Five great apps to learn a foreign language

  • AFP
  • Updated: Feb 01, 2016 11:40 IST
The Duolingo app for Android. (Google Play)

In addition to being useful when travelling, learning a foreign language has been associated in several studies with helping boost cognitive function and delay the onset of dementia. Mobile apps can be a great solution for mastering a new tongue or brushing up on school-day skills because they’re portable, convenient and relatively low cost. Here’s a look at five of the best mobile apps for learning a foreign language.


With 13 foreign languages available, the Babbel app offers a comprehensive learning system. It has functions to help learners improve their pronunciation and build vocabulary quickly through fun lessons. The app is free to download but language courses are paid for by subscription for one to 12 months, priced from €9.99 (or $9.99) to €59.99 (or $59.99).

Download the Babbel app from Apple’s App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).


This entirely free app can help total beginners (including schoolchildren) and more advanced learners get to grips with 26 languages, including classic options like French and German, as well as more unusual choices such as Norwegian, Swahili and Klingon. Over time, users can progress to higher levels or choose to specialize in a specific field (business, medical, etc.). It’s even possible to compete with friends also signed up to the platform.

Download the Duolingo app from Apple’s App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).


Memrise helps users learn a maximum number of words in a short space of time using visual learning techniques and memory games. A Premium subscription offers access to a wide choice of extra games, with prices ranging from €8.99 (or $8.99) for one month to €59.99 (or $59.99) for the year.

Download the Memrise app from Apple’s App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).


MosaLingua offers a choice of five languages (German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese) with different levels available. The app focuses on long-lasting memorization, using techniques based on cognitive and psychological concepts to tap into the learner’s audio and visual memory. Most of the apps are priced at €4.99 (or $4.99) with add-on vocab packs available for in-app purchase.

All of the apps are available for iOS and Android.

Head to the MosaLingua website to see the choice of languages and levels.


Busuu (which takes its name from a Cameroonian dialect) offers an original way to brush up on 12 languages. The platform is like a social network for language learners, where users can follow interactive lessons and connect with native speakers all over the world to practice their skills. Access is subscription-based, with prices ranging from €9.99 (or $9.99) for one month to €64.99 (or $64.99) for 12 months. Busuu has over 50 million users worldwide.

Download the Busuu app from Apple’s App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).

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