Language Learning Games: 12 Apps That Play to Your Strengths

Looking to improve your language skills? Game on!

With so many cool video games out there, it’s no wonder language learners have gotten in on the gaming trend.

Of the many popular apps out there, some of the most exciting options have games tailored for foreign language learners.

So, give these 12 fun game apps a try and level up your language skills!

Contents

1. StudyCat

studycat for schools

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

Sometimes, you just want to feel like a kid again. StudyCat has you covered on this one.

While StudyCat apps are designed for children ages 3 to 10, they’re also fun for beginning language students.

StudyCat apps offer an array of colorful learning games and activities. In total, there are six different games per lesson. These games are quite varied, including mazes, matching games, spelling games, coloring activities, whack-a-mole style arcade games and so much more.

The games will teach you basic vocabulary like colors, numbers, animals and the like. Plus, since there’s such a huge assortment of games, you’ll never get bored!

StudyCat offers English, Spanish, French, German and Chinese.

2. MindSnacks

mindsnacks

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS 

MindSnacks is the perfect app to feed a language-hungry mind.

Each MindSnacks app offers nine fun games, including balloon games, spelling games and more. While most language game apps focus on building vocabulary, the MindSnacks apps focus on building both vocabulary and conversational skills. Sure, you’ll learn over 1,000 vocabulary words, but you’ll also learn how to conjugate verbs. With upgrades, there are a total of 50 lessons and up to 40 hours of material designed by Ivy League instructors.

MindSnacks offers apps for beginning to intermediate Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese learners.

3. Drops

drops

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

Drops includes over 42 languages to date, including French, English, German, Italian and Spanish. For each language, you’ll pick up about 3,000 words and phrases.

What makes this app stand out are the beautiful illustrations that accompany each vocabulary entry. If your target language uses a script other than the Roman alphabet (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Russian), you’ll also get a walkthrough on how to read the characters in these languages.

Because the audio used is by professional voice artists in the native language, you can be sure the pronunciation you’re hearing is pretty accurate. And just like a typical game, you can “level up” and get rewards as you move along.

Need more information about Drops? Check out this review.

4. FunEasyLearn

funeasylearn

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

As the app’s name promises, it’ll give you a (relatively) fun and easy way to pick up one of 34 languages—whether it’s something like Chinese (both traditional and simplified) or any of the Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish).

There are about 15,000 words and sentences for each language divided into over 300 topics. You can pick from a wide variety of games (including one where you listen to a word/phrase in the original language and choose the image that most accurately represents that word/phrase) and keep track of your daily progress.

And because the app can work offline, it’s perfect for when you want to sneak in language learning lessons in-between flights.

5. HelloWords

hellowords

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

HelloWords is specially designed for visual learners. It features 29 languages including relatively obscure ones like Cantonese, Vietnamese, Thai, Hindi, Icelandic and Hebrew. 

Essentially, it makes use of Spaced Repetition Software (SRS) to drill you on essential vocab. There’s also a game where you’ll be given four pictures, and you have to identify which picture the word is referring to.

For as little as three minutes a day, you can squeeze in a quick language learning lesson.

6. Nextlingua

nextlingua

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

Currently, Nextlingua features English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

The app offers plenty of fun ways to help you pick up your target language. You can guess the word, flip through a bunch of flashcards, link words and play the educational games of your choice.

There are 12 learning levels, which you can practice anywhere you have an internet connection.

7. Duolingo

duolingo

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

A list about apps that feature language learning games wouldn’t be complete without Duolingo. The name is practically synonymous with gamified language learning.

Duolingo replaced its old “skill tree” system with a new path. Essentially, the exercises you have to complete are represented by circles along a path. Every time you complete a level, you move along the path. Your goal is to complete the recommended exercises for each level (as opposed to the old system, which rewarded the accumulation of experience).

For a more complete Duolingo review, go here.

8. Mondly

mondly

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

Like Duolingo, Mondly has a gamified aspect to it (though much less pronounced than the former). You have to take daily lessons for at least a week to unlock the weekly quizzes. Once you’re done with the weekly quizzes, you can then take on the monthly challenges.

There’s an option to view a leaderboard where you can see how you’re doing compared to everyone else. If that sort of thing makes you uncomfortable or anxious, though, don’t worry: it’s in a separate tab that’s pretty easy to ignore.

As for the languages you’ll learn, it includes 41—Spanish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovak, Urdu and more. 

Before you give Mondly a go, here’s a more comprehensive review about this app.

9. LingoClip

lingoclip

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

If you learn languages best by listening to songs, you’ll have a ton of fun with LingoClip.

You can set the game mode to simple karaoke, so you’ll sing along with your favorite songs in their original language. Or, if you prefer a challenge, you can also switch to the fill-in-the-blanks mode, which is exactly what it sounds like: as the song is playing along, you have to fill in the missing word in the nick of time.

Currently, the app features Catalan, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

10. Lirica

lirica

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

Like LingoClip, this app teaches you Spanish, French and German through songs. What it lacks in language selection, it makes up for in the fact that there are professionally-created lessons that accompany each song.

You can read about key vocabulary and grammar for each song, and even learn about the background of the artist or the song itself. Of course, there are also translation games you can play while the song is playing.

11. Ling

ling learn languages

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

If you want to learn Southeast Asian languages in particular, Ling has you covered. They also feature European languages—all in all, you’ll find 60 languages on this app.

There are a ton of games here that suit every type of learner. There’s one where you have to match cards to their respective images, graded pronunciation exercises that come in the form of speaking games and even real-time writing practice (which is important for languages like Japanese where stroke order matters).

12. Lingo Legend

lingo legend

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Available on: iOS | Android

Of all the apps featured so far, this is the one that probably feels closest to the video games you know and love.

Here, you get to create your own fantasy character and battle your way through monsters, collect rewards and pick up new words and phrases along the way—about 3,500 of them, in fact.

Because your avatar interacts with the NPCs (non-playable characters) in your target language, you also get to practice the conversational phrases you’ve picked up!

As of this writing, the app features French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish.

How to Get the Most Out of a Language Learning Game App

It’s helpful to use game apps to break up conventional learning methods. If you study for too long in a stretch, you may get a sort of “learner’s fatigue.” Studying for long periods of time is exhausting, and all the material can start to blur together.

However, playing games is a good way to break up conventional studying while still keeping the learning train on the tracks. Plus, games will help you look at words you may already know with fresh eyes—and in a whole new context—which will make them more memorable.

Another key to success with game apps is to find a learning game you really enjoy. If your language learning game app is as addictive as Candy Crush, you’ll never forget language practice again.

To get the most out of game-based language learning apps, it’s helpful to use them in addition to other learning options. Game apps are wonderful for additional practice and reinforcement of skills, but when used alone, you may miss out on valuable grammar rules and other skills.

Pairing game apps with more structured or formal learning materials provides a well-rounded learning experience that fuses conventional study with fun practice. It’s the best of both worlds!

Some of these materials may still be language learning programs and apps. And even though they may be targeted for more serious learners, they can still be engaging in their own ways.

For example, FluentU lets you learn languages with authentic videos equipped with interactive tools.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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:

learn-a-language-with-videos

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!

learn-a-language-with-music

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.

learn-a-language-with-adaptive-quizzes

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 or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

 

Don’t get pwned by lackluster apps that don’t improve your language skills.

Upgrade your fluency with these enjoyable language learning game apps!

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