6 Best Language Learning Apps of 2024 | Your Ultimate Guide

by Finn Patraic

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Remember those dusty textbooks and boring language classes? Learning new languages has evolved from traditional textbooks and classes to mobile apps. According to ScienceDaily, they offer more engaging ways to learn new languages so you can travel, connect with other cultures, and grow personally.

Apps are becoming popular thanks to the internet and a global pandemic that turned us all into homebodies. People are swiping their way to fluency, making language learning fun, flexible, and seriously addictive.

But with a gazillion options out there, choosing the right app can feel overwhelming. That's where this guide comes in. We've done the legwork, testing, and reviewing the absolute best language learning apps of 2024. So, get ready to find your perfect language-learning sidekick and say “au revoir” to those boring textbooks!

Why Use Language Learning Apps?

So, what exactly are language learning apps? Think of them as your pocket-sized language tutor, always ready to dish out lessons, quizzes, and games whenever you've got a spare moment. They have a range of tools to help you master grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and cultural nuances.

Now, you might be thinking, “Can't I just learn from a textbook or take a class?” Sure, you could. Carrying a textbook is inconvenient, and squeezing a language class into a busy work schedule and errands can feel impossible. This is where apps excel.

Language-learning apps offer a level of convenience and flexibility compared to traditional methods.

  • Learn on Your Time: Stuck on the bus? Waiting in line at the grocery store? Instead of scrolling through social media, you can squeeze in a quick language lesson. These apps fit into your schedule, not the other way around.
  • Your Learning Style, Your Rules: Whether you're a visual learner, an auditory whiz, or someone who needs to get hands-on, apps have you covered. They offer a variety of learning methods, from interactive games and flashcards to pronunciation practice and even conversations with native speakers.
  • Affordable and Accessible: Let's face it, traditional language classes can be pricey. But with apps, you can often learn a language for a fraction of the cost, or even for free with some basic options. Plus, they're available to anyone with a smartphone, making language learning more accessible than ever.

So, if you're ready to ditch the textbooks and embrace a more fun, flexible, and modern way to learn a language, then keep reading. We're about to dive into the most exciting language-learning apps of 2024!

Top Language Learning Apps of 2024

Alright, now that you're on board the language learning app train, let's explore the hottest tickets of 2024. Each app has its unique strengths. Sample a few to find the one that meets your goals and learning preferences.

1. Babbel

Babbel takes a more serious approach to language learning. Its lessons are structured and focused on building a strong foundation in grammar and vocabulary. If you're looking for a more comprehensive and challenging experience, Babbel might be your jam.

  • What We Love: Babbel's lessons are designed by real language experts, so you know you're getting quality content. They also cover real-life scenarios, like ordering food or booking a hotel, so you can apply what you learn in practical situations.
  • What to Watch Out For: Babbel can feel a bit dry compared to Duolingo's playful approach. It's not as ideal for those who want to learn solely through games and quizzes.
  • At a Glance:
    • Languages: 14 languages
    • Cost: Subscription-based, starting at $13.45/month
    • Ideal for: Serious learners, those who value structured lessons and grammar explanations

2. Duolingo 

duolingo website home

If you've dipped your toes into the app world, chances are you've heard of Duolingo. This green owl-themed app has been around for a while, but it's still a top contender for a reason. Its bite-sized lessons, gamified approach, and quirky mascot make learning feel like a fun challenge, not a chore.

  • What We Love: Duolingo keeps things light and breezy with its short lessons, rewards system, and competitive streaks. It's great for beginners who need a gentle nudge into a new language. Plus, it offers a surprisingly wide range of languages, from Spanish and French to Klingon (yes, really!).
  • What to Watch Out For: Duolingo isn't the best for in-depth grammar explanations or complex sentence structures. It's more about getting the basics down and building vocabulary through repetition.
  • At a Glance:
    • Languages: 43 languages
    • Cost: Free (with ads), there is the Super Duolingo and Duolingo Max for a monthly subscription
    • Ideal for: Beginners, casual learners, those who enjoy gamification

3. Memrise

memrise website home

Memrise is a vocabulary powerhouse. It uses a variety of mnemonic techniques to help you learn, including flashcards, games, and even funny memes, to help you learn and remember new words. If expanding your vocabulary is your main goal, Memrise is your go-to app.

  • What We Love: Memrise's user-generated content is a goldmine. You can find courses on almost any topic, from everyday vocabulary to niche interests. Plus, the app's community features allow you to connect with other learners and get help when you're stuck.
  • What to Watch Out For: Memrise isn't as strong on grammar or speaking practice. It's best used in conjunction with other apps or resources to develop well-rounded language skills.
  • At a Glance:
    • Languages: 26 languages
    • Cost: Free (with limitations), or Memrise Pro for $22.99/month (Intros and greetings, body language, and dos and don’ts)
    • Ideal for: Visual learners, vocabulary enthusiasts, those who enjoy user-generated content

4. Rosetta Stone 

Rosetta Stone is a well-established name in language-learning. It’s known for its immersive approach that throws you right into the language from day one, using images, audio, and interactive exercises with coaches to teach you vocabulary and grammar intuitively.

  • What We Love: Rosetta Stone's focus on immersion can help you develop a natural intuition for the language. The intuitive lessons and speech recognition technology are great for building pronunciation skills.
  • What to Watch Out For: Some learners may find the lack of explicit grammar instruction a bit challenging. It's also one of the pricier options on the market.
  • At a Glance:
    • Languages: 25 languages
    • Cost: Subscription-based, starting at $15.99/month
    • Ideal for: Those who prefer intuitive learning, visual learners, those who want to focus on pronunciation

5. HelloTalk

HelloTalk offers a unique experience to language learning by connecting you with native speakers for conversation practice. You can chat, voice call, or even video call with language partners from around the world, making it a great option for practicing your speaking and listening skills.

  • What We Love: HelloTalk's language exchange feature is a game-changer for practicing real-life conversations and learning about different cultures. It's also a fantastic way to make new friends and build a global network.
  • What to Watch Out For: The quality of conversations can vary depending on your language partner. It's also not the best option for absolute beginners who need more structured lessons.
  • At a Glance:
    • Languages: 150+ languages
    • Cost: Free (with in-app purchases for additional features)
    • Ideal for: Intermediate and advanced learners, those who want to practice conversation skills, those interested in cultural exchange

6. Pimsleur

pimsleur website home

Pimsleur is all about audio-based learning. Its method focuses on listening comprehension and pronunciation, with lessons designed to be completed on the go. If you're an auditory learner or have a busy lifestyle, Pimsleur might be your perfect fit.

  • What We Love: Pimsleur's emphasis on listening and speaking skills is ideal for those who want to develop conversational fluency quickly. The lessons are engaging and simple to follow, making it a great option for commuting or exercising.
  • What to Watch Out For: Pimsleur's focus on audio means it may not be the best for visual learners or those who prefer a more interactive approach. It also offers a limited number of languages compared to other apps.
  • At a Glance:
    • Languages: 51 languages
    • Cost: Subscription-based, starting at $19.95/month
    • Ideal for: Auditory learners, busy learners, or those who want to focus on speech and listening skills

Choosing the Right App for Your Language Goals

Okay, so we've looked through some awesome language-learning apps. So, how do you pick the one that'll fit you best? 

Here's what to consider when choosing your language-learning app:

  • Your Learning Style: Are you a visual learner who thrives on flashcards and colorful graphics? Or maybe you're an auditory learner who loves listening to dialogues and podcasts. According to Sage Journals, everyone has a specific learning style. So pay attention to the app's teaching methods and see if they fit with how you learn best.
  • The Languages Offered: Duh, right? But it's worth double-checking that your desired language is available on the app. Some apps offer a vast selection, while others focus on a few key languages.
  • Cost: Not all apps are created equal when it comes to price. Some options are free but come with ads or limited features, while others require a monthly or annual subscription. Consider your budget and decide what you're willing to invest in your language-learning journey.
  • Time Commitment: Let's be honest; some of us have more free time than others. Some apps require a daily commitment to stay on track, while others offer more flexibility for those with busy schedules. Choose an app that aligns with the time you can realistically dedicate to learning.
  • Special Features: Maybe you're dying to practice your pronunciation with a native speaker, or perhaps you want an app that incorporates fun games and challenges. Different apps offer different features, so think about what would make your learning experience more enjoyable and effective.
  • Reviews and Ratings: Don't forget to check out what other learners are saying! User reviews offer valuable insights into the pros and cons of each app. These reviews can help you make an informed decision.

Also Read: Best App to Learn Sign Language

Setting SMART Goals 

Alright, once you've picked your app, it's time to set some goals. But let’s focus on realistic goals that won’t leave you frustrated.

We're talking about SMART goals:

  • Specific: Instead of saying “I want to learn Spanish,” try “I want to be able to order food and ask for directions in Spanish.”
  • Measurable: Track your progress so you can see how far you've come. Most apps have built-in progress trackers, but you can also keep a language learning journal.
  • Achievable: Start small and build up. Don't expect to be fluent in a month! Set realistic goals that can be accomplished.
  • Relevant: Choose goals that align with your reasons for learning the language. If you're learning for travel, focus on practical vocabulary and phrases.
  • Time-Bound: Give yourself a deadline to stay motivated. Maybe you want to reach a certain level by your next vacation or be able to hold a basic conversation by the end of the year.

Remember, learning a new language, or anything new in general, is a journey, not a destination. It's about celebrating small wins and enjoying the process. So, be patient with yourself, stay consistent, and most importantly, have fun!

Unlock Your Language Potential

Well, there you have it – a whirlwind tour of the best language-learning apps of 2024! From Duolingo's playful owl to Babbel's grammar boot camp and Memrise's vocabulary extravaganza, we've covered a lot of ground.

So, what's the takeaway? Language learning apps are powerful tools that can unlock a whole new world of opportunities. These apps can help when you're chatting with locals on your next vacation, landing that dream job abroad, or simply connecting with your heritage.

The key is finding the app that speaks your language, literally and figuratively. Consider your learning style, your goals, and your budget, and don't be afraid to experiment. You might just discover a new passion for languages along the way.

So, what are you waiting for? The world is your oyster – or should we say “huître,” “ostra,” or “Austern”? Choose your app, start learning, and get ready to impress everyone with your newfound linguistic skills!

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