• Shae Bryant

5 Language Learning Apps Rated by Shae

Not long ago, I talked about what a polyglot is and how much I enjoy learning other languages. There are a number of ways to learn another language. Full immersion is likely the best way, but not all of us have that luxury. When we don't have full immersion, we depend on classes, language exchange programs and learning apps.

Busuu is probably one of the best language learning apps I have seen. It is a robust app with easy to follow courses. Busuu also offers a mini language exchange program where native speakers correct your exercises. You can also set your own pace on Busuu and learn as much or as little as you'd like each day. The only thing is, Busuu has a hefty price tag attached to it. I wouldn't recommend it unless you are a serious learner.

The one thing I will note about Busuu is their Spanish course. Busuu teaches you European Spanish and only gives hints to Latin-American Spanish. As a Spanish speaker who learned from folks who speak with heavy Caribbean Spanish dialects (Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic), I found Busuu's Spanish course confusing. If you are in North America and learning Spanish, try my next recommendation instead.

Memrise is another favorite of mine. Beginners can start learning from native speakers, and in a few days you are able to make basic introductions and make transactions in your chosen language. Memrise does offer reviews to keep things fresh in your mind, but it isn't as comprehensive as Busuu. Like Busuu, Memrise also has a hefty price tag and is best for a serious learner.

Pimsleur is a language learning app that helps you become conversational quickly. The unique method focuses on immersion and repetition to learn quickly. This app is one I have tried, but I must admit it isn't for me. However, a lot of people have found success with Pimsleur. Again, it isn't cheap but it's worth it to learn something new.

Rosetta Stone has been around for a long time. In fact, I remember having CDs for Rosetta Stone when I was young. It has adapted with the times and still offers language learning courses for everyone. To me, the courses are fine. Just fine. They aren't very engaging and feel more like a school classroom. However, a lot of people have great success with Rosetta Stone.

I'm only including Duo Lingo because it's the one app that's truly free. But it isn't great. Duo Lingo is not a good way to actually learn a language. It is a good tool to help you pick up basics, learn some grammar and brush up on your chosen language. Used along with another app or immersion, Duo Lingo is fine. The free version of the app is full of annoying ads and they push their paid service on you constantly. Frankly, Duo Lingo isn't worth the money. If you want to pay for a language learning app, use one of the four I recommended a moment ago.

Did you know there are a bunch of podcasts that help with language learning? There are! My friend Angelique has a great podcast called The Polyglottal Stop. Go check it out.