Studying abroad in the fall? Now may be a good time to start brushing up on your language skills. We’ve researched and compiled a list of four mobile apps that make learning a language fun! No more need to sacrifice your paycheck for Rosetta Stone or a language course. You can now learn a language on the go by playing games on your lunch break, while working out, or in between classes!
Learning a language has never been more fun and easy with Duolingo. You can unlock language levels with activities and test out of levels if you have prior experience. When you first register, you can choose how seriously you want to practice the language and a personal trainer will keep track of your progress. Not only that, but an independent study found that Duolingo is as effective, if not more, than a university-level language class. We’re in!
Price: Free (Yes, that’s COMPLETELY FREE–no ads, no gimmicks, no upgrades)
Languages Offered: Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese (and several other languages offered in Beta)
Mobile Platforms: iOS, Android
There are a lot of unique features to the Busuu language app. Learning vocabulary is extremely comprehensive because the lessons provide the word, the English translation of the word, the pronunciation of the word, the foreign word used in a sentence, and the English translation of the word in an English sentence (whew!). Another way cool feature is that you can send your writing exercises to be edited by native speakers of the language who are a part of the Busuu community. A downside is that you have to continually download new lessons as you progress, which takes up space on your phone.
Price: Free, but there’s a good chunk of the language that requires Premium Membership to access (200 hours of interactive language courses for $16.99).
Languages offered: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Chinese, Polish
Mobile Apps: iOS, Android
MindSnacks is an incredibly fun and colorful way to learn a language. Branding itself as “Games for your Brain,” there are a variety of different games to play that teach players vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. Only the first lesson is completely free to play, but the fee to unlock a full 50 lessons of fun and educational games is low–only $4.99, which we think is worth the fun.
Languages Offered: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese
Price: MindSnacks includes one free lesson, and then requires an upgrade ($4.99 for 50 lessons covering key grammar, reading, and conversational skills) to continue playing.
Mobile Platforms: iOS
In the Babbel app, you start by listening to several vocabulary words and then testing your spelling and usage of these select words with games. Babbel offers comprehensive grammar tips and lessons in a wide range of topics. The downsides are that only the first few levels of the app are free (bummer) and that you continually have to download each level’s content, which may take up space on your phone.
Price: First few levels are free, but Babbel charges a subscription fee to continue progressing through the app (1 month subscription= $10.99/month).
Languages Offered: English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Danish
Mobile Platforms: iOS, Android