Feb 2019

Top 5 language-learning apps for improving English and other Languages

by Kem in Application category

Learning new languages unlocks incredible potential – new people to connect with, books to read, and places to explore. Whether your aim is to gain basic food-ordering skills or total fluency, there’s an app here for you.

Learn English with Duolingo

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Why we love this

  1. Bite-size lessons in a game-inspired package make language learning approachable for students of all ages
  2. Choose a daily goal – ranging from “Casual” to “Insane” – and stay motivated as the app tracks your streak
  3. Earn colorful badges and surprise rewards for meeting daily goals and unlocking achievements

Duolingo puts fun at the forefront of learning, with a cute green owl cheering your progress. Start a new language from scratch, or take a placement test to jump ahead. You can study solo or join clubs to practice (and compete) with others. Use in-game earnings for goodies like bonus lessons and outfits for your owl.

Drops: Learn 32 new languages


Why we love this

  1. Drops is great for a daily dose of vocabulary, with design so lovely and simple it makes studying feel soothing
  2. Explore lessons on a broad range of topics – from pastries to pets to politics
  3. Skip what you know: Drag new words down to learn them, and familiar words up to exclude them from your lesson

With easy-on-the-eyes Drops, you’ll assemble words and match them to minimalist images. A time limit of five minutes per day makes a daily commitment feel approachable, though you can upgrade your plan to add time. It’s great for a crash course before a trip, but we recommend looking elsewhere if you’re hoping to master grammar.

Beelinguapp: Learn a New Language with Audio Books

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Why we love this

  1. Read and listen to stories to hone your comprehension and pronunciation – best for students who’ve mastered the basics
  2. Choose from texts of varying difficulty: science articles, children’s stories, classic novel excerpts, news, and more
  3. View text in two languages side-by-side, or in just one language – with optional narration in the language you’re learning

Learn a new language by reading short texts, with sentence highlights to help you follow along. You can listen to a native speaker narrate at your preferred speed (even with your phone locked or while offline). Take tests to assess your comprehension — with the option to toggle between languages as you go.

Learn Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, French +

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Why we love this

  1. Learn Asian languages with an app that takes their many nuances into account, from alphabet to sentence structure
  2. Record yourself making the sounds of letters and words to compare with set recordings
  3. Select “Learning Tips” for grammar explanations – so you’re learning, not just memorizing

A bespectacled deer celebrates your victories and weeps at your missteps as you match words to images, drag words into sentences, and more. Start with the alphabet – both pronunciation and drawing (from guided tracing to freehand) – then move on to practical sections like greetings, polite form, and spatial relation.

Rosetta Stone: Learn Languages

Why we love this

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  1. Learn everything from proper grammar to pronunciation nuances with this trusted, comprehensive resource
  2. An immersion-style approach means you’re not just translating to your native tongue, but reasoning in your new language
  3. Download audio lessons, stories, and a phrasebook for traveling and offline learning

While it comes with one free core lesson, Rosetta Stone’s true value is as a paid resource. It’s not cheap, but the method and speech recognition technology (with adjustable difficulty!) have a proven track record. There’s no placement test to start, but once you pay for full access, you can skip ahead to any lesson.