Sometimes, you need a jump start.
Maybe it’s because the frigid cold temperatures killed your car battery.
Maybe it’s because you left your headlights on to create a spotlight for your one-person puppet show.
But when your language education needs a jump start, there’s a convenient tool that you don’t even have to pop the hood to use.
We’re talking about language apps. Popular apps for language learners provide a wide array of learning options covering virtually any language you could image. Whether you use iPhone apps, Android apps or prefer a different device, there are plenty of options out there.
Innovative language apps use clever new strategies to help you improve your language skills. Language learning game apps provide a fun, interactive way to upgrade your fluency. Apps for kids offer a cute and easy option for learners of all ages.
With so many language apps on the market, it can be hard to sort through them all to find the best language learning apps. Luckily, you don’t have to! Here are the best 35 apps of 2020 to mix and match to jump start your road to fluency!
Why Use More Than One Language App?
When learning a new language, pairing multiple apps is both fun and useful. There are many reasons why you might want to try using several apps at once.
For instance, each app has a different focus. Even seemingly similar apps offer slightly different approaches. Some apps may be better for reading practice, others may improve your listening skills while others may help you build your vocabulary. Plus, using different apps will help you see the language in a different context, making your skills more flexible and applicable in the real world.
Plus, each learner responds differently to each app. Everyone learns differently. Some people are visual learners. Some people prefer audio. Some learners like to study in short bursts while others like longer study sessions. If you only use one app, you might not ever find your app soul mate, and you might miss out on valuable learning.
Even something as little as not liking an app’s color scheme might make you subconsciously avoid using it. There’s nothing wrong with using multiple apps at the same time to help you find an app you click with on all levels.
Finally, variety is the spice of life. Using multiple apps keeps things interesting. Think of one app as the cheese sandwich of language learning. It’s good every once in a while, but if you eat it every day, you’ll get bored fast. If you open yourself up to all the sandwiches in the world, though, chances are you can enjoy a sandwich every day without getting bored.
The 35 Best Language Learning Apps of 2020 That Make Studying Fun
General Learner Apps
FluentU is an entertainment lover’s dream come true. It uses real-world videos, like inspirational talks, movie trailers and music videos, in a new context. Each video is captioned and the captions are annotated, giving you easy access to any word’s definition, an associate image and example sentences. Plus, you can click on any word to see how it’s used in other videos.
FluentU also offers “learn mode,” which incorporates video clips, pictures and example sentences into engaging exercises and flashcards.
What’s more, FluentU is fully personalized. An algorithm takes into account a learner’s history to present questions based on what you’ve already learned. Plus, you select your pace and what videos you watch.
Duolingo. If you’ve ever studied a language online or used a language learning app, chances are the name rolls off your tongue with ease. That’s because Duolingo is one of the hottest language learning products on the market. The app offers over 30 different language options.
The app aims to help you improve your vocabulary and grammar through daily lessons and quizzes. Quizzes cover vocabulary recognition, listening activities and even voice-enabled speaking practice. The app is free to download and additional in-app purchases are available.
The Busuu app is a versatile language tool for language learners at any level.
To start out, you’ll take a placement test to ensure the lessons you’re taking are appropriate to your current proficiency level. There are 150 units per language, so there’s a strong chance that there’s something that even nearly fluent learners will benefit from.
Plus, Busuu offers you the option of having your exercises corrected by native speakers to give you an edge up.
One study has shown that 22 hours on Busuu is equal to one college semester, so start learning now!
The Busuu app offers 12 language options.
The Mango Languages app is a colorful choice that offers a nice array of languages—over 70, to be exact. This makes Mango Languages a terrific choice for students looking to study less common languages.
The app offers all the features a language learner could hope for, including activities, grammar and vocabulary lessons, voice-enabled speaking practice and more. Check out our review to get to know the program better.
Babbel aims to improve your confidence and comprehension through interactive courses for beginning through advanced students. These courses offer exercises for reading, writing, listening and speaking for a well-rounded language education.
Plus, activities are broken down into 10-15 minute chunks to make them easy to fit into even the busiest schedule.
Babbel offers 14 language options. Read our Babbel review to see if this program is right for you.
Memrise offers a fun app for beginning through intermediate language learners.
Through a variety of games, videos featuring native speakers and simulated text-message conversations, you’ll use your target language in a number of different entertaining contexts.
Memrise offers over 20 language options.
Mondly aims to help you hit the ground running by memorizing key words right off the bat. By focusing on useful phrases, Mondly’s goal is to prepare you for real conversations with native speakers. While this makes Mondly an excellent tool for beginners, the app also caters to intermediate and advanced students.
The Mondly app features audio by native speakers, voice recognition for speaking practice, a dictionary, a verb conjugation tool and more.
The Mondly app offers 33 language options.
If you want to learn a language but don’t want to put much time into it each day, the Daily Dose of Language app might be your soul mate.
It aims to deliver language lessons in as little as a minute a day. Lessons focus on vocabulary, phrases, slang and culture.
Plus, Daily Dose of Langue is an Innovative Language product. While you can get a free one-minute daily lesson, you can also purchase the premium version to access full Daily Dose lesson and membership to the affiliated Pod101/Class101 website, like RussianPod101, ChinesePod101, SpanishPod101 and many other programs and languages. These memberships come with podcast and video lessons, grammar info, transcripts and more.
The Daily Dose of Language offers 10 languages with another 19 in the works.
If you’re interested in language learning software and haven’t heard of Rosetta Stone, chances are that you’ve been living under a rock (quite ironically).
Rosetta Stone is a big name in language learning, and its app lives up to its reputation. The app doesn’t require a huge time commitment (just a few minutes a day), but there are plenty of language learning options to pack into those minutes. Rosetta Stone uses practical scenarios to help teach you usable language skills.
Plus, speech-recognition technology aims to help you improve your accent. A lot of materials can even be downloaded so that you can use them without burning through data.
The Rosetta Stone app offers 24 language options.
TripLingo is designed with travelers in mind, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great tool for language students!
In fact, TripLingo’s focus is primarily on useful phrases, so if you’re interested in travel, it might be just the crash course you need to pique your interest in additional language study. It features thousands of phrases (including slang), a translator, audio lessons, flashcards and more.
The iOS version seems more stable than the Android app, which, according to many recent reviews, crashes often.
TripLingo offers 13 languages.
Lingvist is a free language learning app with busy learners in mind, whether those learners are beginning, intermediate or advanced.
By focusing on the most common vocabulary, Lingvist aims to equip you with highly usable language skills. Plus, the app adapts to your needs in an attempt to maximize your learning.
The app teaches over 5,000 words in each language, grouped by themes like “hobbies,” “family,” “medical vocab” and much more.
Lingvist offers English, French, German, Russian and Spanish.
Need to improve your vocabulary? Awabe offers over 4,000 common words and phrases.
Plus, Awabe doesn’t focus on flashcards alone. It also offers voice recording to help you practice speaking. Compare your pronunciation to the audio provided to see how you’re doing! There’s even video content to help you upgrade your skills.
Awabe offers over a dozen languages.
The 50languages app is one of the few learning options that allows you to pair whatever languages you wish.
This means that as long as your native language is offered, you can receive instruction in it. Additionally, if you’re studying multiple languages, you might try receiving instruction in one of the languages you’re studying while you take lessons in another language.
Lessons focus primarily on useful, thematically grouped vocabulary. The app also offers games and quizzes to help you practice what you’ve learned.
And, if you were wondering, 50languages does indeed offer 50 languages—and now, even more language options are available!
Besides having an adorable name and logo, LingoDeer has some great content.
Interactive lessons aim to help you improve your reading, writing, speaking and listening with a minimal time commitment—just 10 minutes a day. There are a number of different fun, helpful features to help you get the most out of your learning time. For instance, LingoDeer offers a placement test, grammar lessons, flashcards, quizzes and more. Plus, with 2,000 words in the app, your vocabulary has plenty of room to grow.
LingoDeer offers Chinese, Japanese and Korean. It’s also recently expanded its offering to include lessons in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Vietnamese, as well as English lessons taught in over 10 languages. Most lessons are free but you can also opt for a premium account or download the new LingoDeer Plus app (Android, iOS), which has additional games and activities to help learners remember new words and concepts.
LingQ aims to immerse beginning through advanced students in authentic content, including books, podcasts, lessons and more. Plus, transcripts are available to help you read along with audio content. With integrated dictionary resources, you can even look up words in a flash.
Plus, you’ll never be short on content—LingQ offers thousands of hours of audio that you can download to listen to anywhere.
LingQ offers 24 languages.
Pimsleur is a classic audio language learning program, and this app gives you access to its 30-minute lessons for convenient learning at your leisure. While it doesn’t prompt you to poke at your screen the way most of the apps on this list do, it does contain speaking prompts in each lesson that build your basic speech skills in a language little by little.
Since buying Pimsleur programs can be prohibitively expensive, paying monthly for the app instead can be a great option. Pimsleur is especially good for travelers or people who need to polish their speaking quickly.
Pimsleur is available for 51 languages, including all of the popular ones you’d expect. The levels and amount of material available vary by language. Not sure if Pimsleur is right for you? Read our review here.
This is a basic but solid app that drills you on vocab and phrases. The design veers more toward what you might expect to see in a children’s educational app, and there’s even a “kids” section, but the functionality is more advanced than you might notice at first.
One big advantage to this app is that it gives you many learning options while still seeming simple and manageable. Its features include a phrasebook, a grammar reference, games, flashcards and courses.
LuvLingua apps are available for 13 languages. You can download separate “pro” apps for a fee, but the basic apps are free.
Drops teaches vocabulary through appealing visuals in a laid-back way that makes you feel like you’re simply enjoying a language rather than learning it. The free version of the app only gives you five minutes of learning per day (or every 10 hours), with the premium version offering the option of more time, but you may be surprised by how effective those five minutes can be.
With a heavy vocab and matching-game focus, what you can do with this app is a bit limited, but it pairs nicely with other apps and can be a relaxing way to fit in a few minutes of study.
Drops currently has 36 language options.
FunEasyLearn is a simple but extensive vocab-based app. After selecting a language course, you can choose to either learn words or phases. Each of these options takes you to a main menu with a list of connected topics—like food, shopping or education. When you tap on one of these topics, you open up a list of subcategories that you can select from to take quizzes that include audio and pronunciation practice.
All in all, this is a great app for learning and mastering vocabulary.
FunEasyLearn offers 33 language options.
Nextlingua is similar to the popular language learning app Duolingo (mentioned earlier in our list) since it teaches you through quizzes using a variety of approaches (word jumbles, matching, multiple choice). However, it’s a little more extensive, offering pages of cloze exercises in addition to the regular lessons.
It also incorporates Games of the World, an extension quiz app that asks you interesting cultural questions on subjects like geography, film and history in the language of your choice. While you can pay for a premium, no-ad version of the app, you can alternatively access premium content just by watching six short ads a day.
Languages to learn include Spanish, English, Portuguese, Russian, French and Italian.
Qlango offers more customization than your typical language app. You’re able to choose a course (or multiple courses) by language and level. Then, within that course, you can set a difficulty level from one to five.
Like many other apps, Qlango uses a quiz format, but it really tests your output abilities and forces you to use what you’ve learned. Aside from the usual multiple choice questions, it also asks you to type out translations to whole sentences or to type sentences as dictated.
Not sure if you’re actually retaining information from the language you’re learning? Qlango might be a great way to test your knowledge.
Qlango offers 28 languages, with a heavier-than-expected focus on some lesser-spoken European languages like Slovenian, Lithuanian, Macedonian and Hungarian.
Want to learn a language quickly and easily? AccelaStudy wants that for you, too.
Over 40,000 basic through advanced words are offered in over 65 thematically-grouped categories (over 2,200 words per language!). Plus, audio by native speakers helps ensure you get the pronunciation right.
Since this app only teaches words in isolation, it’s definitely not something to use on its own. Pair it with some of the other apps on this list to help you learn not just the words, but also how to use them correctly in conversation.
AccelaStudy apps come in 18 languages, including pairings that aren’t frequently offered, like Italian and Polish.
AnkiApp is a flexible flashcard app for any material you want to learn. That’s because it allows you to create your own flashcards—perfect for learners who have specific sets of vocabulary words they want to learn.
Plus, you can search decks that other users have created for a huge wealth of options in a variety of languages. Check out the community pages for a huge selection of pre-made decks!
Tinycards is a flashcard app with a special twist from a familiar name in language learning.
Like some other flashcard apps, it allows you to create your own decks or access decks made by other users.
However, there’s a twist: Tinycards is brought to you by the makers of Duolingo, so Tinycards also offers flashcards of vocabulary words from your favorite Duolingo courses!
Language Exchange Apps
Have a pressing question you’d like to ask a native speaker? HiNative can hook you up!
HiNative is a Q&A app that allows you to ask a native speaker your language questions. Plus, you can post audio, pictures or text-based questions to get the help you need.
HiNative offers over 110 languages and over two million registered users worldwide.
HelloTalk helps you find and connect with native speakers for language practice.
You can search for your perfect partner by language, location and more. Once you find him/her, the app can also help you connect through text, audio or video. Plus, you won’t be thrown in without language support—HelloTalk also offers translation, transliteration, grammar correction and more.
You now also have the option to take language lessons on HelloTalk, with more than 10 lessons available in 10 languages (including Spanish, Japanese, English and more).
HelloTalk supports over 100 languages.
Looking to connect with a native speaker who shares your interests? Tandem can help you find your partner in crime (or at least in language-learning).
You can search the Tandem community for users who speak your target language and share your interests. Once you find that special someone, you can text or do audio and video chat through the app. You can even send pictures!
If you need more professional help, you can also connect with professional tutors.
Tandem offers over 160 languages.
Want to text a native speaker right now? Speaky has you covered.
Speaky only shows you the profiles of language learners that match your needs. Plus, when you search, you’ll see users who are online first, making it much easier to connect quickly. You can also “friend” people to connect with them later.
Speaky currently focuses on text messaging, though audio messaging is in the works.
Speaky offers over 115 languages.
If selecting a language exchange partner seems too challenging and time consuming, Lingbe can connect you with just the press of a button.
That’s right: just press a call button to be connected to someone you can practice with right away. After the chat is over, your partner will provide feedback on how well you did.
Plus, you and your partner both have the option to “like” the experience. If you both mark “like,” you can chat again. It’s kind of like language exchange and speed dating had a baby.
When you want to dive into language exchange but don’t have the vocabulary, Hello Pal is a supportive, entry-level app.
Hello Pal will help you find a language exchange partner and connect through voice chat, video chat and text. But what sets Hello Pal apart is the supportive resources it offers. It offers 30 phrasebooks and 2,000 phrases to help guide you along.
MindSnacks offers the sort of snack that feeds the brain. That’s because it’ll satiate your learning hunger with fun games!
Each app offers between eight and nine games that teach vocabulary and conversation skills. With over 40 hours of content, there’s enough to keep even the most passionate gamer busy.
MindSnacks offers Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
Like games? Enjoy a good quiz? Want to work a few flashcards into the mix? Lingio offers the sort of material that’ll make you want to learn.
Lingio’s games can help you learn thousands of words and phrases, all while having fun. You’ll be filling in letters, matching words with their meanings and more.
Lingio used to offer Arabic, English, Farsi, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish—but now it only offers Swedish, taught from English, Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Somali or Tigrinya. If you’re learning Swedish, then this is the app for you!
If you have a dual passion for adorable animated cats and language learning, there’s finally an option for you!
Studycat fuses conventional course material with learning games to keep you engaged. It might be designed for children, but that doesn’t mean adult learners won’t enjoy any of the six learning games offered. The vocabulary used is pretty basic, so this is a good app for beginning learners.
Studycat offers Chinese, English, French, German and Spanish.
Who doesn’t want their learning to be fun and easy?
Fun Easy Learn offers seven test games with three difficulty levels to help you have an enjoyable learning experience. Plus, apps feature 6,000 words with audio, images and translations. That’ll pack a learning wallop!
Fun Easy Learn offers over 50 languages.
Google Translate might not be designed exclusively for language learners, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge in the fabulous app.
Since Google Translate offers quick, easy translations, it’s perfect to use whenever you encounter a word you don’t recognize in your target language. Using Google Translate regularly might make your vocabulary grow faster than you’d think!
Don’t leave your language skills out in the cold. Mix and match these 35 best language learning apps to jump start your road to fluency!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.