The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
There’s a lot of wisdom in old adages, but a few lies have also crept in.
For example: You can’t get something for nothing.
With so many great free language learning websites out there, that one is obviously false.
Sure, a lot of these apps can’t take you all the way to fluency, but they really can give you a running start.
So if you want to learn a language and get something for nothing, actions speak louder than words.
Try out these 17 free language learning apps!
Why Try a Free Language App?
One obvious reason to try a free language app is that you have nothing to lose. Since you’re not putting in any money, if you decide you don’t like the app, that’s just fine. The only thing you’ll have spent is the time it takes you to make your decision.
Plus, free apps offer a wide variety of features. There are plenty of innovative apps on the market offering diverse features, giving you free practice and education on various aspects of your target language.
Finally, with free apps, you can switch whenever you want. Whether you get bored of an app, run out of a free trial or just want to try something new, you’re not locked into a long-term relationship with any app, so you can switch whenever you want.
How to Get the Most Out of Free Language Apps
Try as many as you want.
Don’t limit yourself! When apps are free, there’s no reason not to try all you want. That way, you can get a hands-on feel for how each app works and what it has to offer. Then, you can make a well-informed decision about which app(s) you want to keep using.
Consider using multiple apps.
Free apps work well together or in conjugation with paid apps. You can use a combination of apps to fill different learning needs. For instance, you might pair a learning app with a language exchange app so that you can learn more about the language while also practicing your language skills with native speakers.
Take advantage of free trials for paid apps.
Not all free apps are entirely free. Many paid apps offer free trials, but by all means, take advantage of these. Not only do you get a period of free learning (yay!), you’ll also get to see if the app is valuable enough to be worth spending your hard-earned money on it.
If you like an app and want more of it, check to see if the developer offers paid apps with more features or if you can purchase additional features.
Some app developers offer free, scaled-down versions of paid apps, so if you find you really like one of the free apps you’re using, look to see what else the developer offers. You may find a paid app with even more features, or you might be able to purchase additional features within the free app. If you like the free app, there’s a strong chance you’ll really love the paid options.
17 Fabulously Free Language Apps
Language Learning Apps
FluentU transforms authentic video content, like movie trailers, music videos, news and more, into irresistible learning tools. Not only is each video captioned, the captions are annotated to give you easy access to any word’s definition, example sentences and an associated image.
Prefer a fun, quiz-style option? Quiz mode combines videos, images and example sentences into interactive quizzes and flashcards to take your learning to the next level.
And since FluentU is flexible, it’s appropriate for any level of language learner. You select what you watch, and you can use it all the way up through the advanced levels of a language. Meanwhile, FluentU tracks your learning to present you with level-appropriate questions that build on what you know.
And FluentU’s free 7-day trial gives you access to all these engaging features, whether you’re looking to learn Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian or Spanish.
You can use your FluentU trial wherever it’s convenient for you, whether that’s through the website, iOS app or Android app.
Duolingo’s app is entirely free to download and offers useful features to help you learn over 20 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
The main focus of the app is on engaging activities that help you learn by testing your vocabulary. As such, you’ll be asked to speak words/phrases, translate, match words to their meanings and more.
Vocabulary sets are grouped thematically, and you progress along Duolingo’s set order, though if you’re more advanced, you can also test out of some lessons. Once you’ve completed a lesson, you can go back to reinforce what you learned.
The vast majority of Duolingo’s offerings are free. However, it’s important to note that some in-app purchases are available. For instance, if you’re upset at breaking your “streak,” you can pay to repair it. You can also purchase gems that you can use to unlock special vocabulary sets, power-ups and timed quizzes. If you upgrade to “plus,” you can also remove the ads.
Once you’re finished with a Duolingo course, check out our suggestions for what to do next.
Beelinguapp is unlike any other. It aims to help students improve their language skills through stories, including news, novels, fairy tales and more.
Each story appears in two languages: one at the top of the page, one at the bottom. You choose your settings, but it usually works well to have one be your native language and the other be your target language. Not only can you read stories side-by-side in both languages, but there’s also audio, allowing you to listen to the stories in either language.
Beelinguapp features 13 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
While there are plenty of free texts to choose from, you can also pay to access additional texts. Can’t get enough? A premium membership unlocks all the texts and gets rid of ads.
Want to get immediate access to Memrise? Try the learning app for free.
While the free version gives you just a small taste of all that Memrise has to offer, it can help you learn some vocabulary while seeing if you enjoy the interface.
The free version of Memrise offers you the opportunity to learn and review key words and phrases. Additionally, you can pair 200 languages (though courses for all may not be available on the free version of the app), meaning you can study your target language using whatever language you’re most comfortable with (probably your native language). However, one fun trick is, if you already speak one foreign language, you can study another target language using the skills you’ve already acquired. For instance, if you already learned Spanish, you might try studying Portuguese while reinforcing your Spanish by setting it as the language you’re learning in.
If you find you like Memrise, there’s a lot more where that came from. A paid subscription can hook you up with a grammarbot, speed review, listening skills mode, video mode and so much more.
Like studying with flashcards? Busuu’s free version can give you your flashcard fix while helping you decide whether a full subscription to busuu might be in your future.
That’s because with a free download, you’ll have access to busuu’s flashcards to help expand your vocabulary. This is just a small fraction of what busuu offers to paid members, though, so if you find you like the format, you might consider purchasing a subscription, which gives you conversations with native speakers, quizzes, grammar exercises, official certificates and more.
Busuu offers 12 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
If you’re a beginning student looking to jumpstart your language learning, look no further than 50Languages.
50Languages is designed to teach basic vocabulary, and it offers plenty of free resources that do just that. The app features free lessons, tests and games that you can use to learn some of the most essential vocabulary and reinforce what you’ve learned.
Plus, the app offers a huge variety of languages (over 50), including popular options like Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
In-app purchases are also available to remove ads and open up additional materials.
The Mondly app packs a powerful learning punch, and you can experience a fraction of that punch without spending a dime.
As a free user of Mondly’s app, you’ll have access to the first basic material. In addition, though, you’ll have access to ongoing content you can use to set up a learning routine: a new lesson every day, a weekly quiz and even monthly challenges.
The Mondly app features 33 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
If you find you love your free access but want more material, don’t worry. A paid subscription can give you access to more lessons, conversations, vocabulary builders, conjugation tables and other features.
Want to make sure you have new learning content regularly? With the Innovative Language app, you can have new content every week without spending any money.
That’s because each week, Innovative Language offers new free audio and video lessons. You can easily make these freebies a part of your learning routine, but if you’re wanting to try Innovative Language’s other offerings, you might consider subscribing to a free trial.
Innovative Language’s 7-day free trial gives you full access to a premium language course, which includes a whole library of audio and video lessons, lesson notes, dialogues with audio, your own personal word bank and more. If you like it, you might consider subscribing for continued access.
Put in your five minutes each day, and watch your vocabulary grow!
Yes, Drops aims to help you learn a language in just five minutes a day.
Drops is based on visual learning, pairing images with words in your target language. This way, you can associate words in your target language with their actual meanings rather than with the English words. And the app has no shortage of words for you to learn. For each language, there are around 1700 organized into 99 topics.
Drops is available for around 30 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
And best of all, all of this is free. If your addiction to Drops is just too great to be contained in five minutes a day, you can subscribe for unlimited learning time, though that could prove dangerous to all your other activities.
Like using flashcards to study? Quizlet is a great way to do so.
With Quizlet, you can create your own flashcards or access existing sets. And Quizlet is well-equipped for language learners since it even offers audio pronunciations of 18 languages.
Paid upgrades remove ads, give you a night theme option, provide offline access options, allow image uploading and enable unlimited classes. If you want to try it out, a 7-day trial is free.
A free flashcard app that can sync across your devices? Uh, yes please!
AnkiApp is a free flashcard option that you can download to all your favorite devices. You can save your cards and progress between devices seamlessly.
AnkiApp offers both pre-made flashcards and a do-it-yourself option. You can even use your own photos for a more personal touch.
Plus, you can even study offline. The app will sync up once you’re back online, so your time without Wi-Fi can still be well spent.
Tinycards is a flashcard app designed by the popular folks at Duolingo, and guess what… it’s entirely free!
You can select from existing flashcards from thousands of existing sets and/or create your own. Fun, animated illustrations make this app especially engaging, so you might find yourself studying longer than you meant to.
Sometimes, you just need to chat with a native speaker to improve your language skills, and with HelloTalk, you can chat with a native speaker for free.
You can talk to native speakers of over 100 languages, and HelloTalk provides plenty of communication options. Not only can the app help you find your perfect conversation partner, it also allows you to text, send voice messages and participate in audio or video calls.
In-app purchases are available to provide you with translation options, remove ads, filter through users by more criteria and learn multiple languages.
Want to start chatting right now? Tandem can hook you up for immediate interaction in your target language.
On Tandem, you can search who’s online right now, message them and start chatting via video, text message, voice message or even picture exchange.
All of the main features are available for free. However, if you want to subscribe, you can also get unlimited translations, opt out of ads and see who looked at your profile.
As long as you’re prepared to put in a little effort, you can use Lingbe to connect with native speakers without spending a cent.
The currency within the app is Lingos, which you can use to purchase practice/exchange sessions and/or special features. If you want to use the app for free, you can earn Lingos by helping other users practice your native language. However, if you’re pinched for time, you can also purchase Lingos.
And Lingbe has plenty of features for your money (or lack thereof). You can chat via audio call with native speakers immediately, making it easy to fit in a little language study whenever you have a few minutes. Plus, after each session, your partner will give you feedback to help you improve your language skills.
Google Translate can be a language learner’s best friend, and it’s entirely free. Thanks, Google, for all you do for us.
The Google Translate app offers instant text translation, the ability to use your camera to translate printed text, audio pronunciations, the option to draw characters and even two-way instant voice translation for holding a conversation.
Features like this are terrific for travel, but they’re also great for language learners. You can check your work, look up unfamiliar words, learn correct pronunciation and more. That’s a lot to get from one free app!
All Language Translator Free
All Language Translator Free is an app that’s only available for Android, but Android users take note; it has a lot to offer.
You can input text to translate or hear it. Additionally, you can hear audio pronunciations of translations. Want to study a phrase more later? You can favorite it so that you can give it more attention when you have more time.
Plus, the simple interface makes this app quick and easy to use.
So try out these 17 free language apps today. Better late than never!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.