6 Best Free Language Learning Apps That Are Worth Trying

A photo of a girl holding her phone and papers behind the Free Language Learning Apps texts.

Last updated on November 27th, 2023 at 09:23 am

Learning a new language is a fun challenge, right? And thanks to our handy smartphones, we’ve got a bunch of apps that can help us out. But with so many options, it can be overwhelming to find the best language-learning app for your specific needs. Don’t sweat it, though. If you want the best, you can easily pick the Ling app. It’s free, and it has all the features you need to learn a new language.

But if you’re curious, I’ve checked all the options and compiled a list of the top six free language learning apps you may want to try. Today, I’ll walk you through each app, highlighting what makes them shine and how they can support you in mastering a new language.

Quick Summary:

Our Top Picks for Best Free Language Learning Apps
Best For
App
Overall
Ling logo

Ling

5/5
  • Interactive Gamification
  • Cultural Learning Depth
  • Practical Conversation Scenarios
Gamified Learning
free language learning apps - A photo of Duolingo logo

Duolingo

4.7/5
  • Engaging Game Mechanics
  • AI-Personalized Lessons
  • Extensive User Community
Real-World Usage
free language learning apps - A photo of Memrise logo

Memrise

4.6/5
  • Authentic Video Content
  • Chatbot Conversation Simulations
  • Spaced Repetition System

Why Use Free Language Apps To Learn A New Language?

So you want to learn a new language? Here’s why grabbing a free app might be a good idea:

  • Learn Anywhere: With these apps, you can learn while sitting on your sofa, waiting at the bus stop, or during lunch breaks. It’s easy because you just need your phone.

  • It’s Free: You don’t have to pay anything. So, you can start learning new words and talking in a new language without spending money.

  • Easy Lessons: The lessons start simple. First, you learn words like “hello” and “thank you.” Later, you learn to make sentences like “I like pizza” or “Where is the bathroom?”

  • Listen and Learn: You can hear how to say words. If you make a mistake, the app tells you so you can learn the right way.

  • Talk to People: Some apps let you send messages to people from other countries. You can ask them about their day, their favorite food, or their city.

Okay, so what’s next? We’re going to look at some of these free apps. We’ll see what’s good and what’s not so good about each one. Stay with me!

At a glance:
Our Top 6 picks for Best Free Language Learning Apps
  • Best For Learning 60+ Languages: Ling
  • Best For Gamified Learning: Duolingo
  • Best For Real-World Usage: Memrise
  • Best For Immersive Learning: Rosetta Stone
  • Best For Community Interaction: Busuu
  • Best For Reading & Listening: LingQ

1. The Ling App: Best For Learning 60+ Languages Comprehensively

Now, I might be a bit biased here, but I genuinely believe that the Ling app offers a comprehensive and engaging approach to language learning that’s hard to beat. What makes Ling stand out? Well, it’s the app’s gamified approach to learning.

You see, the Ling app doesn’t just teach you grammar rules or vocabulary words. Instead, it immerses you in a world of fun and interactive lessons that make learning feel like a game. And trust me, it’s a game you’ll want to keep playing.

With the Ling app, you can learn over 60 languages, from the most widely spoken ones like English, Spanish, and Mandarin to less common ones like Japanese or even Swahili. But it’s not just about the number of languages. It’s about the depth and breadth of the content. The Ling app doesn’t just teach you words and phrases. It teaches you how to use a foreign language in real-life situations.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Ling App Overview

The Ling app merges language learning with gaming, offering interactive challenges that reward progress with points and levels. It covers an impressive range of over 60 languages, focusing on practical usage and cultural context.

The Ling App’s Standout Features

  • Gamified Learning: The Ling app turns language learning into a game, making it fun and engaging. You’ll earn points, level up, and unlock new challenges as you progress.

  • Comprehensive Content: With the Ling app, you can learn everything from basic vocabulary to complex grammar rules. You’ll learn about the culture, giving you a deeper understanding of the language.

  • Real-Life Scenarios: The lessons are based on real-life situations, helping you learn practical words and phrases that you can use in daily conversations, travel, business, and more.

What Are Users Saying

The Ling app has a rating of 4.5 stars from over 10.6K reviews on Google Play. Language learners love the interactive exercises and the app’s wide range of languages. 

Some users have mentioned that the app is a bit pricey. Interestingly, most agree that the content quality and the teaching methods’ effectiveness make it worth the cost.

How Much Does The Ling App Cost?

As for the pricing, the good news is there’s a plan for everyone. Let’s break it down:

  • Monthly: $14.99

  • Six Months: $39.99

  • Yearly: $79.99 (7-day free trial)

  • Lifetime: $149.99

2. Duolingo: Best For Gamified Learning

Next on our list is Duolingo, an app that’s turned language learning into a game. Now, I know what you’re thinking – a game? Really? But hear me out. Duolingo has made learning a new language feel less like a chore and more like a fun challenge.

With Duolingo, you’re earning points for correct answers, racing against the clock, and leveling up. It’s like playing your favorite video game, but you’re learning a new language. And with over 40 languages, Duolingo has something for everyone. But it’s not as many as the Ling app, which offers 60+ languages.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Duolingo Overview

With Duolingo, each lesson feels like a mini-game, complete with rewards for correct answers. The app’s use of artificial intelligence personalizes the learning journey, adapting to the user’s pace across a selection of 40 languages.

Duolingo’s Standout Features

  • Game-like Lessons: You earn points, unlock levels, and collect rewards, making the learning process an exciting game.

  • Personalized Learning: Duolingo uses AI to adapt lessons to your learning level and pace. This ensures you’re always learning at a level that suits you.

  • Global Community: With Duolingo, you’re part of a community of over 300 million learners. You can compete on leaderboards and stay motivated while learning alongside other users.

What Users Are Saying

Duolingo has made quite an impression with a 4.7-star rating on Google Play and many reviews to back it up. Users praise the engaging, game-like lessons and the wide range of languages.

But, like everything else, there’s room for improvement. Some users wish for more detailed grammar explanations and a more seamless experience between the online and mobile versions.

How Much Does Duolingo Cost?

Duolingo offers both free and premium plans. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Monthly premium: $6.99

  • Yearly premium: $83.99

  • Family plan: $119.99

3. Memrise: Best For Real-World Language

Memrise is an app that stands out for its focus on real-world language. Instead of just teaching you vocabulary and grammar rules, Memrise immerses you in the language as it’s used in everyday life.

How does it do this? Memrise uses video clips of native speakers in real-life situations. This way, you’re memorizing words and seeing how they’re used in context.

But it’s not just about listening. Memrise also uses a tool called MemBot. This little helper pops up to remind you of the words you’ve learned, helping to reinforce them in your memory.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Memrise Overview

Memrise employs video clips of native speakers to teach languages within everyday contexts, moving beyond traditional vocabulary lists. Its use of a spaced repetition system and conversational chatbots helps solidify language retention and speaking skills.

Memrise’s Standout Features

  • Real-world Language: Memrise teaches you words and phrases and helps you understand how they’re used in real life.

  • Chatbot Conversations: This feature lets you simulate conversations, a great way to practice speaking the language.

  • Spaced Repetition: If you’re struggling with a word, Memrise shows it to you more often. If you’ve mastered a word, you see it less.

What Users Are Saying

With a 4.6-star rating on Google Play, it’s clear that many users appreciate its real-world language focus. The chatbot feature gets a lot of praise – it’s like conversing with a native speaker. But, like all language apps, it’s not perfect. Some users would like more grammar-focused lessons.

How Much Does Memrise Cost?

While you can start learning with Memrise for free, they offer additional features through their premium plans. Here’s a quick look at what each plan offers:

  • Monthly premium: $14.99

  • Yearly premium: $89.99

  • Lifetime subscription: $199.99

4. Rosetta Stone: Best For Immersive Learning

No one can deny that Rosetta Stone is one of the best free language learning apps out there. It’s a name that’s been a heavyweight in the language-learning world for quite some time. 

Rosetta Stone believes in immersion. They don’t want you to just memorize words and phrases. They want you to live the language. Imagine you’re a kid again, learning your first language. You didn’t start with grammar rules or vocabulary lists, right? 

You learned by listening, associating words with images and actions, making mistakes, and figuring things out. That’s exactly what Rosetta Stone aims to replicate – a natural, intuitive way of learning.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Rosetta Stone Overview

Rosetta Stone’s methodology mirrors the organic language acquisition of a child, eschewing direct translation in favor of immersive context-based learning. Their speech recognition and live coaching sessions with native speakers provide immediate, actionable feedback.

Rosetta Stone’s Standout Features

  • TruAccent Speech-Recognition Engine: It listens to your speech, compares it with that of native speakers, and gives you instant feedback.

  • Dynamic Immersion Method: Instead of spoon-feeding you translations, Rosetta Stone encourages you to learn from context. You see a picture, hear a phrase, and you figure out what it means.

  • Live Coaching with Native Speakers: You can join live sessions with native speakers and get immediate feedback on your overall language skills.

What Users Are Saying

Rosetta Stone has a 4.7-star rating on Google Play, with many users praising its immersive approach and the quality of its lessons. One user said, “The language training is logical and progressive. With discipline, it really does work!” However, some users did mention issues with the voice recognition feature, so that’s something to keep in mind.

How Much Does Rosetta Stone Cost?

Rosetta Stone offers a free version with limited free lessons, but if you want the full experience, you’ll need to go premium. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • 3-month premium: $47.97

  • Yearly premium: $126.88

  • Lifetime subscription: $399.00

5. Busuu: Best For Community Learning

Let’s move on to Busuu, a language app that’s taken a unique approach to language learning by leveraging the power of community. Busuu is a social network of learners. The idea here is simple yet effective: learn and practice a new language with a community of native speakers.

Busuu’s methodology is based on CEFR (The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), offering 12 languages. The interactive lessons cover all aspects of language learning – reading, writing, listening, and speaking. But what sets Busuu apart is the opportunity to submit your exercises to native speakers in the Busuu community for feedback.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Busuu Overview

Busuu leverages its vast user base to create a social learning environment where feedback from native speakers enhances the learning process. Personalized study plans and recognized certifications add structure and credibility to the language acquisition journey.

Busuu’s Standout Features

  • Community Learning: Busuu’s community of over 100 million learners is its standout feature. You can submit your exercises to native speakers for feedback.

  • Study Plan: Busuu offers a personalized study plan that adapts to your schedule, helping you stay on track with your language learning goals.

  • Certification: Busuu offers a certification service in partnership with McGraw-Hill Education.

What Users Are Saying

Busuu has a 4.7-star rating on Google Play, with users praising the community learning aspect and the comprehensive lessons. However, some users have pointed out that the app can sometimes be buggy. Overall, users appreciate the unique approach to language learning that Busuu offers.

How Much Does Busuu Cost?

Busuu does offer a completely free version. However, you’ll want to consider one of their premium plans to unlock all the features and get the most out of the app. Here’s a breakdown of Busuu’s pricing:

  • Monthly premium: $13.90

  • 6 months premium: $83.40

  • Yearly premium: $166.80

6. LingQ: Best For Reading And Listening

Then there’s LingQ, a language-learning platform that has truly embraced the power of reading and listening. So what’s so special about that? Well, LingQ is a platform that immerses you in a sea of authentic content that you’d genuinely enjoy.

The concept is pretty straightforward but incredibly effective: you read or listen to content in your target language. Then, LingQ helps you understand and learn new words and phrases in context.

But that’s not all. LingQ boasts a vast library of lessons, podcasts, books, interviews, and more, all with transcripts. You can also import content from the web, like Netflix shows or YouTube videos, and turn them into interactive lessons in the app.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

LingQ Overview

LingQ immerses learners in a sea of engaging content, from podcasts to books, all aimed at improving reading and listening comprehension. The platform’s unique feature allows users to import their favorite web content, turning any media into a personalized language lesson.

LingQ’s Standout Features

  • Language Storytelling and TPRS: LingQ leverages language storytelling and TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). You can access thousands of hours of downloadable audio mp3 files, all with transcripts.

  • Import Lessons: This feature allows you to import YouTube videos, Netflix shows, and more as lessons. This way, you can learn from YouTube videos and content that you find interesting and relevant.

  • SRS (Spaced Repetition System): LingQ uses SRS to help you review and learn vocabulary in context. This method is proven to help information stick in your memory.

What Users Are Saying

LingQ has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Play. Users appreciate the unique approach to language learning, especially the ability to import content for personalized lessons. On the flip side, some users have mentioned synchronization issues with imported lessons.

How Much Does LingQ Cost?

LingQ offers a variety of pricing options to suit different needs. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Monthly premium: $12.99

  • 6 months premium: $71.94

  • Yearly premium: $107.88

  • 2 years premium: $191.76
free language learning apps - A photo of three happy ladies looking at a phone inside a restaurant

Which Of The Free Language Learning Apps Is For You?

Choosing the right one from these free language learning apps depends on your style and goals. But if you want the overall comprehensive language learning app, the one that checks all the boxes, our Ling app could be your match.

Remember, the best app is the one you’ll use consistently. So, choose an app you enjoy, fits your routine, and keeps you motivated.

Still unsure? They’re all completely free to start, so why not try them out? You might just find your perfect language-learning companion.

As for us, we’re here to support your language learning journey with the Ling app

With over 60 languages, interactive lessons, and a gamified approach, we’re confident that the Ling app can help you reach your language learning goals.

Ready to start? Download the Ling app from Google Play and App Store now. Let’s make language learning fun and effective together!

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What makes learning with Ling special

Interactive exercises

Improve your pronunciation by starting a conversation with our app’s interactive chatbot

Engaging activities

Practice your skills with mini-games and track your progress with fun quizzes

Mix of languages

Choose from over 60 languages, both big and small, and listen to audio from native speakers

Proven results

Backed by linguistic research, our learning methods can help you achieve fluency in record time