This study investigates the effect of a physical robot taking the role of a teacher or exercise partner in a language learning exercise. In order to investigate this, an application was developed enabling a 2:nd language learning vocabulary exercise in three different conditions. In the first condition the learner would receive tutoring from a disembodied voice, in the second condition the tutor would be embodied by an animated avatar on a computer screen, and in the final condition the tutor was a physical robotic head with a 3D animated face mask. A Russian language vocabulary exercise with 15 subjects was conducted. None of the subjects reported any Russian language skills prior to the exercises. Each subject were taught a set of 9 words in each of the three conditions during a practice phase, and were then asked to recall the words in a test phase. Results show that the recall of the words practiced with the physical robot were significantly higher than that of the words practiced with the avatar on the screen or with the disembodied voice.