What Is the Best App for Language Learning?
Thankfully, 2020 is almost over and I hope that you all have been spending your time wisely. With being cooped up in your house most of the year, the best way to stay positive has been to stay busy and productive. Few things are more productive than learning another language, am I right? So, what is the best app for language learning? Let’s find out!
Why Should You Learn Another Language?
Being multilingual has always been a recommended character trait for anyone seeking work, regardless of what field they are in. With international business being so common nowadays, knowing another language could be the difference between getting a lucrative position or not.
Second language classes are common in schooling, but they are not always adequate in teaching kids to truly master a different language. For most people who do not have family speaking in another tongue at home, personal learning is most often required to speak something other than your native tongue. Some get tutors, others learn by watching foreign TV shows and movies, and others utilize language learning apps.
The Rise of Language Learning Apps
Language learning apps have been around for well over a decade now. They started to take off with the rise of smartphones. With people becoming increasingly more attached to the minicomputers in their pockets, using them as an all-in-one resource tool was an inevitability.
Say you are fresh off the plane in a foreign country for summer vacation and you would like to freshen up your conversational skills. There is no longer a need to lug around your high school German textbook or hire a tutor. Just whip out your smartphone, boot up your language learning app of choice, and you will be right as rain.
The language learning app industry has a healthy selection for you to choose from, and with improvements to curated curriculum, UI navigation and ease of access, the industry will continue to get better.
How Do You Use Language Learning Apps?
Download the App of Choice
Language learning apps are typically not complicated to use. Everyone from children to the older generations can use them, so developers do not make them something that only a seasoned developer can understand. Pick an app that you think will be helpful in achieving your goals, boot it up and dive into their content. Some people just do not do well with traditional learning methods, so language learning apps offer up a viable alternative.
Find Your Learning Preferences
Methods of teaching are expectedly varied. Some apps focus on audio lessons and repetition until the content is muscle memory drilled into your head. Others prefer digital flashcards, frequent pop quizzes and personable podcasts to help you learn.
Some language learning apps are free, others have a one-time access fee and others have monthly/yearly subscription fees. It’s all up to you which one you choose to use, though it is recommended that you test the wares before spending a considerable amount of money on something that may not work for you.
Why Use Language Learning Apps?
As for why you should use them, once again, convenience. If getting one step closer to learning a different language only requires reaching into your pocket and pulling out your phone, why wouldn’t you do it? At the very least, try it and see if it works for you.
One thing that I can say about language learning apps, is that a lot of them can be considered companion learning apps. They will help you become more fluent, but they will not make you completely fluent (on their own). They will help you master phrases so you can get through basic street conversations, how to ask for directions, or order a meal in a restaurant, but will not teach you how to have a deep debate about existential philosophy.
Some language learning apps are themselves companions of full language learning systems that are typically accessed via computer software programs. These are the most thorough apps, generally speaking. But overall, complete fluency from one language learning app alone is highly unlikely.
What Are the Best Language Learning Apps?
Want to learn a new language but not entirely sure which one? Good! We’ve got some fine selections for you. To keep this list from being as lengthy the Great Wall of China, we have decided to restrict this list to general language learning apps only. Apps that only teach Chinese, Spanish, Korean, etc., will not be listed here.
If you want the best of both worlds between new-age learning and traditional language learning in a classroom, then Babbel is the app for you. Babbel offers lessons for 14 different languages that are all roughly 10 to 15 minutes in length.
According to a study posted on Babbel’s website, 21 hours of study with Babbel is roughly equivalent to a single college semester of learning. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Available for both Android and iOS devices, Babbel is a great option for anyone looking to learn a Eurocentric language. If you are seeking to learn an Asian language, however, look elsewhere.
Subscription prices start at $12.95 a month and the monthly fee decreases if you decide to purchase a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscription. Every subscription option comes with a 20-day money-back guarantee.
Memrise is great for hearing native speakers holding natural conversations. A lot of language learning programs teach you things that likely will not come up in conversation anytime soon, but Memrise helps you learn what you need to know in a foreign country.
Memrise has more than 20 language options for beginners up to intermediate learners. It also offers lessons for things like math and science, history and technology, and standardized tests. You can create courses tailored to your specific needs as well.
This app can be enjoyed for free, or you can upgrade to a monthly premium option for $8.99 a month, an annual premium for $7.50 a month, or pay a lifetime access fee of $139.99. Memrise is available for both Android and iOS devices.
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If you are looking for a language learning app that will maintain your children’s interest, then Duolingo is the one for you. The design of Duolingo is definitely the most appealing to children with a colorful interface and friendly cartoon avatars are spread about.
Duolingo is almost like an educational game, which is another reason why it is great for kids. Matching games, fun pop quizzes and other features keep learning a new language from getting stale. It’s well-structured and the content is good, so it is ideal for adults as well. It has more than 30 languages to choose from, including Klingon and High Valyrian.
This app is free, but there are some drawbacks to the free mobile app. It uses a bizarre hearts system where you start off with five hearts and lose a heart every time you fail an exercise. Lose all of your hearts and you will need to wait hours for your hearts to recharge, or pay a currency earned by using the app. This is exclusive to the mobile app versions.
Duolingo Plus will set you back $12.99 a month, or you can purchase 6-month or 1-year packages as well. Upgrading to Plus will eliminate the oddness of the heart system on the mobile app, as well as get rid of ads and allow offline lesson downloading.
Like Duolingo, Mondly is bright and colorful, which makes it a great option for kids. This language learning tool also gets high marks for accessibility. Sign up for an account? No need. Boot up Mondly, tell them what language you speak and what language you want to learn, and it immediately begins a starter lesson for that language. Complete that lesson and it takes you to a full lesson road map with a bunch of categories to choose from. Everything from grammar and verbs, to hotels and sports. You can take on some of these lessons for free.
Another great thing about Mondly is all of the visual aids in each lesson. It will also frequently provide links to other helpful information. If a sentence contains a preposition, Mondly will provide a link to other common prepositions, all with auditory aids. Mondly is all about repetition and phrases to memorize words and begin mastering speaking full sentences. It also has a chatbot that you can use to practice with if you are too embarrassed to talk to a native speaker yet.
This app has 41 different language options, which is upper tier among its competitors. Upgrading to premium for one language will set you back $10 a month and a yearly subscription for every language is $47.99. Mondly is currently offering a discount on its Lifetime access package as well. Normally, lifetime access is apparently $2,000 but currently costs only $99.99. If you try out Mondly and like it, you might want to buy this.
If you like schedules, regiments, goal charts and sticking to plans, then Busuu is the app for you. Busuu tests your current language ability, decides what level you are currently at. It creates a curriculum best suited to your level. You can study for as little as 10 minutes a day, but Busuu’s consistent regime will put you on the path to better fluency in a second or third language.
Busuu is free to try out and use, and no internet connection is required for their mobile apps. If you upgrade to premium or premium plus, you can also download lessons and view them offline any time you want. Premium and premium plus plans start out at $9.99 and $13.99 a month and go down in price if you invest in a long-term subscription. Busuu only has 12 languages to choose from, the lowest number on this list, but the quality of content makes up for it.