The 5 best free language learning apps – Business Insider
Learning a new language is one of the most common life and self-improvement goals, and apps are there to fill that need to help people get started or even master a foreign language. Whether you want to learn Spanish, Russian, or even Klingon — and whether you have a visual or auditory learning style, there are language apps to help improve your skills. You also don’t have to pay for a subscription to learn, either. Here are five of the best free language learning apps you can try today.
Duolingo is an easy choice for anyone looking to learn a language without making an investment in a subscription. It has 39 languages to choose from, including unusual options such as “constructed” languages like Esperanto and Klingon. The lessons have a game-like structure to encourage you to stay engaged, and you can test out of lessons you have already mastered, so you don’t have to slog through beginner content if you don’t need it. There’s also great companion content including a podcast series.
HelloTalk is a different take on language learning apps. Rather than offering lessons, quizzes, and games across a variety of skill levels, it works best as a companion to another language app or as a way to brush up on your existing skills. The app is something of a matchmaking service that pairs up people wanting to converse in the language they’re learning. You specify the language you want and you are paired with someone who is native to that tongue and wants to learn your own language. It is clever, and can be a real boon for anyone who needs practice speaking and understanding language verbally.
Many people are familiar, at least by name, with the costly commercial Rosetta Stone package. It’s also available as a mobile app, and while there is a subscription service there as well, you can opt out of the various payment options and use part of the app for free. Like the paid version, the free lessons are visual, with picture matching and other flashcard-style teaching techniques. You often also have to repeat words and phrases, and you’re graded on your accuracy. There are about two dozen languages to choose from, and you can upgrade to the paid service at any time for more lessons and options.
While there’s a paid version of Memrise, you can use the app for free as well. You can choose from 19 languages, and the app takes a somewhat different approach than other apps. It uses videos of organic, real-world scenarios so you can hear conversational language in context. The speakers have local accents as well, enhancing the realism and making the lessons more practical.
There’s a lot of content in 50 Languages, and it’s all free — you can pay a fee to remove the in-app ads, but it’s a one-time expense. There’s no subscription-based upgrade. In exchange for the low cost of entry, the app feels a little dated. There’s no clear flow through the lessons, but you can hop around among lessons in a broad range of categories. Lessons include word lists, flashcards, and quizzes, and you’ll find a translation tool and vocabulary games as well.
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