As languages serve as the basis for our communication and essentially drive it and develop its mechanisms, languages are imperative in human life. This renders them a skill that is particularly useful to learn. On top of that, not all languages are hard to learn. Aside from the basic need to speak in another language whenever you travel, work, or simply communicate with your international friends, learning languages has several scientifically-proven benefits that boost your mental abilities and capabilities and allow you to look at things differently. Largely thanks to our technological advancement and global interconnectedness, learning languages has become very easy in the past 15 years or so. Yet, to study well, you must select a great teacher first. Let’s see how you can do that and what tools for learning languages are the best.
Selecting Your Mentor
Essentially, you don’t have to go to the human teacher if you really want to learn a language. The current variety of educational apps and software allow you to learn nearly every language there is. You can start learning useful languages that are predominantly used in business and politics or learn the language that is spoken in a popular tourist destination country. For any of that, you’ll find your virtual tutor.
As it goes for pretty much anything, you must first understand what you need before you start doing something. In the case of language learning apps, there are a few aspects to consider. First, the degree to which you’ll be able to study the language. Some apps enable you to learn only the basics, while others might be great for deeper learning as well. In the latter case, you’ll likely have to pay for such apps. The second aspect is the language that you need to learn. Learning apps are not available for all languages or might not go well with deep learning.
The third aspect is the platform the app was designed for. While most apps are designed to fit both iOS and Android, the most popular platforms, some are developed for only one of them. The fourth and final thing to consider about language learning apps is their price and whether you can afford it. To select the best picks, we’ve surveyed a few language specialists working for the top 10 translation websites asking them to recommend the apps based on the criteria described above. Here are some of their best suggestions.
- Busuu. Already considered a classic, Busuu is a flexible, user-friendly, and fairly cheap app for learning languages. As you launch the app for the first time, you’ll be offered to pass the test that will define your skills. After that, Busuu will compile the lessons for you for the most efficient learning process. Containing around 22 hours of lessons and supporting 12 languages, Busuu works on iOS and Android.
- Memrise. A dictionary-styled learning app that is quite cheap supports customizable lessons and supports 21 languages. Each of those languages comes with a number of themed courses and flexible quizzes and tests, so you won’t get bored as you both just start learning and advance in your studies. Supported by iOS and Android.
- FluentU. Designed as a game, this app is great, mostly for beginners. Supporting 10 languages, the app offers a classical learning mode without much room for customization. While the standard app is free of charge, the advanced version might be a bit too costly for its capabilities. Supported by iOS and Android.
- WordUp. While this app utilizes quite a unique learning method, offering you customizable tests and progress maps only supports the English language. Yet, with its unique method, it fits not only the beginners. Supported by iOS and Android.
- Babbel. Another modern classic, this app offers you brief 15-minute lessons in 13 languages. While the number of languages the app offers for free is impressive, the format of short non-customizable languages is better suited for beginners only. Work with iOS and Android.
- Duolingo. One of the users’ favorites, Duolingo, is often praised for being user-friendly and colorful, thus, stimulating to learn. While it offers 30 languages for learning for free, the lessons are quite basic and will not work for you if you already have some basic knowledge. Yet, there are 30 languages, after all. Supported by iOS and Android.
- TripLingo. A must-have app for travelers. TripLingo is an invaluable addition to your app library as, aside from teaching you 13 languages, it also provides some insights about local cultures and places of interest. Considering that the app is designed for travelers, in particular, the level of skill you’ll get varies from basic to pre-intermediate. Works on iOS and Android.
- Awabe. Another user favorite, Awabe is a great app to learn word common phrases in over 20 languages. Offering over 4,000 mini lessons to learn the basic words and phrases, Awabe is free and works exclusively on Android.
- 50languages. Quite an innovative app, with 50 languages supported, as the name suggests. The lessons are pretty basic, so it’s a great app to start learning. Works on both iOS and Android.
- Anki. Another great vocabulary learning app, offering customizable flashcards with over 100,000 variants supported. Being a vocabulary app, Anki will help you get through the basics of 27 languages. Comes for free on iOS and Android.
Getting by With a Little Help from Our Friends
Learning languages is extremely useful, yet, at the same time, it can be challenging. The best way to learn a language is to get a human teacher, of course. Yet, if you don’t want to go through the boring basics or cannot offer a teacher a start, you can and should use the learning apps. Most of them are free, fun, and are able to teach you the basics. So, buckle up and start learning a new language today!