5 Great Apps to Help You Learn a Foreign Language

April 20, 2015 • Devin Partida



With a rise in global business activities and international travel, the world has become an easier place to navigate. Interacting with other cultures happens more frequently than in the past. Because of this, learning another language is more useful than it has ever been for professional and personal reasons.

Perhaps you’ve considered trying to learn another language; maybe you’ve even thought about which language would be most advantageous for your lifestyle and situation. The problem that you’ve probably encountered each time you’ve considered it is time. You’re busy; we all are. Between work, family and social obligations, your schedule is probably full.

You don’t have the time to sit in front of a computer or in a class and to put 100% effort into learning a language, regardless of how beneficial it might be to do so.

One option for increasing your productivity while learning a new language? Do it on the go. Today there are numerous apps available that can be downloaded to a smartphone, enabling you to learn a language during spare time in your busy schedule. Check out five of them below.

Duolingo (iOS | Android)


Designed as both a desktop program and app, Duolingo turns learning a new language into a game. After users, or “players,” download the app for free, they earn points for meeting certain milestones, beating the clock in games and completing lessons. Each lesson comes with a grading system, and the app records how many days in a row you’ve been active inside the program. This is an excellent app for staying on track and cutting down on unnecessary language-learning barriers.

Users of Duolingo can opt to learn any combination of languages, including: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish or Turkish.

Anki (iOS | Android)


Anki is derived from the Japanese method of learning based on flashcard systems. For $24.99, users who download the app can access over 80 million sets of flashcards, many of which are based around learning new languages. The system is an efficient way to learn a language based on simple memorization, perfect for lunch breaks, subway rides and meeting breaks. Learning on the go is simple, and limitless, with Anki.

Busuu (iOS | Android)


It’s a well-known fact that one of the best ways to learn a language is to completely immerse yourself in it. If you’re unable to travel to a destination that speaks the language you hope to learn, Busuu might be the next best thing.

The app allows users to learn French, English, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Chinese or German after a free download, with upgrade options and add-ons for interested customers. It is community-based, so users are encouraged to interact with native speakers and put what they’ve learned into practice in real time. No need to sign up for a class or take vacation time to learn a language; this can be done anywhere with Busuu.

Memrise (iOS | Android)


Promoted as an app to learn Chinese, Spanish, French, Japanese or any other language for free, Memrise is a promising, productive option for learning a new language. Users have access to thousands of courses that provide not just language lessons but also lessons relating to culture, history and geography.

In an interface designed to function like a garden, users plant new memories using mnemonic tools, visual images and repetition, water their gardens with practice and watch their results grow.

Babbel (iOS | Android)


With a free download and monthly subscription starting at $11, users can use one of Babbel’s mobile apps to learn Spanish, Italian, English, French, Portuguese, Dutch or German. The app uses a variety of methods, including repetition, phrase completion and voicing various phrases out loud.

Users can set custom goals to meet their own learning benchmarks and track their individual progress accordingly. All information is synced according to each user’s account, so jumping between a desktop and smartphone depending on your schedule doesn’t have to be a problem.

Learning a language doesn’t have to take away from your already busy schedule; instead, with the apps listed above, it can seamlessly become a part of your daily routine.