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The Best Language Learning Apps

Learning a language is always a fun and exciting adventure! If you've decided you don't want to attend classes and would rather teach yourself, there are so many resources out there to learn any language you can think of. Using apps is a great way to supplement your learning and it adds more fun to the whole thing. 

Sometimes using books gets boring and tedious, so to give your brain a creative break, apps are a great way to casually continue learning without too much effort on your part.

Today I have summarised up my favourite language learning apps that I have used for Dutch, Spanish, Korean and Chinese. I have used 4 of these apps and the other 3 are ones that have great reviews and people absolutely swear by them.

As I've said above, these apps are to supplement your learning, meaning you won't become fluent by using them by themselves. Use other methods, such as books, websites, and podcasts to get in depth explanations of grammar and conjugations, amongst other things. 

The first app on the list is Duolingo, which also has a website you can access here! If you've been learning languages for a while now, you know that Duolingo is probably the most popular app out there right now. It's easy to see why; there are currently 28 languages to choose from, ranging from European to Asian to African. The topics to learn are separated into categories, such as restaurants, food, home, transport, numbers, occupations, and the list goes on.

When you first sign up, you are given a placement test so you don't just dive in head first without knowing the basics! You can learn more than one language at a time and your progress is tracked everyday. You can even get notifications for when you need to go back and do a lesson!

However, for as much praise it gets, Duolingo also gets its equal share of criticism. Sometimes, grammar is slightly off and the audio examples aren't accurate (according to native speakers). The sample sentences are sometimes unrealistic and not something one would say in that language. You can also upgrade to Duolingo Plus where you pay a monthly subscription for either 1 month, 6 months, or 12 months. With this you can have no ads and save your lessons for offline.

Overall, Duolingo is the firm favourite for a lot of people and millions of people use it all over the world. If you're just starting out, then be sure to download this first! I would highly recommend it!

Another very popular language learning app (and website) is Babbel. With this app you can learn 13 languages and most of them are European. You can choose whether you are a beginner or more advanced and the app dives you straight into learning!

This isn't an app I have used before but reviews hail it as inexpensive and high quality. One downside to it, however, is that many words thrown at you will be unknown to you off the bat, and the material is more challenging compared to other apps.

Another thing to note is that once your free trail is over, you will be expected to pay a subscription for either 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months. If learning a language is something you seriously want to invest in, then maybe Babbel could be for you!

This third app is one of my favourites, and that's Memrise! Memrise has a website as well as an app offering 20 languages. When you sign up you can choose which proficiency level you're most comfortable with (from beginner to more advanced), and there's even an option to create your own course!

It's similar to Duolingo in that you learn different categories at a time, and the cool thing with Memrise is that it tracks all the new words you're learning, which is cool to know.

Memrise is free for the most part, but to go pro, you need to set up a monthly subscription. By paying, you can unlock extra categories to learn and there's an algorithm-based approach that lets you focus on what you struggle with the most.

I have used this app in the past, and although I didn't pay for it, using the free version was great for me!

This app is specifically tailored for those learning Chinese, like me! I decided to start learning Chinese just this month, so after using some apps in the past, I wanted something completely new and different for a new language.

The app is very user-friendly and it has everything! It starts off with teaching you pronunciation rules and the basics, then you delve into vocabulary and grammar. Everything is categorised, so numbers, food, family, directions, money etc. 

The app gives you speaking and listening exercises, flashcards, and also teaches you how to draw each character right off the bat! I use it in conjunction with Pleco (a dictionary app) and together, I'm able to learn more Chinese! There are also videos by native speakers and immersion lessons that are given by a native speaker and someone who has learnt Chinese fluently, so you have both sides to compare. 

If you're specifically learning Chinese, then this is the app I would recommend to you!

HiNative is a bit of a different one in that you can chat directly to a native speaker and get tips on grammar, while you also give them tips about your native language. Basically put, you teach someone your language and they teach you theirs in return! I think this is such a cool idea because you get taught straight from the people who have grown up speaking that language all their lives.

You can learn over 100 different languages and dialects, so there is a wide selection to choose from. You can send audio files, pictures, text and ask about the culture if you're going to be visiting soon.

HelloTalk is similar to HiNative in that it is a language exchange app that they say has over 150 languages to choose from. The features of HelloTalk are similar to HiNative, so you can just download the one you think would work best for you!

I would recommend these apps to someone who has been learning a language for a bit and they want to make sure they're being accurate with their sentences and making their speech more natural. Of course, you can be a beginner to start with them too!

This is another very different one. I know Google Translate has a bad reputation, but hear me out!

During secondary school we were all taught to not use Google Translate to help with our homework and I agree with this. Translate isn't the most reliable source because it's not always accurate and can be misleading with the translations. 

However, the reason it is on my list is because it is (usually) quite useful for translating a word or a phrase that you need. For example, if I come across a word I haven't seen before and I want to know what it means right away, I can just copy and paste it into the app and know that it's accurate. 

Translate also allows you to download 59 languages so you can translate things offline, and there's even an option to draw characters instead of using a keyboard for 93 languages. The thing I love most is the camera feature which allows you to take a photo of some text and get the whole thing translated.

Is Translate the best? No, but if you want something translated immediately, I would say this is your best bet!

So those are the apps that I think are the best out there for learning a new language. "Best" is subjective, so do comment below what your favourites are if you're into learning languages too! For me, these apps have helped a lot, especially when cracking those books open was not an option.

With these, you can learn on the go and not worry about messing up your language schedule because it's right there in your pocket! I hope you found this post helpful!