Learning a new language might sound like a hard task – we’ve been there before. But there is no reason to panic. We have many online resources at hand that ease our job a great deal. If you use one of the best language learning apps that exist on the web, you will be able to study at your own pace, in a way that suits you.
Forget about the typical school classes! We compiled this list of cool language learning apps that make courses less of a burden. In fact, their gamified lessons and hands-on teaching methods will turn language learning into something fun, rather than a chore.
Is a visual interface more effective for your progress? Does music help you remember words better? Or do you need to socialize with locals to master a language? Choose the right app for your needs and learn a new language today!
Let’s dive in!
Best language learning apps in 2021
Before presenting each app in detail, here’s a short summary of all the solutions that we’ll cover in this post (in no particular order). Most of them work on both mobile and desktop:
Duolingo is a free app that uses a gamified method of teaching. It has a playful interface that makes your lessons fun and enjoyable. With Duolingo, you won’t feel like you’re taking courses; actually, the way the lessons are structured motivates you to complete the tasks in order to unlock new challenges.
This is one of the best language learning apps because it mixes complex content with engaging techniques. After picking a language out of the 35+ available, the app will lead to all the categories one must master to become a pro. As you progress, you get achievements and rewards.
With Duolingo, you learn how to spell and pronounce words, improve your vocabulary, understand native speakers, construct sentences, and therefore carry a conversation in different life situations.
Apart from lessons, Duolingo also gives you stories from common real-life situations – which you can either read or listen to – dictionaries, contests, and podcasts. If you’re a social person, you can visit the forum or attend live events held in the language that you want to learn (e.g. webinars, debates, chatting, entertainment, etc.)
The dictionary is particularly useful because it won’t only translate a word for you, but it will also show all its variations. For example, singular/plural and masculine/feminine forms of a noun or all the conjugation forms of a verb.
Duolingo is also available for schools and educational institutions that want to use a modern method to teach students.
👨🎓 Best for
People who want to master all the aspects of a language by mixing multiple learning techniques. Duolingo is an app that combines well a variety of teaching methods that give you the full skill set to become fluent in a language.
- Free: learning content
- Plus – $6.99 / month: learning content, practice mistakes, no ads, quizzes, unlimited test-outs, and unlimited hearts
An app that does not provide as many languages as Duolingo, but which comes with valuable lessons. This app addresses not only casual users but also businesses and schools/educators. It uses a more formal learning method and a less playful interface.
When it comes to content, Busuu gives you several cool learning packages: personalized study plans, vocabulary, grammar, and practice with native speakers.
A cool thing when you sign up is that the app tells you an approximate date by which you will reach the language level that you commit to during the onboarding page.
In order to reach your goal, you need to complete all the courses the app has in store for you. These courses go through all the essential aspects of a language including grammar, vocabulary, conversation, listening, etc.
You can also learn a language by listening to the Busuu podcast, reading news articles via the app’s dashboard, exercising with travel phrases, or conversing with native speakers.
Just like Duolingo, Busuu provides live group lessons about any topic, where you can practice by talking with natives and other students. Another neat thing about this app is that it gives you short exercises that native speakers will correct later on. For instance, answer a question in a language and ask for feedback from those who can help.
👨🎓 Best for
People who prefer a more formal, school-like approach. Even though the courses use sound and images for each lesson, they still follow a classic teaching formula.
💵 Pricing (for one year)
- Free: One language
- Premium – €2.92 / month: One language, offline mode, grammar lessons, AI-powered review
- Premium Plus – €3.33 / month: 12 languages + the features in Premium + personalized study plan, community of native speakers, and official tests
Babbel is an app that also provides a classic way of teaching. The lessons start with the most fundamental details including letters, greetings, and introductions.
In this app, you can find courses from common real-life situations like business, traveling, culture, daily life, etc. If you want to skip the beginner courses, you are free to do it. The free version of Babbel doesn’t come with all the courses, so you need to upgrade your plan to premium to have access to the rest of the package.
At first sight, the app uses an old-school interface – it’s not very catchy if you were to compare it to Duolingo. It is not the most intuitive way of learning either because the courses do not follow a clear hierarchy or order. As for the incentives, you do not get any for completing lessons or categories of lessons.
While the dashboard looks rather simplistic, the lessons are engaging. They use voice, images, puzzles, and improvised chats to keep you playing. The app does provide podcasts and a few quick word games, too, if you need a more engaging alternative to your classic learning.
Much like the previous apps, Babbel lets you attend live classes if you want to socialize with native speakers and learn from conversing with them.
Overall, it is a cool app, but it doesn’t provide a mix of all the engaging teaching methods that the other apps have under the belt.
👨🎓 Best for
People who get easily distracted by immersive apps and need something simple in looks but engaging enough during lessons.
- 1 Month – €9.9
- 3 Months – €6.65 / month
- 6 Months – €5.55 / month
- 12 Months – €4.95 / month
Mondly is an app that uses imagery to help you learn 40+ new languages. It provides courses that teach you how to deal with common life situations, vocabulary builders, real conversations, grammar, and quick daily lessons. When it comes to common situations, you have 50 topics to choose from.
If playing simple games is not enough for you, you can experiment with augmented reality and virtual reality features. You can also learn a language in a non-conventional way if you don’t like the usual, standard online classes.
Mondly does not only address regular users but also dedicates its courses to companies that want to use them for professional purposes.
The downside of this app is that you can’t access the topic categories unless you upgrade to the premium version. You can take daily lessons, though, along with weekly quizzes and monthly challenges. You can also chat with various chatbots to engage in a conversation.
👨🎓 Best for
People who prefer lessons that use imagery to assimilate concepts in a new language. Moreover, if you want to take your learning experience to the next level, augmented and virtual reality might be something you would like to try.
- 1 Month – $9.99 (one language)
- 12 Months – $4.99 / month (one language)
- 12 Months – $47.99 / month (33 languages)
Memrise offers 20+ languages for you to learn in a modern, visual interface. For each listening session, you get to hear and see locals speaking to you. This app is designed to keep you playing and completing lessons because it has an engaging way of teaching.
For each lesson you complete, you unlock a new one and also get rewards like discounts for the premium versions of the app. You can also see your position on the week’s leaderboard of students who use Memrise.
The app provides a lot of courses that teach you how to handle real-life situations in a new language and also learn basic-to-advanced details such as numbers, grammar, idioms, or difficult words. Each course includes progressive levels that, taken together, can last up to eight hours or even more.
With Memrise, you can create groups where you can add your friends and discuss various topics together. However, Memrise does not provide podcasts and live classes.
👨🎓 Best for
People who need an engaging language learning app that comes down to short audio and video clips. It’s the kind of app that you use to complete lessons rapidly, on your own.
- Monthly – $8.49
- Annual – $2.50
- Lifetime – $119.99
LingoDeer is an app that offers you an easy and practical way of learning a language. With LingoDeer, you can customize your whole learning experience by choosing the narrators you like, the type of script, and the background color of your dashboard.
This app comes with flashcards that help you exercise your memory. You can download the cards into your phone to get back to them when you need to practice. Apart from written lessons, you can test your listening and speaking skills via engaging stories. You can even challenge other users to take part in various tests.
LingoDeer lets you learn lessons offline and join time-limited quizzes to test your knowledge. Set your daily goals, go through the hierarchy of courses, and solve quizzes to test out your new skills. You start with the alphabet of a language and progress with each complete level.
👨🎓 Best for
People who want to learn for a test, join contests, and improve vocabulary by using offline flashcards.
- Month – $14.99
- Quarter – $39.99
- Year – $79.99
- Lifetime – $159.99
This is one of the best language learning apps that address individual learners, schools, and enterprises. It provides lessons for 25+ languages, but it doesn’t offer any for free. You will need to subscribe to the premium plans to be able to use the app.
Rosetta Stone teaches you a new language by offering real-life scenarios, interactive activities, and audio from native speakers. Moreover, it provides live coaching with native speakers, so you can practice your new skills through active conversations.
Once you sign up for a plan, you can access a dashboard where you can find all the lessons that belong to that respective pricing plan. Each lesson carries you through many different teaching methods: visual, writing, listening, and speaking.
The content that Rosetta Stone is offering is interactive and makes you want to continue until you finish your lessons. It has many courses that teach you how to deal with various situations in a new language, live coaching, stories (that you can listen to or read aloud), audio files with native speakers (that you can download to your computer or phone), and a separate lesson about mastering the alphabet.
👨🎓 Best for
People who want the full learning experience and do not mind paying for a premium app.
- 3 months – €11.99
- 12 months – €9.99
- Lifetime – €179
HelloTalk is an app that comes with a different approach to learning a new language. Through it, you can chat live with native speakers from around the world to improve your skills. So, if you are more on the social side of learning, you’ve just found an app that might fit your style.
HelloTalk supports 150+ languages and has 30+ million members that you can chat with. Apart from practicing your linguistic skills, you have fun and make friends from different countries. The app makers see it as a way to exchange experiences and explore new cultures.
When you chat with someone, you can choose to do it via text, voice, or video. For each option, the HelloTalk app offers built-in corrections, translations, and pronunciation to help the conversations run smoothly between students.
If you love engaging with communities, you can use the app to post Moments. These are public posts that are seen by the native speakers of the language you want to learn. They can jump in to edit and comment on your messages.
So HelloTalk is more than one of the best language learning apps. It’s actually an experience exchanging app.
👨🎓 Best for
People who are looking to learn by socializing, making friends, joining communities, and exchanging cultural experiences.
Drops is another cool language learning app that focuses on the visual side of the teaching process. Get started and explore the 35+ languages that this app has in store for you. Once you sign up, you will love the visually immersive interface that turns your learning into a fun challenge.
While this app is not free forever, you can try it out for seven days without being charged. Drops uses the drag-and-drop technique, making the experience enjoyable and easy.
Before starting a lesson, you get to choose the categories that you are interested in and the time you are willing to spend each day on the app. Based on your choices, Drops will guide you through a visual course that involves illustrations, animations, and audio. Just like in a game, you can unlock achievements and join various challenges that the app suggests.
What’s cool about this app, apart from the interface, is the huge number of categories and topics that it provides. You can learn words and phrases from 90+ topics that depict almost any real-world situation.
Apart from individual learners, Drops is also available for businesses who want to hold language learning courses for their employees.
👨🎓 Best for
People who want to learn new words and practice lots of real-life situations in a language via an easy-to-grasp visual interface.
- Monthly – €8.49
- Yearly – €5
- Lifetime – €149.99
Lirica is probably the most unusual of the best language learning apps because it teaches you through an original method: music. Everybody listens to music, but have you ever thought of it as a source of assimilating or improving a language?
How does this app work? You download it for free, select a language, get to listen to hit songs in that language, and then get tested from your understanding of the lyrics/story.
Lirica plays a song for you, explains the lyrics, gives you grammar lessons (like verbs from the song), and then asks questions to verify your understanding of the story. In short, you’ll get an analysis of the text with which you need to interact afterward. Based on your progress, you can join challenges and collect achievements.
A downside of the app is that it only covers Spanish, English, and German. But the developers plan to add more languages soon. What you might find to be another downside is the fact that the app only works on mobile – Android and iPhone.
👨🎓 Best for
Music lovers who want to use their hobby as a means of learning a new language in a fun way.
- 1 Month – $10
- 3 Months – $23
- 12 Months – $32
Start learning a new language today
This wraps up our list of the best language learning apps on the web. You have no reason to find excuses when there are so many tools that can guide you. Each one comes with an original touch on language learning and adopts a different teaching style.
Check the apps, try them out, and stick with what seems to be the most appropriate and effective for you. They will help you improve in areas where you need it the most – grammar, vocabulary, spelling, speaking, listening, conversing, exchanging experiences, or learning about new cultures.
What do you think is the most effective app to learn a new language? We would love to hear from you. Answer via the comments section below.
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