Learning a new language is becoming more accessible and affordable as many language learning apps enter the market. But with the proliferation of language apps, a new challenge arises: How do you choose the right app amongst the growing numbers?
Often too much choice creates overwhelm with the end result being that you don’t make a choice. I also know from experience that when I choose something, I have this fear of: “Is this the right one? What if what I’ve chosen isn’t as good as the other?” The whole process makes me uneasy.
Well, to address problems of choice and feelings of missing out, I’ve curated a list of 8 of the best language learning apps on the market. Take solace in the fact that choosing any one of these will help you achieve your language learning goals. And if one isn’t serving you, move on to the next until you find a fit. After all, we all learn in different ways. Some people prefer visuals, whilst others prefer audio or even the written word. Be cognizant of this when making a choice. Your learning style determines your choice of app.
I guarantee you that any list you find on the internet of the best language learning apps will include DuoLingo. DuoLingo has more than 100 million users, and an independent study found that 34 hours of use is equal to a semester of University study. Now that’s real value.
I myself have used this app in the past. It’s great because it combines audio, visual and the writing. You can select amongst many languages and fact that the app caters for such a diversity of languages is a plus.
Language learning consists of bite-size sessions that feel like games. There are different levels as the app takes you from the basic to more advanced learning. You lose a life when you get something wrong, earn points when you complete lessons, and as you progress you unlock new lessons.
And if you’re looking to refine what you’ve learned, return to previous exercises and levels. The Duolingo app allows you to read, write, listen, and speak the target language; it is the full package. And the best thing about it? It’s free forever. No in-app purchases, up-sells or ads!
Whilst DuoLingo focuses on a full package of language learning, HelloTalk emphasizes the conversational aspect. Immersion, after all, is one of the best ways to learn a new language.
The app facilitates speaking by connecting you with native speakers. You can chat with voice and text messages on an interface like that of Whatsapp.
The app also has a built-in correction tool that allows users to correct one another, making the interactions like tutoring lessons. It also has a translation tool to help you find those words that are on the tip of your tongue but don’t want to come out. And if the talking and interaction become tiring you can share doodles.
3. Fluent Panda
Fluent Panda targets those on the move. The app provides you with small tasks to complete. When you complete a class you collect a leaf which represents a specific element of the language. Once you’ve collected several, these leaves become shoots (a set of words and expressions).
The leaves and shoots are the Panda’s food. So, the Panda grows as you learn the language and collect more leaves and shoots. The app also comes with native audio to help you master the target language.
Mindsnacks uses gamification to bring language learning to life. The gamification in the Doulingo app has nothing on Mindsnacks. However, with Mindsnacks you only have access to 7 languages and need to download a separate app for each language. But you’re able to track progress through a single login.
With each language, you have about 9 games you need to complete. Whilst the basic download is free you’ll need to pay a fee for more advanced features.
Anki is more than a language learning app. Making use of flashcards Anki allows you to study foreign languages, math, history and more. Flashcards improve memory retention allowing you to learn a language faster. You can make flashcards with text, sound, and images, or download pre-made templates. Once you have the flashcards, you study them in 1 min lessons and with on-board analytics, you can track your progress.
Busuu gives you have access to 12 languages. All lessons are categorized according to topics, each with a specific task. Understanding the importance of immersion, Busuu gives you access to a thriving community of native speakers when you sign up.
Whilst the app is free, the majority of materials and features are only available on the paid version for $17/month. You also get a ranking based on your activity in the group. This ranking system encourages further learning and engagement. Busuu also offers separate mini travel courses for those who are jetting off to a foreign location for a few weeks. Definitely, something to keep in mind if you want a quick language fix so you can engage in basic conversation.
Babbel offers much of what Duolingo offers but comes at a fee, although with the free version you get more than Busuu. Babbel gives you access to over 40 course materials and 13 languages. They offer great beginner courses for those starting out as well as separate packages you can dive into. Classes usually start by teaching basic vocabulary with pictures as an aid.
Of course a list of language learning apps wouldn’t be complete without mention of Rype. Rype is different from the other apps and websites. The other apps focus on self-learning, where Rype focuses on 1-on-1 tutoring. Rype gives you access to a network of pre-vetted native speakers for fraction of the cost (usually you’d pay a pretty penny for this service).
You also have access to unlimited 1-on-1 lessons. No longer do you need to present your credit card for each lesson.
These language learning apps are different. They offer different learning methods and come at varying price points. We hope that this curated list of apps has helped simplify your decision about what language apps to use. Remember when you start learning, it’s important to understand what your goals are and what learning method best suits you. This will help you choose the right app.
Are there any other apps you use? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.
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