Five apps to learn a second language on your mobile

Alex Beech


Studying a language is a great way to stretch your mental muscles and make new friends. But, while many of us want to learn, finding the time can be really tough. Fortunately, there are lots of mobile apps to help you study on the move and make the most of your free moments – here are the five of the best.

Busuu (iOS|Android)

Applying modern learning techniques to a traditional class structure, Busuu divides its lessons into different themes for you to study. Every class includes vocabulary and pronunciation with examples of use and explanations. Plus it offers lots of quizzes to test your progress and digital flashcards for revision.

Five apps to learn a second language on your mobile

Memrise (iOS|Android)

One of the greatest difficulties of learning a second language is committing all of the vocabulary to memory, which is exactly what Memrise aims to help with. After selecting whether you want to learn 5, 15, or 30 words a day, the app roots the word in your head and regularly feeds it until it grows into a strong tree.

HelloTalk (iOS|Android)

The best way to practice a language is to use it with a native speaker. Sounds like a job for HelloTalk, a WhatsApp style messaging app for language learners. Just set your native language, the language you are learning, and tell it your interests, then HelloTalk finds you friends to chat to. It includes text, audio messaging, and voice calls, as well as a built-in translator in case you get stuck.

FluentU (iOS)

Pick a language, sit back, and watch videos recorded in the dialect of your choice. That is the service FluentU offers, and it’s a lot of fun. Each word is shown on screen, allowing you to read them as they are spoken. You can even reference the meaning of any words you don’t understand in-app to help you review and memorize it.

Duolingo (iOS|Android|Windows Phone|Web)

Finally, perhaps the most popular language tool, Duolingo. The mobile app works in conjunction with its online service to offer a comprehensive learning platform in 15 languages – all for free. Each lesson is complimented by the app’s bite-sized games that train your pronunciation, comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary retention. And it is this gamification that makes Duolingo so effective.

There you go, proof that all you need to learn a language is a mobile phone… and some perseverance.

Next week we will be back with 5 voice changing apps. Until then, remember to like, share, and subscribe.

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