This post may contain affiliate links, to find out more information please see our disclosure policy.
4 Best Free Language Learning Apps
If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new language, now is definitely the time. Youtube and other websites have made native speakers and target language media more accessible than ever. And between the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, there is a ridiculous amount of apps out there to help you learn. I’ve been on my language learning journey for a while now, so I’ve had a lot of experience using language learning apps. One of the things I’ve come to realize, is that, with so much out there, it’s really pointless to just use a single app as your sole resource. You can do that if you want to, but since each app has a different strength, it’s better to use them in conjunction. Below is a review of the four language learning apps that I use. I currently have all of them on my phone, and switch between them depending on what I want to practice.
Duo lingo is probably the most recognizable app on this list. They have a wide variety of language options, and their system is pretty good. It has different concepts, each with a set number of lessons, that you have to unlock to get to the next level. They’ve introduced a new feature where you can’t continue in a lesson if you get a certain number of questions wrong. I hated this feature at first, but now I like it because it forces you to go back and review even when you’re feeling lazy.
The app hits writing, reading, and listening pretty well, but one of the common complaints is that the app just feels unnatural. Some of the phrases they use to teach you seem pretty useless even though they’re obviously meant to help you learn grammar concepts. I do agree with that complaint however, I think duolingo is the best app for wide range, repetitive practice. It’s excellent for building up a more robust fluency, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it if you’re starting out. That said, the developers are constantly making updates to benefits the users, so even if you don’t like it at first, don’t write it off. You can always check back to see if they’ve addressed some of your complaints.
Of the apps, I feel like the phrases you learn on Lingodeer are the most natural. You’re still getting weird phrases like, “This boy is eating a peach”, however the way they structure the lessons makes it easy for you to adapt the vocabulary you learned to the grammar structures. With some other apps it can feel like you’re learning things you’ll never say, or just wrote phrases to repeat. With this app, it feels more like learning the building blocks so that you’re capable of putting the sentences together yourself.
I also like this app because it allows you to practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking for each concept. In addition to the standard lessons where you learn new vocab and practice listening and writing, they have two overall lessons at the end that deal with reading and speaking. I like the speaking ones in particular, since they mimic an actual conversation. The audio makes a statement, and you record your response to it. You can record each response multiple times until you feel it’s perfect, and then at the end, you can play back the entire conversation. There’s also grammar notes at the beginning of each lesson, which I find very helpful. They break down concepts in an easy to understand way, with plenty of examples. If you’re just starting out with your target language, I recommend using this app first. It’s also helpful for when you’re starting a new grammar concept.
This app doesn’t have the same level level of functionality as the other apps on this list. What I mainly use this app for is new vocabulary. It has the words categorized into different groups. When you start a group it will introduce new words, give you a chance to master them with a few different games, and then introduce some more words. The artwork is actually what drew me to the app in the first place; it makes the games very cute and enjoyable to play. I wouldn’t use this app as my sole practice, but it makes a nice addition to whatever else you’re already doing.
One thing I don’t like about this app, is that it can feel restricting if you’re free to play. You can still get something out of the app, but it’s definitely a lot less than you would get for paying. I’m still free to play, so I don’t necessarily recommend it as a purchase, however, if you want to focus on drilling vocabulary, it’s worth considering.
One thing that sets this app apart is that the listening practice contains recorded videos of a native speakers. When practicing a phrase, you have to play the video and choose the matching one. They have multiple people during these sections, so it’s not always the same, slightly mechanical voice saying the words. I like it because you really hear how the words sound in a more natural environment. It’s the sort of listening practice you’d usually have to search on youtube to find. Of the apps, I think this specific listening practice is the best.
One thing I don’t like about this app is that it’s not very streamlined. There’s a lot of different functions to go through, and it can feel a little overwhelming. That said, you’re getting good reading, writing, and listening practice in one app, along with a more organized way to drill vocab. If you really prefer to have an all-in-one app, memrise is probably your best bet. It’s also a great app if you’re just starting out.
Free Language Learning Apps
These are just the apps that I’ve used to learn my target language; I’ve enjoyed all of them, but keep in mind, there may be more apps out there that work for you. Search your target language in your app store to see if there are any small time ones that are specific for your needs. As language learning has become more popular, apps have become more readily available. Keep in mind, there are also plenty for learning new alphabets like Hangul, Cyrillic, or Hiragana. Whatever your needs, remember to be consistent with your studies. Learning a language can be a long journey, but it’s definitely worth it in the end!