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The 8 Best Language Learning Apps to Turn You Into a Polyglot

Kara Jillian Brown

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I haven’t touched my French textbook since my sophomore year of college. That hasn’t stopped me from lugging it to the four apartments I’ve since lived in with the hopes of picking it back up one day. And finally, one day is now. We’re a few weeks into social distancing, and it’s the perfect time to study that language you’ve put on the back burner.

Honestly, it’s probably a good thing you put it off for so long. There are now so many apps and sites available to make it easier than ever to teach yourself a language. Check out some of the best language learning apps that actually work, below.

1. Best gamified language learning apps

Duo Lingo

Complete with cute little icons and sound effects, each bite-sized lesson feels like a game. English speakers can choose from 35 languages, ranging from Korean to Scottish Gaelic. The app is available for free for Apple and Android products.

MEMRISE

Memrise allows you to learn by watching fun video clips from locals, and playing quiz-like games. You can learn traditional languages like Portuguese and Chinese, but also learn computer engineering languages like HTML or Python. The app is available for free for Apple and Android products.

2. Best flashcard language learning apps

TINYCARDS

Made by the team behind Duolingo, Tinycards is great if you’re more of a flashcard learner. Not only can you have mini flashcard sessions in the language of your choice, but you can also use this app for other subjects like biology or geography. Use pre-made flashcards, or create your own. The app is available for free for Apple and Android products.

TIGERCARDS

This app allows you to create your own flashcards, lists, and courses, or to use it’s pre-made ones for Spanish, French, Korean, simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese. It allows you to see which cards you got right or wrong. The app is available for free for Apple products.

3. Best language learning apps with live communication

HELLO TALK

This language app connects over 18 million users with native speakers who can help you learn over  text, voice recordings, voice calls, and video calls. The app is available for free for Apple and Android products.

HINATIVE

Like language-learning subreddits, this app allows you to ask questions to native speakers. Because you’re talking to a real person, you can get a bit more nuance than if you were just using something like Google Translate. The app is available for free for Apple and Android products.

4. Best curriculum-based language learning apps

MANGO LANGUAGES

This comprehensive app offers over 70 languages, with hundreds of lessons on relevant topics. You can learn basic vocabulary while also practice your reading and listening skills, and record your voice to match your pronunciation to native speakers. The app is free with a library card, or $8/month for a single language or $18/month for all languages. The app is available for Apple and Android products.

Rosetta Stone

The language learning service that was once available on CDs is now online. You can choose from 20-plus languages and follow the online curriculum. Pricing options range from $12 a month for one language to $199 for lifetime access to all available languages. The app is available for Apple and Android products.

Although you’re now inundated with free time, don’t stress if you’re not checking everything off your to-do list. And these work-from-home boundaries will keep you from accidentally slipping into 14-hour work days.

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