Even if you’re an absolute stranger to pinching a penny, you’ve surely wondered what the best way is to access language-learning resources that don’t break the bank.
There are so many different options available for learning a language, from classes to apps to online programs. Some are cheap, while others are wildly expensive! The trick is finding options that are fit into your budget and work for your learning style.
Language-learning apps for mobile devices frequently strike the perfect balance between cost-effective and just plain effective.
We are lucky to live in a moment when there are heaps of excellent language-learning apps that provide fun, convenient and portable language practice. And some of them cost nothing at all!
Those free apps can pack a language-learning punch, but beware: Not all free apps are worth downloading.
Wondering how to find good ones?
No worries! We’ve got you covered. There are lots of amazing free apps for language learners!
Let’s check some out!
What Can Apps Do for a Language Program?
Apps, like the devices we download them onto, are on-the-go items that offer fast, portable and uncomplicated learning.
They’re right at our fingertips so there’s a potential for creating lots of learning opportunities. Schedule apps into your language program, for sure—but also use apps to fill up any small pockets of spare time in your day. Waiting at the doctor’s office or in line at the DMV? Pull out your device, open an app and learn your target language while you wait. What’s not to love about that?
Apps offer all kinds of options for learners. Some great things to look for are flashcards, games, reading practice, speaking exercises and quizzes to gauge progress.
I’m sure you’ve heard that language immersion is the fast-track to language acquisition. Most of us can’t drop everything to immerse ourselves in another culture to learn the language, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring immersive items to our at-home programs.
Apps can do that. Apps bring culture, native speakers and authentic content—via our devices!—to our self-styled language-learning programs. A win-win situation, for sure!
6 Free Language-Learning Apps to Get Fluent on a Budget
Beelinguapp is an app that makes bilingual audiobooks and e-books. It’s a solid option for any language-learning program!
Choose from short stories, children’s stories or novels to increase your reading, listening and speaking skills.
Text appears in two languages on your screen, so you’re able to follow along with ease even if you’re a beginner in your target language. For added practice, consider repeating the sentences or passages. It’s a fast, easy method for increasing your speaking and pronunciation skills!
If you’re looking to practice your target language while you commute or even at the gym, forget the reading practice and go for the audiobook itself. There are three options available for audio speed so if you’re a beginner, choose a slower speed and work your way up.
Learning languages with FluentU is entertaining and engaging.
FluentU offers an immersive experience using real-world interactive videos. Movie trailers, music videos, inspiring talks and news from around the globe are just some of the offerings available. With FluentU, you’ll get authentic content by native speakers. In addition to great language practice, FluentU also brings foreign cultures right to your device.
But FluentU isn’t just a video platform. It’s actually an all-inclusive language-learning program that helps you have fun as you work towards fluency in your target language. Each FluentU video comes equipped with interactive subtitles. Simply click on an unfamiliar word and you’ll find a definition, example sentences and links to other videos that use the word in context. From here, you can add the word to a customizable vocabulary list or flashcard deck so that you can review it later.
Since all the videos feature native speakers, you can be assured that every time you watch a FluentU video, you’re building your listening skills and improving your pronunciation.
Each video also comes with a curated vocabulary list, written transcript and comprehension quiz. All of these features taken together create a comprehensive and effective language-learning program that is also incredibly fun!
You can start with a free trial—and after a few weeks of binge-watching videos, you’ll almost surely find yourself hooked.
No discussion about free language-learning apps would be complete without mentioning Duolingo. Most language fans recognize the program as soon as they see Duo, the little green owl mascot, who sends learners reminders to practice so they reach their language goals.
Duolingo offers a game-like approach to language learning. It teaches the basics using short, entertaining lessons with appealing celebrations every time you complete a task.
It offers listening, reading, writing and even speaking practice, and although it isn’t comprehensive enough to get you fluent in a language, it’s a fantastic way to grab some basic skills or supplement a language class.
One of the most beneficial features of this app is that it allows users to set goals. It keeps track of progress, too, so as long as you open the app daily you’re sure to move toward your language goal—and have fun while doing it!
LyricsTraining is the perfect language-learning app for anyone who loves to sing! (Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a good singer for this app to provide results!) It’s a unique approach that pairs music with languages—and the results are wonderfully entertaining.
Choose music in your target language and sing along. Learners can either simply listen or choose to be prompted to fill in missing lyrics. Either way, it’s a super method for learning vocabulary, practicing your listening comprehension or even picking up a bit of cultural immersion.
Listening and speaking—or singing, in this case—is fun with LyricsTraining. Idioms, slang and conversational phrases show up in music, whatever the language. Those points of vocabulary aren’t always readily accessible in traditional language-learning courses, making LyricsTraining an ideal supplement full of authentic language-learning materials.
There is a dictionary and translation feature that’s available for most languages.
Feeling bold? There is also a karaoke mode!
This is an amusing addition to a language program. Honestly, using this app feels more like play than work.
FlashAcademy is premised on the idea that complicated grammar drills and vocabulary sheets are, well, boring.
So, you won’t find any of them in this app! FlashAcademy eliminates tedious or drawn-out lessons and focuses instead on fun, entertaining language experiences.
Lessons are short, and they’re based on pictures and audio, offering users an immersive learning experience similar to apps like Duolingo. You can also access flashcard review games to help you solidify your knowledge of each lesson.
Once you run out of free lesson options, you can choose to upgrade to a Premium membership, which will gain you access to the full learning course for your target language. However, the limited free program provides plenty of room to get started, especially for beginning learners.
Clozemaster works best for learners who aren’t absolute beginners. It’s essentially a fill-in-the-blank game in your target language, so you’ll want to have at least some idea of what the rest of the sentence means in order to have fun playing.
And I do mean playing because this app is sheer fun. It’s one of the simplest ways to solidify vocabulary, encourage thinking in a foreign language and provide reading practice.
Sentences are ordered by difficulty, so as your skills increase you’re able to level up. Also, the app keeps track of the number of correct responses—an ideal situation for anyone who wants to track their progress!
Apps are designed to improve the functionality of our phones, tablets and other devices that most of us carry around with us every day.
They’re convenient, they’re functional, they make us more productive—overall, they’re the perfect way to learn languages!
Download one—or a couple—of these amazing language apps to give your language program a low-cost or no-cost boost.
The road to fluency is right in the palm of your hand—and it’s basically a free ride!
Have fun and good luck!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.