Dave Evangelisti Authored By: Dave Evangelisti
Best Language Learning Apps

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Updated: May 3, 2022

There’s never been a better time to learn another language. Technology has made it as convenient as ever. There’s no need to spend hours in a night class. You can just download an app to your smartphone and learn at your convenience. What are the best language learning apps?

There are so many language apps now that it’s difficult to navigate but what’s important is that you find the one that works for you. We all have a different learning style. Some prefer the traditional approach while others expect learning to be fun.

We’re going to review the 5 best language apps to help you make this decision.

Summary: Our team looked at the best language learning apps and broke them down for you.

Best Language Learning Software (2022)

scroll right on mobile to see entire table

Language Learning Software Babbel Duolingo Rosetta Stone Memrise Speakly
  babbel logo duolingo logo rosetta stone logo memrise logo speakly logo
Rating
94

89

82

81

79
Best For Best Overall Best for Learning via Games Best for Traditional Learners - -
One of Our Picks T-G Recommended T-G Recommended - - -
1-Month $13.95 Free $N/A $8.99 $9.99
3-Month $9.955 Free $11.99 $6.33 $7.99
12-Month $6.95 Free $7.99 $4.99 $5.41
Lifetime Access $249 Free $179 $119 N/A
Free Trial 1st Lesson Free 3 Days 1 Month 7 Day
Summary Review Review Review Review Review
Learn More GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!

Our Picks for Best Language Apps


Babbel: Best Overall

TG Recommended
babbel logo

Score: 94

VISIT BABBEL

  • Best For

  • Explanation of grammar concepts
  • Powerful visualization to complement lessons
  • Highly detailed descriptions

Key Decision Making Factors

  • Price

  • Babbel falls in line with other language learning apps so pricing isn’t a concern.
  • Features

  • Babbel provides lessons that don’t just teach you the terms and grammar, but describes the reason behind them.
  • Format

  • Follows a traditional teaching format so it can seem a bit redundant when compared to other language learning apps.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  • Explanation of grammar concepts
  • Powerful visualization to compliment lessons
  • User-friendly even for tech newbies
  • Cons

  • Approach can sometimes make course less motivational
  • Lack of introduction on how the course is structured
  • -

What to Expect - Hands on Walkthrough

Babbel retains its reputation as one of the best language learning apps. It continues to shine with its high quality lessons wrapped in a unique quiz-style package. Learners are shown a piece of new information and then asked questions throughout the lesson to reinforce it.

This app is great for users who are completely new to learning a foreign language because it walks you through the learning process in a routine way. However, it doesn’t sacrifice the quality of content to do so, making it good for intermediate learners as well. If we were to choose any weaknesses, it’s that Babbel is not going to provide a ton of value to advanced learners.

With its most expensive package clocking in at $12.95, Babbel is highly affordable and can meet any budget.

At face value, Babbel doesn’t look to stand apart from other popular language learning apps but once we started digging deeper, we discovered that there are significant differences. What makes this the best language learning software is the way it explains grammar concepts.

It doesn’t just tell you the information. Babbel gives you context into the rules and concepts of the language being learned.

Key Features

  • Lesson explanations
  • Visual teaching approach
  • Grammar explanations

Key Differences From Other Language Apps

  • Grammar explanations

Other Useful Resources

  • Babbel vs. Duolingo - Our team dives into the debate of these two language apps. Learn more about both.
TG Recommended
Babbel logo

Score: 94

  • Why Choose Babbel

  • Lesson explanations
  • Grammar explanations
  • Powerful visualization to complement lessons

VISIT BABBEL

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Duolingo: Best for Learning via Games

TG Recommended
duolingo logo

Score: 89

VISIT DUOLINGO

  • Best For

  • Learning via games
  • Engaging learning environment
  • Price

Key Decision Making Factors

  • Price

  • You can learn languages on Duolingo for free and their premium option falls within the same range as other popular language learning apps.
  • Features

  • This language learning app has a fun format but at its core, it lacks the in-depth capabilities of other more advanced apps.
  • Format

  • Using gaming as a teaching method creates a fun, engaging learning environment.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  • Gaming approach to motivate learners to keep going
  • Makes learners use words in sentences during reviews
  • Access the app from anywhere with quick lessons
  • Cons

  • Its speech recognition programming struggles to keep up
  • Designed for beginners
  • -

What to Expect - Hands on Walkthrough

One of the first things you’re sure to notice about Duolingo is that it presents language learning in a fun, engaging format. This is a powerful language learning app packaged into a fun gaming-like experience so there’s no pressure in learning new languages. You will learn passively while going through the app.

It’s not perfect though. Duolingo has a few flaws but despite them, it still one of the most powerful language learning apps on the market. This is mostly due to its unique presentation.

Duolingo taps into the gaming experience to teach languages, providing a visually appealing interface and milestones that are set up like achievements. Every time you get to the end of a learning tree, you’re presented a trophy. Every lesson is treated like a level that you beat by answering questions.

The only reason this language learning app doesn’t take the top spot as the best language learning program is because its approach is designed for beginners looking to casually learn a new language but don’t expect to gain a lot of advanced knowledge.

Key Features

  • Games to learn material
  • Milestones to complete that are "game-like"
  • Laid-back feel

Key Differences From Other Language Apps

  • Approach to learning is different than other apps

Other Useful Resources

  • Babbel vs. Duolingo - Our team dives into the debate of these two language apps. Learn more about both.
TG Recommended
duolingo logo

Score: 89

  • Why Choose Duolingo

  • Learn through games
  • Engaging content
  • Price

VISIT DUOLINGO

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Rosetta Stone: Best for Traditional Learners

Rosetta Stone
  • Best For

  • Someone looking for a traditional learning experience
  • Someone who wants an established and trusted brand name

Key Decision Making Factors

  • Price

  • Rosetta Stone continues to cash in on its brand but the problem is that it has fallen behind its competition too much to justify that price.
  • Features

  • Following a traditional teaching approach just doesn’t translate as well as it used to and Rosetta Stone seems resistant to adaptation.
  • Format

  • The teaching format is time-tested and works.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  • Interface is easy to navigate and provides a good user experience
  • Rosetta Stone is a highly reputable brand
  • Optional tutoring sessions can be taken online for an additional fee
  • Cons

  • Follows a traditional teaching approach
  • Not as engaging as other language learning apps
  • -

What to Expect - Hands on Walkthrough

Even though this is the most well-known language learning brand in the world, it falls third on our list of the best language learning apps due to its fully traditional approach. While the pricing structure of this app has been adapted to the modern world, the teaching approach struggles to catch up.

We’re not saying that it’s not an effective learning tool but Rosetta Stone can become quite repetitive and dry. With that said, it does provide a ton of content and is fully capable of teaching new languages. That’s not surprising since they’ve been doing it for so long. But the method feels slow in comparison to other apps.

Finally, even though Rosetta Stone isn’t expensive like it was in the beginning, it’s still priced higher than other choices.

Rosetta Stone’s unique approach is an insistence on not using your native language during the learning process. In short, Rosetta Stone has no translations. You will learn words through images. This makes it a great tool for advanced learners but not a good starting point.

Key Features

  • Traditional learning approach
  • Learn through images (no translations)

Key Differences From Other Language Apps

  • Use of images instead of translations
Rosetta Stone
rosetta stone logo

Score: 82

  • Why Choose Rosetta Stone

  • Learn via images instead of translations
  • Brand name with experience in industry

VISIT ROSETTA STONE

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Memrise Review

Memrise
memrise logo

Score: 81

VISIT MEMRISE

  • Best For

  • Someone wanting to learn via videos
  • Someone looking to learn on a budget

Key Decision Making Factors

  • Price

  • Memrise is one of the lowest priced language learning apps on the market.
  • Features

  • This app dares to be bold by using videos as a tool to help learners understand the context of words but ultimately falls short by not providing enough explanation.
  • Format

  • The format of Memrise is laid out cleanly but its focus on a vocabulary-only approach makes it unappealing to advanced learners.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  • Multiple levels of learning that meet users at their level
  • Repetition system ensures that lessons stick
  • Free version unlocks every feature (with ads, of course.)
  • Cons

  • Only focused on vocabulary so it’s not a great tool for learning advanced language skills
  • The app’s design is not friendly to users
  • -

What to Expect - Hands on Walkthrough

Memrise doesn’t just focus on one teaching method. It immerses you in videos that provide real-world scenarios that are designed to help you understand the context of words being used.

However, this is also its flaw as it doesn’t provide any explanations. It puts you in a video and expects you to put it together yourself. As a result, most users learn the vocabulary of a language without learning its context.

This language learning app also provides a cool mode that helps you learn the proper pronunciation of words.

Video immersion greatly assists in the learning process. Additionally, Memrise is a great starting point for learning a new language simply because it’s free.

Just beware that you’ll eventually have to invest in a language learning app to master a new language.

Key Features

  • Videos
  • Free version unlocks all features (with ads)

Key Differences From Other Language Apps

  • Use of videos to help teach material
Memrise
memrise logo

Score: 81

  • Why Choose Memrise

  • Learn via videos
  • Free version unlocks all content

VISIT MEMRISE

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Speakly Review

Speakly
speakly logo

Score: 79

VISIT SPEAKLY

  • Best For

  • Someone wanting to use technology to learn
  • Someone looking to hear different voices when learning

Key Decision Making Factors

  • Price

  • Price is comparable to others. No lifetime option though.
  • Features

  • Speakly only offers 8 languages to learn. If you are looking for an uncommon language, you may consider other options.
  • Format

  • The layout of Speakly makes it the most versatile option on this list, using a unique learning approach combined with AI to teach context and vocabulary.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  • Use of AI technology
  • Terms are recorded in two voices
  • -
  • Cons

  • Only teaches eight languages
  • No lifetime access option
  • -

What to Expect - Hands on Walkthrough

Let’s start with the downside of Speakly, which is that there are only eight languages to choose from. These are English, French, Spanish, Finnish, Estonian, German, Finnish, and Russian.

With that said, Speakly will teach you the words and how to use them in context through its versatile learning approach. The app’s approach starts off by teaching you a number of specific words. Those words are what’s considered “statistically relevant” to the language so they might vary between courses.

Once learners have learned those words, the app leads them to interact with a pre-recorded speaker. AI technology interacts with you to coach your performance. Learners are able to choose from two voices during this interaction – male and female.

Unfortunately, Speakly doesn’t quite hold up to other top language learning apps and it’s limited to only eight languages.

Key Features

  • AI technology
  • 2 voices to hear from

Key Differences From Other Language Apps

  • Use of advanced technology within the course
Speakly
speakly logo

Score: 79

  • Why Choose Speakly

  • Learn with AI technology
  • Terms are recorded with two voices so you can hear things differently

VISIT SPEAKLY

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How to Choose a Language Learning App

Selecting the right language learning app can be the difference between you picking up a new language or not. The biggest thing to consider is how you think you will best learn. These language learning apps use different techniques, so you can find an option that works for you.

What to Consider When Purchasing Language Learning Software

There ar emany important things to consider when making a language learning purchase. All of the following factors should be considered before making a purchase.

Price

Price is the first thing many individuals consider. Luckily, with the advancement of technology and apps, these providers are relatively cheap. Most providers will offer some sort of package that should fit what you are looking for price wise.

Content

Content is king, especially when learning a new language. Choose an option that teaches the content in a way that works for your learning style. If you learn best from videos, choose an option that uses videos as a primary teaching method.

Other Factors to Consider

Some other factors to consider include:

  • Study discipline - if you routinely have trouble studying, language learning software will help you stay the course.
  • Need for encouragement -if you need encouragement, feedback and motivation, a language app is a great option to keep you motivated.

Methodology: How We Tested Language Learning Apps

We looked at 10+ different language learning apps. We then narrowed those 10 down to 5. We took a deep dive into those 5 best language learning apps and looked for things that we though individuals would find most useful.

After spending ample time actually inside these courses, we gave the courses different ratings for 5 different criteria. Each of those criteria are assigned a weight which helps us arrive at a final weighted score.

For more details, read about our independent review process.

FAQs About Language Learning Software

What is the best language learning app?

Our team looked at 10+ different language learning apps and narrowed it down to 5.

We found that babbel was the best overall and duolingo was the best for individuals who wish to learn via games.

Is Babbel or Duolingo better?

Our team found Babbel to be the best language learning software. However, both are great options and teach the material differently.

Duolingo is unique in that it uses games to teach the material.

Is Rosetta Stone or Babbel better?

Our team found that Babbel was slightly better than Rosetta Stone. Babbel has some more features and feels more modern than Rosetta Stone, which our team liked.

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