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The Best Language Learning Apps – We’ve Tested 40+ Options

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What a time to be alive! The number of language learning apps out there is mind-boggling. New resources are constantly being released, and the classics are continually being improved upon.

This is great news for language learners. It’s never been easier to find quality resources that cater to your learning style, level, language, and interests.

While the variety of language apps is impressive, so is the range of quality. The truth is that some work really well and some really don’t. We’ve tried a gazillion of them (okay, half a gazillion), and have found total gems alongside scams and flops.

This isn’t one of those reviews that only lists the Top Five Language Apps of All Time. We’ve pulled from the neverending list of apps we’ve tried and grouped them into categories to provide a more comprehensive list.

While this list is long, it isn’t exhaustive. We haven’t included any language-specific apps that are only available in one language.

Within each category, you’ll see our Top Picks, the ones we like the most, and Other Options — apps that are commonly recommended but aren’t necessarily our favorites. You’ll see why we like certain apps more than others and hopefully get a feel for some that are right for you.

General Courses

Top Picks: Pimsleur, Babbel, Duolingo, LingoDeer

Other Options: Rocket Languages, Busuu, Coursera, edX, Mango Languages, Udemy, Chatterbug, Mondly, Rosetta Stone, Word Dive

Vocabulary Acquisition

Top Picks: Memrise, Anki, Lingvist, Clozemaster

Other Options: Speakly, Quizlet, Mosalingua, Drops

Reading and Listening

Top Picks: Innovative Languages, News in Slow, LingQ, Beelinguapp

Other Options: FluentU, Yabla, Audible, Flowlingo

Speaking and Writing

Top Picks: Speechling, italki

Other Options: Glossika, HiNative

Tutors and Language Exchange

Top Picks: italki, Tandem, HelloTalk

Other Options: Verbling, Preply, Rype App, Speaky

General Courses

These are courses that do a little bit of everything. True proficiency in a language means mastering speaking, writing, listening, and reading skills. Some apps are better than others at one or more of these skills, and some try to touch on all of them.

The apps in this category provide a more comprehensive approach to language acquisition and are generally best-suited to people starting out with a new language.

Top Picks

Pimsleur

Price: A basic subscription is $14.95/month and a premium subscription is $19.95/month.

Pimsleur is a resource that places an emphasis on oral language practice. Part of their philosophy states that “You don’t need to study grammar to speak correctly.” This statement has some merit, but it will resonate with some more than others.

However you feel about grammar, Pimsleur’s courses will get you speaking right away, and this is an area in which a lot of other apps fall short. The material in the app is also structured in a logical way that makes progress feel natural and efficient.

On top of this, the Pimsleur app is nice to use — it’s full of eye-catching visuals and relevant cultural notes to keep you interested while you study. Review.

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Babbel

Price: Subscriptions range from $6.95/month for a year to $12.95 for one month at a time.

With over one million active users, Babbel is no lightweight in the language-learning scene. The method it uses is aimed at getting its users to a conversational level as quickly as possible, and it does the job pretty reliably.

The instruction and materials Babbel uses are all laid out logically and practice opportunities happen in lessons that are 10-15 minutes long. In some ways, it’s like a grown-up version of Duolingo. It goes deeper with grammar explanations and cultural information, and it has better audio.

There are flashier apps out there, and those that are better for advanced learners, but there’s a reason Babbel is so popular. Review.

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Duolingo

Price: Free

This app is wildly popular. Available for free and easy to pick up when and wherever you want for as long as you like, it’s one of the most accessible ways to practice learning a new language.

Duolingo offers practice in the form of a variety of bite-sized activities and a lot of gamification. There are courses with English instruction in 35 languages and a social aspect for competing with friends. The biggest strengths with this app are that it’s insanely convenient and that it’s fun to use.

It isn’t the best for Asian languages, and there are better apps for more serious learners or those that want better communication practice, but Duolingo is a stellar option in the realm of free and easy language apps. Review.

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LingoDeer

Price: Subscriptions start at $11.99/month and go up to $55.99 for a year. There’s also a lifetime option for $119.99.

When first starting out with a language, topical lessons and a bit of gamification can work wonders as a great introduction. While most people have heard of giants like Duolingo and Memrise, lesser-known LingoDeer is a solid (or better!) alternative — especially for Asian languages.

For people starting out with a language, LingoDeer does a great job of getting you up to speed with language basics like the alphabet, pronunciation, and sentence structure. It’s probably best for beginners, but the low price, variety of exercises, quality grammar explanations, and good audio make it a serious contender. Review.

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Other Options

Rocket Languages

Price: Varies by language and level — around $100 for Level 1 and $260 for all levels.

This is another app that offers some good general language practice, although beware that it’s better for some than others. If you’re interested in learning German, Spanish or French, this one might be a good fit for you. Learners of Arabic or Chinese, though, you’d better look elsewhere.

Reviews: German, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, French, Korean, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, General Review

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Busuu

Price: Premium subscriptions start at $5.41/month for a 12-month contract; $9.99/month when paid monthly.

This one’s got a nice layout and some cool features. The social aspect and conversational lessons are particularly helpful. Unfortunately, the Chinese course is not at all recommended; the lessons don’t scaffold well and there are mistakes in the material. This also might not be your best option if you’re looking for detailed grammar practice. Review.

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Coursera

Price: Free without a certification.

Coursera offers courses from universities around the world for free. Given the academic spin, these courses might be a bit more formal, but there’s some good content for those interested. In addition to courses to help you learn the language, you might be able to find interesting courses in your target language if you’re already advanced.

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edX

Price: Free without a certification.

This is similar to Coursera in that it offers free access to university classes online. You’ll need to pay if you want a certification upon completion of a course, but it’s a quality resource. The variety of language courses here is pretty fascinating; study ancient Greek, conversational Mandarin, or Basic Spanish, among many others.

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Mango Languages

Price: $7.99/mo for one language or $17.99/mo for all languages.

While it isn’t very useful for advanced levels, Mango Languages is a decent resource for learners at beginner and intermediate levels. It’s got a wide selection of languages and includes regional varieties. It’s easy to use, has a nice interface, and some of the exercises are very effective, even if it is lacking some in-depth grammar instruction. Review.

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Udemy

Price: Price points range widely, but if you wait for a sale, courses average $10 each.

Udemy is actually a place where you can access courses for all types of skills, language learning included. The courses are all created by users, so price and quality will vary. There are some free language courses, but there’s a wide range of prices for paid courses. Sales are frequent, though, and waiting just a short time should enable you to purchase a course for around $10.

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ChatterbugChatterbug Logo

Price: Plans start at $23/month for one live lesson, and go up to $450/month for unlimited live lessons.

Chatterbug is exciting in that it attempts to blend the benefits of an online self-study app with the advantages of one-on-one classes. It ends up being a pretty good resource overall, but with some limitations. The website is cluttered, and chances to practice reading and writing are few. But the live lessons are well-structured and engaging. Review.

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Mondly

Price: $9.99/month for one language or $47.99 ($4/month) for the year.

Mondly might be a fair choice for someone looking for an inexpensive way to learn the basics in a language before a trip. Beyond that, it won’t deliver much. It’s got some nifty motivational challenges that encourage you to practice regularly and it’s got some decent vocabulary practice, but the exercises and material are the same for all languages and levels. Review.

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Rosetta Stone

Price: As little as $36 for three months and as much as $199 for a lifetime subscription.

Nearly everyone has heard of this resource, but that doesn’t make it a great one. The immersive technique that Rosetta Stone uses gets drearily boring after a while and offers nothing in the way of explanations. For most language learners, this isn’t the best way to go about the process. Review.

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Word DiveWord Dive Logo

Price: A monthly subscription is $9.99/month, and prices go up to $79.99 ($6.67/month) for a year.

Other than its unique underwater aesthetic, what Word Dive has going for it is convenience and ease of use. It’s easy enough to pick up and practice wherever you are and doesn’t require too much commitment. The tradeoff is that it won’t supply you with a very comprehensive education. There are almost no grammar explanations. Review.

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Vocabulary Acquisition

Much of learning a new language boils down to building your vocabulary in that language. This isn’t the entire battle, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle. The apps in this category are tuned in a way that makes picking up new vocabulary and committing it to memory as efficient as possible. Apps that perform well in this regard almost always use spaced repetition, which is something to look for.

Top Picks

Memrise

Price: There’s a lot of content available for free. A paid subscription is $8.99/month.

This is one of the more popular language apps out there, and the amount of free content surely has something to do with it. Memrise allows users to create their own material, mostly consisting of flashcards. When these flashcards are done well, they contain images and even audio recordings.

There’s also a bunch of official Memrise courses that include videos and varied practice exercises. The biggest strengths of this app are that the mobile version is engaging and fun to use, the spaced repetition software is efficient, and the amount of available material is staggering.

The range of languages with practice material on Memrise is immense, and that’s not counting the huge amount of non-language related material. Review.

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Anki

Price: Free

Anki is known for being a few things: powerful, free, and totally customizable. It’s a popular tool among anyone that wants to memorize things, not just language learners. Students of medicine and law, programmers, and general trivia buffs are just a portion of the Anki community.

The core benefit of Anki is that, like Memrise, it uses spaced repetition to make memorization practice as efficient as possible. What makes it great for learning languages is that creating your own flashcards affords you tons of flexibility; you can add images and sounds and make your own cloze deletion exercises. There are also lots of pre-made decks that you can find and use by searching the Anki website.

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Lingvistlingvist logo

Price: Subscription prices range from $19.99 for one month to $79.99 ($6.67/month) for a year.

This is another resource that efficiently teaches new vocabulary words to its users. Despite its mostly beige aesthetic and basic functionality, it’s actually pretty fun to use. It uses spaced repetition to teach you new words with a flashcard-like vocabulary trainer. It also has some grammar explanations and helpful tips that pop up occasionally.

Its Russian course isn’t the best, and the practice seems most useful to beginners or those at an intermediate level, not advanced learners. It also includes some additional features such as listening practices and a Course Wizard for creating your own group of vocabulary words to practice. Review.

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Clozemaster

Price: Most of the features are available for free; you can upgrade to a Pro account for $8/month or $60/year.

This is another one that uses spaced repetition to make your practice time efficient. It’s different than the others on this list because of how game-like it is. There are points and levels, and it looks like a game. This will really appeal to some people, making it engaging and more fun to use than other resources.

All of the vocabulary in Clozemaster is taught within context, meaning the activities are all fill-in-the-gap instead of simply a translation. This should mean you’ll get a more complete understanding of the language in the process.

There’s a Pro plan you can pay for, but the free version has a lot going for it. There’s a good chance you won’t have to pay anything to get what you need out of this one. Review.

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Other Options

Speakly

Price: Plans are available from €5.90/month for a year-long contract to €14.90 paid monthly.

This is one we haven’t actually tried yet, but it seems like to be attempting something similar to Lingvist. Their approach is to first focus on learning the words that are most relevant to you in the interest of getting you conversation-ready as soon as possible. Spaced repetition, commonly used words and flexible study exercises are what’s available here.

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Quizlet

Price: Many study sets are free, premium content is around $5-$10.

This is another study resource that’s useful in a variety of subjects in addition to languages. There are multiple-choice questions in addition to just flashcards, and the free material is immediately accessible. A good choice for learners looking for engaging free material in a variety of subjects and languages.

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Mosalingua

Price: The mobile app is $5.

This is an app worth checking out for people that aren’t satisfied with Memrise or Anki, especially if you aren’t interested in spending time creating your own flashcard decks.

It includes pre-made study materials with recordings of native speakers, but you can still create your own materials if you feel so inclined.

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Drops

Price: Free for five minutes every ten hours. A monthly subscription is $9.99.

This app is a cool way to supplement your vocabulary practice and is available in a bunch of languages. It doesn’t offer any grammar explanations and the material for some languages is better than others, but the free version of this app is valuable and could make a worthy addition to your study methods. Review.

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Reading and Listening

Receptive skills are another central element when it comes to language proficiency. Being able to understand signs in a foreign country or navigate foreign-language websites can really open up the world. The benefits of developing listening skills may be more obvious — you’ll need them to understand people!

The apps we’ve selected in this category will provide you with plenty of exposure to the language you’re learning, both in text and audio.

Top Picks

Innovative Languages

Price: A basic plan is available for $8/month

The resources in this category do more than just provide listening practice, but it’s one of their strong suits. In SpanishPod101 alone, for example, there are almost 2000 audio lessons. Most of these are catered toward lower language levels, but they’re quality.

The audio lessons in the Pod101 series take the form of a podcast. You can listen and follow along as two hosts follow a scripted dialogue. Afterward, they discuss the material, provide translations, and go over any relevant grammar points.

The quizzes that come with these programs aren’t the best, and there’s sometimes too much English speaking at the lower levels, but it’s still a good place to go for listening practice.

Reviews: SpanishPod101, FrenchPod101, RussianPod101, JapanesePod101, ItalianPod101, ArabicPod101, GermanPod101, ChineseClass101, KoreanClass101, PortuguesePod101

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News in Slow…

Price: Plan prices vary by language and range from $10 – $23 per month.

These resources are really cool. The relevant news stories make them engaging and relevant, and the academic approach makes them easy to understand and learn from. This is a resource that’s got quality material for learners at every level, from beginner to advanced, though the beginner and intermediate material is slightly better.

While the focus may be on listening along to news stories, there’s actually a bunch of good grammar practice and explanation that happens as well. You’ll also gain cool cultural insights and learn valuable expressions. This one provides exceptional listening and reading practice and additional practice exercises.

Reviews: Spanish, French, German, Italian

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LingQ

Price: LingQ Premium is $12.99/month.

LingQ is centered around improving your reading and listening abilities. It does this by exposing you to interesting content in your target language and tracking your understanding. Interacting with material through the platform, you can identify your level of familiarity with the material and easily access translations to help with comprehension.

Another cool feature of LingQ is that you can upload your own content to the platform, ensuring that you’re interested in the material you’re using. The downsides with this one are that reviewing words isn’t very easy and that its extra features are overpriced. Review.

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Beelinguapp

Price: It’s free to use with ads — the premium version is available for $1.99/month.

This reading app is available for Android and iOS and allows you to practice reading in another language. Its primary function is to show a translation of the text you’re reading side-by-side with the original. This makes it easy to switch between the two and guarantees you’ll understand the material.

It also works like an audiobook and has a “karaoke” function which makes it easy to follow along with the audio recording while you read. Material is available in 13 different languages and topics include news items, fairy tales, novels and more. Its price point is another thing that makes it appealing.

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Other Options

FluentU

Price: The Basic plan costs $15/month or $10/month if you pay for a whole year.

This is a popular option among language learners — it uses content from Youtube and adds interactive captions to make the material more educational. It’s also got a neat picture dictionary feature. Having authentic video material to learn from can be quite useful, but overall the price is a bit steep for what it offers. Review.

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YablaYabla Logo

Price: A subscription to Yabla costs $12.95/month and is $99.95 for a whole year.

Similar to FluentU, this resource uses video content to help you learn a language. The content is pretty entertaining, although the videos are only 1-2 minutes long. They have bilingual captions and you can select a word you don’t know in order to learn the meaning.

It’s currently only available on web and iOS, although there is an Android app in development. Review.

Visit Yabla

Audible

Price: Varies by book.

Audiobooks can be a great way to practice both reading and listening skills at the same time. It’s possible to look for audiobooks that are either geared toward teaching a language or simply one that’s in the language you’re learning. Especially for advanced learners, this can be a good way to get interesting practice.

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Flowlingo

Price: Flowlingo Premium is available for $4.99/month.

Flowlingo aims to teach languages with pop culture. It provides access to what they call “infinite content” for any mobile device or computer in the form of videos and reading material. Easily look up words as you read or select words from captions as you watch to quickly get a translation. These are stored for later practice with flashcards.

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Speaking and Writing

For many, this is one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of mastering a new language. It’s also one of the hardest categories to practice with language learning apps.

In order to get good feedback on your speaking or writing skills, it’s often best to get another human involved. Some apps try to get around this with speech recognition technology, but that approach usually comes up short.

Top Picks

Speechling

Price: It’s free to use; the Unlimited plan is $19.99/month.

Speechling is a non-profit platform with some pretty incredible value. It fills in the gap where most other resources fall short: effective pronunciation practice. Many other resources rely on speech recognition technology for feedback, which frankly isn’t very good.

Speechling streamlines the process by supplying you with quality instructions and materials. Mimicking native speakers is one of the best ways to improve your pronunciation, and Speechling makes it easy. You’ll get plenty of chances to hear recordings of yourself alongside those of a native speaker to try and perfect your delivery.

To make the process truly effective, you’re also able to submit your recordings for feedback from a native-speaking tutor. Review.

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italki

Price: Writing corrections and language exchanges are free, while tutoring prices vary.

italki is a fantastic resource. It primarily functions as a tutor directory for hooking learners up with one-on-one lessons, which are great for speaking practice. But it’s got also got a cool community aspect with extra features. These are currently only available in the app and not on desktop, but they’re free.

The Exercise function is one of them. It allows learners to get feedback on their writing from other users. Simply write about a topic you’re interested in or respond to a prompt, and post it for others to see. You’ll soon get feedback and corrections from someone that’s proficient in the language.

For learners that would rather be able to type out their writing on a computer, LangCorrect is worth checking out. Like italki’s community features, it’s free to use and is designed very well, but its community isn’t quite as large. italki review.

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Other Options

Glossika

Price: Free week-long trial. A monthly subscription costs $30/month, the annual subscription costs $299.88 ($24.99/month)

This resource will get you speaking right away and used to producing the language you’re learning, although it’s a bit too advanced for beginners. This kind of practice is essential in becoming more confident in speaking a new language and sounding more natural. It’s good for the lower-intermediate level and higher. A subscription to Glossika also gives you access to the material for all of the languages it offers, which is quite a few. Review.

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HiNative

Price: Free to use. A premium subscription is $5.68/month or $59.63/year ($4.96/month)

Ever have a question during self-study that your dictionary can’t answer? HiNative is a way for language learners to connect with native speakers and get answers to their questions. It’s easy to use, free, and has an active community. Its features are basic, but it’s a worthy tool. Review.

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Tutors & Language Exchange

One of the most rewarding aspects of learning a new language is the ability to connect with other people. Most language apps are a solo venture, which in a way contradicts the nature of language use. Fortunately, there are ways around this. These days, there are a bunch of apps that facilitate language exchange or link learners with tutors — here are some of the popular ones.

Top Picks

italki

Price: Varies by teacher but can be as low as $4/hour and as high as $60/hour. They average around $10/hour.

italki is a powerful resource for anyone learning a language. Acting as a tutor directory is what it’s mostly known for, but it’s also got a great community aspect that enables language exchange between users.

There are several great reasons to use italki as a place to find one-on-one teachers. There are tons of teachers that use the platform, which means scheduling flexibility is incredibly high. The huge number of teachers also means that, if you’re studying a popular language, you’ll certainly be able to find lessons that match your budget.

The community features also makes it easy to find people to chat with or to get feedback on your writing, and this part of the platform is free to use! italki can be used with just about any language and it worth checking out. Review.

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TandemThe Tandem logo with a pink and blue graphic.

Price: The limited version of Tandem is free; the pro version is $6.99/month, or $2.92/month for a year

Tandem is a social language exchange app. It uses built-in language tools to make communicating with your language exchange partner as seamless as possible. It is difficult to have conversations as a complete beginner in a language, but you may just need to find a super patient partner. You can perform translations on the fly within the app and easily provide your conversation mate with corrections.

The Tandem aesthetic sometimes makes it feel like it’s primarily a social app and a language-learning resource second. This makes language practice more fun and less like study. With that in mind, you’ll still be able to find plenty of serious language learners on the app that are looking to take part in quality language practice. Review.

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HelloTalk

Price: HelloTalk is free; HelloTalk VIP starts at $4.99 per month

HelloTalk is very similar to Tandem in that it also uses a social interface to facilitate language exchange between people from around the world. It’s pretty amazing to be able to chat with someone in the language you’re learning on your phone. Especially when it’s free.

HelloTalk differs from Tandem in a couple of ways, one of them being the aesthetic. HelloTalk is a bit more cartoony and emoji-heavy, but that doesn’t have a massive impact on the user experience. This app also has a feature that enables users to make social posts that are visible to the entire HelloTalk community. It’s a neat way to interact with a community of like-minded language learners while honing your skills in a meaningful context. Review.

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Other Options

Verbling

Price: Varies by teacher and language.

Verbling is similar to italki in that it works like an online language teacher directory. You’ll be able to find a teacher for the language you’re learning and have class from anywhere with an internet connection. Teachers on Verbling are all professional but on average more expensive than italki. Review.

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Preply

Price: Varies by tutor, but for most popular languages the average price is around $15/hour.

This is another tutor directory site, and there are teachers of all sorts of subjects and tons of languages here. Each tutor has their own teaching style and decides how to structure lessons. It’s easy to find an inexpensive tutor that fits your schedule here, but it’s worth considering that Preply tutors aren’t paid for trial lessons. Review.

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Rype App

Price: Free 7-day trial, prices vary by number of lessons per month and start at $59.99/month for a six-month subscription.

Rype App aims to be the perfect language app for busy individuals looking to become fluent in a language. It claims to do this through one-on-one lessons with “handpicked” teachers that are available 24/7.

However it largely fails in its execution. There isn’t really anything that Rype App offers that is unique, or that you couldn’t find elsewhere done better and for cheaper. In addition to this, they also have quite a few negative reviews on the internet both from users and teachers. If you’d like to try it out we’d recommend exercising some sort of caution. Review.

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Speaky

Price: Basic features are free to use, a premium subscription is available for a minimum of $5.99 for a one-month subscription.

Speaky is most similar to HelloTalk and Tandem. It’s a social app built for facilitating language exchange between learners around the globe. The free version of Speaky is very easy to use and makes it easy to communicate with others. It includes a built-in translation tool and a voice message option among other things. The paid version gives you more than five automatic translations when you’re chatting with someone, which can be helpful, but shouldn’t be relied upon. Review.

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Final Thoughts

It’s a fantastic time to be learning a language. The number of apps out there is jaw-dropping, and a lot of them are quite good. Gone are the days when you’d need to enroll in a private language school or spend hours pouring through dull textbooks to make any progress.

While this list of resources is fairly massive, there are plenty more that aren’t listed here. In fact, some of the best ones didn’t make the list — this is because the best resource for learning a language is often one that is designed specifically for that language. If an app is only available for one language, we didn’t include it in this post.

To see all of our favorite apps for the language you’re learning, look for your language in the table below.

MOST RECOMMEND RESOURCES BY LANGUAGE

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