This review has been updated: October, 2020.
There are plenty of reasons to learn some of the more romanticized and popular languages out there, like Japanese or Spanish or even French. But what happens when you want to study a language that most people overlook? Vietnamese is one of those languages that is forgotten by the language-learning crowd, despite being spoken by more than 70 million people. In the past, if you wanted to learn Vietnamese alphabet or learn to speak Vietnamese, you may have had some trouble getting the help you needed.
VietnamesePod101 can help you master the language faster than you thought possible. Here is everything you need to know about the program and whether it is right for you!
VietnamesePod101 Review: Overview
The lessons are arranged into five sections for every level. Those who are just beginning their studies can head to Introduction or Absolute Beginner. Others will find themselves selecting content from Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. Like other programs from Innovative Language Learning, the five levels have lessons that are grouped into series and seasons that come in a set of 25.
Every lesson puts you into a scene that describes something that will happen in daily life, whether that is going to the grocery store or telling somebody about where you come from. The lessons are not repetitive at all, and you can select from a diverse range of topics. Regardless of what you choose to learn first, every video or podcast is full of information and Vietnamese spoken by a native.
Aside from the free subscription, any of the memberships—which are discussed later—give you access to the following features:
- Vietnamese video and audio with transcript notes to download
- Responsive flashcard app for on-the-go studying
- English to Vietnamese dictionary
- Interactive quizzes
- Grammar and word banks
- Printable worksheets
- Pronunciation reviews via an interactive voice recorder
What We Liked About VietnamesePod101
Hundreds of Videos and Audio Files
VietnamesePod101 is an excellent place to learn Vietnamese, because you get access to more than 800 videos that range from basic level all the way to advanced. You can find topics on almost anything, so whatever your goals are for learning Vietnamese, you can achieve them easily.
Not only that, but the videos are designed to be interesting and refreshing. You will never feel like you are being forced to memorize words from a boring textbook.
Easy To Use
What is easier than listening and repeating after a native speaker? VietnamesePod101 immerses you in the language without confusing you with unnecessary confusion. The interface for both the computer-oriented program and the mobile app is clean, crisp, and intuitive. You will find everything arranged by level, season, and so on.
Best of all, you can take the downloadable resources with you wherever you go. Gone are the days of worrying about whether the language app will work on airport WiFi.
If you are willing to pay for a subscription (which you should), you unlock hundreds of additional goodies that help keep you motivated. The basic account gives you access to full transcripts of the podcasts and flashcards. Premium accounts provide more customized study plans, and if you opt for Premium+, you can even get one-on-one tutoring with a native Vietnamese speaker.
What We Didn’t Like About VietnamesePod101
Lack of Community
Since Vietnamese is not widely spoken or learned, the community is not as active as other forums on the same site. This makes finding learning partners difficult, especially if you are looking for someone to practice conversations with. While this is not entirely the fault of the program itself, it can be a bummer for more extroverted learners.
Lack of Speaking Practice
Although VietnamesePod101 does allow you to take oral quizzes and practice your pronunciation, it can get repetitive, because you are simply saying phrases over and over again. You are not getting real speaking practice, unless you purchase the most expensive subscription plan—an option not option to everyone.
Geared Towards Beginners and Low Intermediate
The content, while broad and interesting, can also be too basic for some learners. If you are someone who has lived in Vietnam for a while or is wanting to brush up on the language after taking a break from it, you will not find a lot of content that will challenge you. Granted, it is good for review, but you probably won’t learn anything new, even in the advanced section of the video and audio.
What Does a Lessons Look Like?
As mentioned earlier, the lessons on VietnamesePod101 are arranged by difficulty, series, and seasons. Within the seasons, 25 lessons for a single group. The lessons are either done with podcasts or video and audio. Most of the lessons introduce you to Vietnamese that would be used in day-to-day interactions with other people. You will go through the 25 lessons of each section, such as “Beginner Season 1,” and then reach an oral quiz to test how much you know.
Find yourself struggling? You can go to the dictionary that provides hundreds of words with example sentences, sound clips, and pictures to help with recognition. You will also see the Vietnamese written out a couple of ways to aid in pronunciation, as well.
In short, you will never be at a loss about what to learn or how to study. The courses are structured to build upon one another. You can then supplement your studies with word lists, keywords, video and audio, flashcards, the mobile app, and so much more.
Who Should Buy VietnamesePod101?
VietnamesePod101 is ideal for the following people:
- Those who want to study Vietnamese at their own pace or who have busy schedules
- Those who like learning through video and audio rather than textbooks
- Those who are beginning their language learning journey and need the fundamentals
Who Shouldn’t Buy VietnamesePod101?
VietnamesePod101 is not recommended for the following people:
- Those who want to practice speaking with native speakers or who are seeking an active community
- Those who consider themselves advanced speakers in need of review
- Those who do not like listening to podcasts or prefer traditional learning environments
VietnamesePod101 vs. The Competition
Because Vietnamese is lesser known language that is rarely studied in learning institutions or by travelers, the amount of resources available, including competition for programs like VietnamesePod101, pale in comparison to the competitors for, let’s say, JapanesePod101, which is made by the same company.
That said, there are a couple of learning learning platforms that offer similar programs, such as Loecsen, Duolingo, Babbel, and Memrise. Since the last three mentioned are severely limited in their Vietnamese lessons, we can’t truly call them competitors, can we?
That leaves Loecsen. Like VietnamesePod101, you can find the course by searching to “learn Vietnamese audio,” since it utilizes podcasts, free grammar and essential phrases downloads, and video to teach you common phrases. The speakers are native, too. Loecsen’s Vietnamese program is entirely free of charge, including all the resources. The downside, however, is the quantity of study material.
While VietnamesePod101 has over 800 audio and video files at your disposal, Loecsen’s resources will only give you a general understanding of Vietnamese. It’s great for a traveler but not for someone who wants to get fluent.
Is It Worth The Money?
The free membership, as mentioned earlier, can be limited, so it is highly recommended that you make the commitment and choose a subscription if you are serious. Otherwise, free access gives you content such as pronunciation practice, grammar practice, information about verbs, the Innovative Language 101 app, and access to the “Daily Dose of Vietnamese.” This might be enough for you right now, especially if you are looking for a taster.
However, if you know that you want to learn Vietnamese, this language learning platform is one of the best on the market and worthy of the investment. With a Basic subscription, you can access the language and culture collection, print out notes, and get complete access to archived audio.
Premium and Premium+, which are $120 and $220 for 6-months, respectively, offer up one-click downloads, lesson specific tools like grammar checkers, interactive voice recording, review quizzes, flashcards, transcription translation, and so much more. When you consider other language learning software, like Rosetta Stone, the price on 6-months or even 24-months (at $240-$549) is honestly a bargain that is too good to pass up.
In short, is it worth the money? We think so.
How To Get 30% Off VietnamesePod101
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the Pod101 language programs. So we’ve asked the Innovative Language team for the biggest discount they offer — 30% off!
The Lifetime Membership Option
This option is not well-advertised (in fact, it was difficult for us to get access to), but if you don’t like subscription payments, you can get a lifetime membership to VietnamesePod101 as a one-time payment of $599. Here’s the link in case you’re interested:
On the same page they even offer a lifetime access to ALL their language programs.
If you’re really serious about becoming a polyglot in multiple languages, the lifetime access to all languages option could be worth checking out:
I think this is actually an amazing deal, despite seeming expensive at first glance. The Pod101/Class101 programs are often the best language courses available for Asian languages (we haven’t tried their others yet!). They’ve got some really smart people on staff building their curriculums, and it shows.
Final Thoughts on VietnamesePod101
A Superior Learning Tool For Learning Vietnamese Quickly and Efficiently.
As with many offerings from Innovative Language Learning, VietnamesePod101 is an undisputed champion for studying and gaining fluency in Vietnamese. The course provides you with everything you need to gain confidence with learning this beautiful language. Whatever your goals may be, VietnamesePod101 can elevate your listening, speaking, and reading abilities much higher than the competitors or traditional classrooms.
If you are determined to learn Vietnamese, you have nothing to lose with this program and everything to gain!