The Best Language-Learning Software for 2019
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Or maybe you’d like to brush up on that Italian or German you studied years ago? We’ve tested all the major language-learning players and we have a top pick for every type of user. Do you want to learn a new language from scratch or brush up on one you’ve studied before? Language learning apps help you learn and study languages at your own pace. You can work through lessons from the comfort of your home or during your commute on a mobile app.
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Or maybe you’d like to brush up on that Italian or German you studied years ago? We’ve tested all the major language-learning players and we have a top pick for every type of user.
Do you want to learn a new language from scratch or brush up on one you’ve studied before? Language learning apps help you learn and study languages at your own pace. You can work through lessons from the comfort of your home or during your commute on a mobile app.
Some programs focus on helping you understand and speak a new language, while others are better for reading and writing. Some help you build a foundation for a lifetime of learning, some just teach travel phrases. What makes a language-learning app best for you? The answer is highly personal and depends on a number of factors.
Does the app offer the language you want to study? Where and how do you like to study? Some people like to sit and focus for a half hour everyday. Others consider language-learning a casual hobby and want a mobile app with a game-like experience.
You need to pick a program that’s right for your language education level, too, whether you’re a beginner or already have some experience. Not every app can do it all. It’s important to find one that meets your needs. Still, the best language-learning apps do share a few things. We’ve tested dozens of apps over several years to determine which ones are best for which users. For starters, the best language instruction apps have a thorough amount of content, teaching not only vocabulary but also verb conjugations, grammar, and so forth.
Second, they work smoothly. Learning a language is frustrating, but the app you use shouldn’t be. Language apps that are the true cream of the crop are sticky, meaning they have a je ne sais quois that compels you to return to them day after day. Learning a language requires dedication, and your motivation could wane if you don’t like your app very much. There are so many excellent programs that can teach languages, no matter what your needs or your budget.
Sure, Google Translate and Microsoft Translator are getting better all the time, but too often they still fail miserably. Here you’ll find recommendations for the ten best language-learning apps, including the best free program, the best for beginners, and the best for improving a language you’ve studied before. Duolingo is available as both a web app and mobile app, and it works well whether you’re a total beginner or already have some experience.
If you’ve studied the language before, you can take a placement test to find the right place to start. Duolingo is easy to use and has bite-size lessons. It’s one of the best apps to use if you plan to practice a language in short sessions during your spare time.
Duolingo also has some gamification to it, so you can set a goal for yourself, such as trying to earn 30 points per day. The more you hit your goal, the more bonus points you earn. You can spend points on little perks and extras in the app.
There’s also a leaderboard so that you can compare your progress with your friends’. Duolingo currently offers 30 languages, excluding English and fictional languages: An Arabic course is in development, too. It’s reliable, accurate, and thorough, with programs for 28 languages excluding English. Each lesson takes around 30 minutes to complete, and even if you do one lesson per day, there’s enough content to keep you busy for months.
Some people complain that Rosetta Stone is repetitive and a little dry, but the deductive learning method it uses stands out as being much more memorable than other programs that use, say, flashcards as their primary teaching method.
The interface is also gorgeous. Rosetta Stone keeps track of your progress, scores you as you complete exercises, and repeats important ideas to keep them fresh in your mind.
It incorporates reading, writing, speaking, and listening equally. You can pay extra to add private or group e-tutoring sessions via a video call. Rosetta Stone offers language learning programs for businesses, too, such as Rosetta Stone Catalyst. These spin-off programs are extremely similar to the consumer version of the app. The business version also comes with the ability to generate reports so that administrators can see how much progress a person or department has made with the language.
The Best Program With a Virtual Teacher Language-learning software programs are self-paced and sometimes even self-directed. Not everyone thrives in such an independent learning environment, however. If you like to have a teacher who explains the language to you, Fluenz is a wonderful option. Fluenz uses video lessons to present material and follows them with more standard interactive exercises where you practice what you learned.
When you’re first starting out with a language, seeing another human being speak it, watching their facial movements and seeing their smile, can make it feel less intimidating. As Fluenz progresses, the instructor walks you through lessons in not only pronunciation and grammar, but culture, too.
If you learn best when you see a familiar face, Fluenz is a great program to pick. The company also sells an enticing Spanish immersion program , in case you needed an excuse to stay in a mansion in Mexico City for a week.
Fluenz offers seven language courses: The Best Language App for Brushing Up If you’ve studied a language before and find that most language-learning apps are too easy, try Yabla. Imagine a streaming service that lets you easily find videos in the language you’re learning, with options to show both closed captioning in the native language and English subtitles.
That, in a nutshell, is Yabla. The app incorporates exercises, too, but the videos are the hook. Many of the videos were not produced specifically for language learners: They’re real video footage with native speakers using a natural pace and accent.
Yabla offers six languages: The Best Language App for Audio Learners If you’re the kind of person who can get immersed in podcasts and audiobooks, you might consider an audio-focused language learning program.
Two that stand out are Pimsleur and Michel Thomas. Each is named after the person who created the learning technique used in the program. Both were once sold as tapes, then CDs, and now in apps. Pimsleur , named for Dr. Paul Pimsleur, uses a method that focuses on the amount of time that has elapsed from when you last used a word to when you must recall it.
Each lesson takes about 30 minutes, and you’re supposed to do exactly one lesson per day. While you don’t learn to read and write unless you teach yourself using optional PDF booklets , you do refine your pronunciation. The method used in Michel Thomas is different. Michel Thomas was a polyglot who developed a method of informal teaching. It involves putting people into a classroom and teaching them to say phrases that can then be paired together in new ways to create longer sentences.
When you buy the Michel Thomas program, you hear the recording from one of these classrooms, and you’re supposed to play along as if you were there. What do you do if you need to learn Igbo or Ojibwe? When you’re in a bind to find an app for a language you want to learn, there are two sources to try: Transparent Language Online and Mango Languages which didn’t make the cut for this list.
Transparent Language Online has programs for more than languages. Some of those programs are short, but the company is adding to them over time.
Mango Languages is an option if you’re stuck, though it’s not an app that I recommend highly. For some languages, however, it may be your only option. For example, maybe you need an app where you can write down vocabulary you want to review. The free app Quizlet is exactly that. The software lets you create unique content that you want to study, and it’s excellent with foreign languages. Though Quizlet may sound like yet another boring flashcard app, it offers different tools to mix up your study sets and how you review them so your learning never gets stale.
You can work on fill-in-the-blanks questions or even play games with your unique study sets. The tools are nicely animated, and the app offers speech-to-text features for pronunciation help, too. Be sure to indicate the language you’re studying for the best pronunciation. Get Talking! Most software-based language programs help you learn a base of vocabulary and grammar, but they won’t turn you into a fluent speaker.
For that, you need to practice with other human beings and come up with things you genuinely want to say, rather than words that an app is prompting you to learn. Using the apps listed below can teach you a lot, though, so develop a base knowledge first with them and then go out and use your skills in the real world.
If one of the apps sounds good to you, you can click the links and read the full review for a deeper dive.
What Do the Best Language-Learning Apps Have in Common?
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Rosetta Stone’s roster boasts 28 languages, and can cost anywhere from $80 to $ (without discounts.) It’s available on Windows, Mac, iOS. The Rosetta Stone language learning program comes with two discs. If you want to mount the RSD files stored on the language disc and start your language. May 25, Rosetta Stone Complete Language Pack FREE DOWNLOAD for Win/Mac.