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The Best Apps for Learning a New Language

A woman practicing her foreign language skills via her laptop.
fizkes/Shutterstock

Learning and mastering a new language has never been easier than it is right now. There are dozens of apps and software you can listen and learn with on your phone or laptop. These are some of our favorites.

Duolingo

The language selection page on Duolingo.
Duolingo

The little green birdie, Duolingo, is famous for making learning a new language as fun and exciting as it is challenging. With over 300 million users and 35 available languages, the company’s goals are to make learning fun and universally accessible. Courses are tailored to each individual’s level of experience, allocated time and effort, age, and interests. And it’s all completely free!

After you choose the language you want to learn, you’re asked why you want to learn it. Whether the reason is travel, work, school, or just for fun, your course is customized accordingly so you get what you need in as little time as possible. You can even learn multiple languages simultaneously if you want to.

Let’s say you’re planning to visit a foreign country soon, so you click “Travel” as your reason. You’ll then be asked what your daily learning goal is: 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes. The app can also send alerts and push notifications to remind you when you need to complete them.

Next, you’re asked if you’re a beginner with this language. If you’re not, you can take the online language-proficiency assessment exam. It will test your knowledge and place you at the correct level, so you’re not stuck with the basics if you’ve already mastered them.

Finally, the only thing left to do is complete your daily tasks, and your visual, listening, and writing questions. Soon, you’ll have an entirely new vocabulary!

Babbel

The Babbel website.
Babbel

Designed by professionals and implementing the world-class, didactic “Babbel method,” Babbel’s powerful curriculum combines communicative didactics, cognitivism, behaviorism, and constructivism. It also links all the lessons together so you can progress faster and more efficiently.

Each course is based on your native language and personal interests. It will also include proven cognitive techniques to help new vocabulary move into your long-term memory. The app also uses real, interactive conversations so you don’t feel like you’re learning new words or challenging grammar.

Starting at $6.95 per month, you get a college coursework worth of value. People who have used it call Babbel addictive, fun, clever, and extremely practical.

The only downside is there are only five languages to choose from: Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Russian. Still, if you’re looking for a more academic study of one of these languages, Babbel is the best way to go.

Memrise

The Memrise website.
Memrise

Best known for learning how to lead real-life conversations, real fast, Memrise offers real videos from native speakers. Therefore, it’s the complete opposite of textbook learning. The company is guided by the following principles:

  • Rich, real-life language content: You’ll learn from videos of native speakers in their hometowns.
  • A saucy recipe of tech and science: Geared toward activating and engaging your mind in a unique way.
  • If it isn’t fun, you just won’t learn: If you’re bored or feel forced to learn something, your mind probably won’t cooperate.

Choose your desired language from the 22 available, and then either start from the beginning or join a higher-level course. You’ll be immersed in the culture of your chosen language, and the world will be your oyster—almost literally.

Busuu

The Busuu website.
Busuu

For those who are more goal-oriented or looking for something more interactive, Busuu offers over 1,000 lessons created by expert linguists. They are enhanced by machine-learning technology, which enables the creation of personalized study plans and voice recognition.

By joining the online community, you’ll get access to instant feedback on your lessons, as well as the opportunity to help others with theirs. When it comes to learning a new language, community support can mean a lot.

You can choose from 12 languages and complete your daily goals at your own pace, so you get the best from your studies. You can also switch between your desktop, tablet, or phone, or even download the lessons to study offline.

Busuu also has options for educators, as well as international businesses, to make conversations between coworkers and students more efficient and error-free.

Mango

The Mango website.
Mango

Offering an astounding 70 languages, Mango has several different platforms for businesses, schools, libraries, and even governments. The intelligent software adapts to your learning patterns and pace, making the experience entirely individual.

With visual, hearing, and conversational lessons, Mango helps you not only master your desired language, but also to learn all about the culture in which it’s spoken.

Pricing is $7.99 for one language, or $17.99 for all of them, if you’re feeling ambitious. However, as part of its Public Library Community Outreach Initiative, Mango is offering courses for free through June 30, 2020. No time like the present!


Learning a new language can be an eye-opening, world-changing experience. These apps try to make the process fun, and as quick and easy as possible. So, choose a language and get started!

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »

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