9 Best Language Learning Apps: Learning a new language can be quite a challenge because where do you start learning, for example, Spanish or French? Fortunately, you can use a number of handy apps on your smartphone and tablet to help you learn a language step by step.
Learning a foreign language takes time. And money, if you want to take real lessons or purchase an expensive language course. Your smartphone can also be a useful help and fortunately, there are a lot of free or cheap options. We show you how to learn a language using apps.
Using language learning apps has many advantages. But the selection is now huge. So, the question arises, which of the language learning apps is right for me? We discussed this issue with our language learning experts and came out with a list of specific recommendations from the best language learning apps.
Learn a language with an app
It does not matter if you want to learn a language seriously or if you want to learn some basic things like hello, please and thank you before you go on vacation. There are plenty of apps available that help you make a little understandable abroad. With these seven language apps, you can practice and learn to speak a different language via your Android smartphone or tablet.
Duolingo is by far the best-known app and helps enormously in learning a new language. If you only speak Dutch, you can only follow an English course via Duolingo. If, however, you speak English well enough, you have many more options. For example, Spanish, French, German and Italian, but also non-everyday languages such as Turkish, Norwegian and Russian are offered. Duolingo starts with the basics and first learns simple words and grammatical constructions that are useful for when you are on vacation. When you have reached a level, you score points.
The learned things are repeated over and over again. In the app, you can set goals by tapping Profile / Set Goal and Settings / Notifications indicate if Duolingo can send you a message when it is time to practice. This is advisable to help your self-discipline a bit. Duolingo is completely free, every language consists of a lot of lessons and provides you with enough information to order something fluently on the holiday on a terrace or to have a conversation with someone. Of course, the app also speaks words and phrases so you can immediately practice the pronunciation.
The app syncs automatically here with the computer program. Some criticism is however also appropriate. The program is partly very playful, in addition, some sentences are quite meaningless, so it is not suitable for everyone. However, and that’s why we’ve included the app on the list, we keep talking to learners who like the program and the app. Especially with the English source language, the app scores with the multitude of languages that one can learn.
It is one of the best known online language courses, Babbel. Whether as a web version or the language learning app, Babbel knows how to convince. The Berlin-based company now offers 14 different languages - German as a foreign language, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Polish, Turkish and Norwegian.
For the app specifically, these advantages speak:
- The language course lessons are only a few minutes long. Therefore, you can do it well via app while waiting or in train or bus.
- You do not have to worry about the organization at all, because the app automatically syncs across all devices (computer, tablet, smartphone).
- On the smartphone, offline use is possible. This is good for long train journeys or stays abroad, so whenever you do not have a stable internet connection. However, you have to download the learning content beforehand.
- If you subscribe to the web version, the app will not cost you anything.
- Free trial possible + money back guarantee.
With HelloTalk you can communicate in record-breaking 100+ languages. The goal of the app is that the learners help each other. Each user teaches and learns a language at the same time. Suppose you want to learn French. For example, you’ll find Mélisande from Bordeaux – so Mélisande learns German from you and you French from her. By the way, you also get the big wide world into the house.
Learn languages. Let me coach you now.
To find language partners, you can enter various search criteria such as country, language, distance to your own place of residence and much more. So you adapt the search exactly to the people you want to write and the chances increase that you get an answer.
HelloTalk also has some great additional features:
- You can have voice messages converted to text. This is very convenient because written messages are generally much easier to understand than spoken ones. The reverse is also true: you can also have texts converted into language.
- The HelloTalk app can also convert unknown characters, such as Chinese or Russian, into a familiar alphabet, making it easier to read the messages.
- In addition, HelloTalk can also translate the texts into their own learning language. So you speak in your native language and HelloTalk converts the text into your learning language. That makes the app interesting even for beginners.
- HelloTalk offers the possibility to make free calls with language partners. This is now again advantageous for the advanced because even longer conversations are possible.
Memrise is another good app. Not only languages are learning with the app, but you can also improve your knowledge of, for example, topography with Memrise. The concept of Memrise is to give smaller lessons instead of offering a large course. In the app, you choose a course and as with Duolingo, you will be heard by the app. You can listen to the pronunciation of a word or phrase and if you need a reminder, tap Help me learn this. A so-called ‘mem’, a mnemonic or an image will appear to help you remember the sentence or word. These mems are made by users and therefore differ in quality. The app is free to use and offers many courses. You can upgrade to a Pro plan, but with the free version, you are also just as sweet.
Memrise is a vocabulary app and offers the advantage that you can create your own courses, but you can also use ready-made courses. The exercises are varied, but best of all, the app organizes your lessons. As soon as “blue” vocabulary needs to be done, you should do that. You can even set a daily goal in this app. How to progress quickly.
In the basic version, this app is free, but also here, the paid version is recommended, because this offers some advantages:
- You can download all the courses and learn offline. In the basic version, this function is severely limited.
- The feature “Meet the locals,” which singles the phrases as videos by locals, is great and only available in the premium version.
- You can also use the “difficult words” function only in the premium version. “Difficult words” are all words that you did not know and that you can repeat separately.
- Incidentally, Memrise is not just an app, but also a computer program. So you create your account on the computer and download the app to your smartphone. Take advantage of the free version first, and then upgrade to the paid version, if you liked Memrise found.
One of the best apps of 2015, Busuu, teaches your languages in a number of different ways. You can practice speaking and writing, but you will also receive grammar tips and you will hear sound fragments. Furthermore, the application also tests whether your new language knowledge has lingered with quizzes. Busuu teaches you the 3000 most important words in a language divided over 150 different topics.
6. LingQ App
LingQ is a language learning platform that focuses on authentic input as a crucial element. Without the boring cramming of grammar rules, the user should learn to speak fluently. So far the theory.
What makes LingQ very interesting, it was developed by the language learning professional (Polyglot) Steve Kaufmann. He speaks well over 10 languages fluently and should know how to learn best. The app is also good, albeit with a small limitation. We recommend you mainly for advanced learners! Which in turn is good news, because especially if you already have some language skills, the offers are rare, since most language learning apps rather aimed at beginners without previous knowledge.
Here is the conclusion of our extensive test report :
“[…] If you do not have to worry about grammar and understand most of the lyrics, and only have to look up individual words, LingQ is a very helpful tool, which gives you a great deal of qualitative input. Especially for beginners and for learners of non-European languages (and especially for the combination of both) LingQ is, unfortunately, more frustration than desire. […] “
With Google Translate you can also translate spoken texts, but this is easier with the SayHi app. The app uses the algorithms and database of Google but is fully focused on the fast translation of the spoken text. At the bottom, you see two buttons for two different languages. Set one language to Dutch and the other language to the target language by choosing another language at the top. For example, if you want to have a conversation with a Frenchman, make sure that the green box is set to French and the blue box to Dutch. Tap the blue box, wait for the beeps and speak something in Dutch
8. Google Translate
Google Translate is not just a useful website, the app can also help you learn a language. You must have an active internet connection to translate sentences and words. The app can recognize the source language itself, but you can also indicate which language you want to translate a word or phrase. A smart function is that you can use the camera of your smartphone to translate a text. Tap the camera icon and point your camera at the text you want to translate. Tap the red button and the app scans the text. Then you can mark a part of the text and if you tap the blue arrow, you will see the translation appear.
As with normal translations with Google Translate, the result is not always perfect, but to quickly translate a menu card abroad, the app is a welcome help. For languages with a different script, you can use the right-hand icon in Google Translate. For example, draw a Chinese character with your finger to translate it into Dutch or English.
9. Language-specific apps
There are of course hundreds of apps for every specific language. If you want to learn a language like Chinese, Korean or Japanese, it is important to be able to read the script. There are apps available in the form of games that you can learn in a playful way Hangul (Korea), Hiragana (Japan) or the Greek alphabet. For Spanish, an app like Conjuverb is very useful. So you have all the conjugations of verbs at hand. Do you want to learn Russian? Then take a look at an app like Russian Learning 6000 Words in the Google Play Store. For the German language, Der Die Das is a handy app. You get to see words and have to guess whether it is a male, female or neuter word.
Which language learning app suits me best?
We have seen, meanwhile, a wide variety of different language learning apps has become established on the market. We also meet different learning approaches. And since each one of us learns differently, that is, of course, to be welcomed. To find out which of the top 10 language learning apps works best for you, you have two options:
Test your type of learning:
The app that best suits my type of learning is ideal. So you will achieve the fastest progress. The analysis of your own learning type is very easy. Click here to test your learning style and get a comprehensive recommendation of the language learning apps that suit you best.
Install, Test, Buy:
Install, Test, Buy
Something like this could be the best course of action. If you’re unsure about your type of learning, try out the various language learning apps and see if you’re satisfied. If not, uninstall and try the next one. Since most apps offer free sample content, this works very well. However, to be able to use the full scope, you must invest a few euros.
Conclusion: language learning apps
As you can see, the selection is huge, and we’ve really limited ourselves to 10 language learning apps. Of course, the various app stores are even more ready. Which app it should finally be for you, of course, depends on your type of learning. The good thing, you can try most apps for free and buy them as a favor.
Which language learning app has made it to your smartphone? Let us know in the comments which app belongs to your favorites.