Living Language promises to teach students how to speak, read and write contemporary spoken Russian. It is based on the language teaching approach developed by the US Department of State to teach its diplomats before they head to Moscow or St. Petersburg. I wanted to see for myself whether Living Language Russian online was really as effective as the marketing materials claimed.
Below you will find the results of my experience with this language course. Included in the review is a overview of materials contained in the course as well is its major pros and cons. I have included a comparison with some other popular Russian language learning courses so that you can decide which is the best option for you. At the end of this review I'll provide an overall recommendation and conclusion.
The online course costs $150. This gives you access to the same material as is included in the platinum Russian course, but in a digital format.
The program includes 46 Russian language lessons cover grammar, vocabulary, conversations, and culture. The course provides access to an online tutor with whom you you practice your Russian conversation and review the language lessons. As a subscriber you have access to the online community which includes other students and Russian language experts. In addition there are games and puzzles to help you with your Russian study.
Having tried Rosetta Stone Russian (my review) as well I can say that they're almost identical. One of the major selling points of it is the ability to hold an interactive conversation using your computer and microphone. But the speech recognition with Rosetta Stone is good too, so this feature doesn't actually make it stand out in comparison.
Another popular Russian language course comes from Pimsleur (my review). However, Pimsleur is a lot more expensive; for the full comprehensive level 1 to 3 course you can expect to pay $650. Despite the high price tag Pimsleur doesn't include many of the materials that come with Platinum Edition of Living Language. It's also far better at teaching the Russian alphabet and how to read and write.
Lastly, the most serious competitor is Transparent Russian (my review), which is currently available for $179.95 with access to the online course. Transparent Russian has many features that you'll get with Living Language Russian, including fully interactive lessons, quizzes, games, vocabulary, and grammar lessons, but has a slightly more interactive and modern feel to it.
Overall Living Language offers a decent and comprehensive course to learn Russian. At $150 for the complete online course it offers very good value for money compared to other Russian language courses. In my opinion Living Language Russian is a superior course to the Rosetta Stone Russian course. It also teaches reading and writing Russian far better than Pimsleur. The only course that I would recommend over is Transparent Russian. Online access to the Transparent Russian course currently costs about the same as what Living Language charges. But Transparent Russian provides much of the same material and so, in my opinion, is the superior course. Living Language Russian at times suffers from being a little dry and academic for my taste, but is overall a high quality course.