Language learning apps and platforms to use during quarantine
Updated: Apr 26
There has been a huge surge in the installing and usage of language learning apps as of late. People are finding new ways to occupy themselves while at home. Learning a new language just happens to be one of them, but as they say, “make it fun”. I've compiled a list of some of the best language learning apps and platforms to check out right now. Do language learning apps work? These are some that do.
Duolingo has been around for a while and is a good language learning app to use. Thanks to its gamification through levels, prizes and more, it makes language learning more fun and addictive. I really like the very easy-to-absorb and friendly user interface, which makes language learning less daunting and therefore more attractive for a larger audience. There are different categories to choose from, depending on your interest, like Food, Family, Travel, Friends, etc. The bells and whistles of when you level up do get to me after a while. And it does bother me that they don’t explain the basics right at the beginning, which is essential for learning a language, like the conjugation of auxiliary verbs (to be, to have). That being said, you could just use some additional reference materials to explain some of these fundamentals. Duolingo is available for Android and iOS.
iTalki is a platform that offers tutoring service online in the form of 1-on-1 video calls with a tutor. Both the teachers and appointments can be selected easily online via the app. iTalki allows you to pay per lesson - the fee is variable and can be determined by your own budget. This type of learning is a great way to connect with people from around the world. The relationship you have with the person on the screen might be more than just a tutor-teacher one. You’ll actually get a feel for the culture on the other side. There are over 10,000 tutors to choose from. If you refer a friend that ends up signing up, you can also make 10 USD. Another factor that makes it different and slightly more mobile friendly than other online tutoring platforms is that iTalki has its own app. It’s available via the official website, the Play Store or the App Store. You can use it on your phone or tablet, in addition to PC. (If you are a teacher, why don’t you become a tutor too! Side hustles are all the rage now.)
Preply is also a platform of tutors that will teach you online, though it doesn’t have its own app. This company also saw a significant growth as of late, as the demand for online face-to-face learning grew. The lessons start from 5 USD per class, there are 18 languages to choose from, each of which has a large number of tutors ready to serve. Preply even provides you with a free trial with a tutor.
Babbel acts a lot like Duolingo, though it isn’t as bubbly, which might be a relief to those who need something more subdued. The app is filled with lessons made by language experts, which include readings by native speakers, so you’ll get that conversational feel for the language. Just like Duolingo, Babbel will do a lot of repetition in order to stamp the language into your memory. Each lesson is about 10 to 15 minutes, so by the time you would have gotten side-tracked, you are already done. The big difference to Duolingo is that it is a paying app. You get to trial it, but not for long. The longer you plan on using it, the cheaper it will be per month: one month will cost you around 12 USD, while booking it up to one year and paying up front will cost you 6.95 USD per month, in fact costing you 83.40 USD for the year. One thing I find interesting is that Babbel has also customized its services for businesses,so that employees can learn or improve on their language skills. Available on Android and Apple.
This one might be last on the list, but it is not the least by any means - it’s just so cool! Lirica helps you learn a language with music! The only thing is that it is only available for Spanish. But as I explain in my article about which language you should learn, Spanish is a good one to pick up for many reasons. Lirica is free to download and to use, available for both Android and iOS. It uses the power of song to help you memorize the language, with catchy lyrics you won’t forget. The Lirica app is constantly updated with recent Spanish hits as well, so you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone.
Some honorable mentions go to the following apps, which are definitely worth a try as well.
Have you used any of these and did you have any success?