Learning another language can expand your mind, help you when traveling, and even stave off Alzheimer’s. And with so many language apps available now, learning a language is easy and accessible.
Finding the right language-learning app, however, can be a challenge. We’ve rounded up the best ones so you can start your foreign language journey on the right foot (or pie, pied, fuß, voet, πόδι, oinez … )
The 19 Best Apps for Learning a Language
Here are our favorite apps and sites for language learners at a variety of levels.
DuoLingo allows you to learn a foreign language with just a few minutes of practice a day. It is packed with reading, writing, and pronunciation exercises—and it’s completely free.
DuoLingo gamifies learning so that the lessons are fun and interactive, and allows you to customize your courses by your native language. Native speakers contribute to the course content, so you can be sure that what you’re learning is as accurate as having an in-person teacher.
Babbel is a paid app that aims to get you “conversational fast.” You’ll be able to have true-to-life conversations with lessons developed by native speakers, and use their speech recognition software to ensure that you’re getting the pronunciation correct.
Each lesson is short—just 10-15 minutes—so you can learn at the pace that works for you.
Although the language options are somewhat limited, Lingvist is a good option if you want to learn French, German, Spanish, or Russian. It allows you to skip material you already know, and uses AI to tailor your courses.
The free version is likely enough for most users, but if you want unlimited access, you’ll have to pay for it.
The original language-learning software has still got it. Rosetta Stone‘s Dynamic Immersion method offers interactive activities and contextual lessons so that you’re learning how to really use the language. Plus, it has speech recognition capabilities to help you improve your accent, and quick lessons that can be done on the go.
LinguaLift is a paid app that will teach you Japanese, Russian, or Hebrew with a unique combination of apps, worksheets, and tutors. Interactive lessons will teach you to read, speak, and write.
Individualized programs, short lessons, and smart review tactics ensure good retention of what you’ve learned.
The Memrise application teaches over 200 languages, and includes videos from native speakers and chatbots to help you speak like a local.
The app relies on exercises designed to maximize retention through vivid, sensory memories and gamified activities to make learning as fun as playing.
Busuu offers personalized study plans, quick lessons, and the option to get (and give) feedback on written exercises by native speakers. They have both a free and a paid version, which gives you access to premium features.
In partnership with McGraw-Hill, busuu offers certifications that allow you to validate your language learning.
Mondly is a comprehensive, rigorous language-learning app. There are plenty of lessons and quizzes to monitor your progress, and you can learn any language from any language.
Mondly also offers AR and VR integrations for a more immersive experience.
Drops focuses on teaching vocabulary rather than grammar, but its aesthetically pleasing design and simple format make it a pleasure to use. The quick games are easy to integrate into your daily routine.
Long-form reading is a topic often overlooked in language apps. Beelinguapp specializes in just that, with plenty of reading materials on a variety of topics. The app shows the text in English and the language you’re learning so you can easily translate.
It also allows you to listen to the texts via audio, helping you with pronunciation.
MindSnacks offers charming games to help you learn grammar and vocabulary in a variety of languages. It will also personalize the curriculum based on your progress.
MosaLingua uses the MOSA Learning method (Motivating Optimized System for Adaptive Learning) to help you learn and remember languages. With carefully spaced-out review sessions, flashcards rather than multiple choice questions, and a course structure that introduces the most important words and concepts first, you’ll be well-equipped to learn any language.
50 Languages has—you guessed it—50 languages that you can learn from your native language. With online courses, books, tests and puzzles, and online flashcards, you can choose which method works best for you.
HelloTalk is a unique app that allows you to learn a language by having real conversations with native speakers.
The app is equipped with innovative tools that allow you to correct messages as well as translate them, transliterate them, and more. You can chat with individual members or with groups.
Like HelloTalk, Tandem connects you with native speakers and initiates conversations via text, audio, and video chat.
They also offer paid one-on-one sessions with language tutors, who are trained professionals that can help you with specific questions and topics.
HiNative allows you to ask their community of native speakers questions about any language you’re trying to learn. You can also teach other users about your native language. Whether you’re looking for quick translations, checks on your writing in a foreign language, or if you want to learn to speak more like a native, this unique app can help.
(How to) Pronounce will allow you to listen to words being pronounced so that you can improve your pronunciation. You can even slow down the audio to really hear every syllable. Bonus: it also offers pronunciation guidance for commonly mispronounced words in English.
Clozemaster won’t teach you a language on its own, but it can be used as an add-on or as additional contextual learning when you are somewhat familiar with a language already.
Clozemaster is formatted like a game; it gives you a sentence with a word missing and 4 options to fill in the blank.
While it’s not a true language-learning app, TripLingo is an extremely handy tool for international travelers. It offers phrasebooks and learning tools to help you communicate abroad, as well as a voice translator feature that instantly translates your voice into another language (and translates responses back into English).
It also includes travel and safety tools, a tip calculator, and culture notes so your trip goes as smoothly as possible.
Have you ever used a language-learning app? Tell us about it in the comments.
If you liked this article, you might also like:
Selling Foreign Language Rights for Your Book with Elliott Katz
Getting a Handle on Colloquialisms: Using Regional Terms, Expressions, and Dialect
Learning to Excel: How to Use Process Excellence to Improve Your Life
Melissa Drumm is a lifelong book lover. She is passionate about helping authors make their work the best it can be. You can find some of her writing here on the TCK blog, and learn more about her other projects at melissadrumm.com. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, you’ll usually find her in the kitchen, baking.