You bring it with you everywhere you go.
You use it to pretend you’re busy so you don’t have to talk to people.
It’s practically glued to your hands.
Yes, your phone may be one of the best things that’s ever happened to you (or one of the worst), but can it be one of the best things that happens to your language education?
Of course it can!
With the right language learning apps, phones become powerful tools for teaching your target language.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to learn a language with apps.
How to Select the Best Language Learning Apps for You
Pay attention to what languages are offered.
Obviously, all apps offer different languages. Some apps may offer nearly any language you can name, while other apps may focus on just one language. Make sure you choose an app that teaches your target language!
If you’re studying to be multilingual, there are other things to keep in mind, too. Let’s say you’re about to spend money on an app. It’s crucial to find out whether one account gives you access to all the app’s languages or you have to download and pay for a separate app for each language.
Try multiple apps.
Each language app has a unique style and focus, so finding the best app for you will require some experimentation.
You’ll want to find an app that works with your level, goals and personal preferences. Luckily, testing out a variety of apps can help you improve your language skills and find the best apps to keep using.
Test out all the features.
When you find an app, don’t just try one activity. Explore all of them.
Even if the app’s main feature doesn’t float your boat, you might find that another feature makes the app worth keeping. For instance, some apps may have lessons that are just so-so, but they have useful learning games.
Reading reviews of apps can give you additional insight into the pros and cons of each resource. This can be a quick way to preview what you can expect from the app.
How to Get the Most Out of Language Learning Apps
Use multiple features of each app.
It can be tempting to just use your favorite feature, but this could limit the scope of your studying. Many apps, particularly ones that offer multimedia courses, are designed to support well-rounded skills. However, to do so, you’ll probably need to use more than one feature.
For instance, if you only study vocabulary in the app, you might be missing out on valuable speaking and listening practice.
Pair several apps together.
Not every app is perfect for every skill, so your best bet might be to group several apps together. For example, you could pair an app that focuses on reading with an app that focuses listening so that you can develop both skills.
Even if you have one go-to app that you feel gives you all the skills you need, using additional apps is still beneficial. Each app can provide a different context and format. Experiencing your target language in a new light can make your language skills more flexible.
Some apps offer notifications. If so, go ahead and enable them! These notifications serve as useful study reminders that can ensure you work some studying into your schedule every day.
Get friends in on the act.
If you have other friends who are studying your target language, encourage them to download the same app as you! You can discuss the material, challenge each other to learn more quickly and hold each other accountable on progress toward your goals.
With apps that offer multiple languages, you might even be able to partner with friends studying a different language than you. While you won’t be able to discuss the material, you can still challenge each other and create greater accountability.
Get Downloading! 17 Language Learning Apps for Becoming Fluent
Language Apps with Multimedia Courses
If you’re looking for a multimedia language course that keeps you on your toes with varied activities, Memrise has you covered! Memrise offers tons of awesome features to help learners develop well-rounded skills.
Want to improve your pronunciation? Memrise allows you to record yourself and compare your pronunciation directly against that of a native speaker.
Need some listening practice? Memrise offers on-the-street video clips with native speakers.
Want to take a break from studying without taking a break from learning? Memrise offers practice games that test vocabulary and listening skills.
You can even download your course to learn offline, making Memrise a convenient option for your next plane trip.
Memrise is formatted to allow you to study just five minutes a day, but obviously, you may want to study for longer than that.
Learning with authentic materials is a great way to learn real language skills. However, it can also be super challenging.
FluentU can help you bridge that gap by using real-world videos as powerful learning tools. FluentU offers authentic videos, like commercials, news, music videos and more.
But if you can’t pick up everything you hear, no worries! Each video comes with annotated subtitles, so you’ll always have easy access to any word’s definition, example sentences and images. If you want to see a word in a different context, FluentU can even show you other videos across the site that use that word. Want to study the word more? Just add it to your vocabulary list.
When you’re ready for a break from watching videos, try FluentU’s quizzes! Quizzes combine videos, images and example sentences into interactive activities and flashcards for an engaging learning experience.
Whatever your current learning level, FluentU can help you advance your skills. FluentU’s algorithm tracks your learning to present you with level-appropriate questions that build on what you’ve already learned. That means everyone’s experience is 100% unique!
Crunched for time? Try busuu!
This app aims to help you learn to speak a language in just 10 minutes a day. To do so, it provides over 1,000 lessons and some great features, like speech recognition and personalized study plans.
If you need a more personal touch, you can even connect with other users, including native speakers, for feedback on your reading and speaking.
And don’t worry about entering a dead zone! You can just download lessons to enjoy without Wi-Fi.
Babbel wants you to become conversational quickly.
With lessons that replicate real-life interactions and audio by native speakers, you’ll likely find yourself getting more comfortable with your target language pretty quickly. Not only that, speech recognition technology enables you to participate in the dialogues, thereby building your speaking skills.
Have you ever forgotten material you worked so hard to learn? Babbel’s review sessions can be a great tool to prevent that from happening again.
If you like to move at your own speed, check out Mango Languages for a self-paced option.
Mango Languages offers an array of great learning features. For instance, native-speaker dialogues and simulated real-world conversations aim to provide useful language skills you can use in everyday life.
You can also record your pronunciation and compare it directly to that of a native speaker to fine-tune your accent. Plus, through Mango Languages, you can learn about vocabulary, grammar and culture.
And there’s a major bonus—while Mango Languages is a subscription service, your local library may already have a subscription, so check to see if your library card gets you free access before signing up on your own!
Mango Language offers 70 language options, so there’s a strong chance your target language is one of them.
A combination of speed and well-rounded learning set Mondly apart as a unique app you may just fall in love with.
Mondly aims to provide a balanced learning experience, seeking to build your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills through lessons, speech recognition and native audio.
The main focus of Mondly is learning through realistic conversations, which is a great way to develop functional language skills you can use in real life.
Mondly offers 33 languages. And unlike most learning apps, you can select the language you speak. This means if you would rather receive your instruction in a language other than English, you can, which is particularly useful for non-native English speakers looking to learn languages.
Don’t like grammar? Don’t want to read? Doki might be the app you’ve been looking for.
Doki focuses on helping users develop language skills through animated scenarios and interactive activities. It’s intended to teach both children and adults everyday vocabulary that they can use in real life.
The focus is on basic skills, so Doki is most appropriate for beginning learners. It focuses on speaking and listening and provides plenty of travel-related scenarios, so it’s particularly useful for those looking to learn a language for a trip abroad.
Rosetta Stone is a big name in language learning, and its features don’t disappoint!
Rosetta Stone’s mobile apps offer interactive lessons in clear context, making it easy to see how what you learn could apply in the real world. Because the app is meant to simulate immersion, it can be an effective and engaging learning tool.
Plus, Rosetta Stone’s apps are designed to be use for just 10 minutes per day, so it’s easy to squeeze in language learning.
Language Apps for Gamified Learning
Duolingo is a free learning option that acts a lot like a game.
Each lesson offers a mixture of interactive activities to hone your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. You don’t do the same type of activity twice in a row, so Duolingo keeps you on your toes. The app is appropriate for beginning through advanced students, though advanced students will have to complete tests to prove their skills.
With Duolingo, you’ll earn “lingots” you can use to purchase special features, so you’ll have extra learning incentive.
50Languages is a learning app that teaches beginning students basic vocabulary. And what better way to do so than through games?
That’s right—in addition to more conventional lessons, 50Languages offers games to help language learners practice their vocabulary and test their skills. You’ll experiences quizzes, find-the-opposite activities and more.
If you’re an avid gamer with a need for speed, Drops might be your perfect fit.
Drops focuses on interactive activities designed to help beginning language students learn vocabulary. You’ll find yourself spelling words, connecting an image to its meaning and swiping frantically.
Drops uses five-minute sessions, which provide extra motivation to stay focused the whole time. It’s super easy to fit into busy schedules!
Want a challenge? Clozemaster can fit the bill.
Clozemaster will ask you to complete sentences with the appropriate words. Meanwhile, your score will add up. There’s a leaderboard, so competitive language learners could really get a lot out of Clozemaster.
And because Clozemaster offers a nice selection of vocabulary and sentences, it’s appropriate for beginning through advanced language learners.
With FlashAcademy’s bright colors and fun activities, it could certainly appeal to children studying languages. However, the app is also terrific for adults who like a good time.
FlashAcademy offers interactive word games, comprehension practice and more. Lessons are designed to take just five to 10 minutes, so it’s great for anyone who doesn’t have much time to commit to studying.
FlashAcademy is appropriate for beginning through advanced students, so there’s no excuse not to start playing right away!
Language Apps That Develop Special Skills
Do your reading and/or listening skills need some work? Then Beelinguapp is an unbeelievable option for you.
Beelinguapp focuses squarely on reading and listening practice. The app provides side-by-side texts in your target language and English, making it easy to refer to the English text for some quick help.
But the learning doesn’t stop there! The texts are also accompanied by an audiobook. The text is highlighted in a karaoke-like style, making it easy to read along as you listen.
Because you can lean on English text as much or as little as you want, Beelinguapp is appropriate for beginning through advanced students.
Looking to learn a language for your next vacation? TripLingo is a great option.
TripLingo is designed specifically for travelers. The language instruction it provides focuses on phrases travelers may need, including slang. The app also provides quick translation and a handy phrasebook you can use in a pinch.
In addition to the language materials, TripLingo provides additional resources travelers can use to make their trips go more smoothly, including cultural lessons, a currency conversion calculator and more.
Lingvist is an app dedicated to building your vocabulary. With thousands of words in the app, there’s plenty to learn!
To help you learn vocabulary, Lingvist offers some useful features, including flashcards, speech recognition and pronunciations by a realistic virtual voice.
Lingvist adapts to your level, so it’s appropriate for any level of language learner. The app currently offers French, German, Russian and Spanish, so if you’re studying one of these popular languages, Lingvist could be a good app option for you.
Do you ever wish you would never forget a word in your target language again? Léa Knows has the same goal for you!
To help you pursue that goal, Léa Knows brings you a helpful flashcard app to reinforce vocabulary.
But this isn’t just a standard flashcard app. It also has a built-in dictionary! Any time you look up a word in that dictionary, it will automatically be added to your flashcard set so you can study it more later.
Now, this sounds a little dangerous. What do you do once you have too many flashcards? Well, there’s nothing to worry about—you can just organize your flashcards using lists, making it easy to access your words of choice whenever you want.
With these 17 apps for learning languages, your phone can offer you so much more than a quick escape from the world around you. It can infuse your everyday life with unparalleled language learning!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.