The Ultimate Language Learning App Comparison In 2023

A photo of a confused-looking female holding a phone behind the Language Learning App Comparison texts.

When I first heard about language learning apps, I was skeptical. But then I came across a study from Michigan State University that changed my mind. 

Students used an app for 12 weeks. Believe it or not, they got better at speaking Spanish. Their grammar and vocabulary improved, too. So, if you’ve been toying with learning a new language, apps like the Ling app are worth looking at.

You’re probably asking, “Alright, but which app is the best for me?” That’s the million-dollar question, and it’s why I’ve crafted this language learning app comparison just for you. 

Below is a handy comparison table that lists the six apps we’ll be diving into. Stick around because we’re about to get into the specifics of each app, helping you find the perfect match for your language learning journey.

AppBest ForStarting Price
Ling appComprehensive Language Skills Development$8.99/month
Rosetta StoneImmersive Learning for Beginners$11.99/month
FluentUReal-World Contextual Learning$29.99/month
BusuuPersonalized Learning Plans$13.95/month
LingodaLive Teacher-Led Classes$10/hour
BabbelGrammar and Syntax Mastery$13.95/month

The Ling App: Best For Comprehensive Language Skills Development

Let’s start with the best language-learning app: the Ling app. This is a powerhouse, especially when it comes to its mini-games. Each game is meticulously designed to target a specific skill. 

Take it from me, the “Word Order” game is a game-changer for understanding sentence structures. Unlike Rosetta Stone, which focuses more on immersive learning, the Ling app gives you a more hands-on approach to mastering syntax.

Another thing that sets the Ling app apart is its language offerings. Most apps in this language learning app comparison focus on popular languages like Spanish or French, but the Ling app goes the extra mile. It offers less commonly taught languages like Tagalog and Finnish. 

And it doesn’t stop at just teaching words; it dives into the culture behind them. You won’t find this cultural context in FluentU, which leans more toward real-world video content.

A photo of Ling's monkey logo, one of the best app in this language learning app comparison.

The Ling App’s Standout Features

  • Chatbot Conversations: The Ling app offers a chatbot feature that simulates real conversations. It’s a safe space to practice without fearing making mistakes, something you won’t find in Rosetta Stone.

  • Leaderboard & Challenges: The app has a competitive edge with its leaderboard and daily challenges. It adds a fun element to learning, encouraging you to stay consistent.

  • Flashcards: The Ling app incorporates flashcards for vocabulary practice. They’re customizable, allowing you to focus on the most relevant words.

What Are Users Saying About The Ling App?

  • Google Play Rating: 4.3 stars with 10.2K reviews.

  • Positive Feedback: People are raving about the Ling app’s mini-games, calling them “engaging” and “educational.” One user even said, “The games make learning so much fun; I almost forget I’m studying!” The app’s wide range of languages also gets a nod. Users appreciate the inclusion of less commonly taught languages, a unique offering in the language app world.

  • Room for Improvement: Some users mentioned they’d like to see more advanced levels added. “It’s great for beginners, but what about us intermediate learners?” one user pointed out. However, this is more of a suggestion for expansion than a drawback.

How Much Does The Ling App Cost?

Basic$0-Beginner lessons
-Introductory chatbot
Monthly$8.99-Beginner lessons
-Introductory chatbot
-200 lessons in 50 units
-Access to 60+ languages
-Sync across all your devices
-Talk with the chatbot about 20 topics
-Grammar tips in many languages
-Same as the Monthly plan
Lifetime$149.99-Same as the Monthly plan

Rosetta Stone: Best For Immersive Learning For Beginners

Rosetta Stone has been around for ages, and for a good reason. Its immersive learning approach is something to talk about. 

Unlike the Ling app, which uses mini-games to teach, Rosetta Stone uses a “Dynamic Immersion” method. You’re shown a picture and then hear the word in your target foreign language. It’s a method I often recommend for beginners.

But here’s where Rosetta Stone takes it up a notch compared to FluentU. It has a patented speech recognition engine called “TruAccent.” This feature listens to your pronunciation and gives immediate feedback. 

It even shows a waveform so you can match the pitch and tone. FluentU, while excellent for contextual learning, doesn’t offer this level of pronunciation analysis.

A photo of Rosetta Stone's logo.

Rosetta Stone’s Standout Features

  • Simulated Conversations: The app offers simulated conversations to practice speaking in a controlled environment. It’s a step up from the Dynamic Immersion method, offering a more interactive experience.

  • Stories: Rosetta Stone has a ‘Stories’ feature where you can listen to stories in your target language, improving your listening skills and vocabulary.

What Are Users Saying About Rosetta Stone?

  • Google Play Rating: 4.7 stars with 366K reviews.

  • Positive Feedback: Users often highlight Rosetta Stone’s immersive approach. “It’s like I’m not just learning words. I’m learning how to think in a new native language,” one user mentioned. The TruAccent feature also gets a lot of love for its real-time feedback on pronunciation.

  • Room for Improvement: Some language learners find the app a bit pricey and wish for more affordable options. “It’s effective but expensive,” a reviewer noted. A user also mentioned that the app could be more customizable to his learning style.

How Much Does Rosetta Stone Cost?

3 Months$35.97
-Short lessons
-Complete immersive experience
-Speech recognition technology
-Same features as the 3-month plan
Lifetime$299-Includes all features of the other plans
-Access to all 25 languages

FluentU: Best For Real-World Contextual Learning

Speaking of FluentU, this app is unique in its approach. It doesn’t give you traditional lessons or games like the Ling app or Rosetta Stone. Instead, you get real-world videos—music videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talks. 

Each video comes with interactive captions. Click on any word, and you’ll get an instant definition, native pronunciation, and visual learning aids. It’s a feature I’ve found to be incredibly effective for retention.

What sets FluentU apart from, say, Busuu, is its algorithm that tracks your learning. It knows which words you struggle with and suggests videos that use them. Busuu, on the other hand, is more about personalized learning plans and peer-to-peer interaction.

A photo of FluentU's logo.

FluentU’s Standout Features

  • Flashcards: FluentU also offers flashcards, which are auto-generated from the words you encounter in videos. It’s a more personalized approach.

  • Course Mode: This feature allows you to follow a structured learning path, balancing free exploration and guided learning.

What Are Users Saying About FluentU?

  • Google Play Rating: 4.4 stars with 3.7K reviews.

  • Positive Feedback: FluentU’s real-world videos are a hit. “It’s like YouTube but for language learning,” said one user. The interactive captions also receive praise for making vocabulary retention easier.

  • Room for Improvement: Some users feel the app could offer more languages. “Wish they had more options like the Ling app,” one user commented. Others mentioned that the user interface could be more intuitive.

How Much Does FluentU Cost?

14 Days Free Trial$0-Access to the website
-iPhone and iPad app
-Android app
-Video dictionary
-Word lookup
-Courses and flashcards sets
-Videos and audio
Monthly$29.99-All features for one language
-All features for one language
-All features for all languages
-Lifetime access to new languages
Family$47.99/month-All features for up to 6 languages

Busuu: Best For Personalized Learning Plans

Busuu is all about customization. Unlike FluentU, which uses an algorithm to suggest content, Busuu starts you with a placement test. 

Based on your score, the app creates a personalized study plan. It estimates how many hours you need to reach your next language milestone.

But the real kicker is Busuu’s “Conversations” feature. You can submit written or spoken exercises, and native speakers in the Busuu community will correct you. 

You can also find this peer-to-peer interaction in Lingoda, but Busuu focuses more on teacher-led classes.

A photo of Busuu's logo.

Busuu’s Standout Features

  • Vocabulary Trainer: This feature allows you to review and practice vocabulary separately from lessons, making it easier to focus on your weak spots.

  • Official Certificates: Busuu offers McGraw-Hill Education language certificates, adding formal recognition to your learning journey.

What Are Users Saying About Busuu?

  • Google Play Rating: 4.7 stars with 599K reviews.

  • Positive Feedback: The personalized learning plans are a standout feature. “The placement test really nailed my skill level,” one user said. The peer-to-peer interaction also gets positive mentions for making the learning experience more interactive.

  • Room for Improvement: Some users wish for a more extensive vocabulary section. “The app is great for conversation but lacks vocabulary” was a common sentiment.

How Much Does Busuu Cost?

Free$0-Basic language learning features
Monthly$13.95-Full access to all courses
-Grammar lessons
-Offline mode
-Community feedback
6 Months$83.70
-Same as Monthly
12 Months$167.40
-Same as Monthly

Lingoda: Best For Live Teacher-Led Classes

Lingoda offers something most apps can’t: live, teacher-led classes. These aren’t pre-recorded. They’re real-time lessons where you can interact with the teacher. 

Compared to Busuu, which is more self-paced, Lingoda gives you that classroom discipline, making it ideal for those who prefer a structured learning environment.

What’s more, Lingoda offers “Sprint” courses that promise to make you fluent in three months. These intensive courses require a substantial time commitment, but the results are worth it. 

It’s an approach I often recommend for those serious about language mastery, especially compared to Babbel’s more rule-focused method.

A photo of Lingoda's logo.

Lingoda’s Standout Features

  • Group Classes: Besides one-on-one lessons, Lingoda offers group classes, allowing you to interact with other learners.

  • Curriculum Downloads: Lingoda provides downloadable materials for each class so you can review them later.

What Are Users Saying About Lingoda?

  • Trustpilot Rating: 4.4 stars with 5K reviews.

  • Positive Feedback: Users love the live, teacher-led classes. “This is my personal instructor on my phone,” one user gushed. The Sprint courses also get a thumbs up for their intensive, results-driven approach.

  • Room for Improvement: Some users find the time commitment for the Sprint courses to be much longer. “It’s effective but intense,” one user noted.

How Much Does Lingoda Cost?

Free Trial$0-3 group classes or 1 private lesson
-7-day full access to the platform
Hourly$10.00–$42.50-Group Classes: $10.00 to $20.00/hour
-Private Lessons: $20.00 to $42.50/hour
-Prices vary by language and number of classes
Monthly$59.00–$549.00/month-4 to 40 classes/month
-Spanish, French: $59 to $409
-General English: $59 to $399
-German: $79 to $489
-Business English: $79 to $549
-No penalty for fewer classes
-Option to buy more
Sprint$440–$960-Sprint (15 classes/month) or Super Sprint (30 classes/month)
-Spanish, French, English: $440 to $880
-German, Business English: $480 to $960
-50% cash back if the challenge is completed
-$59 down payment

Babbel: Best For Grammar And Syntax Mastery

Babbel is for those who love rules. While Lingoda focuses on live classes, Babbel starts each lesson with a dialogue between native speakers. 

Then, it breaks down the grammar and syntax used in that dialogue. It’s a systematic approach to language learning, focusing heavily on the rules.

But it’s not all about grammar. Babbel also has a “Review Manager” that keeps track of the words you’ve encountered and when you should review them. 

It uses spaced repetition to ensure you retain what you’ve learned. This feature is similar to FluentU’s algorithm but focuses more on structured learning.

A photo of Babbel's logo.

Babbel’s Standout Features

  • Dialogue Trainer: Babbel offers a dialogue trainer that allows you to practice real-life conversations.

  • Voice Recognition: Similar to Rosetta Stone’s TruAccent, Babbel also provides voice recognition to improve your pronunciation.

What Are Users Saying About Babbel?

  • Google Play Rating: 4.6 stars with 913K reviews.

  • Positive Feedback: Babbel’s structured lessons are a hit. “I love how each lesson builds on the last,” said one user. The Review Manager also gets praise for its effective use of spaced repetition.

  • Room for Improvement: Some users mention technical issues on Android devices. “Wish all the lessons were functional,” a user pointed out. Others find the frequent updates disruptive.

How Much Does Babbel Cost?

Free$0-Access to the first lesson in every course
1 Month$13.95-Full access to all lessons in one language
3 Months$41.85
-Same as 1 Month
12 Months$167.40
-Same as 1 Month
(one-time payment)
-Full access to all lessons for ALL languages forever

What Do You Think Of Our Language Learning App Comparison?

We’ve laid it all out for you—the good, the bad, and the uniqueness of each app. Now, it’s your turn. What do you think of our language learning app comparison? 

Did it help you make a more informed choice? I’ve filtered through user reviews, dissected features, and compared the best language learning apps head-to-head to give you the most comprehensive guide.

But let’s cut to the chase. If you’re looking for an all-encompassing language learning experience, you might want to consider the Ling app. It’s not just another app on the list. It’s a holistic approach to language learning. So, go ahead and download the Ling app from Google Play or the App Store

And if you’re into language nuances and cultural tidbits, our daily language articles are just a click away. They’re your go-to resource for grammar lessons and cultural insights. Give them a read; you won’t be disappointed.

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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