Over the past year, I have had a renewed interest in learning a second language. Like many others, I did take a foreign language in High School (French) but unfortunately, I did not retain any of it after I graduated. When I first started this journey I had settled on Spanish. I mean it only seemed logical. It is the second widest spoken language in this country but I had very little passion for speaking it. After a few weeks of studying Spanish, I made the switch to Italian. It’s where my Grandmother grew up so it’s always been on the bucket list. I’ve been hooked ever since!
Learning a new language is now easier than ever. There are some really great apps out there that make learning a language as quick and easy as playing a game. As a busy single Mom, quick and easy tasks are key to being able to incorporate them into my routine and stick to them consistently. Below I’ve rounded up a few apps that I have found to be invaluable in my language learning journey.
You should try them out if you’re interested in learning a new language. The links to each app below connect directly to the Google Play Store and are completely free! (With the exception of any in app content, of course, but I give details about that below.)
This app was named Google Play’s 2017 App of the year! Once you download it and give it a try I’m sure you’ll quickly find out why. It’s absolutely addicting. Out of all the apps I have listed here, it has the most game like format. Memrise excels through the submersion method. It instantly throws you into the language and requires you to learn through context.
It is free to use but does offer paid add on content if you’d like to take your learning even further. Personally, I haven’t found the need to pay for anything as of yet but again it’s an option. It makes a great addition to the foreign language learning toolbox.
While Memrise was voted app of the year, I have actually found that I prefer Duolingo. Don’t worry, it’s an award winning app too. I wouldn’t steer you wrong. It won Google Play’s Editor’s Choice and “Best of the Best” of 2013 and 2014. This app relies heavily on submersion too but I’ve found that it is a lot more instructive. Upon first opening this app you’ll see your lesson bubbles or your language “tree” as they like to call it. Each group of lessons guides you on your language learning journey through listening, speaking and multiple choice. For times that you can’t listen or speak you can disable these options.
According to Duolingo, spending 34 hours on this application is the equivelant to a semester at a university-level institution. Despite the obvious value, it won’t cost you a dime. It is completely free, although at times they will ask for donations or offer a premium package to disable all ads. The ads are not a prevelent aspect to the design though. They are featured as a click through at the end of every lesson. For English speakers they offer 22 different language courses on the app. They also offer language courses for other native foriegn language speakers.
As you progress you have the option to join clubs so you can compete with other users and you also have the option to invite friends to join in on the fun. As an added bonus, as you progress the app lets you know how far you are to 100% fluency and gives you the option to link this information to your Linkedin profile. Below is my progress so far in the app. 🙂
One last thing that I would like to add about Duolingo is that if you prefer to learn on a desktop or laptop you can also access this wonderful software via the web here. It’s a cool option and it works the same way as the app does but know that your progress from your app will not carry over to the web application. But I will say this, the web application does have the option to learn High Valyrian from the hit show Game of Thrones and will be adding Klingon from Star Trek shortly. As a super geek myself, I know that I’ll be going through these language levels at some point.
At this point, Rosetta Stone is a household name when it comes to language learning software. They certainly have been in the business the longest. This app teaches you a language in the same way that you would teach your child how to speak. It shows you pictures with the associated words and gradually increases your vocabulary. The basic level of this app is free to use but it does utilize in app purchases for additional levels. The app has the ability to sync between devices so if you use both a tablet and your phone to access the app you’ll be covered.
They offer 22 different languages and through their speech recognition software they are able to guide you in becoming more native sounding as you progress. For times that you don’t have a signal or access to wifi, they have the option to download and save lessons but only if you are on a paid plan. Personally, as far as apps go, I like the format but if you are serious about learning a language over the long haul this app is going to get a bit pricey.
If you’d like to utilize this software I would rather suggest purchasing the Rosetta Stone software for both Windows and Mac users. I purchased the Italian version which has five levels and I’ve found it’s given me a lot more confidence in speaking the language. I use it a couple of times a week when my daughter is sleeping or visiting with her father. In my personal opinion, I found that paying a flat rate for all of the software was much more appealing then being bled dry through in app purchases.
The Beelinguapp is a great tool to use once you’ve been studying a language and have mastered the basics. This app will play audio books while displaying the words on screen in karaoke style in both English and the language of your choice simultaneously.
There are quite a few books available for free but it does also offer in app paid content. I myself just started utilizing this app. (Beauty and the Beast sounds beautiful in Italian!) The beginner’s books at this point still seem pretty advanced for my learning level but I look forward to using it as I progress.
My last pick for this list is Babbel. What makes Babbel interesting is that it teaches you the language through the context of conversation. With this app you can study 14 different languages through short 10-15 minutes lessons. The speech recognition software of this app help you create practical conversational skills and assist in helping you nail proper grammer. It offers hints in English or your native language when you get hung up on a section and does have review periods to help with retention.
This app is perfect for people who are planning to travel to a country and desire to have practical conversations with people while they are visiting. The lessons cover dining, making friends and socializing, how to ask for directions, shopping and transportation. So if you are short on time and need less than a couple of months to acquire basic conversation skills this app is a must have!
Well everyone! That is my list of must have free apps for learning a new language. If you have any other apps that you have found to be helpful or if you have any these and have any input that you’d like share on this list, let me know in the comments below! Until next time Kangas! Stay strong, radiate positivity and love fiercely!