English, Spanish, and French. These are the three languages I have under my fluency belt. Perhaps it’s impressive, but all the credit goes to my parents. They sent me to a trilingual school as a child.
It’s left me wondering. Am I capable of language learning as an adult?
This year, I’m traveling to Brazil and South Korea. It’s a perfect time to find out. Preferably as cheaply as possible, since I’ve already spent all the money I’m making in the next six months on these two trips…
Read on for the 5 Apps I’m Using to Learn Korean and Portuguese
We begin with arguably the best-known language learning app: Duolingo. The app leans into intuitive learning, teaching you phrases little by little and slowly adding vocabulary and grammar to the mix.
Best Feature: Duolingo has gamification down to an art. Cute, animated characters, fun animations, and rewarding sounds keep you engaged–even through your frustration!
Biggest Con: In the latest update, you have no control over your learning path. You must go in the order assigned by Duolingo. The path is designed for maximum effectiveness, but I still prefer pacing my own lessons.
Price: $6.99/month (The free version gives you access to all lessons)
Italki is a platform where you can connect with an individual tutor. With over 10,000 tutors, you’ll be able to find a perfect match! Italki offers both 1-on-1 conversation practice lessons and formal lessons.
Best Feature: The search allows you to filter tutors by the languages they teach, the languages they speak, their geographic region, and the lessons they teach.
Biggest Con: Sometimes you’re preferred tutor does not have the same availability as you due to time differences.
Price: Prices vary by teacher, language, and lesson type (e.g., conversation practice vs lessons). As an example, I charge $15/hour for English conversation practice and $12/hour for Spanish conversation practice. For English essay-writing tutoring, I charge $22/hour.
Anki is a flashcard app with a built-in algorithm that optimizes your review. And if you don’t want to create a whole deck yourself, then you can download countless decks made by others!
Best Feature: The AnkiApp Advanced SRS optimizes your review. Flashcards you are having trouble with will come up more often than those you’ve mastered. The app helpfully assigns A-F grade levels to each of your cards.
Biggest Con: If you don’t download a ready-made deck, it can be a bit of a pain to create each individual card. But this is difficult in any flashcard app.
Price: 24.99/year, 48.99/once (But honestly, the free version is perfectly fine.)
This app allows you to quickly and easily find language-exchange conversation partners. It’s a lot of sifting until you find the right person, but the right person is likely on the app! You can choose the communication method you’re most comfortable with: messaging and voicerooms. You can also hop in on group voiceroom chats. HelloTalk also has a list of fairly affordable ($8-10/lesson) individual language tutors.
Best Feature: The messaging platform is built for language-exchange. You can correct each other’s grammar and spelling directly on the chat.
Biggest Con: On a free account, you can only select one learning language. So, if you’re learning multiple languages, you’ll have to choose one.
Price: 12.99/month, 79.99/year, 179.99/once
The app forces you to listen, read, and write. They have different types of exercises. Actors speak small phrases to each other. I give them kudos because they don’t use the same clip every time. That means you hear the same sentence from multiple people and accents. They definitely weren’t paid for their acting and the backgrounds they use can be a little random, but that’s a minor issue. It’s not a movie after all.
Best Feature: You can cater the courses to your level. At the beginning of each lesson, you have the option of selecting which words you already know. This keeps your language-learning efficient.
Biggest Con: Memrise is best suited for beginners. Its focus is on memorization of specific vocabulary and phrases. But this doesn’t stop it from being a good study aid!
Price: 8.99/month, 89.99/year, 119/once. Note, a large portion of the lessons are locked on a free account.
Did I miss any of your favorite language-learning apps? Let me know in the comments below!
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