Times might be crazy but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing fun to do indoors. One of our favourite activities to do while keeping safe at home? Learning a second language.
Studies show that learning a second language offers a variety of benefits — it isn't just a fun way to pass the time. Not only can a second language vastly improve your first language and make you a better job candidate (bilingual is always a big plus!), you'll also get some cognitive profits out of it as well, including improved memory, decreased chance of dementia later in life and new observational and critical thinking skills. Is social media going to do all that for you? We don't think so!
Here are our top five favourite language learning apps that actually work.
One of the top free apps on the market, Duolingo is an effective language learning tool, especially for beginners. From audio clips and fun visuals to text-based exercises and short stories for improved reading comprehension, we love that there are so many ways to learn.
Choose 30 languages and enjoy bite-size courses designed by native speakers — we sure do!
Need motivation? Duolingo’s got you covered. Keep your daily streak going, earn points and in-game currency, level up, set daily experience goals and compete against your friends and other app users in the Leaderboards. Fun, easy to use and so effective — it’s no wonder this made our favourites list.
What do you get when you combine memes and languages? Memrise!
This free-to-use app works by matching user-created memes with vocab words to make memorisation easier, faster and so much fun.
Behind the fresh and fun interface is some serious science and technology that’s used to make language learning simple and effective. Memrise uses memory techniques, customised learning algorithms and spaced repetition to create engaging and useful lessons specifically for you.
Our favourite part? The thousands of video clips of native speakers that help with accents and pronunciations while also giving you a peek at scenery and culture.
3. Rosetta Stone
It’s been around for over a quarter of a century and we can see why: As a language learning app, Rosetta Stone is one of the best. Your first lesson is free so pick one of 24 languages and study up on pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar and you’ll be ready for real-life conversations in no time.
Rosetta Stone uses immersive learning which means you don’t have to rely on your native language during lessons. Is it harder? Sure, but that just means better results. Imagine how much easier travelling will be once you nail that second language with this app.
We’re big fans of real-life conversational skills and Babbel does not disappoint. You’ll start off easy with vocabulary words and phrases and quickly build up to dialogues that will help you nail everyday conversations.
The language selection may be a bit small but the conveniently short lessons, review sessions, interactive interface and retention tests are so useful, we’re willing to overlook that. All your lessons are meticulously arranged to ensure a great learning experience. Babbel also offers a selection of vocab lists, flashcards and writing exercises so you can review what you’ve learned.
Tandem takes the idea of language exchange and makes it happen anywhere, anytime. Think of it as a free community for language learners; you connect to native speakers and tutors and the rest is history. That’s right — no set classes or courses, just you and your partner chatting and learning together.
Whether you like to send messages, make audio calls or talk face-to-face, Tandem can do it. And if the idea of talking to a real person makes you nervous, you can feel more confident knowing that every user has to go through an approval process and the app is staff-monitored. Read a review about it here.
Having Fun Staying Safe
We’re all trying to stay safe at home so take advantage of it and learn a new language! And while you’re online checking out our favourite language apps, make sure to stop by our website as well. We’re doing our part to provide you with affordable hand sanitiser straight to your door so that you can stay safe no matter where you go.