Are you finding that you have more time on your hands lately? Need to occupy your brain? Why not learn a new language! Not only does it help train your mind, but it expands potential connections with an entire country of people. Call it education, call it getting to know your fellow human, adding another language to your repertoire is a smart business move, a smart hobby move, and a smart be-a-good-human move.
Fortunately, smartphones have taken advantage of the increasing need and want to learn more languages. Most of these applications can be downloaded for free and offer a decent user experience.
Most use traditional flashcards and less-interactive mnemonic techniques. These aside, you can find plenty of others that go beyond the conventional approach. These apps turn language learning into a fun, everyday challenge.
Below are our top five choices for Android language-learning apps that go above and beyond tradition. All are available for download in the Google Play Store. Note: unlocking premium features with a subscription significantly enhances the educational aspects of the apps.
This is perhaps the most popular language-learning app for Android. Who can forget that cute green owl mascot? Used by teachers, students, and independent learners alike, Duolingo offers a wide range of language options from which to choose. These include your basics — Spanish, French, Italian, and German — to more obscure choices like Esperanto and High Valyrian.
Duolingo’s educational approach covers almost every aspect of language learning, with the exception of interactive conversational practice. The program uses self-driven speaking exercises, grammar, and reading and comprehension exercises in order to memorize vocabulary and syntax rules.
The app downloads for free, but you can upgrade to Duolingo Plus for $9.99/month.
Memrise prides itself on providing educational resource materials straight from native speaker’s mouths. This app wants to get you speaking like a local and has the know-how to get you there. Available languages include Spanish from Mexico and Spain, Korean, French, and Russian, to name a few. Because the app focuses on local fluency, you may even get to learn a few curse words, as well.
Their repetitive drills and varying formats cover all the basics, from grammar to pronunciation. You can even opt for a Speed Review, Listening Skills activity, and two different styles of review: Traditional or Difficult.
You can download Memrise for free, but you must subscribe to unlock full courses. Their Pro account runs at $9/month.
What can we say about Babbel? It’s a really good language-learning program. You do have to shell out money for a yearly subscription — much more than others — but it is as close to a classroom experience you can get through the internet. If you’re lucky enough to be a regular user of the site, you can download the accompanying Android app.
Babbel is complete with courses in different subjects and levels, with techniques that commit images and sounds to words and subsequently in your brain. You also do not have to be concerned about being thrown into the deep end with Babbel. Beginner courses take you through basic vocabulary and conjugations and gradually contextualize them for real-life usage.
The cost of different language courses varies. Check out their website for more details.
If you are looking for a more reliable version of Google Translate, check out Reverso Context. This may not be a language-learning app in full, but it serves as a language-learning aid. With several languages to choose from, including Arabic and Hebrew, you can type in what you need to be translated, and Reverso will give you plenty of results.
What differentiates these translation results from Google Translate is that they are put into different contexts for you. This means that if you need to figure out how to say one word, you can find the correct situation — the proper meaning — and therefore the exact word in the language.
Reverso also allows you to compile a Phrasebook with saved phrases, provides a word of the day in different languages, and some light flashcard work. You can take full advantage of the free version or upgrade for only $1.67/month.
Mondly is an immersive virtual language-learning experience that helps you improve your vocabulary and grammar and also helps in conversation. With Mondly, you can choose from 33 different languages and even take part in their VR experience. This way, you don’t need to have a friend who speaks the language you’re learning — you don’t even need a language-learning partner! All you need is Mondly.
Mondly focuses on teaching the most-used words and phrases, so at the end of your course, you should have 5,000 words and phrases under your belt. It will also take you straight to verb conjugations. No trying to remember when you have forgotten or waiting to re-encounter the verb in a lesson.
The app is free to use. In-app purchases are available.
It only takes 5 minutes a day, every day — or something like that — to learn a new language. These apps make learning a new language fun and effective and if you don’t have time on your hands, easy to hop onto for a couple of minutes.
Now go — learn and impress your friends with your new-found skills!