Want to learn another language? There’s an app (actually, several) for that — especially if you find yourself spending more time at home due to coronavirus-related quarantines, lockdowns and social distancing, and want to spend that time doing something enriching. The best language learning apps can help you build a vocabulary, develop proper grammar and eventually become fluent through lessons that are easy to digest and retain. They’re also economical, especially when compared with formal schooling. Here are the 15 best language learning apps that make it easy for you to learn a language at your own pace.
Learning a new language is conditional on a few things, chief among them time and practice. But the hours you commit are worth the investment: Studies show a correlation between bilingualism and intelligence, as well as between bilingualism and improved problem-solving abilities. Not to mention, it can help you feel better prepared—and get you excited—for a trip you have in the works.
With these language apps you can download right on your phone, you can get started in a new tongue in minutes. Many of them have lessons that range from beginner to near-fluency levels, in a variety of delivery methods to suit your learning style. Learning how to speak a new language is one of the most enriching experiences you can give yourself, but it requires time and commitment. Armed with an amazing app, you can use fun and convenient ways to sharpen your language skills.
Memrise is your go to place for fun vocabulary practice. There is no shortage of courses on almost every language you can imagine—or invent, as there are also several devoted to constructed languages—created by the vibrant community of users. You can find standardised courses based on popular textbooks or vocabulary frequency lists as well as less expected vocabulary collections
Babbel is a subscription-based app that helps language learners hone their communication skills for everyday conversations. Its language selection isn’t as wide and diverse as Duolingo’s, but it makes up for it through lessons that hone your real-life conversation skills. They have materials produced by language experts and voiced by native speakers. Most of the languages it supports are European.
Mondly and Mondly are two new language learning apps on the block, but how good are they? Most people who have tried both, compare Mondly to Duolingo. Mondly is simple to use and starts you off with basic grammar and vocabulary lessons. It uses multiple-choice, which couldn’t be simpler.
This is a language app that is geared more towards serious learners who want a complete language program with the guidance of a tutor. Yes they have a good app, but it’s the extra help from the professional teachers that makes the difference. The tutors are available to answer any questions you might have. They can help with grammar, suggest extra resources, and will even assign and correct homework for those interested.
You can change your life in just five minutes a day—at least, if you’re trying to learn a new language. That’s what the Drops app promises: In short, daily increments, use your phone or tablet to participate in the app’s fun, quick tutorials, which help you pick up vocabulary and short phrases in your target language with the help of mnemonic images.
When you try to describe any other learning app how often have you heard the question “is it like Duolingo?” There is no list of best apps that doesn’t mention it. Luis von Ahn successfully merged gamification and learning addicting people to languages and producing an app with over 100 million users. The app has become a staple example of mobile language learning.
Busuu’s initial placement test feels like the best first date you’ve ever had: It wants to get to know you, and understand exactly what you want. It asks you about your goals, like, “Do you want to be able to order a meal at a restaurant in your new language, or make small-talk with locals?” Maybe you want to feel independent, and understand signs and take public transportation—or perhaps you want to be able to listen to the local radio, or watch television.
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Because it lets you learn any language from your first language (rather than requiring everyone to learn from English) Mondly purports to be faster and more natural than other apps for those who aren’t native English speakers. A kids’ version also means the whole family can get their lingo on.
With platforms built for businesses, schools, libraries, and even governments, Mango is a robust language learning app that works in 70 languages. The software adapts as you learn, so you can gain fluency at your own pace. You can also pause a lesson and get back to it later, a handy feature not all apps provide. Some libraries offer it for free, so check if yours is one of them.
If you really want to hone in on vocabulary, LearnMatch uses a series of five-minute exercises to drill new words. The time limit gives it a gamified element that will keep you on your toes and the “travel talk” feature will teach you phrases you’ll especially need while abroad.
Rosetta Stone has been around for a long time, and experts agree it is probably the best app to learn languages on. It is perfect for beginners and intermediate learners. Its primary feature is that it provides you with a solid foundation of grammar and vocabulary for your chosen language. It is well-structured, paced appropriately, and feature rich.
In addition to language lessons with study plans and machine learning-enabled technology that mimic a traditional class, Busuu offers feedback from native speakers to help perfect your technique. The app also has an offline mode, so you can practice even out of Wifi range.
For those who want to focus on conversation, Pimsleur offers on-the-go speaking practice that helps you learn by answering questions and repeating vocabulary aloud. The program also has digital flashcards, role play challenges, and other games to help cement your knowledge.
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This app uses bite-sized lessons — 10–15 minutes each — to help you learn alongside your busy schedule. The program repeats vocabulary throughout each level, a proven method that helps learners retain new words. Lessons are also created in conjunction with native speakers and covering scenarios you’ll actually use.
Beelinguapp has an app for each language you want to learn. All of their apps are user-friendly and free. They are packed with a wide range of learning methods, including flashcards, audio quizzes, and spaced repetition.