Best Language Learning Apps
Learning a new language can be an daunting challenge, with students having to master vocabulary, grammar, ways of thinking and sometimes entirely new scripts in order to develop even a basic command of a foreign tongue. Luckily, mobile apps can help in that regard, offering everything from comprehensive language courses to quick study modules, as well as tools to practice conversing with native speakers and memorize new scripts and vocabulary words. Check out some of the best language learning apps available on Android and iOS today.
Learn Languages with Rosetta Stone (Android, iOS)
An old standby in the computerized language learning field, Rosetta Stone's mobile apps (Android, iOS) deliver comprehensive lessons for a variety of languages, all straight to your mobile devices. The app includes lessons for 24 different global languages such as French, German, English and Spanish, covering everything from grammar to vocabulary and conversational skills. The app takes advantage of your phone hardware and speech recognition technology to critique your pronunciation. It's an impressive package, though with an equally impressive cost for its modules, with full courses for one language priced around $199.
Duolingo (Android, iOS)
A popular language learning app that almost needs no introduction, Duolingo (Android, iOS) gamifies language learning by presenting language lessons in simple, bite-sized minigames. Each lesson block features language fundamentals, such as basic grammar or vocabulary, presented in easy-to-digest sessions ideal for mobile learning. The app tracks your progress, complete with infographics and other gamified rewards to help motivate learners, while offering up helpful metrics to track how well you're doing. All of this, surprisingly, comes in a free package, with in-app purchases for some of its game elements.
Babbel (Android, iOS) ($12.95/mo)
Another excellent option is Babbel (Android, iOS), a mobile and online language learning service designed to teach conversational level speaking for 14 major world languages, with lessons you can take with you. Babbel's modules are designed to teach language and culture right from the get-go, improving vocabulary and conversational skills, while providing English-perspective hints and cues to nudge you along. Lessons cover a wide range of topics, such as shopping, directions and dining, all in short 10-15 minute modules. Each one comes complete with speech recognition to help pronunciation, and a review manager to keep vocabulary fresh over time.
Busuu (Android, iOS) (EU 10.99/mo)
Busuu (Android, iOS) adds inter-user conversations and exercises into the armament of mobile language learning apps. Busuu covers 12 international languages including Russian, French and German. It offers interactive grammar and vocabulary lessons, pronunciation challenges, and listening exercises. In addition users can tap into Busuu's network of more than 60 million users with exercises, chats and written practice with native speakers, combining traditional courses designed by language experts with interactions with native speakers. Rather than paid courses, Busuu works with a monthly subscription system.
HiNative (Android, iOS)
HiNative (Android, iOS) is another language learning tool that's powered by its rich community of language learners and native speakers. Less a traditional course for learning a language, HiNative is set up as a crowd-sourced Q&A tool for language, grammar, and vocabulary for 110 different languages. It offers standardized question templates to help you ask a variety of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and cultural questions, all to be answered by native speakers. While HiNative won't be your only language learning tool, it makes for an excellent supplement, with the caveat that your answers are primarily crowdsourced.
Memrise (Android, iOS)
Memrise (Android, iOS) leverages brain and learning science to try to make mobile learning as effective as possible using a variety of memorization tests and learning aids. Memrise uses a variety of drills to train everything from vocabulary retention, listening skills and more. Subscribers to a premium Memrise Pro level ($9.00 per month) unlock additional performance metrics and an advanced adaptive learning system that takes into account areas you find difficult in order to reinforce learning and testing.
Flashcards can be a very effective tool for memorization, such as when you need to learn the characters of a foreign script or develop your vocabulary. Brainscape is a smart flashcards app with both free, user-generated and premium content for a variety of topics, such as language learning and vocabulary. Users can download free modules, purchase premium content or even create their own, and subscribing to Brainscape Pro unlocks unlimited premium content and extra features such as bookmarks and reversible cards.
AnkiApp (Android, iOS)
AnkiApp (Android, iOS) is another smart flashcards app that uses the "Spaced Repetition System" and adaptive learning methods to help users in rote memorization and recall skills. Crammed with free content for a variety of topics and languages, you can use AnkiApp for everything from memorizing foreign characters, developing vocabulary or aiding in listening skills. Users can access a wealth of free flashcard content from Quizlet or create their own, download them into the app for offline use, and sync progress across devices through the AnkiWeb service.