6 Best Language Apps For Critical Thinking Skills

A portrait photo of a pensive young girl holding her phone behind the Language Apps For Critical Thinking Skills texts.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably downloaded many language apps, hoping to find the right one. But did you know the best ones can sharpen your brain, too? 

Yes, it’s true. I’ve been searching around for a while now. So I thought, why not share my top picks with you? That’s why I’ve got six language apps for critical thinking skills you’ll need when learning a new language, or new languages, if you’re a polyglot. We’ll start strong with the Ling app. It’s unbeaten, not gonna lie, but let’s look at some options.

Quick Summary:

Our Top Picks for Language Apps for Critical Thinking Skills
Best For
App
Overall
Ling logo

Ling

5/5
  • Native speaker audio
  • Spaced repetition
  • Leaderboards and challenges
Speech Practice
A photo of Bluebird Languages logo - Ling review

Busuu

4.7/5
  • Grammar review
  • Official certificates
  • Native speaker feedback
Authentic Content

FluentU

4.2/5
  • Video captions
  • Personalized quizzes
  • Diverse content library
At a glance:
Our Top 6 Picks for Language Apps for Critical Thinking Skills
  • Best For Comprehensive Learning: Ling
  • Best For Conversational Practice: Busuu
  • Best For Authentic Content: FluentU
  • Best For Real-Life Immersion: Memrise
  • Best Innovative Technology: Mondly
  • Best For Customized Learning: Lingvist

1. Ling – Best App For Comprehensive Learning & Real-Life Scenarios

The first time I used the Ling app, I was genuinely impressed by how it intertwined critical thinking with language learning. The lessons? They’re set up like games. And these games challenge you to think, not just click. 

For example, the Ling app’s quiz is not about simply remembering a word. You’ll find yourself diving deep into the context, considering various options, and making educated choices. This mental workout is what makes the Ling app stand out.

And then there are the real-life scenarios through its chatbot. Let’s say you’re navigating a lesson about ordering food in Japan. Sure, you’ll learn to say, “Can I have some sushi?” in Japanese. But mentally, you’re stepping into that Tokyo sushi bar, predicting the chef’s reactions, and strategizing your interactions. 

While many critical thinking apps touch on real-life situations, the depth and authenticity the Ling app brings to these scenarios are noteworthy. This makes it a prime pick for those eager to sharpen their critical thinking while learning new languages.

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Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Ling App Overview

The Ling app merges language and critical thinking with game-like lessons and real-life scenarios, enhancing both understanding and engagement.

Features

  • Native Speaker Audio: The Ling app offers audio clips from native speakers. This ensures you get the most authentic pronunciation and intonation for over 60 languages.

  • Spaced Repetition System (SRS): This app uses a technique that reminds you of words and concepts at just the correct intervals, ensuring retention.

  • Leaderboards & Challenges: You can compete with friends and users from all over the world to position yourself at the top. This adds a dash of extra motivation to the experience.

User Feedback

  • Positive Feedback: Many users appreciate the Ling app’s methodology. One user mentioned, “It really goes to the core of how most people learned their first language,” highlighting the app’s effectiveness in stimulating critical thinking.

  • Room for Improvement: Some users expressed specific suggestions. For instance, “I think it would be cool if, like the dialogue chats, you could highlight specific words for replay,” indicating a desire for more detailed language exploration.

Pricing

  • Free with beginner lessons and an introductory Chatbot.

  • Monthly: $14.99

  • Yearly: $79.99 (7-day free trial)

  • Lifetime: $149.99

2. Busuu – Best For Interactive Conversational Practice

Busuu feels like you’re jumping into a conversation from the word go, but with guidance. With this app, you’re chatting, actively participating, and thinking ahead. 

One of Busuu‘s highlights is that it lets you engage with native speakers, helping keep you alert. While doing this, you’ll consider cultural contexts, decipher potential slang, and craft thoughtful replies.

From my experience with it, Busuu’s active participation is what hones critical thinking. While the Ling app immerses you in detailed scenarios, Busuu thrives on spontaneous, real-time interactions. 

It’s like the difference between practicing a speech and having an impromptu debate. Both need skill, but one demands agility and quick wit.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Busuu Overview

Busuu focuses on active, conversational practice with native speakers, sharpening quick thinking and cultural awareness.

Features

  • Grammar Review: Aside from teaching words, Busuu also teaches you grammar, giving you a more holistic learning.

  • Official Certificates: Busuu rewards its users with certificates from McGraw-Hill Education, a testament to their learning.

  • Feedback from Native Speakers: This app allows you to engage with real people worldwide who offer genuine feedback, an invaluable tool when learning a new language.

User Feedback

  • Positive Feedback: Busuu has garnered positive remarks. A user shared, “I like this app a lot, and it has helped me accelerate my language learning process,” suggesting its potential to enhance cognitive skills.

  • Room for Improvement: There were comments about missing languages, with a user pointing out, “I’m trying to learn Romanian, and it’s not there,” indicating a need for a broader language selection.

Pricing

  • Monthly premium: $13.90

  • 6 months premium: $83.40

  • Yearly premium: $166.80

3. Memrise – Best For Immersive Real-Life Situations

Memrise is another great app for those who prefer learning a language in context, as it gives you a firsthand experience with video clips with real local speakers.

But here’s what’s interesting: real people don’t follow scripts. They have unique accents, local lingo, and a natural conversational pace, making each clip within Memrise a mini-challenge. 

When learning via this method, you’re actively breaking down the dialogue, grasping the backdrop, and sometimes, making educated assumptions based on the context. This way, Memrise ensures you’re always on your toes, pushing your language and critical thinking skills to the forefront.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Memrise Overview

Memrise provides immersive experiences with real locals, offering natural dialogues and context-based challenges for in-depth learning.

Features

  • Pronunciation Guide: Memrise has very detailed pronunciation guides that help users sound more authentic.

  • Practical Language: This app teaches you practical vocabulary right away, focusing only on relevant words and phrases that you’ll actually use.

  • Chatbot: Memrise has its own chatbot, Membot, which helps you practice your pronunciation and guides you along the way.

User Feedback

  • Positive Feedback: Memrise has received commendations on its effectiveness. A user declared, “I’ve tried all the apps for online language learning, and this one is the best!”

  • Room for Improvement: The app underwent some changes, and some users expressed nostalgia for previous features. Remarks like, “The once fun and colorful app is now awful thanks to the new update,” show that some of the changes weren’t welcome by everyone.

Pricing

  • Monthly premium: $14.99

  • Yearly premium: $89.99

  • Lifetime subscription: $199.99

4. FluentU – Best For Authentic Content & Interactive Learning

FluentU aims for its users to experience a language as it’s genuinely spoken. True to its word, it offers a vast array of real-world videos that let you learn your target language in context, catching nuances you would miss otherwise.

But why does this matter for critical thinking? With each video, you’re doing more than watching and listening. You’re gauging the mood, catching cultural hints, and understanding the bigger picture. 

For example, watching a documentary about a carnival in Brazil isn’t simply about comprehension. Instead, it’s a deep dive into cultural insights, regional accents, and the particularities of the event. That’s how Fluent U’s videos make you think deeper and understand better.

While other language apps for critical thinking skills, like the Ling app, gave me a structured path, FluentU gave me a vast landscape to explore and think about.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

FuentU Overview

FluentU uses real-world videos to teach language, emphasizing cultural insights and comprehensive understanding through authentic content.

Features

  • Video Captions: FluentU offers videos with interactive captions. This turns them into an opportunity to stimulate critical thinking.

  • Personalized Quizzes: The app also lets you test your knowledge and analytical thinking with quizzes tailored to your watched videos.

  • Vast Content Library: Fluent U has a large catalog of videos, ensuring all users can find something that catches their interest.

User Feedback

  • Positive Feedback: FluentU’s users have highlighted its “thorough explanations and deep repositories of resources.” This means learners appreciate the app’s comprehensive approach.

  • Room for Improvement: Some users have faced technical issues. One of them mentioned, “Poor-login issues… Where are the lessons?” After all, Giving users a seamless experience is very important.

Pricing

  • Monthly premium subscription: $29.99

  • Yearly premium subscription: $143.99

5. Mondly – Best For Innovative Technology & Practical Topics

Mondly is another language-learning app that focuses on practical, relevant language. It relies on short lessons to teach you words and phrases based on real-world situations.

The lessons are sorted into categories with options to review them. What’s more, useful features such as a hands-free mode for when you’re on the go and a chatbot to practice conversations with make this an excellent option for those learning a new language.

Another interesting feature of Mondly is its AR (Augmented Reality) lessons. With them, you get a virtual language teacher who introduces you to a world in which to practice conversations in a safe environment, relying on the phrases you’ve learned.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Mondly Overview

Mondly integrates AR and VR for practical language experiences, blending modern tech with real-world topics for immersive learning.

Features

  • Speech Recognition: Mondly’s app features a powerful speech recognition system that lets you practice your speaking skills with its chatbot.

  • Real-Life Language: Learning from real conversations with native speakers ensures you learn language in context and not just memorize words and phrases.

  • Various Language Pairs: Mondly has over 1,000 language combinations, which means you have the option to learn from your native language.

User Feedback

  • Positive Feedback: Mondly’s user-friendly approach is appreciated. A user mentioned, “This is a very easy learning app… you can trust this app.”

  • Room for Improvement: Some users had content-related feedback, stating, “It’s pretty okay for Thai but will include words that I haven’t gotten to yet without explaining,” emphasizing the need for more clarity in the lessons.

Pricing

  • Free with basic daily lessons.

  • Monthly premium (one language): $9.99

  • Yearly premium (one language): $47.99

  • Lifetime (all languages): $99.99

6. Lingvist – Best For Adaptive Customized Learning

Thanks to its AI-driven approach, Lingvist feels like it’s always one step ahead. It uses AI algorithms to evaluate your proficiency and place you at the appropriate level.

It also spots your weak areas and nudges you toward them, ensuring constant growth. As such, each session feels tailored, making you evaluate, recall, and apply what you’ve learned. 

In my opinion, Lingvist’s precision is one of its greatest strengths. While the Ling app provides a wide-ranging, scenario-based approach, Lingvist focuses on your specific needs. This guarantees every session is a blend of language learning and critical thinking.

Devices: Android, iOS, Web

Lingvist Overview

Lingvist uses AI to deliver personalized lessons, targeting specific learning needs and enhancing critical thinking.

Features

  • Neural Network Assessment: Lingvist uses advanced tech to assess your vocabulary, offering a unique learning experience.

  • Cross-Platform: Whether you’re at home on a computer or on the go using your phone, Lingvist’s platform ensures consistent progress tracking.

  • Short Lessons: Lingvist teaches you common words that are actually used in real life, with the idea of improving your vocabulary in just 10 minutes per day.

User Feedback

  • Positive Feedback: Users seem to like Lingvist’s adaptive learning, mentioning that “the app is great. Learning the decks is very efficient.”

  • Room for Improvement: There were concerns about translations, with comments like, “The words translated into the original language do not always correspond to the words in the language to be learned.”

Pricing

  • Free with basic and limited features.

  • Monthly premium: $9.99

  • Yearly premium: $79.99
language apps for critical thinking skills - A photo of a woman using her mobile phone thinking carefully

Why Use Language Apps For Critical Thinking Skills?

Language apps do wonders for the brain, and it’s not all about learning new words. Think of them as a fun brain workout session. Here’s a deeper dive into their benefits:

  • Brain Challenges: Each word or phrase in a language app is a puzzle piece. Your brain determines where it fits, helping you recognize patterns and connections.

  • Decision Time: When a language app quizzes you on the right word for a sentence, it’s more than a test. It’s an exercise in weighing options and refining decision-making skills.

  • Memory Training: Recalling that tisch means “table” in German? That’s your brain flexing its memory muscles, storing and retrieving information.

  • Active Learning: Language apps demand your full attention. They ensure you’re constantly thinking, analyzing, and synthesizing information.

  • Mistakes as Lessons: Got something wrong in the app? No worries. The feedback is an opportunity to reflect, adjust, and improve, helping you fine-tune your language skills.

Learn Languages With Ling!

I know that selecting a language app that also enhances critical thinking requires a thoughtful approach. A good tip is to consider your objectives. Do you want to learn by talking to native speakers? Maybe an app like Busuu can help. Do you prefer a more customized teaching style? Perhaps Lingvist is a better choice.

However, among the language apps for critical thinking skills available, the Ling app stands out. That’s because its seamless integration of language learning with fun exercises and a gamified interface help make the process much more engaging.

In addition to that, the Ling app’s focus on all language skills at once—listening, reading, writing, and speaking—gives you a more holistic learning experience. And this is accompanied by features such as pronunciation practice with a chatbot, a section to review each unit’s content, and instant pronunciation feedback, among many others.

Interested? Download the Ling app from Google Play and the App Store. You’ll join millions of language learners on this journey and also give your brain the workout it deserves!

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