Is learning a language one of your goals for 2020? Here are seven of the best apps for doing so.
There’s just something about 2020 that makes it more special than past years. Though many things have changed over the last decade, many things haven’t and never will…even in another ten years. One is setting intentions and goals and making resolutions for the next 12 months. Learning a new language is one of the most common and, in our opinion, also one of the best. Not only is studying a foreign language one of the most effective ways to keep your brain in top shape, but it also gives you an extra edge at work and in life in general—especially for seasoned travelers.
It might not be so easy to find a language school close to home or on the way home from work, but it’s 2020 after all! There are plenty of great apps that will help you learn a foreign language while you’re on the train or in the subway, without having to attend face-to-face lessons in a classroom. Here are seven of our favorite apps for learning a foreign language.
1. Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone has been a leader in the language teaching field for 25 years, and the app they have developed for learning foreign languages on the go lives up to their reputation. You can choose from among 24 languages and make progress with an intuitive and immersive method based on listening, repetition and images. The first lesson is free, after which you need to get a subscription, the price of which varies according to the language.
With Duolingo, you can learn 23 languages for free without needing to pay for a subscription (unless you wish to practice ad-free). If you wish, you can purchase additional interactive packages with interesting names, such as “Basket of Gems.” The minimalistic graphics are reminiscent of illustrated children’s books and the truly innovative feature is the possibility to chat with experts in a specific field (a vet, a chef, a jeweler), where you can put the vocabulary and grammar rules you’ve learned into practice.
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Know that feeling when a skill turns gold at Level 5? Feels great! But as you advance, it’s easy to forget previous material. Now, when it’s time to review concepts, Level 5 skills will “crack” – and doing a practice lesson will restore the skill to its fully gilded glory! The science behind this is known as spaced repetition, which means you revisit information regularly over time. It’s a simple concept but highly effective for learning new things – like languages!
This language learning app is the most fun on the list because it allows you to interact with the space around you and take quizzes, watch videos featuring native speakers and examples of useful phrases in everyday life. In addition, your progress is not shown using grades or points, but with the image of a plant that is growing and sprouting flowers. In the Italian version of the app, you can learn English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic and Portuguese. A free version is available as well as monthly and annual subscriptions ranging from $8.99 to $59.99.
Busuu is the most social app of them all and if you start learning a language with Busuu, you become part of an enormous language learning community that includes more than 90 million people! There are over 1000 lessons created by experts and supported by machine learning technologies, and they include personalized study plans and voice recognition. The great thing about having a supportive community is that there will always be a native speaker available to put your doubts to rest or to correct your “homework.” There are 12 languages available and the fees range from $4.99 to $74.99.
Mondly is the app for those who miss the presence of a teacher in the classroom. Everything takes place with the help of a virtual tutor who can literally materialize in front of you, thanks to augmented reality technology, that supports the student during their learning with conversation sessions. To access all the features of the app, you’ll need a subscription that costs $9.99 per month or $47.99 per year, and you can choose from among 32 languages, including Farsi and Afrikaans.
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Clozemaster is the perfect app for all you gamers out there. The design is old-school Pac Man style, and the approach is that of a game in which you earn points and overcome real grammatical challenges. This is a free app, and you can choose from over 100 languages.
Some might think that articles on current news, short stories, fairy tales and scientific publications don’t mix particularly well with karaoke—but they couldn’t be more wrong. The learning method that this app offers for its 13 languages is based precisely on all these elements: every text is shown in two languages, and the learner can read it, listen to it and repeat it at their own pace. There are also games where you associate words with images and songs to sing at the top of your lungs, all while you’re learning a new language. The free version gives you access to about 60% of the available content.