They say children have better chances of learning a new language, but what happens when adults dare to take up the challenge? Apart from being fun and fascinating, learning a new language comes with numerous other benefits. The most important is its ability to boost and sharpen your memory. Notably, the brain is a muscle, and learning a foreign language gives it the much-needed exercise and enhances its critical thinking department.
Learning a new language entails remembering and applying the vocabulary, adhering to language rules, and remembering new words. Research shows that the multi-lingual have well-exercised brains. As such, it is easier for them to recall directions, names, figures, and facts. Most importantly, their memories do not fade away with time. With technology, learning a foreign language has never been easier. There are plenty of apps and software’s available which use various methods to teach your preferred language. Here are some of the best language learning apps.
This app is probably the most popular, with over 300 million people around the world having been trusted and used its services. Launched in 2011, Duolingo is compatible with Android, Apple, iOS, laptops, and PCs. This means you can take it with you everywhere you go. What’s more, the app is free of charge. However, it offers a premium option for those who do not like disturbance from adverts for $10.
With over 30 languages available, learning is made easy as the modules are broken down according to grammar areas and subjects. The app combines, reading, speaking, writing, and listening.
For a learner to get a good grasp of a foreign language, the best strategy is practice. Tandem allows you to interact with people from all around the world, who are learners like yourself, or even native speakers. The best part about it is that you can choose who to interact with and learn from. The app is free, and communication can either happen through text or voice calls. It also has a flagging system to help you in pronunciations and provides a matching system.
Due to the high levels of interaction, the app has guidelines every user agrees to before starting. This action ensures that you do not deal with creeps and weirdos.
FlashAcademy works along the same lines as Duolingo. It is free and uses gamification to ensure learners stick to their goals. The teaching strategy is gradual, and learners are first introduced to basic vocabulary, and then taught how to apply it in sentences and conversations. A cool feature that comes with FlashAcademy is its ability to use your phone’s camera and translate visuals for you.
The app also tries to illustrate words and match them with cartoon icons. This practice is an effective way to learn vocabulary as you can see the actual items in question. FlashAcademy also offers mini-games. Here, you try and match items to their respective names, while racing against the clock.
4. Lea Knows
Borrowing some aspects from Google Translate, the app helps you save important translations for future reference. At Lea Knows, the translations are sorted out by placing stars on the most frequently used, while the others that are not so common are archived. This process is automatic, and you can further sort the translations by alphabetical order, frequently viewed, most recent, or color-code them for enhanced visibility.
The main idea behind the app is to help you remember the most frequently used phrases in a language. Instead of just using them once and forgetting. The app is free.
TripLingo is a language learning app that targets frequent travelers. Instead of teaching you vocabulary, the app teaches you common phrases you will use in your trip to a foreign country. All you need to do is select the country, and phrases that center around greetings, shopping, business, getting around, dining among others appear. Other features that come with the app include an image translator, currency converter, WI-FI dialer, voice translator, among others.
The app is free for basic access which is sufficient for the occasional traveler. Frequent travelers can upgrade to full access for a small fee.
With 14 languages to choose from, Babbel is a free language app compatible with iOS and Android systems. The app uses traditional teaching methods of listening, speaking, and writing. It also has a grammar and vocabulary section. The language courses are in-depth and go a step further by providing cultural insights and local traditions. The courses come in two versions; beginner and intermediate.
The style of teaching on the app leans towards a lot of repetition on each language course. This feature may seem a bit dull for some learners. It also does not use gaming or visual animated icons.
HiNative uses a different approach to learning your favorite language. It is more of a question and answers app used to ask people about their language and culture. Once you sign up, you fill in the language you are proficient in, and the one you would like to learn. From there, you are allowed to ask your first question. It is like a crowdsourcing language app and comes in handy if you would like to learn specific words and phrases.
HiNative is free and meant for those who do not have the time to invest in a full language course. It, therefore, provides a platform to get a crash course.
Offering 12 languages and available for iOS and Android, Busuu is a great app that can rival Duolingo. So, if you are willing to fork out $8.33 monthly with a 3-month minimum subscription for the premium service, then this is the app for you. The basic language learning is free, though, and the app offers courses for beginners up to intermediate level. Busuu also allows you to interact with native speakers to sharpen your skills.
Courses are divided depending on type and topic with selected gamification to keep the learning process interesting. The courses are internationally recognized and match the CEFR level.
Although it is not a strictly language only platform, Udemy has various language courses. There are short basic and free language courses. There are also in-depth paid courses split into parts. The course prices vary, and teaching comprises of video lectures, listening practice, supplementary files, and quizzes. The courses also allow access to lecturers and tutors.
The language courses on Udemy have variations as they are drawn up by different instructors. To help you choose the best, you can read through the various reviews to act as a guide.
Available on both iOS and Android, Memrise is a popular app for learning languages. The teaching method puts special emphasis on memorization and repetition to get a good grasp of the foreign language of your choice. Here, words and phrases are practice-based and connected with relevant topics. After that, the focus turns to practical words and phrases. Notably, pronunciation happens through videos from native speakers.
The basic part of the app is free of charge, but Memrise also offers subscription lessons at $4.90 per month. Here, other features are unlocked, such as chats with native speakers, an offline option, and unlimited access to other modes.
Although it covers a small number of languages, Lingvist is one of the most impressive apps available. It offers Spanish, French, Russian, and German. There is also a short course dedicated to Estonian as an extra. Instead of classifying the language in topics, like the majority of apps, the content is separated by its level of difficulty. With practice, a learner moves up the ranks.
Lingvist offers both free and premium courses. The free courses have a total of 3000 vocabularies on offer; a learner has a restriction of 50 new ones a day, plus one challenge. The premium service offers unlimited access.
12. Hello Talk
Hello Talk promotes conversation with native speakers as the best way to learn a foreign language. With its resemblance to a social media site, the app is interactive through text, video, and audio. To further improve your skills, you can share social media moments. It also has an in-built grammar correction tool, translation, and voice recognition. Instead of giving assignments, Hello Talk uses conversation as its practice tool.
With over 150 languages available, the app is free but also offers a VIP subscription package which costs $21.99 annually or $2.99 monthly. The premium package comes with additional features.
13. Lingo Deer
Offering predominantly Asian languages, Lingo Deer offers interactive lessons for Japanese, Mandarin, and Korean. The app offers simple and convenient learning as the lessons are designed to take only 10 minutes per day. Each course comprises of over 2000 words and phrases plus recordings featuring native speakers to aid in pronunciations.
To enable you to access all the features of the app, you have to register as a member for $3.99 per month. The app also has a free section containing the language basics. Lingo Deer uses a flashcard system to help you review all you have learned.
Ling offers Spanish, English, Hindi, Chinese, and Portuguese among other prominent languages. The app encourages the culture of learning five words per day. This practice is a simple step by step concept, and by the end of the year, you will have learned 1825 words. The words classified come under various topics such as travel and business. The course classification run from beginner to advanced levels.
To access the entire program, it costs $3.99 monthly, but there is a limited amount of courses available free of charge. The app is compatible with both iOS and Android systems, and the various courses are in-depth and detailed.
15. Innovative Language
With over 34 languages available, Innovative Language uses video and audio lessons to teach. Notably, you can access a 7-day free premium trial on all languages on offer. Weekly video and audio lessons for life come at no cost, and new vocabulary is sent straight to your email daily. An offline mode is also available to enable you to continue learning even without WI-FI connection.
You can also juggle learning between your Smartphone, PC, and laptop with ease. The app has two premium subscriptions; a $25 monthly package and a $47 which offers a one -on -one tutor.
You can learn up to 33 languages on offer courtesy of Mondly. Language introductions involve core words, sentence construction, frequently used phrases, and practice conversations. The app also comes with acted voice lines, a speech recognition tool that provides instant feedback and conjugated verbs. Additionally, Mondly has an in-built progress monitor, fully equipped with advanced statistics.
The app has free and paid sections with monthly rates averaging $9.99. Mondly is a well-researched app, that combines technology and neuroscience, to enable you to learn and speak the language of your choice in the shortest possible time.
This app provides a fun and captivating way to learn a foreign language with the use of music. Lyrics Training is easy to use even for younger and older learners. You only need to choose your preferred language and select a song by title or genre. The song is presented in three formats; karaoke, where you sing along, with gaps so you can fill in the missing words, or with missing lyrics and multiple choices.
The fewer mistakes you make, the higher your score. The basic part of LyricsTraining is free. The premium package unlocks other learning features and options at $2.86 monthly.
18. Easy Ten
This app, just like the name suggests, teaches you ten words of a foreign language of your choice every day. Portuguese, English, Russian, Italian, French, German and Spanish are some of the languages available on Easy Ten. The ten selected words take five minutes only. To help monitor your progress, the app comes with an electronic calendar where you can post your development.
The basic ten words for each language are offered free. To help unlock more vocabularies after you have exhausted, the free service costs $7.99 per month. The app is available for iOs and Android systems.
19. Rosetta Stone
Launched in 1992, Rosetta Stone is one of the pioneer language learning software. Rosetta Stone uses a unique teaching technique aimed at enabling you to speak like a native. Without referring to your native language, the software uses pictures which you should match to words or phrases. You can then select the correct answers from a provided list. Alternatively, you can type in the appropriate translation.
The course comes with an online tutor, various games, and community access privileges. The course does not come cheap though; an annual subscription averages $179-$240. It can cost even more for advanced levels.
Pimsleur is designed for the language learner constantly on the move and comes with an in-built hands-free option. According to the app, language learners who sacrifice 30 minutes a day for 30 days can acquire an intermediate proficiency level during that time. Available for iOS, Web and Android systems, Pimsleur teaches using quizzes, flashcards and also has a skills section for travelers.
You can try a free lesson to see if it is the right app for you. The two premium subscriptions on offer cost $14.95 monthly for audio lessons and reading, and $19.95 for the second option.
What you need to know when seeking a language learning software – Buying Guide
Learning a foreign language is not only healthy but can advance your career to the next level. Choosing the perfect app, however, can be a daunting task due to the sheer large number of options available. Here is how to go about it;
Do enough research before learning new language
Select the language you would like to learn, and then look for the platform, in that order. Preferably, choose a widely used and marketable language. This action will give you plenty of avenues to practice your skills. Learning a rare language will pose a challenge when it comes to putting it into practice. Check learning app reviews and ratings online to get an idea of the teaching methods, study materials, and overall quality. If you plan on using a paid platform, select a suitable one that is budget-friendly.
What is your commitment to learning?
Ensure the app you choose is convenient for you in relation to your schedule. Learning under pressure does not provide a conducive environment to study a new language. Settle for an app that encourages you since learning a new language is not a light undertaking.
How easy is it to practice in the new language?
Do not be overly dependent on the language learning app. It should only provide the foundation. The secret to grasping a foreign language well, within a short period, comes from practicing as much as possible. A language is a skill, the less it is used, the more it fades. Search for online platforms where you can interact with native speakers and practice, get corrected, and learn how to apply the language in everyday situations.
What is the price tag for the language?
For basic language learning, you are better off opting for free apps. However, you may find better learning experiences through subscription apps. The price you are willing to pay should depend on your level, commitment, and ease of learning.
Learning a new language calls for patience and determination. Remember, it all boils down to your zeal and passion. Before the advent of the internet, learning a new language would only be possible through one-on-one interaction. However, the digital age is now offering a plethora of opportunities and possibilities on language learning. With the above options for language learning, you have no excuse not to learn at least one foreign language.