Review of Yabla Language Learning Site

Brent Van Arsdell by Brent Van Arsdell

Yabla Review

Summary of this review:  Yabla is a subscription Web site for learning foreign languages with videos that turns entertainment videos into language lessons.  It’s easy to use and easy to like.  I recommend it for intermediate to advanced learners.

My link to the Yabla web site is at the bottom of this page and is NOT an affiliate link.

Yes Yabla’s that good and I like them!

Beginners in the languages listed below would be better served by trying one of the free demos below and seeing how it works for them.

Please read the full review below and leave your insightful comments at the bottom.

The Detailed Review Starts Here:

How Yabla Works

First they take dramatic videos, music videos, and any type of video you can think of. Next they add subtitles in both English and your new language—and instantly they have turned entertainment videos into language lessons.

As a person who develops language learning software, I give Yabla my highest praise, which is, “I wish I had developed this software!”

The Most Important Features of Yabla

Yabla let’s you navigate their site and search for videos by level of difficulty, by category, or by what you have watched before.

It’s a very easy-to-use web site.

The feature that you are going to use the most is a video player that let’s you watch Spanish videos for example with both English and Spanish subtitles.  You can turn off the Spanish or the English subtitles or both.  You can pause the videos and then click on a word to see the definition.


Here is a screen shot of the Yabla video player. This is their best feature.

It’s definitely what you think you will need as an intermediate to advanced language learner.

Now, say that you want to know what this word means in Spanish. Simply click on the Spanish word in the Spanish subtitle, and on the right-hand side you get an English definition from several different dictionaries. That’s a great feature.

You can watch entertainment lessons like soap operas in Spanish and you will be entertained as well as taught.

You can always pause, go back or forward, and easily look up words you don’t know in all of Yablas lessons.

Yes, Yabla is fun, it’s interesting, it’s entertaining, but the question that you should be asking yourself is:

Will I Really Learn Spanish With Yabla?

Well, statistically speaking, you won’t learn a new language, and here’s why. There is nothing about Yabla that is psychologically sticky. Nothing that keeps you coming back to study day after day. It’s way too easy to pay for it once and forget it. I liked Yabla enough to subscribe and to renew my subscription when the first one expired, but I haven’t used it nearly as much as I would have liked to.

How to Make Yabla Really Work for You

Skip the games in Yabla, they are almost useless. The flashcards are also not Yablas strong point.

There is absolutely nothing on the Yabla site that explains how to use it! It’s literally a great tool that comes without instructions.

So I’m going to tell you how I suggest that you use it.

Start by watching the teacher videos in Spanish or your new language.  If you can’t already understand everything in the teacher videos when they are speaking slowly and clearly, then start by memorizing all of the teacher videos using the technique that I’ve described in my video titles, “How to Learn English with Movies.” The principles of this video apply to learning Spanish, French, German, or whatever language you want to learn with Yabla.

If you already can understand 100% of the teacher videos on Yabla, then work with a language teacher in your area to select appropriate videos for your language learning goals and then memorize them 100% using the same techniques.

How to Make Yourself Study With Yabla Daily

My estimate is that 99% of the people who buy Yabla will only use it a few times.  Human psychology does not wire us to keep doing things daily, like foreign language study, that don’t have an immediate payoff.

So if you want to get the value out of Yabla that is possible, you have to find some way of making yourself go back to it day in and day out.  Fortunately psychologists have researched a method that makes it easy for people with weak will power to keep their long term goals.  Read my article about the web site called Stickk, that will make it much easier for you to achieve long term success with Yabla or any effective language learning program.  I have personally used Stickk and it worked very well for me.

Who Should Use Yabla

I recommend Yabla for people who are already conversant in their new language and who want to become fluent. If you have the discipline to go back to Yabla and study every day (or if you use Stickk to buy the extra discipline) and if you study in the way that I instruct you in my “How to learn English with Movies” video, Yabla will be an excellent tool for you that might even get you fluent.

Yabla is also very useful for one other category of language learners. These are people who have memorized a LOT of words using any method but still can’t speak the language. These people will benefit a LOT from Yabla plus following the advice in my “How to Learn English with Movies” video.

Who Should NOT Use Yabla

If you are going on vacation to Mexico in eight weeks from now and you want to have a better time speaking Spanish, don’t use Yabla. Pimsleur or will do a much better and faster job of taking you from nothing to minimally conversant.

Warning for People With Good Taste

I need to give a special warning about Yabla to conservative families, people who teach children, and anyone with good taste. There are a LOT of videos on Yabla that are full of violent and abusive behavior that is degrading to people everywhere.

I’m not talking about pleasant adult vidoes with love scenes and I’m not talking about swearing.  I’m talking about the filth of human nature that exists in all languages and cultures.

Someone on the Yabla staff likes this filth and it represents a brokenness in their character that is reflected in the content that they have chosen to publish.  The world around us is a reflection of human arts and ideals and so I’m calling on Yabla management to delete the filth where it has no educational value to advanced language learners.

I’m a world traveler with a lot of stamps in my passport, and believe me, I’m no prude. But there are a LOT of videos on Yabla that I don’t want either to watch or accidentally stumble into, especially on a site that I have paid for.

It’s Easy to Screen Out the Trash

So if you are a person with good taste, or a person buying Yabla for your children or your school or university, you absolutely must pay attention to the sign-up process. Yabla does let you screen out the filth during the sign-up process, so pay attention at the checkout.

Conservative families should select the “family friendly only” option during sign-up. Selecting the “mildly suggestive” option will let you see content that is roughly like what you might see on American network prime-time television.

I strongly recommend Yabla for intermediate and advanced language students. Beginners will get much better use of their study time by using one of the free demos listed below.


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One Comment
  • Avatar
    Audun Tønnesen

    As for Yabla, there’s a limited offer of languages, no Russian for example. And only iOs, no Android.

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