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10 Best Apps to Learn a New Language
March 22, 2022
Reading time: 7 minutes
Learning a new language is fun, exciting, and empowering, and it opens up new worlds of reading and human interaction. Plus, learning a language may improve your memory and problem-solving skills. At the same time, it builds a stronger command of written and spoken English.
Better yet, the days of language labs and plodding through a series of thick textbooks are gone. Thanks to apps, it’s easier and faster than ever to learn a new language. They allow you to improve your skills at your own pace with powerful tools like visual cues, spoken word, natural language processing, and even interaction with real-live native speakers.
This list of the 10 best language learning apps has something for everyone, whether you prefer to learn on iOS, Android, or a PC. Most of the apps even have free trials to test-drive before you buy.
If you want to learn more than 30 languages for free, you won’t find a better language learning app than Duolingo. You’ll enjoy organized and progressive learning sessions, immediate sentence building, and fun bite-sized lessons. It also boasts customizable goal setting and engaging gamification.
The app is lauded by Time, Forbes, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal as the best language learning app on the market for its fast learning based on plenty of fun. It was designed by learning experts and based on science, but the game-like lessons and community of 300 million learners make it sing.
You’ll practice reading, speaking, writing, and listening on your iPhone, Android device, or PC. This is the best language learning software on the market.
Not based on repetition or memorization, the Babbel language learning app teaches with a robust mix of tools like quick lessons, podcasts, and live online classes. Babbel was built by language experts and is efficacy-backed by Yale University researchers. One study showed that it improves oral proficiency in 96% of language learners in just 10 hours.
Babbel features lessons in your choice of the 14 most commonly spoken languages, with flexible scheduling so you can fit your learning easily into your day. The app’s sophisticated speech-recognition technology helps you perfect your pronunciation. Tools like regular review, grammar in context, and more than 60,000 language lessons solidify your progress.
Babbel is the best language learning program to get fast results.
You already know that immersion is the best way to learn a language. With Rosetta Stone, choose from 25 target languages for a tailored immersion approach that blends interactive activities, audio from native speakers, and real-life scenarios. You can practice in multiple contexts and receive immediate feedback and live coaching to help you improve.
Your subscription provides access to every language in the app, including Spanish, German, Chinese, Vietnamese, and 21 others for the same price. The TruAccent instantaneous pronunciation feedback feature is a joy to use, and the 10-minute lessons are easy to fit into even the busiest schedules.
Rosetta Stone is the best language app for travel thanks to its Phrasebook feature that can help you communicate even before you master the lingo.
With more than 1 million 5-star ratings, there’s plenty to love about the Memrise Easy Language Learning app. An intuitive system of short lessons and real-life phrases makes mastering your new tongue a snap. Plus, 60 million users have already put this app through its paces to help smooth out all the bumps.
You’ll feel like you’re strolling down the Champs-Élysées or enjoying a snow day at the Zugspitze, thanks to Memrise’s user-friendly interface and video clips from native speakers. The videos are filmed in local markets, streets, and coffee shops to make the learning process more like a 5-star trip to the country where the language lives and breathes.
This is one of the best language learning apps to practice and perfect your pronunciation without embarrassment.
Whether you want to learn Korean, Spanish, Chinese, German, Italian, or Farsi, Drops will get you started in only 5 minutes a day. In fact, you don’t have the option to spend more time than that with the app, and yet Drops boasts extremely high success rates. It’s 100% visual, too, so you’ll learn with pictures and not by seeing words and phrases in your native language.
The practice sessions in Drops are effortless because they take place in game form, but it’s all heavily immersive. You could even think of it as a boredom-zapping game that includes the bonus of teaching you a new language while you play.
This app is for beginners only since you’ll learn vocabulary only and not grammar or advanced skills like conjugating verbs.
“Hola, mi amigo.” HelloTalk puts a different spin on learning a new language by putting you in touch with native speakers in real-time. You’ll form connections with real people from a pool of more than 30 million speakers across more than 150 languages. Even if you use another app to learn a foreign language, HelloTalk excels as a way to engage in actual conversations.
Ask questions about language, culture, and other topics, and then get feedback on your pronunciation. You can also receive automated grammar coaching on your written messages. Beyond just chatting with native speakers via voice and text, you can access native tutors for one-on-one coaching sessions.
There’s no Mac or PC version of HelloTalk, so you need to use this language app on your phone or tablet.
With a smaller selection of languages, LingoDeer’s biggest strength is helping you learn to read and write a language with a dedicated alphabet, like Japanese or Chinese. The structured courses take you from beginner to intermediate, drilling down on vocabulary and teaching you to form your own thoughts in sentences and paragraphs.
LingoDeer also lets you perfect your pronunciation by watching HD recordings made by native speakers. You can then reinforce your learning through quizzes, flashcards, and other training tools. You can download lessons for offline learning if you prefer, and the handy stats feature helps you track your progress.
This is one of the best language learning apps for when you need extra motivation. The lessons take just 15 minutes per day.
Mango Languages takes the stance that learning a language should be an adventure, not a boring chore. To prove that point, it puts you into real-life conversations with audio from native speakers and rich cultural context. The end goal? To help you speak like a local – fast.
Rather than siloing lessons on vocabulary, pronunciation, culture, and grammar, this app blends them all into a seamless and engaging class. The online courses are linguist-approved, with interactive reading and listening exercises to build written and spoken communication skills.
You’ll also gain essential cultural insights to keep your gaffe level at a minimum. Even better, the personalized support from human specialists ensures you stay on track and confusion free with Mango Language.
A fast, intuitive, and highly motivating piece of software, Speekoo is one of the best free language learning apps on the market. There’s never any charge or in-app purchase to make, though your options are somewhat limited with only 6 languages (French, German, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese).
Each language in the app has more than 20 learning levels, with 12 lessons per level. This is one of the simplest apps on our list, but it’s fun to use and really does progress your language skills. The learning isn’t comprehensive, but the simple learning method helps build basic skills in a low-stress way.
Try out the free version to make sure Speekoo works with your learning style.
Don’t be fooled by Busuu’s position on our list. It has some pretty cool features, like specialized courses for travel, fun, business, school, and official certifications you can show to potential employers. The award-winning content is created by experts to power you through your chosen language.
If you’re a beginner, start from scratch, or if you have a little more skill, the app lets you skip ahead. There’s also a community of more than 120 million native speakers, so you can make friends and receive feedback as you work on your language skills.
This is one of the best language courses for perfecting your writing, thanks to the handy grammar-review feature.
These 10 best language learning apps run the gamut from free to subscription apps for Android, iOS, Mac, and PC. The best is Duolingo for its comprehensive package, slick interface, and robust features list. But all of the apps here will help you learn at your own pace in just minutes a day.
Many of these apps even put you in touch with native speakers for a total-immersion experience. Say “bonjour” to your new language and “au revoir” to learning headaches and hassles.
About the Author
Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.
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