Top 5 Language Learning Apps
Since we are all learning languages from home at the moment, we thought it would be useful to talk about the best apps you can use to polish off your skills in any language. It doesn’t matter if you learn through games or traditional written tests, there’s an app out there that will suit your needs. We tried to compile a mix of apps that deal with different skills including both productive (writing and speaking) and receptive (reading and listening). Let us know if you decide to try them out!
- Lingodeer – Best app overall for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening skills
Lingodeer may not be as well-known as other language learning apps, but it’s actually better and cheaper than most of them. Lingodeer deals with grammar a lot more than some of the more popular apps, so it will suit people with clear language learning goals rather than beginners who are just looking to dabble. You’ll practice your target language by completing lots of different types of exercises in the form of games and tests. All in all, it’s one of the better options for getting started learning a language. This app should be at the top of the list for anyone interested in learning any Asian languages due to its clear explanations and examples.
2. Babbel – Best App for Vocabulary and Phrases
I found Babbel to be the most like a foreign language course. Each lesson takes you through translations, and includes variations of the word or phrase, pictures and whether it’s formal or informal. If it asks you to spell a phrase, the letters are included. You also get to see the words you’re learning used in common conversations, listen to them (if you choose to have audio on), repeat the phrases, and learn more about verb groups. The 15-minute lessons are easy to work into your day — whether it’s on your commute, before bed or on your lunch break. The My Activity module lets you track all your progress. Babbel is free, or you can subscribe to a package.
3. Memrise – Best App for Pronunciation and Listening Skills
To help you master real-world scenarios, Memrise doesn’t limit you to flashcards, “click to hear” phrases and quizzes. Instead, Memrise lessons immerse you in videos that feature real-world situations with natives speakers using its “Learn with Locals” feature. This helps you understand words, phrases and sentences spoken by people with real accents, not speakers with flat or neutral emphasis. In addition, you’re evaluated on your own speaking skills with the Pronunciation Mode. There are 23 languages to choose from with a free tier or a premium paid plan. You can use Memrise online or using your phone’s mobile app.
4. Hellotalk – Best App for Speaking Skills
HelloTalk is a cool new language learning app that serves one purpose: it connects you directly with native speakers, and provides an interface to text and speak with them, all from your smartphone. HelloTalk is like a normal chat app, but with lots of features to help language learners – especially if you sign up to the premium version of the app. If you use it for Chinese, for instance, you can use the transliteration option when a native speaker writes to you, to instantly see the pinyin (romanized pronunciation). HelloTalk also includes an automatic translation feature. This is really helpful if you are OK with just getting the general gist of things. It can also help keep conversations flowing, since you don’t have to open another app/window to get the translation. I have also used it for Russian and some of the best features include it’s correction feature. You type a message to a native speaker in Russian and then that native speaker can hold down on your message to correct the words you got wrong! This is a great app to practice speaking skills in lockdown.
5. Duolingo – Best App for Practice through Games
As a regular Duolingo user, I enjoy the app’s colorful interface and short, game-like exercises. The app doesn’t restrict how many languages you can try to learn at the same time (two is a good maximum if you want to retain anything). I use Duolingo to practice Spanish and Irish. To make sure you don’t get rusty on the basics, even if you’ve “mastered” a skill by reaching a higher level, the skill can still “shatter” if you don’t review it consistently. Practice the skill again and it’ll repair itself. The problem with Duolingo can be the odd vocabulary choices and lack of grammar exercises.