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Living Language Review

Monday, November 29th

2021 Hebrew Lesson Reviews

Living Language Review 2 Star Rating

Living Language

2 Star Rating
  • 3 levels of instruction included (Beginner to Advanced)
  • Subscriptions ranging from 3 months to 1 year

Living Language has been around a long time - over 70 years! It's one of the longest-standing names in the DIY language learning industry and is a division of Penguin Random House.

46 total lessons across 3 levels

Living Language has content for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Hebrew. You'll get 10 lessons at the first level, and then the Intermediate and Advanced courses are broken down into multi-lesson units (for a total of 20 lessons in Intermediate and 16 in Advanced). These topics include Essential Expressions, People and Family, Everyday Life, Work and School, and Shopping. Some students who have used Living Language say that the intermediate and advanced lessons really aren't as in-depth as they expected for lessons beyond beginner; if you already have a good working knowledge of Hebrew, you will probably need to choose a different platform to really expand your fluency.

No explanation of teaching methods

How does Living Language go about teaching you to read, write and speak Hebrew? They don't really tell you! They describe their "method" as vocabulary, grammar, audio conversations and cultural notes around real-world themes (like the ones mentioned earlier), with engaging games and puzzles and an online community of language experts and fellow language learners. That's great, but it doesn't answer how the program is structured, or how you track your progress. We also noticed that any kind of speaking exercises aren't mentioned; most of Living Language's competitors give you the chance to compare your spoken Hebrew against voice recognition software to improve your accent.

No free trial or sample lessons

We think it's fair to say that Living Language isn't as transparent as it needs to be. They used to have a free resource called Language Lab linked right from their main page. We weren't even sure it was still being offered, but eventually by digging through the FAQs in the Support section, we found it. Even then, all you get are vocabulary practice games. There's no other way to see how this service teaches language: no free trial, no sample lesson, nothing. That's a huge disadvantage compared with other Hebrew lessons out there.

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Costs

  • $39 for 1 month
  • $50 for 3 months
  • $75 for 6 months
  • $150 for 1 year

No refund or satisfaction guarantee

To make it worse, the company offers zero satisfaction guarantee or refund policy. If you start a $39 monthly subscription or pay for several months in advance, you can cancel at any time but you won't get a prorated refund of any payments already made. It doesn't inspire much confidence when a service offering Hebrew lessons won't show you how they teach before you sign up - and then they won't give you your money back if you don't like it!

Fewer features now, not more

And, one of the features that used to bring Living Language up in our rankings was their e-Tutoring service included with a Platinum package they carried. Unfortunately, that was discontinued back in 2018 - along with other services like their iOS app.

Choose a higher-rated Hebrew lessons platform

It's hard to find any reason to recommend Living Languages for studying Hebrew. The company doesn't seem to be putting any effort into expanding their program, providing current content, or adding more tech-savvy features to keep up with their rivals. And, with no sample lessons or a refund policy, you'll be wasting your money if you don't wind up liking what Living Languages has to offer. Even most of today's free language learning apps give you the opportunity to match your accent to a native speaker's, and this platform doesn't even go there. You're going to get a lot more for your money with one of the higher-rated Hebrew lessons packages in our review.

Where Can You Find the Best Hebrew Lessons?

Unless you're moving to Israel and benefitting from the hours-long sessions at an ulpan, you'll need to find Hebrew lessons that are a good fit: for your time, your ideal learning mode, and your budget! It's not easy to get in-person lessons for all ages, especially if you don't live in an area with a university or a significant Hebrew-speaking population.

Fortunately, there are plenty of online options to choose from. Do you learn best by listening? Some Hebrew lessons place strong emphasis on acquiring the language that way: work through audio files of syllables, words, phrases and sentences and repeat after the speaker. Not your style? No problem! Choose a Hebrew language platform that makes everything into a game, from grammar lessons to writing practice and even speech recognition software that compares your recorded language to that of a native speaker.

The Best Hebrew Lessons Compare Hebrew Lessons Compare Hebrew Lesson Reviews What are the best Hebrew Lessons Best Hebrew Lesson Reviews

Hebrew Lesson FAQ

About nine million people around the world speak Hebrew, with five million using it as their native language. Also, many Jewish children outside of Israel attend Hebrew school two days a week from kindergarten through 10th grade, both to learn the language and deepen their religious understanding.
There are typically three main categories of Hebrew: modern, ancient, and the Yiddish dialect (which is actually derived from High German and mixed with Hebrew, originating in Central Europe with the Ashkenazi Jewish community). Most online Hebrew courses focus on the modern language as used in Israel and by speakers in other parts of the world. However, if you're interested in Hebrew specifically for understanding ancient scripture (like the Bible) or for communicating with Hasidic and Haredi Jews in Yiddish, it might be worth it to look for lessons that focus on those purposes.
You'll probably find Hebrew more challenging than your average Spanish or French class. Hebrew uses a different alphabet, is written from right to left, and has no vowels! The State Department ranks Hebrew as a Category III language on a difficulty scale from I to IV; the only languages designated as harder to learn than Hebrew are Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. But, with the right language program combined with your hard work and patience, you can absolutely learn to speak, read and write in Hebrew.
Start by learning the 22-letter "aleph bet" - yes, the Hebrew alphabet! Remember that you'll be reading from right to left, too. From there, work on basic vocabulary and verbs; don't worry too much about the pronunciation, because most native speakers of Hebrew are very understanding towards language learners. And, like any other language study, you'll be successful if you give yourself plenty of opportunities to learn and practice - daily if possible.
If you live in a community with many Jewish people, you might be able to find Hebrew lessons. But, will they fit your schedule? Can you get into the class? Are the classes geared primarily towards children? And, you're out of luck if you don't live near a Jewish community or a university that offers Hebrew courses. Learning Hebrew online is not only the most convenient way for you to study, but it's probably the most affordable too.
You may need to change the settings on your computer if you want to be able to type in Hebrew. Search for the instructions specific to your operating system (i.e. Windows or Mac). Alternately, you can use an online Hebrew keyboard that doesn't require you to make any big changes to your computer's settings.
Not at all. You can get Hebrew lessons on a month-to-month plan for anywhere from $4 to $30 per month, depending on the complexity of the program you select. Other language programs give you a one-time download or access to books and CDs that are yours to keep; you'll pay between $10 and $200 for these Hebrew lessons. Whichever format you choose, you'll spend much less than you would if you paid for per-credit-hour Hebrew coursework at a university.
It depends. Some providers offer a satisfaction guarantee that gives you a refund up to a certain timeframe, usually 30-60 days. Others may allow you to cancel your subscription at any time, but without giving you money back on your previous months' payments. It's a good idea to take advantage of any free trials or sample lessons offered for the Hebrew lessons you're considering; you'll get a feel for how the program approaches teaching and whether it's a good match for your learning style.
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Continued from above...

Better yet, almost all online Hebrew lessons take great care to include cultural and historical information as you study. Hebrew has such a rich history and symbolism; you can't fully understand the language without knowing where it has come from and how it's used in context today.

As you look through the various possibilities for Hebrew lessons, it's easy to feel overwhelmed trying to figure out which one to use. Don't worry! Here are some criteria you can consider as you narrow down your choices:

  • Approach to teaching Hebrew. What kind of learner are you? Think about your time in school: did you learn best by seeing something written down, hearing it explained, or just good, old-fashioned memorization? While many Hebrew lessons seek to incorporate all learning modalities, some place heavy emphasis on listening and speaking instead of reading and writing.
  • Ease of use. How intuitive is the language platform? Does it offer a clear learning path or do you have to figure it out on your own?
  • Free trial or lesson sample. The best Hebrew lessons let you try it out before you commit. We highly recommend that you take advantage of any risk-free trials or lesson examples: it's the best way to see if a particular teaching style works well for you in practice, not just in theory!
  • Value. It isn't just about the subscription price or one-time fee. How much language instruction will you get for what you pay? Will you have enough material to progress through your specific fluency level in Hebrew? How many features does the service offer? Consider popular tools like speech recognition, access to personalized lesson plans or tutors, and game-based recognition like badges and leaderboards to keep you motivated (if you like that sort of thing!).

TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best options for taking Hebrew lessons today. We're confident that this information will help you improve your fluency in reading, writing, and especially speaking Hebrew!

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