Best apps to learn a language

When we want to learn a new language, it is a common thing to search for our own resources. These resources can be books or online sites with lessons, podcasts and exercises. A good alternative is to use mobile applications, even better if you can use a tablet.

Currently I am learning French and I am using mobile applications myself, so I have written a post about the ones I consider the most useful.

1. Duolingo

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Web page http://www.duolingo.com/
Web version Yes
Devices iPhone/iPad, Android
Languages Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, English
Price Free
Internet connection Necessary to open a lesson different from your current level

Being totally free, this app provides a variety of exercises that work on all the necessary areas: writing, listening, speaking… It is good for learning vocabulary and grammar, because all the exercises are based on sentences, so both of them are presented together, making it easy to learn.

What I like the most is the translation and listening exercises, in which you have to write whole sentences by translating the original or listening to it. This is more difficult and instructive than just choosing the correct answer from some possible options, like most of apps do.

Your progress is displayed as a nice hierarchy of levels and when it’s been a long time since you last used the app, you will have to do some refresher exercises.

2. MindSnacks

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Web page http://www.mindsnacks.com/
Web version No
Devices iPhone/iPad
Languages An app for each language: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese.
Price Free but in-app costs to get all the lessons: 4.49€
Internet connection Not necessary

This app is perfect to learn vocabulary. By playing games we can study the vocabulary and have fun with it. To make it more addictive, there are also challenges to get extra points and level up. A disadvantage is not having an app for Android.

What I like the most is that you can play the games using the vocabulary from all the lessons (or just some of them) at the same time, so they are not limited to a specific level, like most of apps do. This functionality is the best way to refresh the vocabulary.

3. Busuu

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Web page http://www.busuu.com
Web version Yes
Devices iPhone/iPad, Android
Languages An app for each language: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Polish, Turkish
Price Free but in-app costs to get all the levels: 4.49€ each level. Full course: 14.99€
Internet connection Necessary to do some types of exercises

This app is the most expensive but it have a lot of different lessons with different types of exercises. In comparation to the other two apps, this app is not so good at making you memorize the vocabulary. The exercises consist on choosing the correct option from the proposed ones. There is not listening exercises and the writing exercises are corrected by the people from the bussu community.

What I like the most is the text comprehension exercise in which a text is displayed, audio included, and we have to answer questions about it. The other advantage of this app is that the language offer is wider.

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