The Best Language Learning Apps: Learn, Practice & Master

Last Updated on April 1, 2024 by tech-n-design

Language learning apps have transformed how we learn languages, making them easier and more accessible.

Moving to the Netherlands in 2020 meant I had to learn Dutch. Guess what? Language apps were my go-to. They make learning Dutch way easier than I thought it would be.

Let’s master new languages together with the top apps of 2024!

10 Best Language Learning Apps 2024

  • Rosetta Stone: Best in Embracing the Immersion Technique
  • Duolingo: Best in turning Learning into a Game
  • Babbel: Best in Focusing on Practical Conversations
  • Memrise: Best for Learning Through Local Dialects
  • Pimsleur: Best for Prioritizing Audio Lessons
  • HelloTalk: Best in Connecting with Native Speakers
  • Drops: Best Visual Learner’s Companion
  • Tandem: Best Language Exchange with a Twist
  • Busuu: Best for A Community of Learners
  • FluentUL: Best for Real-world Language Immersion

The Unparalleled Advantages of Language Learning Apps

The Unparalleled Advantages of Language Learning Apps

Language learning apps provide interactive and engaging platforms to learn new languages. These apps offer various resources and tools, making it easier to master pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary.

Language learning apps offer several benefits:

  • Accessibility and Flexibility: Language learning apps offer learners the freedom to study anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re commuting, taking a lunch break, or lying in bed, these apps allow learning to fit seamlessly into your schedule, making consistent practice more achievable. This feature also extends to geographic flexibility, removing the need to physically attend language classes.
  • Personalized Learning Paths: One size does not fit all when it comes to language learning. Language apps provide customized learning paths based on your proficiency level, learning goals, and time availability. They track your progress and adapt content to meet your evolving needs, thus delivering a far more personalized experience than traditional language classes can.
  • Diverse Learning Materials: Language apps offer a variety of learning materials, including videos, audio clips, flashcards, quizzes, and interactive exercises. This multifaceted approach caters to different learning styles, ensuring that visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners are all well-served.
  • Immersive Learning Experience: Several apps incorporate real-world content and peer-to-peer interaction, immersing learners in the target language. This immersive approach not only aids in language acquisition but also offers valuable cultural insights.
  • Instant Feedback and Progress Tracking: Language apps provide immediate feedback on exercises and quizzes, allowing for real-time correction and learning. Progress tracking features enable learners to monitor their improvements, identify areas needing more attention, and remain motivated.
  • Gamification of Learning: Many language apps incorporate gamification elements like points, badges, levels, and leader boards. This approach makes learning fun and engaging, encouraging users to continue studying and compete with themselves or others.
  • Affordability: Compared to traditional language classes or language learning materials, most language apps offer more affordable or even free options, making language learning more accessible to a broader audience.

Rosetta Stone: Embracing the Immersion Technique

Rosetta Stone Best Language Learning 
 app in embracing the Immersion Technique
Rosetta Stone Logo

What is Rosetta Stone?

Rosetta Stone uses an immersion method for language learning, teaching words and phrases in the context of sentences and conversations. This method aims to help users think in the target language, promoting better comprehension and fluency.

Key Features:

  • Immersive Learning Methodology: Rosetta Stone pioneered the immersive language learning methodology, where users are dropped into an environment using only the target language from the very beginning. This unique technique encourages thinking in the language, enhancing the speed and depth of acquisition, and mimicking the natural process of language learning more effectively than translation-based methods used by many competitors.
  • TruAccent Speech Recognition: Rosetta Stone’s TruAccent technology is a significant differentiator. This speech recognition tool evaluates users’ pronunciation in real-time and provides immediate feedback, helping learners to speak accurately and confidently. While other platforms may offer pronunciation aids, Rosetta Stone’s advanced and adaptive tool ensures a focus on one of the most challenging aspects of language learning.
  • Synchronized Learning Across Devices: Rosetta Stone offers a seamless learning experience across various devices. Users can switch between their smartphone, tablet, or computer without losing their place in the course. This high level of synchronization makes learning flexible and accessible, which is not always provided by other language learning platforms.
  • Culturally Relevant Content: Rosetta Stone’s courses are designed with a focus on practical, real-world situations. They are also culturally immersive, providing insights into the customs, traditions, and etiquette of the countries where the language is spoken. This cultural component, beyond just language instruction, offers learners a more well-rounded understanding, a feature that not all competitors incorporate.
  • Extensive Language Portfolio: Rosetta Stone offers courses in 24 languages, providing learners a wide range of options. The diversity of language options, including less commonly taught languages, differentiates Rosetta Stone from competitors that offer a more limited language portfolio.

Duolingo: Turning Learning into a Game

Duolingo - Best Language Learning app in turning Learning into a Game
Duolingo Logo

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo takes an innovative approach to language learning by gamifying the process. This app makes learning engaging by breaking down complex language concepts into bite-sized lessons, which users complete to earn points and level up.

Key Features:

  • Gamified Learning Experience: Duolingo revolutionizes the process of language learning by turning it into an engaging, game-like experience. Its competitive streak through features like XP (experience points), streak counts, and leaderboards stimulates the learning process, making it fun and challenging. This gamification starkly contrasts to more traditional, often monotonous language learning methods many competitors use.
  • Progressive Difficulty Levels: Duolingo’s courses are designed to gradually increase in complexity. Learners start with simple phrases and gradually progress to complex sentences, reinforcing their understanding of the language’s structure, grammar, and vocabulary. This structured approach provides a comprehensive learning journey that differs significantly from other platforms focusing solely on vocabulary or grammar drills.
  • Crowdsourced Content Creation: Duolingo relies heavily on its community for content creation, an innovative approach that differs from traditional curriculum-based platforms. This methodology not only helps in scaling content but also aids in making it diverse, relevant, and up-to-date. The active involvement of native speakers in content creation ensures the authenticity and richness of cultural nuances.
  • Adaptive Learning: Duolingo’s algorithm tailors exercises based on a user’s performance. If learners struggle with a specific lesson or topic, Duolingo presents more practice problems of that type, enabling users to master difficult areas before progressing. This distinctive adaptive learning approach sets it apart from many ‘one-size-fits-all’ language learning platforms.
  • Free Access: The availability of a significant part of Duolingo’s content for free sets it apart from many competitors in the market that offer limited free trials or charge hefty subscription fees. This democratized access allows anyone to learn a new language regardless of their financial situation. Duolingo’s freemium model offers a premium subscription for an ad-free experience and additional features, but the primary learning content remains accessible to all.

Babbel: Focusing on Practical Conversations

Babbel - Best Language Learning  app in Focusing on Practical Conversations
Babbel Logo

What is Babbel?

Babbel’s approach to language learning is practical and conversation-focused. The app ensures that users can confidently use the language in everyday situations.

Key Features:

  • Real-Life Conversational Focus: Babbel emphasizes practical conversation skills in its courses. Instead of relying solely on vocabulary memorization or grammar drills, it uses interactive dialogues and real-life scenarios to teach. This pragmatic, conversation-driven approach is designed to get learners to speak confidently and fluently, which is a distinctive feature compared to more traditional, academic-oriented language learning tools.
  • Customized Review Manager: Babbel’s Review Manager is a personalized system that helps learners reinforce what they’ve learned by presenting them with a mix of vocabulary and grammar points based on their performance. This intelligent review system is tailored to each user’s learning progress, ensuring that difficult topics get reinforced until they are mastered.
  • Professionally Made Lessons: Unlike platforms that crowdsource their content, Babbel’s lessons are crafted by a team of language experts, linguists, and teachers. This ensures high-quality, effective content and creates a structured and comprehensive learning experience, which is not always guaranteed with user-generated content.
  • Short, Digestible Lessons: Babbel’s lessons are designed to be short (usually 10-15 minutes), making it easy for users to fit language learning into their busy schedules. This modular, bite-sized approach allows for consistent, daily learning, which research suggests is more effective for language acquisition.
  • Integrated Speech Recognition Technology: Babbel includes a speech recognition tool in its platform to improve users’ pronunciation. By providing instant feedback, users can correct and enhance their pronunciation skills, helping them to communicate more effectively in real-world situations.

Memrise: Learning Through Local Dialects

Memrise - Best Language Learning app in Learning Through Local Dialects
Memrise Logo

What is Memrise?

Memrise offers a unique approach to language learning by using videos of native speakers. This helps users understand local dialects and nuances, enhancing their conversational skills.

Key Features:

  • Mnemonic Learning Techniques: Memrise employs the science of memory to help users learn languages more effectively. Its method leverages mnemonic techniques and ‘mems’ – a term coined by Memrise for vivid, memorable images or sentences that help link the foreign word to its meaning. This innovative approach to language learning stands out from many other platforms that rely on traditional learning techniques.
  • Real-Life Video Content: Memrise incorporates ‘Learn with Locals’ video clips in its courses, where native speakers model phrases in real-life situations. This feature exposes learners to a variety of accents, colloquialisms, and common expressions, thereby providing a more authentic language learning experience compared to many competitors that rely on automated or synthesized speech.
  • Spaced Repetition System (SRS): Memrise utilizes an intelligent spaced repetition system to reinforce what has been learned. It optimizes the time between reviews, presenting items just before the user is likely to forget them. This evidence-based learning technique is known to enhance long-term retention, a feature not all language learning platforms offer.
  • Language Diversity: Memrise boasts an extensive catalog of 16 officially supported languages and hundreds of other community-created courses, making it one of the most diverse platforms in terms of language options. This wide range of offerings sets it apart from other platforms that might offer a more limited language portfolio.
  • Offline Learning: Memrise provides an option for offline learning, enabling users to continue their courses without an internet connection. This feature ensures that language learning can continue uninterrupted regardless of location or connectivity, flexibility not all competitors provide.

Pimsleur: Prioritizing Audio Lessons

Pimsleur Best Language Learning  app in Prioritizing Audio Lessons
Pimsleur Logo

What is Pimsleur?

Pimsleur is primarily an audio-based language learning app, making it an excellent choice for auditory learners. It focuses on core vocabulary and encourages users to speak the language from the outset.

Key features that mark Pimsleur’s singularity:

  • Scientifically Grounded Learning Approach: The Pimsleur Method, established by Dr. Paul Pimsleur, is based on decades of linguistic theory and cognitive psychology research. Its core principles of anticipation, graduated-interval recall, and organic learning make it a unique offering in the language-learning landscape. Many competitors do not offer a similarly research-based and proven methodology.
  • Focus on Oral Proficiency: Unlike many other language platforms that balance reading, writing, and listening skills, Pimsleur places a strong emphasis on speaking and understanding spoken language. This focus on oral proficiency is designed to help learners gain practical conversation skills quickly, which sets Pimsleur apart from more academically oriented platforms.
  • Integrated Recall System: Pimsleur’s courses utilize a scientifically proven spaced repetition system. The curriculum is designed to introduce new vocabulary at optimal intervals to maximize retention. While some other platforms use spaced repetition, Pimsleur’s integration of this principle throughout its entire method is distinctive.
  • In-context Learning: Pimsleur lessons are structured around everyday conversation scenarios, providing context for vocabulary and grammar. This approach is designed to prepare learners for real-world interactions and can make language acquisition more natural and relevant, a feature that not all competitors can claim.
  • Flexibility and Convenience: Pimsleur offers audio-based lessons, which can be taken anywhere and anytime. This flexibility allows users to learn while commuting, exercising, or during downtime. This is a noteworthy feature given that many other platforms require active screen time and engagement.

HelloTalk: Connecting with Native Speakers

HelloTalk - Best Language Learning  app in Connecting with Native Speakers
HelloTalk Logo

What is HelloTalk?

HelloTalk facilitates language learning by connecting learners with native speakers. This peer-to-peer learning approach promotes authentic conversation practice.

Key Features:

  • Peer-to-Peer Language Exchange: HelloTalk operates on the unique premise of language exchange between users. Instead of traditional, structured courses, users teach each other their respective languages. This peer-to-peer learning approach is distinctive, as it offers authentic conversational practice with native speakers, which many competitors do not provide.
  • Integrated Language Tools: The app includes various language tools such as transliteration, translation, and voice-to-text features within the chat interface. These tools help learners understand and communicate effectively, providing instant assistance within real-time conversations, setting it apart from other platforms that separate learning and application.
  • Cultural Exchange: Alongside language learning, HelloTalk facilitates cultural exchange. Through direct interaction with native speakers, users gain insights into different cultures, lifestyles, and worldviews. This cultural exchange component goes beyond pure language instruction and offers a more holistic learning experience, a feature not typical of all language learning platforms.
  • Moment Sharing: HelloTalk features a ‘Moments’ feed, where users can share language-related posts, ask questions, and interact with the broader community. This social feature enhances engagement and encourages active learning, differentiating HelloTalk from more traditional, lesson-based language learning apps.
  • Correction Functionality: HelloTalk includes a correction feature where users can easily correct each other’s messages within the chat interface. This feature makes learning interactive and immediate, providing users with direct feedback on their language use, a quality not all competitors incorporate.

Drops: The Visual Learner’s Companion

Drops Best Language Learning  app in The Visual Learner's Companion
Drops Logo

What is Drops?

Drops caters to visual learners by making language learning an engaging and colourful experience. It simplifies complex languages by breaking them down into manageable bits and presenting them with attractive visuals. The app is continuously updated with new languages, ensuring an ever-expanding platform for language enthusiasts.

Key Features:

  • Visual Learning Approach: Language Drops leverages the power of visual learning by pairing words with illustrations. This innovative approach helps users create mental associations between vocabulary and images, significantly aiding memory retention. This visual methodology distinguishes Language Drops from platforms that primarily rely on textual or auditory learning.
  • Microlearning Format: Language Drops utilizes a microlearning format, offering bite-sized lessons that typically last only five minutes. This format allows users to learn at their own pace and can be seamlessly integrated into busy schedules. While some competitors offer short lessons, the intense focus on microlearning is a unique aspect of Language Drops.
  • Language Variety: Language Drops offers courses in over 30 languages, providing learners an impressive range of options. The wide variety of languages, including lesser-studied ones, sets Language Drops apart from platforms catering only to the most widely spoken languages.
  • No Typing Necessary: Language Drops uses a swipe-based system where users interact with the app without needing to type. This design reduces barriers to learning, particularly for languages with unfamiliar scripts, and differentiates Language Drops from other platforms that rely heavily on typing-based interaction.
  • Focus on Core Vocabulary: Language Drops focuses on teaching essential vocabulary. The platform ensures learners can quickly gain practical communication skills by targeting the most frequently used words in a language. This focus on functional language learning stands out from other platforms that take a more comprehensive but slower, approach to language acquisition.

Tandem: Language Exchange with a Twist

Tandem Best Language Learning app in Language Exchange with a Twist
Tandem Logo

What is Tandem?

Tandem connects language learners for mutual practice. It’s a great way to learn colloquial language and make friends worldwide.

Key Features:

  • Peer-to-Peer Learning Experience: Tandem operates on the principle of mutual language exchange between its users. Rather than offering structured courses, users are encouraged to teach each other their respective languages. This cooperative learning approach facilitates real-life conversational practice with native speakers, a facet that many competitors do not provide.
  • Tandem Tutors: Besides peer exchanges, Tandem offers a unique feature of professional tutors. These tutors can provide structured learning personalized to the learner’s goals and proficiency level. This blend of informal peer interaction and professional tutoring sets Tandem apart from platforms offering only one approach.
  • Language and Cultural Exchange: Tandem goes beyond language learning and encourages cultural exchange. Through interactions with global users, learners gain insights into diverse cultures, traditions, and lifestyles. This aspect of cultural learning enriches the overall language learning experience, a feature not consistently offered by all platforms.
  • Interactive Tools for Communication: Tandem equips its users with a suite of tools for easier communication, including text translation, voice-to-text, and corrections. These features help learners to overcome language barriers and enhance their language proficiency, offering a more interactive and beneficial learning experience.
  • Community Building: Tandem’s platform fosters a global community of language learners, allowing users to make connections with people worldwide. This sense of community and the resulting network effect sets Tandem apart from more traditional, solo-based language learning tools.

Busuu: A Community of Learners

Busuu Best Language Learning app for A Community of Learners
Busuu Logo

What is Busuu?

Busuu offers a comprehensive language learning experience with 14 language courses. Busuu’s vibrant community of users who help each other learn makes it stand out.

Key Features:

  • Language Learning Community: Busuu stands out for its active language learning community. With millions of users worldwide, learners can connect with native speakers and receive feedback on their exercises. This authentic interaction is a distinctive feature that many traditional language learning platforms lack.
  • Official Certification: partnered with the McGraw-Hill foundation to provide certifications in languages called “CEFR” upon course completion. This official recognition of learners’ proficiency levels is a unique offering in the online language learning market, giving learners a tangible reward for their progress.
  • Personalized Study Plan: Busuu provides a personalized study plan tailored to each learner’s language proficiency, learning goals, and available time. This level of personalization ensures that the learning experience aligns with individual needs, a feature not always offered by other platforms.
  • Integrated Speech Recognition: To help users improve their pronunciation, Busuu includes a speech recognition feature within the platform. Users can immediately correct and improve their pronunciation by providing real-time feedback, making their learning more effective and immersive.
  • Offline Mode: Busuu provides an offline mode, allowing users to download lessons and continue their learning without an internet connection. This feature enhances the platform’s flexibility and ensures uninterrupted learning, a convenience not provided by all competitors.

FluentU: Real-world Language Immersion

FluentU - Best Language Learning app for Real-world Language Immersion
FluentU Logo

What is FluentU?

FluentU teaches languages using real-world videos like music videos, movie trailers, and news. This method provides a rich context for learning and understanding the language.

Key Features:

  • Authentic Video Content: FluentU utilizes real-world videos – like music videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talk and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. This approach provides authentic language exposure and offers cultural insights, making it distinctive from platforms that primarily use scripted content.
  • Contextual Learning: Words and phrases in FluentU are taught in context, with videos showing how language is used in real-life situations. This method helps learners understand not just the meaning but also the usage of vocabulary, offering a more profound learning experience than many platforms that teach vocabulary in isolation.
  • Interactive Subtitles: FluentU’s videos come with interactive subtitles. Users can hover over any word to see its definition, example sentences, and related images from other videos. This interactive and immersive learning experience is a unique feature not found in many other language learning tools.
  • Personalized Quizzes: FluentU uses quizzes to reinforce learning. The platform’s algorithm customizes quiz questions based on each user’s vocabulary and learning progress, ensuring effective reinforcement of learned material, a feature that is not universally offered in the industry.
  • Spaced Repetition System (SRS): FluentU employs a Spaced Repetition System, presenting words at intervals optimized for better retention. This scientifically proven learning strategy differentiates FluentU from platforms lacking a systematized review mechanism.

An Analytical Look at the Workflow of a Language Learning App

The workflow of a language learning app is a sophisticated process that aims to facilitate and optimize user experience while maximizing learning efficiency. It is a harmonious interplay of different components—starting from user onboarding to continued engagement, feedback collection, and application updates. Let’s take an analytical look at these components.

  • User Onboarding: The user’s journey begins with onboarding. Here, the app introduces its unique value proposition and guides the user through its features and functionalities. It’s vital that this process is intuitive, engaging, and efficient, as it sets the first impression and may significantly impact user retention.
  • User Profiling: Once onboard, the app usually creates a profile for the user. This profile might include their native language, the language they wish to learn, their proficiency level, learning goals, and time availability. A well-designed app uses this information to tailor the learning experience, catering to individual needs and preferences.
  • Content Delivery: Language learning apps deliver content in various forms such as text, audio, video, quizzes, and interactive exercises. Some platforms emphasize traditional learning methods like grammatical explanations and vocabulary lists, while others adopt a more immersive approach, using real-world videos or peer-to-peer interactions. The way content is delivered can significantly affect user engagement and learning efficiency.
  • Progress Tracking and Feedback: A well-designed language learning app integrates progress tracking mechanisms and feedback loops. Users should be able to monitor their progress over time, ideally with visual representations like progress bars or graphs. Additionally, instant feedback on exercises and quizzes reinforces learning and maintains user motivation.
  • Gamification and Social Learning: Many language learning apps use gamification strategies, like points, badges, leaderboards, or levels, to keep users motivated. They may also offer social learning features, such as community forums or options to connect with native speakers. These features make the learning experience more enjoyable and interactive, encouraging sustained engagement.
  • Spaced Repetition: Spaced repetition, a scientifically proven learning technique, is often integrated into language learning apps. It involves presenting information at increasingly larger intervals, optimizing the timing for long-term retention.
  • User Support and Feedback Collection: Effective apps incorporate user support systems and channels for feedback collection. These can help to quickly resolve user issues, collect valuable insights for app improvements, and maintain user satisfaction.
  • App Updates and Improvements: Based on collected user feedback, app analytics, and advancements in technology (like AI and ML), the app goes through periodic updates and improvements. This process ensures the app remains up-to-date, effective, and aligned with user expectations.

My take…

  • Rosetta Stone was my bridge to really understanding and speaking Dutch. Rosetta Stone uses this cool Dynamic Immersion method, which basically threw me into the language in a way that felt natural, not forced.
  • Duolingo offers a gamified learning experience, making it engaging, especially for beginners.
  • Babbel is known for its practical approach, focusing on conversational skills, which may suit those planning to travel or use their new language skills in everyday situations.
  • Memrise stands out for its unique approach to vocabulary learning, integrating memory techniques with real-life language content.
  • Pimsleur’s focus on auditory learning may appeal to those who prefer learning by listening and speaking.
  • Hellotalk and Tandem provide platforms for peer-to-peer language exchange, ideal for learners who prefer practicing with native speakers and learning about different cultures.
  • Language Drops is suitable for those aiming to learn multiple or less commonly taught languages, and it’s specifically tailored for quick vocabulary learning.
  • Busuu provides a highly personalized learning experience, tailored to each user’s language proficiency, learning goals, and available time.
  • FluentU offers a unique learning environment using real-world videos with interactive subtitles, ideal for those seeking contextual and immersive learning.

FAQs: Best Language Learning apps

Which language learning app is the best for beginners? 

All the apps discussed above are suitable for beginners, but Duolingo, with its game-like interface and easy-to-grasp lessons, is often recommended for beginners. However, the best app for a beginner largely depends on individual learning styles and preferences.

Which app is the best for learning multiple languages?

Duolingo, Babbel, and Memrise all offer courses in multiple languages. However, Language Drops stands out with its offering of over 30 languages, including less commonly studied ones.

Which language learning app offers the most interactive learning experience?

FluentU offers a highly interactive learning experience using authentic videos with interactive subtitles. Tandem also provides a highly interactive platform, enabling peer-to-peer language exchange and communication with native speakers.

Can I gain fluency by using a language learning app? 

Language learning apps can significantly aid in achieving fluency, especially in reading and listening. However, real-world conversation practice and immersion are also crucial for full language fluency.

Which language learning app offers the best cultural insights? 

FluentU and Tandem both emphasize cultural learning. However, FluentU does this through real-world videos, while Tandem facilitates cultural exchange through its global user base.

Are language learning apps free? 

Most language learning apps offer free versions or trials, but these usually have limitations. In addition, premium subscriptions are generally required for complete access to all features and content.

Can I learn a language solely through an app? 

While apps can be a significant component of your language learning journey, combining them with other methods such as language classes, textbooks, immersion, or conversation practice with native speakers will typically yield the best results.

Which language learning app provides the most personalized learning experience? 

Busuu offers a highly customized learning experience by creating a study plan tailored to each user’s language proficiency, learning goals, and available time. FluentU also customizes quizzes based on each user’s vocabulary and learning progress.

Which language-learning app is best for learning pronunciation? 

Busuu, with its integrated speech recognition feature, and Pimsleur, emphasizing listening and speaking skills, provide excellent tools for improving pronunciation.

Which language learning app offers the most comprehensive learning experience? 

Rosetta Stone provides a complete learning experience by focusing on all aspects of a language, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Pimsleur also offers a comprehensive approach with a focus on integrated learning.


In conclusion, the exploration of various language learning apps underscores that the “best” app largely depends on an individual’s specific learning style, goals, and needs. Each app offers its unique strengths and features, catering to different aspects of the language learning journey.

While this analysis provides an overview of the top language learning apps, each user needs to explore different platforms and find the one that aligns best with their learning style, needs, and preferences. What makes these apps truly effective is their sophisticated technology, but the user’s consistency and engagement in using them as a part of a well-rounded language learning strategy.

Project Manager (PMP), Interior Designer and 3D visualizer. Member of the Project Management Institute - Netherlands Chapter.

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