The Best Apps For Learning a New Language

How to become fluent faster — all with a simple download

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Learning a new language can be très difficile. Maybe you’ve spent years studying a language in school but somehow still aren’t fluent. Or maybe you’re finally taking that trip to Italy and would love to learn a bit of Italian so you can converse with the locals.

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Well, we’ve got great news for you, there’s an app for that! Actually, there are a lot of apps for that, and to ease the overwhelmingness of it all, we’ve rounded up the best four.

1. Bussu

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What It Does: Bussu is the foreign language learning app that seemingly does it all. From grammar practice to vocabulary building to conversations with native speakers, you can practice it all. Well, with their premium plan, that is ($5.41 a month).

While the free plan only grants you access to flashcards, the upgrade will get you that plus conversations with native speakers, grammar and vocabulary training, a travel course, quizzes, and access to all the 12 languages offered.

Why We Love It: The 10-minutes-a-day learning technique is perfect for our busy schedules and sets a totally manageable daily goal.

Languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Russian, and Arabic.

App Store Rating: 4.5 stars, 7,558 reviews

2. Duolingo 

#duolingo #swedish #irish #danish

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What It Does: If the novelty of learning a new language wears off quickly or if you’re someone who gets bored easily, this language learning app is the one for you.

Duolingo successfully created an addictive learning app that truly feels like you’re playing a game. You will race the clock, lose and earn “hearts,” and try to beat your “days used” streak count. You get a little bit of everything within each learning module, too (grammar, vocab, conversation skills). The app also has more language options than most other apps.

Why We Love It: The “gamification,” of course! Duolingo has put real effort into making learning a new language a fun daily task. In fact, you’ll find yourself craving some of their bite-sized lessons.

Languages: Spanish, English, French, Irish, Danish, Swedish, High Valyrian, Russian, Swahili, Polish, Chinese, Romanian, Japanese, Greek, Esperanto, Turkish, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Welsh, Czech, Korean, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch.

App Store Rating: 4.5 stars, 38,217 reviews, official Editor’s Choice

3. Tandem

What It Does: This app just might be the fastest way to learn to speak a new language fluently. Why? It focuses fiercely on practicing your conversational skills by pairing you with a native speaking partner. With your partner, you’ll practice listening, pronunciation, and of course, speaking.

Tandem‘s community has over 3 million users, all ready to practice your desired language. TechCrunch put it perfectly: “Tandem is onto something. It certainly feels like a pretty charming language practice community, with lots of polite and enthusiastic comments left on people’s profiles as user reviews.”

If you need a little extra help, tutors are also available for private lessons.

Why We Love It: This app truly takes you out of the “learning to pass a test” method of teaching and gets you onto the path of fluency with its conversational focus.

Languages: English, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and French.

App Store Rating: 4.5 stars, 409 reviews

4. Memrise

What It Does: Is memorization not your strong suit? Then this is the language learning app for you. Memrise uses a unique method called “elaborate encoding” to help you memorize and retain vocabulary by creating associations between the translation and words you’re already familiar with.

When it comes to testing your knowledge, it also uses a unique method called “spaced repetition” to ensure the information you’re learning will really stick with you. There is a pro option ($5 per month) that includes pro chats, difficult word mode, speed review, listening skills mode, learning stats, and video mode.

Why We Love It: While the lessons that are uploaded daily can be disorganized and overwhelming, we love the memorization methods they use.

Languages: Arabic, Greek, Chinese, English, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Klingon, Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, and Turkish.

App Store Rating: 5 stars, 17, 298 reviews

Skylar Harrison
Skylar Harrison

Skylar is both word and food obsessed and once cried over spilt guacamole. And no, she doesn't want to talk about it. Follow her at @skylarharrison.