Technology has truly made learning just about anything extremely easy these days. Tech innovations allow us to access learning materials wherever we are, whenever we have time.
This has meant a revolution in the way we learn foreign languages. Since obtaining language fluency means practicing every day, even if only for brief periods, mobile technology is perfectly suited to every modern language learner’s busy lifestyle. There are so many great language learning mobile apps to download, perfect for learning-on-the-go, and a good number of them are free, too!
So, whether a second language would help you in your business dealings, with your personal relationships, or during some international vacation, there are lots of free language learning apps to help you meet your goals. Here is a list of the best free language learning apps and what makes each of them unique. They come with great features and are sure to make learning loads of fun.
Duolingo is no doubt one of the most well-rounded mobile apps for language that you can download. Offering great support for a good number of languages, it is easy to expand your linguistic prowess with this free app. Perhaps one of the reason for its “iPhone App of the Year” and “Best of the Best in Google Play” awards is its gamified structure. With Duolingo, learning a new language is all sorts of fun.
Some of the languages that you can learn on Duolingo are Polish, Hindi, Japanese, Swahili, Klingon, and High Valyrian.
What we love about Duolingo: DuoLingo has a very simple, easy-to-use interface. It’s main courses help you learn vocabulary and also practice listening and speaking, and it gives you the ancillary options of conversing with native speakers through chat.
Start learning with Duolingo on Android, iOS, or Windows10.
Babbel comes with free and paid versions. There are about 40 classes in the free version, which is likely more than sufficient for a casual learner. Babbel takes a more traditional approach to language learning. The classes are categorized into degrees of difficulty or types of learning. Also adding more depth to the lessons are the sections on culture, teaching you about the people and places where the language is indigenous.
On Babbel, you can learn Danish, Turkish, French, Spanish, and many other popular languages.
What we love about Babbel: You can learn vocabulary that’s relevant to your life by choosing courses specific to travel, business, or other scenarios.
You can download Babbel for Android and iOS.
Busuu is one of the top language learning apps and comes with both free and premium versions. Just like Duolingo, this app adds a fun factor to the whole learning experience. With its gamified lessons and beautiful user interface, your road to language fluency will be easy on Busuu. It allows for user feedback and socialization with other learners, too.
Busuu offers sessions in German, Chinese, Italian, Russian, and many more languages.
What we love about Busuu: Want to learn the best way to pronounce words or phrases? Busuu native speakers will give you feedback. You get to return the favor to those learning your language, too.
Busuu is available for web, iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Joining the ranks of free language learning apps that don’t take the traditional route is Memrise. This free mobile and web app offers unique teaching methods that will surely make lesson retention much easier. One great example is the way it makes use of your native language’s phonemes to expand your knowledge of another language. Another way that this app is efficient is its use of images for better word or phrase association.
Memrise can be downloaded for web, Android, or iOs. The app supports offline learning as well. It offers lessons on Dutch, Arabic, Korean, Norwegian, and Slovenian, among many others.
What we love about Memrise: Memrise really ingrains vocabulary into your brain by using spaced repetition and mnemonics. When it comes to expanding vocabulary in a foreign language, Memrise is a top choice.
For learners who prefer to dive right into real conversations, HelloTalk is a great language learning app. Very much like a social media network, HelloTalk gives you a chance to interact with native speakers and chat with them in the platform itself. Some of its great features are the in-built correction tool and the integrated translation system.
Make new friends and learn a new language on HelloTalk for iOS or Android. HelloTalk supports more than 150 languages.
What we love about HelloTalk: On HelloTalk, you can share images or drawings with your student/teacher. This is another way to open topics of conversations or learn new words with other users.
Tandem is another language learning app that adds an element of socialization to the process. Allowing for conversations with native speakers, Tandem makes learning a new language as easy as making new friends. One of the great things about this app is that you only need your Google or Facebook account to sign up.
Tandem can be installed to your Android or iOS device. On Tandem, you can find native Japanese, Spanish, Italian, and Korean speakers. Other popular languages are also supported.
What we love about Tandem: Apart from letting you learn from a local, Tandem also comes with professional tutors. And if you happen to be a professional language instructor, you can earn extra cash on this app.
This nifty app allows you to learn a language with the help of music and music videos. It’s a fun way to really improve, especially your listening comprehension, while enjoying musical hits in your target language. By way of repeated exposure and context, you can learn a new language on LyricsTraining quite easily.
Some languages offered on LyricsTraining are French, Italian, German, Polish, Catalan, and many more. The app is available for both iOS and Android.
What we love about LyricsTraining: Not only are you learning a new language, but you’re learning some of the most popular songs from that language and its corresponding cultures. You’ll be able to chat with locals and also sing along at local clubs or concerts.
Best Free Language Apps Comparison Table
|With Paid Upgrade||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, with paid tutors||Yes|
|OS||iOS, Android||iOS, Android, with web version||iOS, Android, with web version||iOS, Android, with web version||iOS, Android||iOS, Android||iOS, Android, with web version|
|Number of Languages||30+||14+||12||15+||150+||10+||13|
Translation Type Language Learning Apps
If you want more options without the pressure of learning sessions, take a look at the following free translation apps:
Google Translate is no doubt one of the go-to apps for easy and smooth translations. It is simple to use and can even translate typed or handwritten text. And if you happen to be traveling, you can simply take a photo of some phrases you see and the app will translate the words for you. This is also handy for eating out in restaurants with a menu that you cannot read.
Google Translate is free for both iOS and Android.
What we love about Google Translate: It is easy to use and allows for translation of written text, too.
Linguee is another online dictionary that offers helpful translations. This free language app started as a German-English dictionary but it comes integrated with many languages now. Today, you can use Linguee to translate English to Dutch, Swedish, Chinese, Polish, French and many more. The Linguee app is free and is even available for use offline.
Download Linguee for free on iOS or Android for hassle-free translations on the go.
What we love about Linguee: You don’t have to be connected to the internet to use it. It’s certainly great for when you’re traveling and can’t find reliable Wi-Fi.
Easy to use and advanced in tech, Microsoft Translator is another free dictionary app for expanding your linguistic horizons. The app can do the following: voice, photo, conversation, or text translations. It also has a nifty feature that can translate what you say or type for many listeners. For example, while doing a presentation, you can talk or type your speech and the app will show a translation of your message in your listeners’ native language.
Microsoft Translator is free for both Android and iOS.
What we love about Microsoft Translator: Working in a global and multilingual business? Microsoft Translator makes sure that nothing gets lost in translation.
While it’s not primarily a language learning app, you’ll find plenty of language focus on it. Meetup allows you to join the dozens of language exchange and language practice events near you with other locals who are fluent in or also practicing your target language. It’s a great way to make friends, too!
What we love about Meetup: It helps you get off your phone and learn language in the real world, socializing with other people, including native speakers of the language you want to learn
Technology has made the world smaller. These days, expanding cultural appreciation via language learning is just an app or two away.
Start your journey today by trying out these free apps for language learning. And if you get real good and want more advanced sessions, most of these apps have lots to offer in their paid upgrades. Happy language learning!