10 Free Language Learning Apps to Try in 2024

“You can’t get something for nothing.”

That saying simply isn’t true! In today’s world, you can use some awesome language learning apps for free.

And they really can give you a running start!

In this post, we’ll be looking at the 10 best free language learning apps of the year.

Contents

1. Best App for Busy Learners: Duolingo

Available on: iOS | Android

A Quick Duolingo Review
does duolingo work

Name: Duolingo

Description: An incredibly popular app that gamifies language learning.

Languages offered: Over 30 languages including Arabic, Chinese, English, Japanese, German, Italian, Korean, Spanish and more.

Offer price: Free, with a premium subscription for additional features starting at $6.99 per month

8.8/10
8.8/10

Summary

Duolingo is a free app that gamifies language learning and makes it fun with bite-sized, playful daily sessions. It won’t make you fluent in a language but it’ll get you started with effective vocabulary and sentence structure practice.

  • User friendliness - 10/10
    10/10
  • Delivers on promises - 8/10
    8/10
  • Authenticity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value for price - 10/10
    10/10

Pros

  • Uses organized, progressive lessons
  • Teaches sentence structure from the get-go
  • Features game-like learning with interactive lessons, learning streaks, colorful graphics and more fun features
  • Targets all the learning skills

Cons

  • Doesn’t take you beyond beginner level in most languages
  • Has no practical usable language practice (like conversational speaking)
  • Some languages offer more content than others
  • Lacks instruction on the reasons and nuances in grammar and language usage

free language learning apps

Duolingo focuses 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 some of the lessons.

Once you’ve completed a lesson, you can go back to reinforce what you learned.

Once you’re finished with a Duolingo course, check out our suggestions for what to do next.

See our full review of Duolingo here.

2. Best App for Reading Skills: Beelinguapp

Available on: iOS | Android free-language-apps

Languages: Features 13 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Pros: 

  • Option to learn in your target language (if listed)
  • A diverse range of stories, song lyrics and news
  • Audio for each story is available

Cons:

  • Limited amount of free stories
  • Lacking grammar explanations

free language learning apps

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 both.

3. Best App for Word Association: Memrise

Available on: iOS | Android

Overview
memrise-vs-duolingo

Name: Memrise

Description: User-friendly program based around spaced-repetition and authentic videos.

Languages offered: 23 languages offered, including Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Turkish, Yoruba, Icelandic and more, as well as user-created content in other languages.

Offer price: Most content available for free; monthly subscription from $5.00/month up to $119.99/lifetime access

8.3/10
8.3/10

Summary

Memrise harnesses spaced repetition technology to help you master new words and phrases with full control over your learning. It’s also a monster directory for vocabulary in many languages. Just don’t expect a lot of grammar explanations or practice with putting the language to use.

  • User friendliness - 9/10
    9/10
  • Delivers on promises - 8/10
    8/10
  • Authenticity - 10/10
    10/10
  • Value for price - 6/10
    6/10

Pros

  • Methods backed up by solid science
  • High-quality video and audio
  • Customizable learning where you set your own goals

Cons

  • Words and phrases taught in isolation, not in context
  • Limited grammar explanations
  • Not much writing or speaking practice

free language learning apps

Want to get immediate access to Memrise? Try the learning app for free.

The free version of Memrise allows you to learn and review tons of vocabulary.

See our full review of Memrise here.

4. Best App for Community Support: Busuu

Available on: iOS | Android

A Quick Busuu Review
busuu-logo

Name: Busuu

Description: A learning program that prioritizes listening and speaking, thanks to a speech recognition tool.

14 Languages offered: Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Turkish, Polish and Korean.

Offer price: Free (limited access); $13.95/month or $83.40/year

8/10
8/10

Summary

I recommend the Busuu premium plan for serious learners. The free version is fun but very limited. Busuu is impressive in terms of getting speaking practice and learning conversational vocabulary, but there’s still room for improvement.

  • User friendliness - 8/10
    8/10
  • Delivers on promises - 8/10
    8/10
  • Authenticity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value for price - 9/10
    9/10

Pros

  • Personalized language goals
  • Explanations of vocabulary, grammar and culture
  • Comprehension checks to learn new words thoroughly
  • Option to record answers and get feedback from native speakers

Cons

  • Limited selection of languages
  • Quality varies depending on your language course
  • Content is somewhat lacking in entertainment value
  • It’s possible to receive incorrect corrections

free language learning apps

Busuu’s free version can give you your flashcard fix while helping you decide whether a full subscription might be in your future.

This is just a small fraction of what Busuu offers to paid members, so if you like the format, you might consider purchasing a subscription, which gives you conversations with native speakers, quizzes, grammar exercises, official certificates and more.

See our full review of Busuu here.

5. Best App for Beginners: 50Languages free-language-apps

Available on: iOS | Android

Languages: A huge variety of languages (over 50), including popular options like Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Pros: 

  • Lots of high-quality content targeted at beginners
  • Over 50 languages available
  • Freedom to choose which language skills to focus on

Cons:

  • The interface isn’t very user friendly
  • Lessons are not accurately labeled or described

free language learning apps

If you’re a beginner looking to jumpstart your language learning journey, 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 offers free lessons, tests and games that you can use to learn some of the most essential vocabulary and reinforce what you’ve learned.

In-app purchases are also available to remove ads and open up additional materials.

6. Best App for Innovative Features: Mondly

Available on: iOS | Android

Overview
mondly-review

Name: Mondly

Description: An app that provides short bursts of learning through fun and high-tech methods.

Languages offered: 41 languages including Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Danish, Arabic, Japanese, Greek, Romanian, Vietnamese, Hindi, Hebrew, Polish, Bulgarian and more.

Offer price: Base program is free; premium content available with a monthly subscription at $9.99/month or $47.99/year

7/10
7/10

Summary

Mondly tries to push language learning into the next generation through snappy daily lessons, competitive events and innovative features like AR, VR and chatbots. While this makes for a unique and engaging experience, level differentiation and uneven language instruction hold it back from being the best in its field.

  • User friendliness - 9/10
    9/10
  • Delivers on promises - 8/10
    8/10
  • Authenticity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value for price - 4/10
    4/10

Pros

  • High-tech, innovative features draw your attention
  • Leaderboards fuel competition and make learning fun
  • All languages can be set as target or native language

Cons

  • Lack of differentiation between the different levels
  • Need an annual membership for access to multiple languages
  • Advanced features can feel a bit forced and unnatural
  • Some languages could use more development

free language learning apps

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 basic material and ongoing content to set up a learning routine—a new daily lesson, a weekly quiz and even monthly challenges.

If you find you love the 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.

See our full review of Mondly here.

7. Best All-in-one Language App: Innovative Language

Available on: iOS | Android

Overview
Innovative Language Logo

Name: Innovative Language

Description: An audio-heavy, podcast-style language learning program.

Languages offered: 34 languages, including popular options like French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese and Chinese.

Offer price: Some free content; monthly subscription from $4/month up to $23/month

7.3/10
7.3/10

Summary

This audio-focused program offers a huge amount of dialogue-based lessons, although the quality varies per language. You’ll learn about practical vocabulary for real-life conversations. It’s more podcast-style—you get to decide your own learning pathway, and there’s no strict step-by-step structure.

  • User friendliness - 6/10
    6/10
  • Delivers on promises - 8/10
    8/10
  • Authenticity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value for price - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Focus is on the communicative approach to language learning
  • The lessons are practical, plentiful and relevant
  • Non-repetitive repetition is the mother of all learning
  • Learning is on your own terms
  • Two birds with one stone (language and culture)

Cons

  • The lessons could use much better organization
  • The dashboard could benefit from more purposeful design
  • The quality across language programs isn’t consistent
  • Lessons could be bolstered by more engaging videos

free language learning apps

Each week, Innovative Language offers new free audio and video lessons.

You can easily make these freebies part of your learning routine, but if you’re wanting to try their other offerings, you might consider subscribing to a free trial.

Innovative Language’s 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, a personal word bank and more. If you like it, you might consider subscribing for continued access.

See our full review of Innovative Language here.

8. Best App for Building Vocabulary: Drops

Available on: iOS | Android

Overview
Logo for Drops app

Name: Drops

Description: Bite-sized language lessons to prevent burn-out.

Languages offered: 45 languages, including popular options like German, Chinese and Spanish, as well as more obscure options like Ainu and Igbo.

Offer price: Base program is free; Premium content available with a monthly subscription at $13/month, $69.99/year or $159.99 for lifetime access.

7.3/10
7.3/10

Summary

Drops is a fun and visually appealing app that teaches vocabulary through brief daily sessions. It over-emphasizes brevity, though, and its time-limits may be off-putting for some learners.

  • User friendliness - 10/10
    10/10
  • Delivers on promises - 9/10
    9/10
  • Authenticity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value for price - 3/10
    3/10

Pros

  • Beautiful minimalist interface
  • Consistent repetition-based vocabulary learning
  • Ability to skip learned words
  • Large variety of topics
  • Useful language-specific extras, like Japanese kanji writing practice

Cons

  • Has a daily five-minute limit for free users
  • Only teaches vocabulary
  • Minimal audio and no conversation practice
  • Paid version doesn’t have much extra content

free language learning apps

Drops’ goal is to help you learn a language in just five minutes a day.

It’s based on visual learning, pairing images with words in your target language.

This way, you can associate new words with their actual meanings rather than with English words.

And the app has no shortage of words for you to learn. For each language, there are around 1700 words organized into 99 topics.

And best of all, it’s completely 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.

See our full review of Drops here.

9. Best App for Audio Learners: LingQ

Available on: iOS | Android

Overview
LingQ logo

Name: LingQ

Description: A language learning program founded in 2007.

Languages offered: 42 languages including French, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Dutch, Latin, Esperanto and more.

Offer price: Some free content; monthly subscription from $12.99/month

7.8/10
7.8/10

Summary

LingQ takes authentic materials in your target language and turns them into language lessons. This allows you to learn in a very authentic way through immersion in written, audio and video content. However, it’s held back by an unfriendly user interface, lacking and sometimes incorrect instruction, lack of video and no grammar, speaking and writing skills.

  • User friendliness - 7/10
    7/10
  • Delivers on promises - 7/10
    7/10
  • Authenticity - 10/10
    10/10
  • Value for price - 7/10
    7/10

Pros

  • Authentic native text and audio material
  • Interactive interface and flashcard creation that makes vocabulary learning engaging
  • Varied and leveled content with options for every level
  • Ability to upload your own content
  • Stats and data about your progress

Cons

  • Unfriendly user interface
  • No grammar instruction
  • Writing and speaking skills are left out
  • Lesson import function is limited
  • User content can contain errors
  • No video content

free language learning apps

LingQ is an app that immerses users in text and audio media in their target language.

The app lets you read authentic content like news articles and stories and listen to podcasts, audiobooks and more. 

As you read, you discover “lingQs,” which are words that you don’t know yet.

Save these lingQs to your flashcard deck, and you can review them with the app’s SRS program. All audio content comes with a transcript, so you can easily save new vocabulary words from any content.

Though most of the content is accessed with a paid subscription, there’s some good free beginner content to get you started.

10. Best App for Obscure Languages: Tandem

Available on: iOS | Android

Overview
language-exchange-app-tandem

Name: Tandem

Description: A community- and interest-driven language exchange platform.

Languages offered:Over 300 languages.

Offer price: Slight limits on free account; monthly subscription from $13.99/month up to $79.99/year

8.3/10
8.3/10

Summary

Tandem functions like a social media for language learners, which makes it very easy to find someone to chat with who shares your interests and goals. Experiences on Tandem seem to vary depending on your target language, and despite the program’s best efforts, there are still users who abuse the community guidelines. It’s worth a download if you’re looking for a language partner, but not if you’re an absolute beginner.

  • User friendliness - 7/10
    7/10
  • Delivers on promises - 8/10
    8/10
  • Authenticity - 10/10
    10/10
  • Value for price - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Social media-like setup makes it easy to find like-minded language partners
  • Private and group chat service has useful built-in language tools
  • Has features in place to prevent abuse, including a background check and a reporting system
  • Much of the program is available for free

Cons

  • Huge number of incoming messages can be difficult to parse through
  • Some people use the app as a dating program
  • Emphasizes practicing languages, not learning them
  • Cost is more than similar apps

free language learning apps

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 currently online, 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 viewed your profile.

See our full review of Tandem here.

How to Get the Most Out of Free Language Learning Apps

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 example, you can pair a free language exchange app with an online learning program like FluentU, which helps you learn languages in context through authentic videos.

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

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

FluentU Ad

Try as many as you want

Don’t limit yourself! There’s no reason not to try all you want when apps are free.

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.

Take advantage of free trials

Many paid apps offer free trials, but by all means, take advantage of these.

You get a period of free learning (yay!), and you’ll also see if the app is valuable enough to be worth spending your hard-earned money on.

 

Whether you want it totally free or are willing to pay for a more premium product, apps are definitely the way to use new technology to learn a language.

So try out these 10 free language apps today. Better late than never!0

And One More Thing...

If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.

With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:

FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.

Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.

You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly 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.)

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