Best Language Learning Websites and Apps

These days at whatever point we peruse or hear that somebody is learning a language, we generally mean it a programming language, such as, Java, Python, JavaScript, and so forth. It’s so unique in relation to around 10-15 years back when learning a language, by and large, implied different dialects, for example, Spanish, French, Mandarin, etc.

The secrets of learning a new language: TED

Today, learning a new language doesn’t generally expect us to be in the study hall and it doesn’t require a high investment of resources. We can learn pretty much any language anytime, anywhere including; how we want, and when we want. For this, it is just important to have WILL and DISCIPLINE and a decent APP.

Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone is a granodiorite stele which was discovered in 1799 and helped translate Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is from this origin of language translation Rosetta Stone Inc. gets its well-suited name. Rosetta Stone works to provide people of all ages a detailed curriculum to learn languages from German and Italian to Greek and Vietnamese. 

Rosetta Stone has resources from articles to practice your speaking and some flash games which are still good and get the job done.

The lessons are each detailed to an extensive degree while there’s clear evidence of something called morphological analysis and tons of thought put into each lesson.

If you’re looking to learn at more complex language like Arabic or Japanese, Rosetta Stone offers several resources to get you started for each language offered. Even tailoring a specific learning curriculum to learn for your purposes such as focuses on the conversation or reading.

The most useful feature of Rosetta Stone is their stories. There are around four articles per unit and essentially a story is a small article with each one introducing new vocabulary with the same level of grammar you are at and staying relevant to the appropriate unit.

It teaches you the application of the language.  you can even record yourself and play it back to critique yourself and listen to someone else telling it. 

With 25 languages and Live Tutoring for practicing in real-time, Rosetta Stone stands as one of the first language learning platforms to a widely accepted audience.

Busuu- Practical Solution to learning language

Are you struggling to keep up with your language learning schedule and curious about how it’s going with your language learning goals? Try Busuu, the app sets a study plan for you so that you can learn any language by giving your schedule regular glances. They do this by sending you a reminder every single day. You can learn 12 different languages with Busuu. What makes Busuu different from other language learning apps is the way they teach languages by using natural daily conversation. So, it’s not like that you’re reading random textbook sentences but you’re practicing and getting feedback from over 100 million language learners worldwide and native speakers. So, what are you waiting for, learn the language you want, and watch your favorite Spanish, French, or any Netflix series. 

From a pricing perspective, there are both free as well as paid plans. The free plan includes some set of lessons, writing exercises, quizzes where you test yourself and also you can practice vocabulary with different flashcards.

On the premium side, they’re offering more content and resources where you can unlock things such as:

  • Advanced grammar topics
  • Personalized study plan
  • Twelve different language courses 
  • You can download and learn all the lessons offline 
  • you can take tests and earn official McGraw-Hill Education language certificates for free
Pros
  • Learn on the go.
  • Easy-to-use and user-friendly interface and navigation system.
  • Live chat with native speakers.
Cons
  • The premium plans might be a bit expensive for the casual language learners where you have to pay for the entire year upfront.
  • If you’re a beginner learner then the quizzes and exercises in the application will look interesting and exciting but intermediate learners will feel bored because the level of difficulty offered is quite easy and not so challenging.

Duolingo- Gamified language learning platform

Duolingo is geared toward more on gamification and letting everyone around the world learn a language for free

It is the best app for a brand new language learner who is just picking up any new language. For example, if you’re new to Deutsch or German and you don’t know how to speak a single word of it then Duolingo helps to start you off from Scratch. You start with very basic words like man, woman, eat, sleep, etc. You’ll progress gradually from a basic level where you’ll be introduced daily to new words and other materials and slowly you’ll start off with more advanced topics and sentences. The content is organized as checkpoints, subdivided into modules, levels, and lessons.

Community-based learning

It’s a very community-based program and it’s not like you’re just sitting at your computer or on your mobile and learning a language by yourself. You’ll be encouraged to join the community by sending out requests to your friends on Facebook and other social media platforms and you’ll get to interact and compete with each other. You can see how well your friends are doing and progressing.

Duolingo also has a forum for discussion where you can put your queries, doubts, and other useful content. There are a lot of other people who are learning the same language that you’re learning or at the same stage as yours, by posting regular questions and answers in forums, it can be really mutually beneficial for you as well as for all the other people.

Drawbacks

Duolingo is 100% translation based and they put a lot of emphasis on getting everything accurate including spelling. Generally, it’ll not help you in building your confidence and boldness in speaking different languages.

To learn a foreign language, you have to do pronunciation practice. You have to physically move your mouth and your tongue to get that muscle memory and in order to learn how to produce the sound of the language. And Duolingo indeed has some sort of speech recognition technology that is supposed to tell you whether you pronounce a word correctly or not but it’s terrible and Duolingo is going to tell you that it is correct. 

Verdict

Overall, Duolingo is great for learning a language in your downtime, in a relatively non-serious atmosphere but this is not the only app that prepares you well. You are going to need other supplementary things and once you get past a certain level like from A1 to B1 then it is not that efficient in helping you progress further. 

If you’re learning languages like Spanish and French then it is useful and good and will help you to some extent but if you’re aiming to learn a language from a career and professional perspective then look for other language learning resources.

uTalk

Utalk doesn’t seem to be as popular as Duolingo but it can teach you different phrases and words with the correct pronunciation. 

On Duolingo sometimes the pronunciation is a bit auto-generated and sometimes it’s just computerized and quite hard to make out how you should be pronouncing it. On the other side, uTalk has real speakers that give you a feeling of learning a language supernaturally. The dialogue is colloquial, exciting, and highly applicable.

The absolute best thing about uTalk is how many languages they have; it’s incredible. The app has over 140 languages with new ones being added all the time. So, it will definitely keep you busy for at least a few years. 

The one downside of uTalk app is, it is much harder to use it without paying money. It is possible but it just takes quite a while to accumulate enough coins in the app to be able to purchase more lessons. But if you do want to pay for it, then the plans are pretty affordable and you can just buy a monthly subscription for 10 pounds a month.

Mondly

Mondly’s platform is integrated with conversation focused curriculum, speech recognition technology, and gamification techniques for example, you get some points as a reward for doing certain tasks. You can be a part of the league table. You can also create streaks when you study for several consecutive days. All these features in Mondly help you to motivate learning every day. 

Mondly uses technology such as chatbots and speech recognition for conversation and pronunciation practice. With Mondly, you can learn from your native language as most learning platforms only allow you to learn from English. So, you can learn 33 different languages and also learn from those 33 languages.

Mondly also has a free version which gives you access to a limited number of lessons for practice. A lot of other resources and learning material come with a premium in which you have to pay for a monthly subscription plan.

There is also this feature wherein the exercises, some words are highlighted and you click or tap on them to get a little explanation. So, for vocabulary, you get a reminder of what the word means. If it’s a verb you get a conjugation of the verb.

Reasons to try Mondly

1. Phrases

There is a lot of focus on learning words in a context with phrases and as a part of sentences. This will give you a great advantage in learning languages because you can memorize words quickly and understand how they used in practice.

2. Speech recognition technology

Mondly uses speech recognition technology in a very nice way. For instance, in the exercises, there is a playback of what you feed. The app tells you whether your input is correct or incorrect by playing your sound back to you. In this way, you can improve by hearing yourself, and a lot of other learning apps don’t have this feature yet. You can also compare yourself with a native speaker and see how your speaking and pronunciation are in general.

3. Free to choose any level

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or expert, on Mondly you can start with any level without giving any sort of test. You can go straight away and can choose your preferred level to begin with.

Reasons NOT to try Mondly

1. Technical issue

Sometimes it’s become difficult to get past certain activities when you get things wrong. For instance, if you had never learned German before and started doing it on Mondly and your pronunciation is pretty bad then basically you’ll not be able to get through some of the exercises. This is the case with many students when they aren’t getting their pronunciation right and are not sure about in which part they’re making mistakes. There is no way to progress from there and sometimes you’ll just get stuck and couldn’t go any further. This is the thing that can potentially de-motivate you.

2. Interface

It is not a major issue but whenever you logged in you’ll see the interface looking sleek and nicely designed but it is quite overwhelming. There are a lot of things going on on the home screen. There are too many different colors, different kinds of shapes, and words and the structure of the thing is quite confusing. There are a lot of resources and activities included in the dashboard which can confuse you. Also, the navigation is a little bit confusing, you have to swipe horizontally instead of vertically and don’t know where to start.

Memrise

Memrise is an interesting platform that works very well as a complementary resource, especially for learning vocabulary. It works by reviewing the words you learned until you memorize them. Memrise has both official courses designed by its instructors and user-created courses, which are created by students on the platform thus, making their content selection huge. So, for each course you can see the course title, the name of the course-creator, the number of subscribers he/she has, and approximately how many hours it’s going to take you to do the course. The official Memrise courses are generally better since they include great audio and video quality, but still, the user-created content can also be useful when you have to expand your vocabulary.

What makes Memrise different is their approach to science-based language learning. They are using neuroscience kind of technique to impart learning. They focused on encoding and testing aspects where you first learn new information and words through ‘Mems’. Mems are small pieces of information that can help you connect with newly acquired words. Memes can be in audio, video, or image. After you acquire the new information, you’ll be tested to retrieve the memory to strengthens your learning. Memrise will track all the unrevised words and will ask you to review them regularly.

The Memrise app has also a feature called the Explorer, which enables you to point your camera at an object and you get a translation of it in the language you’re learning. It does work pretty well and you can challenge it with different objects, it never failed. 

Tandem

It’s surely a cool app for those who might already have some skills in a given language but want to practice it with native speakers or other people who are learning it as well. You first create your profile and write down which languages you want to learn and which ones you already know and then you’ll join by a tandem partner who is learning the same language as you are. It is like an exchange system in which you can learn different languages by practicing real conversations with actual native speakers. And on top of that, you can also make new friends along the way.

The app also allows you to add filters in which you can choose a specific Tandem partner. This is important to you if you’re a woman, and when you create a profile and see many men reaching out to you. Who knows what they’re thinking about, it’s language learning and is okay but on this app, you can just filter it by gender. It’s completely up to you how you filter and who knows maybe this has a higher success rate than Tinder. 

Italki

Their service is pretty similar to tandem but the one ace up their sleeve is their robust tutoring system. You can be matched with community tutors who teach you a new language for free and there are also professional teachers with years of experience. To join a class, you have to buy credits in dollars. The service is excellent you can very easily use it for free. 

The app has one additional feature that will help you a lot if you’re studying a language at school or university. You can upload written entries and then people from around the world will go into detail and correct it for free.

Hinative

Hinative is a Q&A language learning and a handy app which is useful if you’re a more advanced learner. For instance, you’re writing an essay in English and you’re not a native speaker and you’re struggling with a particular sentence and see if it sound natural or maybe you need to tweak the wording a little bit. well with this app you can simply write down the sentence and ask for native speakers to have a look at it and let you know whether that feels natural to them. you can also ask people for different translations like how to spell words and pretty much anything that you can think of and then obviously as a good person you can go through the app and correct other people’s work people also.