I’ve learned three languages in addition to my native English over my lifetime. I took three years of Spanish in high school, two semesters of Mandarin in junior college, and four semesters of French in college. Guess what? I forgot everything. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Seriously.
If you used to know multiple languages but forgot everything, want to brush up on a language you don’t get to use very often, or just want to learn a new one, we’ve got a list of what we think are the best apps for learning a new language.
This is probably the most popular language-learning app in the App Store. There are still only a handful of languages available, but the lessons are incredibly broad. You will learn new terms every day, starting with basic words and phrases. After the lesson, you’ll be able to take a test to see how you progress. In the Practice section, compete against others to score the highest in the language test. This app is available for free.
The Rocket Languages course system is an immersive program that is designed to help people start speaking a new language immediately. It combines the three common types of learning to cover every different way in which you learn. It includes interactive audio, language and culture, testing, games, and interactive audio lessons. The app gives you access to your courses and syncs with your desktop so you are always up to date on your progress. This app is available for free.
The Rosetta Stone language-learning software became a huge hit when it first showed up on late night commercials. The complex lesson program walks you through thousands of words and phrases using a dynamic immersion method similar to what you would get in a foreign language class. With this app, you can have access to your course subscriptions and practice your visual and auditory identifications until you find yourself able to converse in a new language. This app is available for free.
When you don’t have time to sit down for a long study session, but you still want to be able to learn a new language, this app makes it possible for you to take your lessons on the go. With an extensive selection of interactive courses in 13 languages, you’ll be able to customize your learning experience, whether you are a beginner or advanced student. Learn new words and phrases and keep them locked into your long-term memory with the Review Manager. Sync across your iOS devices and on the web to ensure you are always up to date with your lessons. This app is available for free.
Memrise offers thousands of courses created by members of the community that users can take advantage of for free. The courses are based on memorizing, visualizing, and testing. You can also compete against friends to earn points, which is a great motivator. This app gives you complete access to courses you’ve signed up for with Memrise so you can take your learning with you no matter where you go. Offline mode even lets you practice your vocabulary when you are up in the mountains without Internet access. This app is available for free.
Total immersion in a different language is the best possible way to learn it. You are forced to hold conversations in order to get what you need, or simply have some companionship. This app immerses you in conversations with people from around the world in a social exchange. Text back and forth with others and learn their colloquialisms to really understand a new language. This app is available for free.
If you are visiting a country in which you are unfamiliar with the language, Google’s translation app is great for just getting by. The grammar is a bit off, but if you need to find out where the nearest public restroom is, you can use this app to help you ask someone. You can type in words and get a written translation, or listen to the translation spoken aloud. This app is available for free.
Trying to communicate when you speak a different language from your conversation partner can be practically impossible. This app lets you speak with someone using voice-to-voice translation. Connect with another iPhone user and speak to each other through your device. It is as if you had a personal translator right next to you. This app is available for $4.99.
Under practically any circumstance, this app will help you quickly get your point across. You can translate text-to-text, text-to-speech, or voice-to-voice across a multitude of languages. Select the language you wish to translate to. Select how you want to translate it (text or voice). Adjust the speed at which sentences are spoken. This app is available for free.
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