The 10 Best Language Learning Apps That Really Work

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Whether you’re gearing up to go on vacation abroad, studying for exams, or just want to expand the languages you know, a good app is all you need to integrate the language learning process into your daily routine. Here are the best language learning apps to choose from.

1 Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone has been a leader in teaching languages for over 25 years. The practice methods are mostly standard: listen to words and repeat them or match photos to phrases.

As you advance, the activities become more challenging. You can see your language learning progress and how many correct and wrong answers you made in each lesson.

The app has several other features to help you learn, including but not limited to courses for different social situations, stories you can listen to and repeat, phrasebooks, and video tutorials.

You only get a three-day trial to test the app’s full capabilities. After that, you can keep using the free version with limited features or pay a subscription.

Overall, Rosetta Stone is for learning key phrases through a range of activities that evolve with you.

Download: Rosetta Stone for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

2 Duolingo

With a bright and intuitive interface, Duolingo lets you progress at your own pace. You start with simple phrases and gradually move to more complex sentences.

Duolingo’s premium version covers reading, writing, and pronunciation and challenges you with a fun range of activities. You can pick up the basics without even realizing it.

It’s easy to revisit the lessons and work on your weaknesses, which is one of the best ways to learn. You can even compete with other users, collect rewards, create an avatar, and more.

There are several differences between Duolingo and Rosetta Stone. For instance, Duolingo doesn’t have as much variety in terms of practical teaching methods. However, its game-like design and range of languages and tools rightfully make it one of the best language learning apps around.

Download: Duolingo for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

3 Busuu

Boasting millions of users worldwide, the best aspect of Busuu is its smooth interactivity. Considering how useful social media is to learning a new language, this app’s user-friendly design is an asset.

With 14 languages, full courses that include accent training, and exercise reviews from a community of native speakers, you get a top language learning experience with Busuu.

A placement test ensures you start at the right level. This is terrific if, for example, you’re not a complete beginner but want to practice the language skills you learned earlier.

The app also provides offline access, personalized lessons for better grammar and vocabulary tips, official certificates, and more with its premium upgrade.

If you stay on the app’s free version, you have to deal with ads and constant prompts to go premium. Despite the slight hassle, Busuu has plenty of tools to accommodate serious language learners.

Download: Busuu for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

4 Pimsleur

If you’re often on the go and love podcasts, Pimsleur is the best language learning app for you, as its winning features focus on listening and repetition, even offering a driving mode.

Its core lessons are very high-quality, breaking down every syllable of practical conversations and explaining linguistic details.

Besides podcast tutorials, the app offers tools like flashcards, matching games, speaking exercises, and lessons on a country’s lifestyle and etiquette.

The only problem with Pimsleur is that it’s not a free app. You can try one lesson and enjoy a seven-day trial before paying for a subscription. If you don’t mind the cost, however, this is a must-have language learning app.

Download: Pimsleur for Android | iOS (Subscription required)

5 HelloTalk

HelloTalk connects you to people who speak the language you want to learn. In return, you help them learn your language. It’s a basic yet valuable idea that lets you talk to native speakers and get fully immersed in a language.

There’s a huge list of languages to choose from, and you can refine your list of possible tutors by age, location, gender, and more.

HelloTalk is among the best language learning apps because it’s designed as a versatile social network. It breaks down barriers between countries, and that’s what learning another language is all about.

Besides talking to native speakers from around the world, you can join group chats and live events, find professional teachers, and even translate any word you don’t understand with a single tap.

The biggest downside is that all these features can make the app overwhelming. It’s also important, as with any social media site, that you stay safe and don’t share your personal information online.

Download: HelloTalk for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

6 Memrise

Many students use flashcards to help them through their exams, and Memrise takes a similar approach, starting slowly.

To learn Russian, for instance, you’re guided through the Cyrillic alphabet while learning new words. Cards are often repeated to help their meaning sink in.

There’s something quaint and inviting about the app’s simplistic visual aids, as if it’s a friend giving you personalized tips. Unfortunately, instructions aren’t always clear, and you don’t get speaking tools like with other apps.

Even so, Memrise has a friendly, encouraging interface with extra language learning features beyond flashcards, such as video tutorials and text-based conversations. Memrise Pro offers games, chatbots, and an offline mode for learning on the go.

Download: Memrise for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

7 Babbel

Babbel is a subscription-based app where you can try out the first lesson and a few other features for free.

Choose from 14 languages, listen and repeat words, and then test what you learn. You can also disable the microphone and just hear the words spoken to you with a brief quiz at the end.

When you finish lessons, you can view vocabulary lists and choose from flashcards, speaking, or writing exercises to review what you learned.

If you’re serious about learning another language and don’t mind the subscription price, Babbel is an obvious choice.

A disadvantage to keep in mind is that some of the app’s courses for beginners aren’t easy, and not just because the language in question is difficult. But this also makes Babbel perfect for learners who enjoy a challenge.

Download: Babbel for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

8 Drops

Drops is an extremely user-friendly and fun way to learn a new language fast. Instead of teaching you about grammar or cultural insights, Drops focuses on commonly used words and phrases to assist you in general everyday communication.

This app isn’t the best if you recently moved to a new country and need practical communication skills. However, its conversational aspect makes it a great guide when traveling from place to place.

You’ll only need to dedicate five minutes a day to Drops lessons, and your quick understanding of a new language will shock you. You have 51 languages and dialects to choose from.

The main disadvantage is that the free plan only lets you do one session every 10 hours. To progress faster, you need to upgrade to the premium version.

Download: Drops for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

9 Tandem

While most apps we listed focus on language retention, Tandem is more like HelloTalk, focusing heavily on language exchange. You select a partner with the native language you wish to learn, start a conversation, and quickly develop natural language skills.

This app is fantastic because it empowers native speakers and encourages human connection. The sharing of cultures is the best way to understand a new language instead of simply memorizing and reciting the same keywords over and over again.

A big downside is that the free version puts you on a waiting list for access to the app. Once you’re approved and make a friend, however, you can quickly start chatting via text or video. There are clubs and live parties to join, too.

A premium upgrade lets you skip the waiting list and unlock the best parts of this language learning app, including unlimited translations and access to a broader range of members.

Download: Tandem for Android | iOS (Free, premium version available)

10 Mondly

Mondly boasts classic language learning techniques, like memorizing flashcards and practicing conversations, but it’s home to other great features that help increase your language retention.

With Mondly, you can connect your language learning with friends and family to turn the experience into a game or friendly competition. If there’s no one around, don’t worry. Mondly’s chatbot can help you practice at any time.

Mondly even has an AR language learning tool to help you better understand the world around you from another culture’s perspective. You can only access such special features with a premium package, but if you like simple and insightful training, Mondly’s basic version may be sufficient.

Download: Mondly for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

Speaking more than one language improves your memory, enhances your perception of the world, and gives you greater command of your mother tongue. It can even help your business expand and introduce you to new friends.

Simply put, it’s a wonderful way to become a polyglot. With the best, easy-to-use language learning apps at your disposal, there’s no reason not to dabble in Spanish, French, Gaelic, or even Mongolian.

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