Best Language Learning Apps
What are the best language learning apps online?
This is a common question we get from new language learners. Which language learning apps should they use and are there different apps that serve its own purpose? Rather than sharing this information solely in a private setting, we thought it’d be more effective to publish this information publicly for everyone to benefit from.
Before we share the best language learning apps to use, we should first go over the different categories of language learning in general. From a high-level perspective, these are the main ones we’ll go over with you:
- Writing/Reading (i.e. Grammar)
Each of these areas of language learning are vital in their own right. While many language learning apps, such as those around conversation will likely cover all 3, there are language learning apps that have their specialty focus.
Speaking & Conversation Skills
To begin, the holy grail of language learning: conversation skills. Most people who are trying to learn a new language are doing it to become conversational with other native speakers. The reason is, the motivation to learn is to build a stronger relationship with extended family members, friends, spouse, or business clients. And other reasons such as travel and for personal development will also involve speaking.
Given this strong emphasis on being able to speak conversationally, the best language learning apps will revolve around practicing with real human beings. Particularly, native speakers of the target language.
Rype is the first recommendation we’ll make, because we’ve designed an entire experience to help you accelerate your conversation skills faster. From bite-sized lessons with handpicked professional teachers to the ability to learn anytime, anywhere in the world, it’s the most convenient way to become conversationally fluent on your time.
On top of that, we offer fully customized language programs based on your specific needs, goals, and proficiency level, allowing you to learn only what you care about. This undivided attention and live immersive learning is what will propel you to improve your language speaking skills in record time. Try it risk-free and get your first 7 days here.
Another route to take is going on a free conversation exchange to find fellow language partners that you can pair up with. There are pros and cons to this approach, so it’s up to you to assess what’s best for you.
- It’s free to use
- No pressure to use your skills (which can be a negative since pressure can be good)
- Time consuming (finding a language partner)
- Requires you to spend 50% of the time teaching your partner
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If you’re not interested in paying to learn a new language, it’ll likely take longer to get results and you’ll have to overcome many more obstacles to get to your desired result. However, if budget is tight and you want to pursue the conversation exchange route, here are 2 we recommend:
Writing and Reading Skills
As important as speaking is, being able to know how to write and read in your target language is also an important piece. This is especially important for people looking to pursue a professional path using their target language, such as for their career or business.
Writing and reading involves being able to understand grammar rules, expand your vocabulary, and forming sentence structures correctly. Here are a few of the best language learning apps to help you improve those skillsets.
Readlang is an extension that can be downloaded to your browser. The way it works is, every time you read an article online or simply anything, you can translate the page into your target language. This allows you to infuse foreign language reading practice into your everyday routine, and improve your skills much faster. It does use Google Translate to make the translations, which is not always perfect, but it’s better than nothing!
Memrise is a free online flashcard tool, which allows you to memorize new vocabulary words faster. Our favorite feature within Memrise is the pre-built vocabulary words that have been created by fellow Memrise members that you can leverage. For example, if you want to memorize the most common words in Spanish, you can start memorizing immediately without needing to create it yourself. Pretty neat, right?
Duolingo is a free mobile language learning app that is most popular currently. When it comes to grasping the basic fundamentals of a new language, such as grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structures, Duolingo is a great place to start. We often recommend our existing Rype members to use it as a complementary tool to what they’re learning with their teachers. We also have a Duolingo review post that we wrote.
The good news with language learning listening skills is that it can be almost anything. From watching movies, listening to podcasts, to speaking one-on-one with your professional teacher.
However, we’ve got a curated list of apps that you can leverage to make this process seamlessly integrated into your lifestyle.
If you’re new to the podcast world, it’s one of the most convenient ways to be on-the-go while consuming information. Given that it’s specifically designed for listening, there are many podcasts that can help you improve your listening skills. There’s 3 main ways to listen:
- Desktop – Download iTunes and search for the podcast category to download the episodes you’re looking for
- iPhone – Now, there is a podcast app (Apple Podcast) that’s already downloaded on your phone which you can use.
- Android – Since there’s no native app that’s downloaded, you can check out apps like Stitcher, Spotify, Soundcloud, or TuneIn to start searching for the podcasts we’re about to recommend.
A few of our favorite podcasts:
- Coffee Break
- Innovative Language
All you have to do is search these up in the respective device that you’re using and voila! You can start listening for free, on-the-go.
This can also be swapped for other entertainment subscriptions, such as Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, Youtube, etc. With the expansion of international content and consumers within this market, there’s an abundance of audio and text translations that you can benefit from. As long as you’re learning a popular language such as Spanish, French, Italian, etc. you can enjoy your favorite movie or TV show while improving your listening skills!
Similar to podcasts, Audible (or other audiobook apps) allow you to listen to books on audio. The only disadvantage is, unlike Netflix where there’s no issue in finding audio translations, you’ll have a much difficult time with audio books. That means, you’ll likely need to listen to an audio book that was originally written in the target language you’re learning. Either way, it’s a great way to challenge yourself!
So what are the best language learning apps to use?
We hope this overview of the best language learning apps helped in making a sounder decision. Our goal for this post is to give you the curated options based on our experience to save you time and stress.
With that said, we encourage you to do your own research and make the final decision yourself. We’d love to hear any feedback from your personal experience of using any of these apps to improve your speaking, listening, and writing/reading skills.
If your goal is to improve your speaking and conversation skills, we’d love for you to check out Rype. More importantly, we encourage you to take advantage of our risk-free 7-day trial where you can book private lessons with our teachers first before committing.
Hope to see you inside!