Livemocha: Language Learning on the Web

By  |  Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 8:50 am

Confession time: If there’s such a thing as a language-learning gene, I lack it. Some of my closest relatives have taught foreign languages, but I’ve always considered myself a hopeless case. In school, I took multiple years of French, German, and Latin; I was mediocre at the time, and almost everything I did learn long ago departed my noggin.

Strangely enough, I haven’t given up hope. So I’m intrigued by Livemocha, a language-learning service that’s launching some online courses in the U.S. today after mostly doing business in other countries until now.¬†The company is going up against Rosetta Stone–the 800-pound gorille of computer-assisted language learning. Unlike the CD-ROM-based Rosetta, though, Livemocha is a Web-based service. And it has cool community features: You can chat with native speakers and record lessons for their feedback.

Livemocha’s new “Active Courses” are available for Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English. (The company also offers more basic online courses in dozens of other languages for free.) Pricing for the Active Courses looks reasonable compared to Rosetta Stone, which starts at $249.99: They’re $19.95 a month or $149.95 a year.

That’s reasonable, of course, only if the courses get the job done. Like everybody else in the language-teaching business, Livemocha sounds super-confident about its wares, and says that anyone who takes the time to complete a course will gain conversational fluency. I’m going to dip my toe into the French course–if nothing else, I’m a good worst-case test for how effective Livemocha’s approach is.


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11 Comments For This Post

  1. superfly Says:

    Thanks for this post. I checked out the Livemocha italian course and its easier to use than the rosetta cdroms. i got a correction from someone in Italy on my pronunication, that is cool

  2. Anony Mouse Says:

    Rosetta Stone is not just CD based.. they have TOTALe, an online community based piece of their whole solution.

  3. Just A. Guest Says:

    I much enjoy this one:

  4. guest Says:

    Good… glad someone is taking Rosetta Stone on. They are more of a marketing house than a company dedicated to languages. And they are aggressively working to replace teachers in districts across the country. I love their "teacher of the year" – they never say when or where she got that award. But just google it – she won years ago in some tiny county where they pick a teacher every year. She just happened to be picked. Spin, spin, spin.. Language is a human thing… software and online programs are great… but you can't really learn a language with a headset on and nothing else. Total E is nothing more than their old way of doing things in a new electronic yellow box. Next thing you know, they'll be trying to replace English teachers, too.

  5. Jessica Says:

    I think that sites such as this are a fantastic way to learn a different language and, more importantly, to learn the the language authentically by being able to interact with native speakers. The Internet and social media has made it so much easier to learn languages that before we would never have even thought of trying to learn. Although English is increasingly spoken around the world, it's really good to see that people are still being encouraged to learn other languages!

  6. yvonne Says:

    Am here to learn french. I hope I achieve this aim.Enter text right here!

  7. monty Says:

    I am came here to know new language

  8. Nader Abood Says:

    I used to learn Arabic, it was human teachers , that you met them online and I really felt I am at real classroom

  9. AJP Says:

    I was using Rosetta Stone for free, online via the Los Angeles Public Library more than 5 years ago. Seems Livemocha may yet have some catching up to do.

  10. akismet-02040afbf766e2bef0851f90f890c869 Says:

    Nice, Livemocha looks like a great service for those willing to learn. Good luck with it.

    Muay Thai

  11. Englishing Student Says:

    Mango languages is a relative newcomer. The interlace of graphic design and pedagogy is extremely good.

    One criticism I have for Live Mocha is that they claim to have invented teaching via Facebook. However I attended a conference where Voice of America described their platform to the US government. VOA Learning English on Facebook had the research and data to prove it. Apparently what happened is some disgruntled teacher took the platform the government developed with US tax dollars and gave it to Live Mocha, a corporation who to my knowledge has not given the US government any credit for a tool they use to make money of us people like us.

    Rosetta Stone is good because it is everywhere and easy for people to access in remote areas.