Learning a new language is not something you do over night, and without help from a teacher, you might spend a lot of time before you can say a simple “Have a nice day”. However, there is a simple shortcut that you might consider if you want to learn a new language, and that is to use your smartphone. There are lots of language learning apps out there that can help you to master a language and get by almost anywhere in the world.
Of course, swapping a book or a certified teacher for an app might not give you the best results if you are planning on learning a new language at a professional level, however, if you are planning to go on a trip to a certain location, or if you are planning to move to a different country, then learning the basics might be enough for starters.
What to look for in language learning apps
There are many language learning apps available on the app markets, and some are better than others. If you’re trying to learn a new language, you should look first for apps that offer both visual and audio learning methods. Of course, some grammar lessons would be great, just to help you understand how words are formed and how to speak correctly.
There are some other things to consider, but it boils down to what do you want to learn. If you want to learn a language just for sending emails, then your main interest would be to learn to write and read, and you won’t focus too much on pronunciation. This is also true the other way around, as learning to speak the language does not necessarily mean you will be able to write.
Cost is something you might also want to consider. As you will see, some services can cost quite a lot, and you might not be willing to spend a huge amount of money on them. Look at some free alternatives or trial versions that will get you started before committing to a payment plan.
Some language learning apps provide games and other interactive methods that help you learn a new language. These tools are very powerful, as they teach you to use certain words in a context. From my experience, this is the best way to learn a new language. You will learn which words to use in different scenarios and of course, you will learn common phrases. Sometimes, these are very useful if you go on a vacation in a foreign country.
What are the best language learning apps?
Both Android and iOS offer great language learning apps that users might be interested in. These apps provide an invaluable resource to those that want to learn a new language, as well as other interesting features. Keep in mind that not all of them are free, but some of them have a trial version that offers users access to their services for a limited period of time, or they offer some lessons for free. Either way, they are pretty good and you should give them a try before you go and spend a large amount of money on other courses.
Also, some apps offer you the possibility to buy only 1 or two languages, which is a great solution if you don’t want to pay for languages that you are interested in. Be sure to read their description carefully, so you don’t get the wrong ones. In the list that follows, most of the apps are free to install, however down the road some will ask you for a subscription fee. If you like the app and think it’s worth it, and of course, the price is reasonable, you should get it. Here are 3 that we liked the most, but do check out the rest, as well.
1. Duolingo – Available for iOS, Android version coming soon – Price: Free
Duolingo is one of the best known services of its kind. Although the apps are free to download, over time, you might have to buy additional courses and content which can add up. Nevertheless, even the free training is pretty good, and if you manage to learn all the things from it, you can move on to other tools that are cheaper or free to complete your training.
2. 50 Languages – Available for Android and iOS – Price: Free
This simple app has pretty much any language you want to learn, and the courses are pretty good. The best feature of 50 Languages is the interactive part, where you play a few word games that help you learn words and phrases. The app is very simple to use, and it offers the first 3 courses for free. Afterwards, you can buy any particular language you want, or get the bundle offer for all languages.
3. Rosetta Stone – Available for Android, iOS, Kindle, Nook – Price: Free
Another service that is used by thousands of users to learn new languages is Rosetta Stone. Their system is very good, and by the end of your training you will be ready to travel to any country you want. The courses are very easy to understand, even for the more difficult languages. The app is free to install on your devices, however, for more content, you will have to pay.
4. busuu – Available for Android, iOS – Price: Free
5. Babbel – Available for Android, iOS and WP coming soon – Price: Free
6. Lingq – Available for Android and iOS – Price: Free
7. Mango Languages – Available for Android and iOS – Price: Free
8. Byki – Available for Android and iOS – Price: $7.99
9. Human Japanese (Japanese) – Available for Android and iOS – Price: Free/$14.99 for Premium version
10. Conjuverb (Spanish) – Available for iOS – Price: Free
With these apps on your smartphone, you will be one step closer to learning a new language. However, just having the apps will not cut it, so, you have commit to learning and use them every day. Even if they don’t cover a complete course, some apps might get you going and you can then use other web services to continue your training. The hardest part is the begging, after you get the basics, everything will come much easier.