Not only Duolingo: top free apps for learning languages

Most people are learning languages using Duolingo or Babbel. But there are so many other cool apps worth trying out! We have prepared a list of apps you might find useful and keep it as either your main app or an additional app for learning a language.

Click on the header for each app to open their website.

For grammar and vocabulary

Lingvist

This is a great app all around. Here you get access to nice and user-friendly flashcards with audio, which you can share with your friends, take on some challenges, learn grammar for different levels with very easy explanations and see your statistics. 

The app claims to analyze your answers and adjust to your level automatically. Also, the challenges help a lot with what you've learned and you can filter them according to the skill you want to develop - listening, reading, grammar, etc. There is an option to upgrade your subscription anytime and get a "focus course" for specific topics, access full courses, challenges, create a word list, use voice recording for entering words and get rid of all kinds of limits.

However, the choice of languages is very limited: there is English (can be learned through many different languages), Spanish, French and Russian. I hope they will expand their choice.

LingoDeer

This is a cute app with many nice features. There are many topics, each contains a set of lessons, which you have to do in a specific order. Lessons show a simple text with a possibility to look up tips and more information in case you're confused about something, which is awesome! The exercises are also nicely done. I only wish it was possible to skip through audio exercises in case you cannot play audio for some reason. Premium members get access to cool gamified learning, but the free account is enough for me. 

For focusing on vocabulary

Drops

Drops app offers a wide range of languages and is just so pretty and nice to use. Going through new vocabulary and answering questions is a very pleasant experience on this app. Probably the best design of an app for learning a language I've seen! You can just choose a topic you're interested in and learn new words or practice old vocabulary in Dojo. Also, you have a word collection, however, with a free version, you can't browse it much.

Unfortunately, the free version allows you to learn words for only 5 minutes per 10 hours. Sometimes it's enough for someone, who just wants to do "quick bites" on their way to work/school/somewhere else, but it's not suitable for someone, who wants to really focus on learning a language. So it could be a perfect app if you just want to learn some vocabulary for a specific topic in addition to the main app, that covers more and allows to spend more time on learning.

What's more, I haven't noticed any section for learning grammar, so this app is made purely for learning vocabulary. One more point - sometimes I feel like there are too many pop-ups about upgrading the subscription and too many ads. Nevertheless, I can recommend the app to everyone who wishes to learn more words in one of the most user-friendly apps for learning languages.

Memrise

Memrise is quite popular as well and for a reason: it's one of the best apps for learning vocabulary. Their flashcards are awesome, you get short videos from native speakers and you can create your own "mems" to learn words faster. Also, there are some exercises to make sure you have learned your vocabulary well. The app is very user-friendly and simple. The free version gives you limited access to courses, but it's enough to learn a lot of words!

For a more practical approach

Beelinguapp

Beelinguapp offers a different approach to learning languages - it focuses on the practical side of it. Here you can learn a language through reading stories, where you can look up words and add them to flashcards, reading news and listening to music. Stories can be filtered by level and genre. 

Premium users get unlimited access to stories, music, and news, as well as downloading stories and news to read them offline later.

All in all, I didn't notice any drawbacks. It's a wonderful way to learn a language or just practice it in addition to your main app/website.

For conversations with natives

HelloTalk

HelloTalk

This app is awesome if you prefer to learn languages through conversations with natives. You can easily exchange languages with people, correct their messages and explain to them why they can correct your messages. Moreover, you can write posts in the language you're learning and receive some feedback. It's very interactive and what's more, you can actually make friends from a country, where your target language is spoken!

Download here for Android and here for iPhone.

Busuu

This platform is quite well-known, but in case you haven't heard of it yet, make sure to check it out! There are plenty of well-structured lessons with various exercises, vocabulary list, but the most important feature is the opportunity to get your answers reviewed by natives in exchange for your review. 

HiNative

If you just have a question about how to say something in the language you're learning, HiNative is the app to go to. You can ask a question, read other people's questions, help the community and search through old questions. 

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