't get confused or learn something wrong) and using it to check my pronunciation.


    I wouldn't actually call it "English translations" - I suspect that someone's created the lessons in English first and then translated them to the respective target languages. (I might be wrong, but that's what it looks like.) I have encountered one or two apparent errors (personal pronoun mismatch or something), otherwise it seemed OK, but sure, I'm not a good judge yet. And a few times the recorded voice said something slightly different than the written text.

    The voices do sound like real people, so that part is useful, even though there are downsides to it too - they speak in various speeds from very slow to medium, some are louder than others, some recordings have a bit of noise at the beginning... But the variation is probably a good thing.


    Ok, thanks. That's good that there are a variety of voices. Well, I'll just keep it in mind for future reference.


    Actually, I have an email penpal who lives in Mexico, who I got from Duolingo. We write in English.

    He said he tried Mondly and that their Spanish translation for "woman" was wrong and that he gave them feedback about that.

    I tried Vietnamese on Mondly and was starting to understand the pronouns for "I, you, he, she, we". I think it'd be easier to learn the way Duolingo teaches. Vietnamese seemed like it's more complicated.
    Years ago in the early 1980's I had a best friend who was from Vietnam. When she moved away she gave me a big stack of magazines that were all in Vietnamese. I think they're still around here somewhere. If I find them, that'd be enough "immersion" for me.
    I used to hear her gabbing in Vietnamese with her friends who were from her country.

    One time she said she was at a college for a few months where she had to speak English all the time and she told me that there were no Vietnamese people there to speak Vietnamese with so she said she almost forgot how to speak Vietnamese. I found that hard to believe.

    Actually, in the 1980's I took a Campion Language Studies French course by correspondence. The teacher talked on the cassette tape and said that I should keep using French or I'd forget it and said that if I didn't use English (my native language) for 3 months that I'd even forget how to speak English.

    I found that hard to believe too.

    I know with French, I knew French but never used it so I felt stupid trying to write to my French penpal in French, who doesn't know any English at all. The French Duolingo course is more of a review for me, but I have learned new vocabulary. I still make mistakes with using "Il" instead of "C'est" in some sentences.

    Interestingly, I make lots of mistakes in Dutch and that should be really easy. Sometimes I'm just not on the ball and make stupid mistakes.


    I've read that it takes a certain period of time of repetition for something to move from temporary storage to permanent storage in your brain. Probably you just need more reinforcement in Dutch. It kind of reminds me of when I first started using duolingo. When practicing Italian, sometimes French words I didn't know I remembered would pop up for the word I was looking for. (I took French years ago in high school and don't remember much) After becoming more solid in Italian, the French words stopped interfering.

    I agree in that I don't think you could really forget your own language after only a few months. Even if you got a little rusty in it, it's still there in permanent memory. Maybe after many years of none use I could see it happening.

    And getting those magazines is awesome. There are a few foreign magazines I would like, but it's slightly expensive since I have to find a U.S. seller. I have them on my wish list for now. One reason I want to know different languages is so I have access to more reading and learning sources. To have X amount of options is great.


    Wow. This discussion got quite large whilst I was at school. I agree with everything being said. I tried Mondly and didn't really like it hence why I haven't been on it for ages. I use Memrise alongside Duolingo and like it a lot. It is very helpful for remembering vocabulary.

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