Best Apps To Learn Foreign Language: Duolingo, Babbel, Memrise, AnkiApp, Busuu, And More

14 May 2015, 7:54 am EDT By Ted Ranosa Tech Times
Mobile phone apps have made learning a foreign language fast and easy for many people. Here are seven of the most popular language-learning apps available for both iOS and Android users.  ( Álvaro Ibáñez | Flickr )

Learning a foreign language offers both students and professionals a great advantage as it allows them to interact with people from other cultures.

However, enrolling in language classes takes effort and time, something that most people nowadays don't have in adundance.

The development of smartphone technology has now made the process of learning another language faster and easier. It only takes a single app download to start learning.

Here are seven of the most well-known language-learning apps available for both iOS and Android users:


Duolingo is one of the highest rated apps available when it comes to learning another language. It has also been recognized as the Best App for 2013 by both the Google Play Store and the AppStore.

The app works similar to a game wherein users receive experience points for every correct answer. They are also given an in-game currency called Lingots that can be used to get items from Duolingo's virtual store.

Users of Duolingo learn a new language through repetition, audibly speaking it and conversation. The lessons are designed to increase in difficulty as the user progresses. Compared with other learning apps, Duolingo is not grammar-intensive as it only focuses on 10 of the most commonly used tenses to allow novice users to pick up the language they want easily.


Just like Duolingo, Babbel also lets users learn to understand a language by completing and repeating phrases. The app is free to download and has a monthly subscription cost beginning at $11.

Users can choose from Babbel's different language apps such as German, Italian, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish. These apps can be downloaded individually so that learners can focus on a single set of lessons before moving on to another language.

Babbel also uses a custom goal system that allows users to set benchmarks as they learn a foreign language and to monitor their progress as well.


As its name suggests, Memrise teaches users how to speak Spanish by having them memorize different words.

The app features different learning modules depending on the proficiency of the user, including lessons on basic Mexican Spanish and advanced Spanish. It also allows users to study Spanish words through functions such as "250 most commonly used Spanish words" and "Spanish vocab by frequency."

Memrise's lessons typically consist of a Spanish word, its definition in English and an audio recording of how it is spoken. Users are given 15 words to study per lesson.

The app is also free to download.


For people who wish to take a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, AnkiApp offers a fast and simple way to learn Japanese.

AnkiApp uses a flashcard system that allows users to memorize different Japanese words easily. Users can also challenge themselves through quick sessions, often lasting one minute or less, in order to test their knowledge of the language.

The app can be downloaded for $24.99.


What sets Busuu apart from other language-learning apps in the market is its bustling community of users. Aside from finding out how to read and write one of 12 languages it offers, people are also encouraged to listen and speak a foreign language by interacting with native speakers.

After each lesson, Busuu users are taken to a mock conversation. The app will play a video recording of another person speaking, and once it is through, the user is asked to record his or her response. Members also can improve their language skills through interactive courses and direct interaction with native speakers via an integrated video-­chat application and peer-to-peer text corrections. "It makes every user both a student of a foreign language and also a 'tutor' of their own mother tongue," the site notes.


MindSnacks provides users with a free and entertaining way to understand foreign languages and cultures. It features 11 different lessons designed as easy-to-play games for fun and exciting learning.

Each lesson works similar to a children's book wherein users are asked to solve a series of colorful puzzles arranged according to his or her language proficiency.


Brainscape is an excellent mobile app to have to learn Mandarin Chinese. It uses a set of 5,500 flashcards to teach users about the language, much like AnkiApp.

The unique thing about the app is that it also features lessons on the brush stroke of each symbol to help users understand how it is drawn.

Brainscape can be downloaded for free with the option of unlocking all lesson content for $19.99.

Photo: Álvaro Ibáñez | Flickr 

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