Whether you’re planning to travel, becoming bilingual for your job, or just want to broaden your connection to the world around you, finding the right app (or apps) is the first step toward mastering a new language.
But the options sometimes feel endless. We can help!
Below is a comprehensive list of each of our reviews of language apps we think are worth checking out. From tutoring to flashcards to traditional language learning programs, we’ve presented them in order of their cumulative Smarter Language review scores.
(This article was updated on 5/19/2023)
Table of Contents
- Language App Reviews
- The Smarter Language Review of Rosetta Stone
- The Smarter Language Review of Pimsleur
- The Smarter Language Review of SpanishDict.com
- The Smarter Language Review of Memrise
- The Smarter Language Review of Babbel
- The Smarter Language Review of Fluenz
- The Smarter Language Review of LanguagePod101
- The Smarter Language Review of Busuu
- The Smarter Language Review of Duolingo
- The Smarter Language Review of Lingopie
- The Smarter Language Review of FluentU
- The Smarter Language Review of Lingodeer
- The Smarter Language Review of Rocket Languages
- Language Tutoring Reviews
- Language Study Tools
Language App Reviews
The Smarter Language Review of Rosetta Stone
Total immersion is effective when learning a new language because it makes you really think about all the material you’re studying. Rosetta Stone is a household name in language learning, and features tons of useful content with high quality audio and images which help make your new language stick in your brain.
Rosetta Stone teaches language through immersion, though, so there are no English translations or detailed explanations of concepts. We recommend using this classic language platform to improve your vocabulary and accent as one part of a structured strategy.
The Smarter Language Review of Pimsleur
The Pimsleur approach, created by linguist Paul Pimsleur in the ’60s, is based on learning to speak a language without studying its formal structure. That means Pimsleur lessons teach language through interactive conversations and not repetitive rote grammar drills.
All of Pimsleur’s language learning content is audio based. You’ll experience listening to your target language in 30-minute lessons and working through exercises to learn organically. But the amount of course content offered depends largely on the popularity of the language.
The Smarter Language Review of SpanishDict.com
SpanishDict.com features an extensive array of grammar lessons, translation resources, conjugation practice, fluency building tools, and more. It’s free to use, and we recommend it for mastering grammatical concepts and expanding your Spanish vocabulary.
You can use SpanishDict’s dictionary to search for definitions, context sentences, conjugations, and even add words/phrases to your flashcard decks. With just a few minutes of practice every day, we think you can be on your way to a bigger vocab and more expert grasp of Spanish grammar.
The Smarter Language Review of Memrise
Memrise is a study tool that uses spaced repetition to help users learn new material and review it over time. It’s intended for learning foreign languages, but you can use it for many other topics, including math, science, arts, and test prep.
On Memrise, you’ll follow virtual “Courses” that lead you through different “Levels” within your study material. The app won’t provide you with grammar lessons, but it’s an effective tool for improving your vocabulary. We highly recommend Memrise as a supplemental vocab booster for a balanced language study routine.
The Smarter Language Review of Babbel
Babbel offers learners a curriculum of useful phrases and vocab, all curated by a team of linguists, teachers and polyglots. It’s one of the fastest-growing language learning apps on the market with over 3 million monthly users.
Babbel teaches languages through bite-sized lessons. They take around 5-15 minutes to complete. And all the audio in Babbel is recorded by native speakers, which we think goes a long way in helping you learn clear pronunciation.
The Smarter Language Review of Fluenz
Fluenz stands out from other language learning apps for two reasons: its emphasis on teaching native English speakers, and its attention to detail. This platform replicates the experience of one-on-one language tutoring (sort of) and hybridizes exercises in a challenging but rewarding way. Unlike many apps that rely solely on gamification and repetitive exercises, Fluenz provides a comprehensive (and pricey) experience with a focus on real-life conversations and meaningful content.
The Smarter Language Review of LanguagePod101
It can be tough to find high quality study material for some languages, but the folks at LanguagePod101 have created an experience far better than your standard language app. Innovative Language, the creators of the LanguagePod101 products (like SpanishPod101, FrenchPod101, ItalianPod101, etc.), offer powerful dialogue-based learning resources for 34 world languages.
LanguagePod101 products can be an especially valuable tool for less commonly studied languages like Greek, Cantonese, and Norwegian. We think it’s most helpful for learners who want immersion practice.
The Smarter Language Review of Busuu
Busuu offers a substantial amount of learning material across 13 different study languages, with lessons that are engaging and easy to complete. A community of language learners around the globe offers a great way to connect with a global perspective. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, Busuu has a course for you.
The Smarter Language Review of Duolingo
Duolingo is an app that’s become synonymous with language learning on the go. With 38 languages to choose from, it teaches new vocabulary and grammar in bite-sized lessons that feel like games.
When used in conjunction with other resources and methods, we think Duolingo can be a helpful resource that brings a lot of gratification to your language learning routine.
The Smarter Language Review of Lingopie
Lingopie helps intermediate and advanced language learners practice their skills by using real-world content like videos, TV shows, audiobooks, podcasts, and films.
Lingopie is a new-ish app that still has some technical issues to work through. However, its expansive list of titles across eight different languages may make it an tool worth including in your language study routine.
The Smarter Language Review of FluentU
FluentU offers hundreds of videos you can use to practice your target language. Learners study foreign languages through videos and click-to-translate subtitles.
But the content can vary from video-to-video and language-to-language, making it less than ideal as a standalone language learning app.
The Smarter Language Review of Lingodeer
LingoDeer is great for beginners but can feel frustrating for an intermediate learner. The game-like learning environment helps make studying feel exciting, and LingoDeer is a great resource for people learning Asian languages. But a locked curriculum and the need to “Test Out” to access more advanced lessons makes LingoDeer a limiting experience.
The Smarter Language Review of Rocket Languages
Rocket Languages feels like a mix between a traditional classroom approach and a modern language app. Incorporating audio lessons, conversational dialogues and flashcard memorization, this isn’t a typical language-learning app. But the price is higher than most of its competitors, and a lack of flexibility could lead to a decrease in effectiveness.
Language Tutoring Reviews
The Smarter Language Review of Preply
Preply is a Ukraine-based e-learning platform that connects students and tutors from around the world for 1-1 lessons via video call. Tons of people all over the globe use it to learn new languages.
Can you actually learn a language online with a tutor? Is Preply worth the time and cost? We think it depends on how much effort you are willing to invest.
The Smarter Language Review of Wyzant
Wyzant is a tutoring marketplace that aims to make personalized learning easier, affordable, and accessible by connecting students around the globe with expert tutors. There are thousands of expert tutors on Wyzant ready to help you learn new languages.
We like tutoring because it’s a highly effective way to study language. And we like Wyzant because it’s different from other tutoring sites, which typically assign tutors to students. On Wyzant, who you work with (and what you pay) is completely your choice. Click below to read our full review of our experience learning Russian on Wyzant.
The Smarter Language Review of italki
italki separates itself from other language tutoring platforms by making a distinction between “Professional Teachers” and “Community Tutors.” Like on Wyzant, tutors on italki set their own rates and availability, and you can browse according to your individual needs.
italki is quite useful for finding a tutor from a specific country or region, but we think seems to cost more than other tutoring platforms, with a broader spectrum of language lesson quality.
Language Study Tools
The Smarter Language Review of Quizlet
Every language learner should spend some of their daily study time memorizing new vocabulary and reviewing what they’ve previously learned.
Quizlet makes that easy. It’s a user-friendly vocab memorization tool that can be an ideal solution for anyone new to a language or who doesn’t have endless hours available to spend learning how to use more complex language apps.
The Smarter Language Review of Anki
Anki is an effective way to memorize new words you’re studying in a foreign language, via flashcards that use a spaced repetition algorithm. It’s a must-have for anyone looking to make serious progress learning a world language.
The vocabulary you spend time memorizing on Anki will always be relevant to you, your language goals, and your current study since you create the cards yourself. We think that makes Anki a distinctly powerful tool in your kit.
Disclaimer: Rosetta Stone, SpanishDict, and Wyzant are properties of IXL Learning Inc.