The 6 Best Free Language Learning Apps of 2023

These free language learning apps will guide you through learning a language from start to finish, or help you sharpen language skills that you may already have.

Learning a new language with an app is particularly helpful because you’ll always have those directions at your fingertips. Even a few minutes waiting for an appointment, or 15 minutes in the back of an Uber, gives you time to complete a lesson.

Whether your intention is to be able to order a meal on your next vacation, communicate with a friend in her preferred language, or simply add a skill set to your resume, these apps are a great way to reach your goal.

What We Like

  • User account not required.

  • Supports lots of languages.

  • Many ways to learn.

  • Lots of free lessons.

What We Don’t Like

  • Lesson paths are sometimes hard to understand.

It’s really easy to get started learning a new language with Duolingo. Just open the app and then choose what language you’d like to learn to immediately begin the course. You don’t even have to create an account to start, but if you do, you can save and track your progress. 

This app begins by using text, pictures, and audio to help you learn a different language. The idea is to associate the sound of the translation with the visuals of the text and pictures, and then have you manually translate the audio back into your preferred language to help reinforce the new words. 

Every section you complete moves you forward to more difficult tasks, to build on your vocabulary and sentence structure. You have the option of testing out of several sections at once if you’re familiar with the language, and Duolingo will adapt the questions based on how well you do.

Languages You Can Learn: Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, English, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, Hindi, Turkish, Dutch, Latin, Swedish, Greek, Irish, Polish, Norwegian, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, High Valyrian, Danish, Indonesian, Romanian, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Czech, Swahili, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Klingon, Navajo, Esperanto, Finnish

Download For:

What We Like

  • Helpful translation methods.

  • Great for quick translations.

  • Works with lots of languages.

  • Also run on the web.

  • Updates frequently.

Most of these apps teach you a language through exercises and progressive steps, while Google’s simply tells you how to write and speak anything you run through it.

You can use it to translate text, handwriting, and your voice. This means you can enter text manually, draw the text, or speak it to convert it into the target language. You can even save your favorite translations to refer to them quickly whenever you like.

Google Translate may be different, but it’s certainly a great tool if you’re stuck on a specific word or phrase, or if you prefer to target your learning to particular phrases and sentences only. It can especially prove to be beneficial if you’re speaking with someone that doesn’t know your language

It can also translate even when you don’t have an internet connection—just make sure you download the language pack before you go offline.

Another feature that makes this app a must-have if you’re traveling is instant translations. Available for only some languages, it’s a type of augmented reality that uses the camera on your phone to translate, in real time, any text you point your camera at, including foreign text displayed in a menu, written on a sign, etc.

Not all translations can be spoken back to you, but all translations can be displayed as text.

Languages You Can Learn: Japanese, Dutch, Danish, Greek, Bulgarian, Swahili, Swedish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Chinese, French, Hungarian, Korean, Czech, English, Persian, Latin, Bosnian, and dozens more

Download For:

What We Like

  • Great for all experience levels.

  • Socialize with other learners.

  • Provide feedback to other users.

What We Don’t Like

  • Small language selection.

  • Lots of features are not free.

  • User account necessary.

Busuu’s app is easy to use and is flexible in how you work with the courses. Just choose a supported language you’d like to learn, log in, and then decide where in the course you’d like to start—Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, or Travel.

The words and phrases you’ll learn are very helpful for beginners who may already be around foreign speakers and need to learn words in context quickly.

The app teaches you vocabulary words and phrases, both isolated and in sentences, and then quizzes you as you move forward through the levels to test your knowledge. 

Some quizzes and other features may require a premium account, but there are many, many words and quizzes that are absolutely free.

Languages You Can Learn: German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, Italian, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, Arabic, Korean

Download For:

What We Like

  • Unique teaching methods.

  • Learn several languages.

  • Upgrade options.

What We Don’t Like

  • Must make a user account.

  • Unfriendly website design.

Memrise isn’t as smooth as Duolingo, but it is easy to work with, supports offline courses, and lets you learn a massive number of languages. You can start off simple or skip all the way through to more advanced lessons.

It’s unique in how it teaches new words and phrases. Words are put into sentences with similar sounding words from your preferred language to help build the connection for remembering them. You’ll also sometimes see multiple images that you can scroll through that overlay the foreign text with a recognizable image for added association.

Another method it uses is to teach a language is by mixing up the translations. This way you learn a few new words at once, and then you keep learning them over and over again in a different order to ensure you know them before moving you through to the next round.

Languages You Can Learn: English, French, Spanish (Spain and Mexico), German, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Japanese (no script), Turkish, Chinese (Simplified), Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil), Russian, Norwegian, Polish, Danish, Icelandic, Mongolian, Slovenian, Yoruba

Download For:

What We Like

  • Language-specific apps.

  • Several learning modes.

  • Includes a driving feature.

What We Don’t Like

  • Infrequent app updates.

  • Fewer languages than similar apps.

  • No Android apps.

Renkara Media Group has a separate mobile app for each language you’d like to learn. Each app is extremely simple to use, supports offline use, and varies only in the words they give you—all the features are the same.

Different methods of learning are included in these apps, such as flash cards, audio quizzes, spaced repetition, and others. A hands-free mode is perfect if you’re driving so you can learn without ever looking at your device.

These apps let you build your own study sets so you decide which words you focus on. This is great if you’re having trouble learning a handful of words—just put them in the same study set and learn them separately from all the rest of the words.

Languages You Can Learn: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish

Download For:

What We Like

  • Built for travelers.

  • Unique features.

  • Supports lots of languages.

  • Multi-platform support.

What We Don’t Like

  • Learning method seems out of order.

Rosetta Stone is a professional-grade service for language learning, but they offer a free app meant specifically to help travelers learn basic words and phrases.

There are dozens of pictures tied to common phrases that are spoken to you in the language you’re wanting to learn, and you have to repeat the words back to practice your pronunciation. You can skip forward to any lesson you like, or just follow through from beginning to end.

There’s also a phrasebook with basic words and words related to restaurants, hotels, and getting around—all very useful for someone traveling. You can buy more phrasebooks if you like, such as words related to shopping, colors, emergencies, and currencies.

Languages You Can Learn: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, English (American or British), Filipino (Tagalog), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish (Latin American or Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese

Download For:

Related posts