Yes! Oui! Si! Hai! The 6 Best Language Learning Apps to Get You Talking
Learning a new language is not only fun, but it can help you score a new job, make new friends while traveling (when you can leave your house again) or to talk to bilingual family members. There’s no need to leave your house to do so since there are so many apps at our disposal.
Plus, knowing another language is a marketable skill in a variety of fields.
Many of the best language learning apps are inexpensive — pay less than the price of a takeout meal each month. Plus, there are ones that offer lessons that suit your learning style, whether you want a more social experience or play games.
Best Language Learning Apps
Check out our list of language learning apps below and be on your merry way to becoming bilingual and beyond.
1. Drops: Play with Your Words
Don’t want to commit hours to learning a new language? Drops has got you covered. In around five minutes a day, you can get on your phone or mobile device and go through the language learning app’s bite-sized tutorials to learn short phrases and new vocabulary. Drops helps you remember your new language using mnemonic images by pairing the word with an image, then it’s spoken and spelled out to you.
You can choose from over 35 languages — the usual suspects like German and Spanish are available. There are also some unique finds such as Ainu, the language spoken by elders on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, and Icelandic. Those who want to learn now to read and write in a new language can use their companion app, Scripts.
You can use the app for free, though you’ll only be able to access one lesson a day. Premium plans start at $8.49 per month, $5 per month if you pay annually, or grab the lifetime deal at $149.99.
2. Babbel: Language for Life
This popular app models itself after much like what you’d see when attending a foreign language class. The lessons move gradually onto more difficult concepts, starting from translations, then variations of the words or phrases you learned. You’ll also learn other aspects of the language, such as whether it’s formal or informal usage.
The app also provides audio so you can hear the words benign used in everyday conversations and allow you to repeat them for further learning. The lessons are about 15 minutes long and you can track your progress along the way.
There is a free version of Babbel, but you are limited in what you can learn. Subscriptions cost $13.95 a month, $29.85 for three months, $50.70 for six months, or $83.40 per year.
3. Memrise: The Fastest Way to Learn a Language
The occasional language learner will like Memrise, since you don’t have to commit to daily lessons — dip in and out when you wish. The app uses native speakers who speak different words and phrases, helping you learn how it’s used in the real world. You’ll receive a translation of the words or phrases which you can then repeat until you are fluent.
The fun part about Memrise is that you’ll earn points for correct answers — set goals to earn a certain point each day, or publish it on a leaderboard alongside other language learners to motivate you. So far, there are 22 languages, including the most popular languages plus Mongolian and Swedish.
You can use the free version which gives you access to a few free lessons daily. The paid version costs $8.99 per month, $90 per year, or lifetime access for $139.99.
4. Duolingo: The Best New Way to Learn a Language
Like some of the apps on this list, Duolingo teaches you languages based on game-like short lessons. You can progress to more difficult concepts when you pass certain labels, but the app can bring you back down if you’re not reviewing consistently.
Overall, the mobile app is user friendly, providing features such as the number of days in a row you’ve practiced, and how many days you need to reach your goals. You can also access short audio stories called Duolingo Stories to test your comprehension skills. If you want to learn more than one language, you can — though you may not want to overwhelm yourself.
Duolingo is free to use and you can sync with your computer and mobile devices to learn 18 languages. Duolingo Plus, their premium version, costs $6.99 per month and features no ads, the ability to review your mistakes and test out of a level.
5. HelloTalk: Talk to the World
HelloTalk allows users to choose from more than 100 languages by connecting them to native speakers. To learn, you’ll work with the native language speaker and exchange video clips, texts, voice calls and recordings. It’s great if you want a more social aspect and to learn from someone who speaks the language you want to master.
Other features of HelloTalk include grammar and syntax correction and quick-tap translations. You can use this language learning app for free, but the premium version will set you back $4.99 a week, $8.99 a month, or $49.99 a year. Benefits include no ads, the ability to learn multiple languages at once, and chat up to 25 times per day.
6. Lirica: Learn Languages with the Power Of Music
The premise behind newbie Lirica is that you can learn a new language using music. How fun is that? Especially when Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and Usher are your teachers.
The British app gives you vocabulary and grammar lessons based on popular songs from artists from around the world. It also aims to teach you about different cultures where the language is spoken.
Currently, there’s only three language options — English, Spanish, and German — but the app claims it’s rolling out more languages soon. You can try the app for free, but to access all the content, you’ll need to pay $4.99 per month after the free seven-day trial.
There’s a lot of language learning apps to choose from. If you’re not sure where you start, download one and use the free version and stick with the one you like best.
Contributor Sarah Li-Cain is a personal finance writer based in Jacksonville, Florida, specializing in real estate, insurance, banking, loans and credit. She is the host of the Buzzsprout and Beyond the Dollar podcasts.