17 Minute Languages Review: A Waste Of Time And Money

  • Lara Scott
    Written byLara Scott
  • Read time3 mins
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A poorly-designed, low quality language course series that's overpriced for what it offers.
17 Minute Languages Review: A Waste Of Time And Money

17 Minute Languages
17 Minute Languages
Pricing: Prices vary according to language and package
  • Many languages offered
  • Terrible, antiquated design
  • Lame cookie-cutter course structure
  • Mistakes in translations
  • Insanely overpriced


Clearly a cookie-cutter course scam, offering very little substance and no discernable methodology. Basically hardly better than a free online phrase list with an obscene price tag.

DepthThis is 'content' richness. How comprehensive is 17 Minute Languages and does it take you far in terms of levels, or is it more suited to low level/tourist learners?
UniquenessIs 17 Minute Languages innovative or is it just an imitation? Does it have a unique selling proposition (USP) that makes it stand out among competitors?
QualityOverall product quality indicator that covers everything from video/dialogue clarity, authenticity, explanations, and effectiveness.
CostIs 17 Minute Languages acceptably priced and how does its pricing compare to market competition?

I don’t often see the need to leave a harshly negative review, but 17 Minute Languages is frankly awful.

I took some time to look at the 17 Minute Languages courses (out of curiosity), and I can’t come up with a single reason to justify the cost.

Putting aside the fact that their website and interface look like something out of the early 2000’s (and full of technical bugs), the courses are clearly cookie-cutter and offer very little value for money.

The whole “only invest 17 minutes of your time per day” thing appears to be completely arbitrary, unscientific and made up to attract sales.

NOTE: If you want a far better alternative to 17 Minute Languages, and a reputable language course, select the language you’re learning:

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Exaggerated methods that don’t really exist

Don’t be sucked in by their use of terms like “superlearning technology” or “award-winning (yeah right) long-term memory learning method” which are misnomers and deceitful sales gimmicks.

There’s no unique method, and there’s nothing unique about their use of spaced repetition systems (SRS) either.

Next time you hear a language course boast of having a unique or “super” method, or winning “awards”, ask for the proof.

The content itself

17 Minute Languages exercises are repetitive and tedious, and feel like a cheap imitation attempt of RS or Babbel.

I found myself incredibly frustrated and bored with it.

The content’s the same across all languages, which is evidence that 17 Minute Languages is a cookie-cutter course. What this means is that they basically copy the structure for all languages and change the translation, making it possible to mass produce language courses.

Proof of this is that the Egyptian Arabic grammar section contains a Modern Standard Arabic grammar wiki (completely different dialect/language).

The “superlearning” music track is just some ridiculous, New Age music track with forest sounds that they probably took off YouTube (seriously: go on YouTube and find thousands of “superlearning” tracks if that helps you).

Lack of clear explanations are a problem and various grammar points aren’t explained.

Overall, you’re just presented with short dialogues, recorded by native speakers (literally the only redeemable aspect of the entire course) and then a bunch of fill-in-the-gap exercises.


It is ridiculously overpriced.

Price varies according to language and package, but to give you an example, the Arabic package (all features) costs around $100.

To get access to all languages, it’s around $200.

They’ll try to scam you with a timed offer when you sign up for a trial.

There are many better and cheaper alternative language courses (see this list, for example) available that offer more comprehensive and accurate language learning.

The high cost of the course does not justify the poor quality of the content and the numerous issues I encountered.

Customer service is virtually non-existent. You most likely won’t receive a reply if you have issues.


Overall, 17 Minute Languages is a low quality, cookie-cutter product that I’d be reluctant to pay $5 for.

The courses are sloppy, lack proper explanations, and the design’s atrocious. The technical issues and poor customer service only add to the frustration.

I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless it was free. Look for better alternatives.

For what they’re charging, you’re far better off signing up for Rocket Languages or even just some italki lessons. There are also other superior alternatives right here.

Have you used 17 Minute Languages before?

Share your thoughts below.

17 Minute Languages
Pricing: Prices vary according to language and package

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Donovan Nagel
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I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
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