Let’s be honest here. I mean, you’re among friends.
Do you ever leave home without your phone?
Never? Me neither.
What about other electronic devices, like your tablet or laptop? Never, right?
It’s a fact of life: Technology goes where we go.
That means that learning travels too, which is great news for those of us who love language learning!
If you’re anything like me, you have some sweet apps on your phone and other devices. Apps are essential for making our electronics perform to their fullest potential!
For example, language learning apps bring foreign languages right to our fingertips. A tap, a swipe, and we’ve got language learning on the go.
Apps are entertaining, interactive and effective for best utilizing our downtime—which, for most of us, is at a premium. That’s why having a language app handy is so awesome—it has the potential to fill those wasted moments with active learning!
Add an app—or a few—to power up any language program, whether you’re a beginner, looking for new intermediate lessons or a language pro.
Apps teach as well as entertain. There are apps that have game-like features that pretty much make you forget you’re even learning anything—it’s just pure fun!
If you’ve already considered adding language learning apps to your program, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number available. Honestly, there are tons to choose from.
You’re probably wondering how to find the best app for your program, right? And I’m sure you don’t want to sort through all of them to choose one that will fit your needs, do you?
No worries! We’ve got you covered!
We’ve done some thorough investigating and have some super language app options for you to consider. Let’s check them out!
What to Look For in Language Apps
When choosing a language app, there are some key features to look for:
- Versatile flashcards: The best apps will feature some sort of flashcards, but these range in usefulness. The most helpful flashcards are the most versatile, with photos and translations or explanations so you can see new vocabulary used in context.
- A good dictionary: Every language learning app needs a great dictionary to go with it. Apps with built-in dictionaries save you time by allowing you to look up words quickly without having to stop your lesson.
- Well-rounded lessons: Be aware that some apps focus on one specific language skill (speaking, reading, writing or listening). If you’re looking for a well-rounded app, then it should include ways to practice each of these four skills.
A single app may not offer all of these key features, but if you know your learning style and what you want to get out of each lesson, you can make an informed decision and choose an app that you’ll actually use.
And that’s what we’re looking for—an app that will become your language-learning best friend!
How to Maximize Learning with Language Apps
Whichever app you choose, it’s important to know how to use it. Here are some tips:
- Schedule time with it. I set the alarm on my tablet so I’m reminded to work with a language app on a daily basis.
- Track your progress. Most apps have a feature that does this for you, but even if you choose an app that doesn’t track your work it’s a snap to make a quick note of where you are on your language journey.
- Use the app whenever possible. Apps provide on-the-fly assistance—and the translation features work anywhere—so you’re never “stuck” without access to language help. Plus, frequent use of the app is the only way to really get the language lessons to stick. As long as you’ve got an awesome app at hand, you’re ready for anything!
Now that you know what to look for and how to best use your apps, here are seven awesome options that make learning a language easy and fun!
7 Best Apps for Learning a Language
iOS / Android
The FluentU app brings language learning to a whole new level.
Spanish, Japanese, English, Russian, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Korean and Italian come to life through authentic videos.
Learning with completely authentic content means pronunciation, lingo, music, cultural insights and so much more all become relevant.
FluentU isn’t just about watching videos—it’s about learning and practicing the language you hear. It’s entertaining as well as informative.
FluentU features interactive subtitles, flashcards, quizzes and vocabulary lists to help you utilize what you hear in the videos and audio files.
Plus, it’s easy to track your progress with built-in progress bars that show how familiar you are with the content in each video!
You can also work offline with some of the app’s features by downloading audio content, video transcripts and video quizzes. This is super beneficial to anyone who travels to places where there isn’t reliable internet access.
iOS / Android
50 Languages is another app that has options for working offline—but that’s not its only draw!
This app uses native speakers to offer audio as well as text lessons on an array of subjects. You can download the audio to be able to listen to it anywhere.
The app is suitable for absolute beginners, as it even teaches various alphabet pronunciations and provides a basic, core vocabulary. It also covers using language in various practical situations, like going to the doctor, shopping, reserving a hotel room, and more.
It’s recommended that users tackle a lesson a day. You can also easily review past lessons to continue to practice what you’ve learned.
With 100 lessons, this app allows learners to make steady progress toward conversational success.
iOS / Android
HelloTalk is a fun app that brings language learners together with native speakers! It’s a great way to learn about another culture, hone your pronunciation skills or power up your writing abilities.
Connect with other learners and talk or text to advance your language skills. There’s no set “program” with this app; it’s a global communication connection that encourages users to learn through sharing.
There are built-in pronunciation aids to help each conversation run smoothly and ensure that you and your language partner understand one another.
Plus, you can use the “Moments” feature to post language or cultural questions and update other users as to your progress.
If you want to really test your skills, you can try joining a group chat and talking with multiple native speakers at once.
Translation, grammar correction, text-to-voice, as well as voice recognition, make this app very simple to use!
iOS / Android
This app allows language learners to choose a native-speaking teacher in a target language and then schedule one-on-one lessons. It’s like having a personal tutor right in the palm of your hand!
There are over 100 languages available, which is amazing. If you’re traveling to an exotic location, chances are there’s a tutor available who can help you develop some conversational skills before you head to the airport.
Using the app is simple. Tutors tailor lessons to individual students, so once you’ve indicated your preferences, including personal goals, interests, skill level and time commitment, a learning program—designed specifically for you!—is what you’ll work with.
Additionally, there’s a community of learners who engage in discussions and share language resources. Being part of a global collective via an app? Very helpful, indeed!
iOS / Android
Clozemaster brings gaming to language learning. Make no mistake, this app teaches but it’s so much fun to use that you just might forget you’re actually working!
This app isn’t suitable for absolute beginners to use because it assumes learners have at least some familiarity with the target language.
Essentially, learners are presented with random, fill-in-the-blank sentences. It challenges the mind to think of the proper word, so it reinforces reading and vocabulary skills.
Also, this is an amazing resource for building a larger vocabulary. Don’t know a word? No worries! When it’s supplied, you’ll have something super to add to your vocabulary list!
Tracking progress adds to the gaming aspect of this app. Anyone who wants something a bit outside the box will enjoy using this program—no lessons or drills, just learning fun!
24/7 Tutor is a free sampler app that showcases just a few languages. It’s comprehensive enough to teach absolute beginners basic vocabulary and core language skills. It’s a great way to test drive a language before fully committing to a learning program.
Vocabulary, basic phrases, simple writing exercises and quizzes to check progress are all useful—as well as preparatory for more intensive learning. There are also puzzles and fill-in-the-blank challenges that make working with this app fun.
One of the app’s strongest features is that it utilizes native speakers for its audio sections. Using native speakers allows learners to hear authentic pronunciation and model theirs after it.
The 24/7 Tutor app is a sampling of what this developer offers. Full program 24/7 apps are available for many individual languages, so for more in-depth content learners can grab the app for their target language!
Rype offers learners personalized, one-on-one lessons with native-speaking teachers.
Once you sign up for their program, the actual lessons take place using Skype, which is available for both iOS and Android.
The site contends that learners will begin speaking in the target language from the very first lesson, a great feature for anyone who wants to pick up language skills quickly!
After reviewing goals, skill level and other aspects of language learning, teachers provide coursework geared toward individual learners.
This is based primarily on the concept of real-life immersion being the most efficient method to learn a language. Rype brings immersive learning via native-speaking tutors through their customized learning plans and coursework that reflects immersive methodology.
This is the first Rype app. A second, Rype Go, is in the works and will offer authentic content in the form of curated videos, in addition to personalized tutoring.
Apps—and the devices we won’t leave home without!—are beneficial to language learners on many levels.
Traveling? Have spare time to fill? Wondering about a translation or have a nagging grammar question? Simply feel the urge to chat in your target language with a native-speaking friend?
Apps do all of that and more! They’re always at hand so you never lose valuable language learning time. Add an app to your language program and watch your skills level up!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.