Some things are irreplaceable.
You can’t exchange your mostly eaten box of cereal for a brand new box.
You can’t switch out your grandmother for a random elderly woman and hope to love her as much.
You can’t trade in your beat-up Ford Pinto for a brand new BMW, no matter how convincing your arguments about its collectibility are.
But then again, the right substitution can be great. If you’re lactose intolerant, getting soy milk rather than real milk in your morning coffee can rescue your day and make people less apprehensive about sitting within a 10-foot radius of you.
And luckily, language learning websites and programs are something you can often trade out for one another.
Case in point: There are plenty of terrific Babbel alternatives on the market.
Don’t get us wrong; Babbel has a lot to offer. The program aims to help you quickly develop language skills through realistic conversation examples.
Not only that, speech recognition technology gives you the valuable speaking skills you need. Babbel introduces words in different contexts to reinforce them effectively, and lets you go at your own pace, fitting 10-15 minute chunks into your jam-packed schedule. And with 14 languages to choose from, Babbel can help you learn some of the most popular languages.
That being said, Babbel isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to language learning, and there are lots of alternatives that may better fit your needs.
The seven Babbel alternatives below are definitely worth a look.
Why Try a Babbel Alternative?
One reason you might want to try a Babbel alternative is the cost of the program. Most of Babbel’s materials are only available with a subscription, but if your learning budget is limited, this could be prohibitive. Luckily, there are plenty of different options available, including free language learning websites.
You might also want to try a Babbel alternative if you love trying new things. There are so many innovative apps and websites out there, and you never know which one will be your new favorite. Not only do you get the thrill of trying new options, you might also find a learning program that turns out to be your ideal match.
Babbel isn’t meeting all your needs or wants. Whether you’re not learning fast enough, the interface isn’t your favorite, the price is too high or you need a program that focuses on different skills, Babbel might just not be right for you, and that’s fine! One of these Babbel alternative language learning apps may better fit your standards.
7 Babbel Alternatives That Could Be Love at First Sight
Available: iOS | Android
Like Babbel, Hello-Hello aims to prepare you to read, write, speak and listen in your target language.
Hello-Hello has a similar conversational focus to Babbel. Words and phrases are presented in realistic conversational contexts to give you an idea of how to actually use what you learn. Plus, you can record yourself speaking to check your pronunciation.
Hello-Hello offers 13 languages, which largely overlap with Babbel’s offerings.
While the app download is free, you must purchase a license to use the app. However, since this is a one-time fee, if you’re planning on using the app for a long time, it may be more affordable than Babbel.
FluentU also focuses on conversational language and realistic examples, but as an added bonus, it does so through revamped online videos—the same stuff native speakers watch. How cool is that?
With FluentU, you hear languages in real-world contexts—the way that native speakers actually use them. Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of FluentU videos on offer:
FluentU really takes the grunt work out of learning languages, leaving you with nothing but engaging, effective and efficient learning. It’s already hand-picked the best videos for you and organized them by level and topic. All you have to do is choose any video that strikes your fancy to get started!
Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.
You can use FluentU’s unique adaptive quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions and exercises. Just swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're studying.
The program even keeps track of what you’re learning and tells you exactly when it’s time for review, giving you a 100% personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store or Google Play store.
Available: iOS | Android
Duolingo has a lot of features that are similar to Babbel, and guess what? You don’t have to pay for Duolingo unless you want to unlock special material.
One way Duolingo is like Babbel and FluentU is that it offers flexible time commitment. However, while Babbel gives you 10-15 minute blocks, Duolingo lessons usually only take around 5 minutes, so Duolingo may be perfect if you don’t have the time to commit to Babbel. But like Babbel and FluentU, you can also use Duolingo for longer stretches of time whenever you want.
Duolingo also gives you speaking practice. You can record words and phrases and compare them against the audio example. However, if you don’t want to speak at the moment, you can also opt out of this option.
Duolingo uses plenty of example sentences to help you learn words in context. And since words are frequently reused in different examples, you’ll get to see how a word may be used in more than one context.
Duolingo offers over 20 languages, so you’ll have over twice as many language options as Babbel.
Compared to Babbel, Duolingo’s main weakness is that it doesn’t have example conversations. However, if full conversations aren’t your thing, Duolingo may be an ideal alternative to Babbel.
Available: iOS | Android
Mango Languages has a lot of the features Babbel users love.
For instance, this program also uses realistic example conversations to teach vocabulary and give learners conversational skills.
And the Mango Languages recording feature allows you to record your own pronunciation and compare it head-to-head against a native speaker’s pronunciation, giving you the opportunity to perfect your accent.
Plus, with over 70 language options, you’ll have way more languages to choose from than Babbel offers. So if Babbel doesn’t offer the language you want to learn, Mango may be the course to check out.
While there’s a free trial, a subscription is required for additional lessons.
Available: iOS | Android
If your favorite Babbel feature is the conversation-based learning, HelloTalk could take your language skills to the next level.
That’s because HelloTalk is also conversation-based. However, rather than simulating realistic conversations, HelloTalk provides you with real conversations with native speakers, allowing you to learn vocabulary in a completely authentic context. And since the app offers translations and corrections, your language skills don’t even have to be close to perfect to start using HelloTalk today.
And, HelloTalk supports over 150 languages. Good luck finding a language you can’t practice through HelloTalk!
The basic service is free, though additional purchase options can allow you to learn more languages, search based on more traits and unlock more translation tools.
Bliu Bliu is a website-based learning option that offers some Babbel-esque features, like a low time commitment and the intention of helping you learn faster.
Bliu Bliu suggests you study for just 10 minutes a day, similar to Babbel’s recommendation. However, you’re also welcome to study more.
Bliu Bliu tries to provide learning in-context through real content from the internet, allowing you to see how words are used in authentic situations.
Additionally, like Babbel, Bliu Bliu aims to help you make rapid progress. In fact, Bliu Bliu offers 30-day challenges intended for anyone hoping to learn quickly.
Bliu Bliu currently offers 9 languages officially, but there are also beta versions for dozens more languages, so you’ll have a greater variety of options overall than Babbel provides.
Bliu Bliu offers limited free learning options, including 5 minutes of daily reading. However, to unlock more options, you’ll need to purchase a subscription.
If you can’t resist the idea of learning words in context in short sessions, WordBrewery is another terrific website.
WordBrewery provides real-world sentences from newspapers, so you’ll immediately have context for any vocabulary you learn.
Not only that, but WordBrewery also only requires a short time commitment. You can peruse just a few sentences each day, which allows WordBrewery to fit into any schedule.
WordBrewery works with 20 languages, so you’ll have slightly more learning options than Babbel.
WordBrewery also offers plenty of learning content for free. However, there are two tiers of subscription options if you decide you want even more material.
So if you’re looking for an alternative to Babbel, try out these seven options.
They could just be love at first sight!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.