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 language learning app, you can use fun and convenient ways to sharpen your language skills.
Language learning apps support multiple languages and offer many convenient lessons that you can complete anytime and anywhere, even during your daily commute. You have hundreds of options out there, so choose wisely.
We’ve made a list of our favorites to help you get started.
What is the best way to learn a language?
No single strategy is best for language learning. There are as many learning methods as there are successful language learners. If you want to speak a foreign language fluently, you need to find the right teaching methods that will help you progress. For instance, you can study with a friend and keep each other motivated. To expand your vocabulary, you can read books written in the language you’re trying to learn. You may also use a flashcard system.
Of course, not everyone has the time to study with a partner or read a new book every week. That’s where language learning apps come in. By downloading a single app on your phone, you gain access to a wealth of resources in multiple languages. With an app, you can improve your speaking and writing skills anytime and anywhere.
How to choose the best language learning apps
Different language learning apps cater to a variety of users. They offer unique teaching methods and support multiple languages — Spanish, French, and Irish to name a few. Needless to say, you need to find the right app that offers what you need. The question is: how?
The first thing you need to do is figure out if you’re willing to pay for an app or not. Either way, you will have a myriad of options available. Once you’ve made your decision, you need to find the best language learning software that supports the language you want to learn. It also helps if you determine how you want to be taught. Let’s say you want to hone your writing skills. You might want to choose an app that offers comprehensive spelling and vocabulary lessons. If you’re a visual learner, you could opt to use an app that integrates visual content into its course materials.
Knowing what you need and what you can afford will lead you to an app that will empower you to communicate in a foreign language fluently and confidently.
Best Language Learning App Overall
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.
The app empowers you to speak with confidence through interactive dialogues and speech recognition technology. Babbel makes sure you’ll remember your lessons through curated review sessions that will revisit what you’ve previously learned but in a new context.
Babbel is available on the App Store and Google Play.
- Has interactive dialogues
- Offers bite-sized lessons
- Has curated review sessions
- Small language selection
Best for Helping you Remember Specific Phrases
Mondly and Mondly Premium 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. It also trains your ear to recognize the language you are studying. The app uses daily, weekly, and monthly lessons so you can keep it going as long as you like.
Mondly also uses games to teach and offers a ton of languages to choose from. One of the best features of Mondly is the chatbot feature, so you can try out your new language and have real conversations (from a script) that help you learn to speak and write your new language.
Another huge upside for using Mondly is the AR feature that allows you to converse with a digital human being. You do need to download another app for this to work, however. The AR features use speech recognition to test your skills.
The downside to Mondly as with every other language learning app is grammar can be confusing, and there is not a lot of explanation. Other than that, you will get your money’s worth from Mondly.
- Has a chatbot and AR feature
- Supports over 40 languages
- Grammar can be confusing
Best for Learning Multiple Languages
Duolingo is one of the best free language learning apps today. It supports more than 30 languages. The app uses a combination of text, audio, and visual content to make language learning fun. After each lesson, you will receive more challenging tasks. Many of its lessons are produced by native speakers. Duolingo isn’t intended only for native English speakers.
No matter what language you wish to learn, you will find certain courses designed for non-native English speakers. Best of all, the app teaches fictional languages such as Klingon and High Valyrian from the cult classics Star Trek and Game of Thrones.
This free language learning app has an ad-free subscription model called Duo Plus. It’s available for Android, iOS, and Windows devices.
- Supports over 30 languages
- No sign-up required
- Offers different fun, engaging course materials
- Pronunciation exercises are too lax
- Spelling exercises are too tedious
Best for Learning to Speak Casually in a New Language
Memrise is a free language learning app that offers offline courses. The app has a user-friendly interface, perfect for users who aren’t tech-savvy. It caters to beginners and advanced language learners alike. You can always start from the very beginning of their course materials, but you also have the option to skip all the way to the advanced lessons.
The app offers fun and practical lessons in a highly customizable format. For instance, it lets you determine the number of words you can absorb in one lesson. They take positive reinforcement seriously. Each time you give a correct answer, you are rewarded with points. You also graduate through a silly yet endearing rank system. Perhaps the best thing about Memrise is that it teaches conversational language that you can use in everyday situations. It supports multiple languages, and it has a pro version.
Memrise is available for download on Android and iOS devices.
- Has offline courses
- Provides upgrade options
- Uses video clips from native speakers for their course materials
- Requires users to sign up
- Limited pronunciation exercises
5. Rosetta Stone
Best for Fast Learning
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.
Many people who use Rosetta Stone can speak a new language quite well within a few months. The only downside to Rosetta Stone is that it is much pricier than the competition. But if you are the best, you can charge more.
- Supports lots of languages
- Multi-platform support
- Learning method seems out of order
Best Language Learning App for Offline Use
Busuu connects language learners worldwide. Users who are part of their massive community can help each other out and teach fellow language enthusiasts their native tongue. The app caters to learners of all levels. They also have special language courses for travel, perfect for long vacations in countries where English isn’t widely spoken.
The language learning software serves bite-sized lessons for beginners, all of which you can access offline. Again, Busuu is an ideal companion for travel. It might have a small language selection, but it provides many tips for local usage. Unfortunately, most of its best features require payment. If you want unlimited conversations with foreign students, and other advanced features, you should get Busuu Premium.
The app is available on the App Store and Google Play.
- Ideal for all experience levels
- Allows language learners to socialize
- Provides full language courses in bite-sized portions
- Offline language learning app
- Small language selection
- Most of the app’s features require payment
Best to Practice Vocabulary with Flashcards
AccelaStudy 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.
With AccelaStudy, you can even build your own course and decide which words you want to prioritize. They also have a hands-free mode so you can learn new words and phrases safely during your daily commute.
The app is only available for iOS devices.
- Has multiple learning models
- Offers a driving feature
- Not available for Android
- Small language selection
Best for Language Learning with a Teacher
Italki, on the other hand, is a tutor-based system where you choose a teacher and learn to speak a new language one-on-one. Italki earns rave reviews and rates the teachers well, and the students seem to like the format and the quality of instruction.
However, you have to load money into your account before choosing a class. You can’t just pay-as-you-go, and you may not hit it off with the first tutor you hire. Most instructors are pretty affordable, however.
How to Start Learning a Foreign Language (tips and tricks)
If the idea of starting to learn a new language seems daunting, don’t worry, we have you covered. Here are some tried and true tips and tricks on how to use the best apps to learn a new language quickly.
- Tip #1 - Decide on a Reasonable Goal
Don’t overwhelm yourself by deciding you will become fluent in a new language overnight. Set realistic goals for yourself with a little each day and take it one step at a time. Don’t forget to reward yourself for reaching each daily goal.
- Tip #2 - Create a New Habit
Learning anything new or trying to change your life needs to become a regular, routine thing. Create a new habit by practicing your new language every day at the same time, and make it a part of your new lifestyle. Diets don’t work because we see them as a fleeting thing. Make your language learning a permanent part of your life.
- Tip #3 - Immerse Yourself in the Language
Don’t just spend ten minutes a day learning a new language. Immerse yourself in it by watching foreign movies, testing yourself, having conversations with others who are fluent, and making up games to keep the new language on your mind at all times throughout the day.
- Tip #4 - Reward Yourself
Once you become fluent in your new language, take a trip to the country where they speak it. Hold the idea of this reward in your mind as you learn. It will help to motivate you to reach your goal.
- Tip #5 - Use Technology to Help
There are so many great apps out there that teach you everything from dog grooming and exercise tips to language learning. Take advantage of all the free apps out there and purchase a good one if you like it, and it works for you.
Language Learning with Netflix
Did you know you can learn to speak a new language using Netflix and a Chrome extension? Users love the Language Learning with Netflix plugin that allows you to view subtitles in two languages (comparing your native language with the new one). You can even listen to subtitles for each and adjust the playback speed so you can learn as you go. There is also a built-in language dictionary so you can look up the meaning of words on the fly.
Language Learning with Netflix is definitely one of the best language apps for Netflix.
NflxMultiSubs is another popular language learning with Netflix extension for Chrome. It boasts of secondary subtitles for most languages, including Japanese and Russian.
It syncs the secondary subtitles to the audio tracks within the video and seamlessly integrates with the native video player. You can also adjust playback with this one as well.
Another plugin for Chrome, Netflix Subtitles Translator ranks 4+ stars with users for translation during video playback. It includes audio and visual support and can translate a phrase or each word.
Use the pop-up overlay to select options during your film. So, if you are looking for free language learning apps, this one is a keeper.
Language Learning with Grammarly
English is the most widely used language in the world. However, the grammatical rules and exceptions are complex. In a word, it is not easy to learn. Thankfully, there are dozens of apps and tools to help you pick up the nuances and subtleties that pepper the English language. One such tool is the popular grammar checker called Grammarly.
Grammarly is one of the best grammar checker apps in the world. You can also use it to learn English. Grammarly instructs you about proper sentence structure, grammatical rules, and punctuation, and it can help a non-native English speaker to learn the ropes as they go. It even assists with sentence flow and makes suggestions to enhance your writing, so the reader understands it clearly. The more you use it, the better you will get.
Along with Grammarly, the grammar checker, you also have at your disposal the Grammarly Handbook with hundreds of tips on learning English and all the grammar rules to speak and write fluently. Grammarly’s blog is also a treasure trove of tips and helpful suggestions on how to best learn the English language.
Language Learning with Reverso
Reverso is an online language translation tool that you can also download to your mobile device or add to your browser. You can translate between more than a dozen languages in either direction. The simple interface allows you to copy and paste in text that you want to see translated, and then all you do is click the yellow “translate” button. It couldn’t be easier to learn a new language using the Reverso tool. You can even upload an entire document, and have it translated, and they have corporate options as well. Reverso is powered by AI and completely free to use except for company plans.
One of the nicest features is after Reverso translates your text, you can hear it in both languages to compare and learn. Pronunciation is key when learning a new language, so this feature is essential. Reverso even offers up international keyboards so you can add accents and other characters germane to a specific language. The built-in spell checker and dictionary helps to keep your translations clean. Reverso is a great tool for your back pocket when learning a new language, and the best part is, it’s free!
Language Learning Apps FAQs
What’s the best program to learn a language?
Because everyone learns differently and has a specific budget for language learning, there is no one-size-fits-all learning app for everyone. The best program to learn a language is one that fits your particular needs and budget.
Which is better: Babbel or Duolingo?
When comparing the best language apps, which is better Babbel or Duolingo? Duolingo is free but less sophisticated than Babbel. There are also some privacy concerns surrounding Duolingo and what is done with your information while using the app. Babbel is a respected contender in language learning, but they do charge fees, and it won’t make you fluent. Both have good and bad points; there is no clear winner as to which is better. However, if you are serious about learning a new language, Babbel might be a better option for you.
Is Mondly better than Duolingo?
Comparing Mondly and Duolingo is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Mondly is fee-based and better equipped to teach you a language, but it pares in comparison to other competitors. Duolingo is free to use and less feature-rich. If you are looking to dabble in language learning, try Duolingo since it is free, and you won’t lose any money while you decide.
Can I become fluent by using Babbel?
No. Even the best language learning app won’t make you fluent. You will need to supplement your self-study with outside resources and then practice speaking in your chosen language to get good enough to be fluent.
What’s better: Babbel or Rosetta Stone?
Many would say Rosetta Stone is a better language learning app, but it is really a matter of preference. Rosetta Stone offers more languages and is better for novices, but it is also much more expensive than Babbel. Rosetta Stone also does not include translations and explanations in English whereas Babbel does. Which is better? It’s a purely personal decision.
Whether you want to speak a second language or you want to communicate with the locals during your vacation, a language learning app will come in handy. Now that we’ve revealed our favorites, explore all of the options we mentioned above and select an app that can deliver what you need.
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