Life Hacks, Tech, Now + Beyond

5 apps to help you finally master the language you’ve been dying to learn

Other than Duolingo, of course.

Learning a new language is exciting, but finding the right resources and being persistent in your studies can be extremely difficult.

The key to learning a new language is getting a little bit in your brain every day, even if it’s just a word.

Psychology explains that our metacognition (awareness of mental processes) plays a huge role in learning things, especially foreign languages. This includes being aware of how we learn whether that’s memorization, reading, auditory, etc. Furthermore, according to linguists, to acquire, not just learn, a new language an individual needs to have access to a native speaker to make conversation.

But we language enthusiasts have all been in a similar situation, we’re so eager to start learning a new language, but as time goes by and it gets harder your gusto wains. Eventually, you give up, from difficulty, not enough time or resources, or maybe you just haven’t found that method that clicks.

No worries! We’re here to help you with that.

1. Talk with native speakers- Busuu

Screenshot of the website Busuu app describing the app against a picture of a scenic view of Rio with an array of flags at the bottom.
[Image description: Screenshot of the website Busuu app describing the app against a picture of a scenic view of Rio with an array of flags at the bottom.] Via busuu.com
Busuu allows you to fully immerse in the language by connecting you with native speakers. The app provides lessons and material in 12 different languages. You can also to teach your mother tongue to other users by correcting their text. Additionally, it provides mini-travel courses that can be handy while a trip abroad.

2. Use flashcards- Memrise

Two phones against a yellow background with information about the Memrise app written in black.
[Image description: Two phones against a yellow background with information about the Memrise app written in black.] Via memrise.com
If you prefer learning with flashcards, Memrise is the app for you. It uses fun videos made by native speakers to help you learn new vocabulary. Another interesting thing about the app is its object recognition feature.

This means you can snap a photo of anything and learn what it’s called in a foreign language. Memrise is suited for beginners who what to get a hold of basic words and alphabet.

3. For a flexible approach- Babbel

Screenshot of the language app Babbel with a white background and a picture of a dark-haired girl waving wearing a burgundy knit beanie waving with both hands along with text written in black.
[Image description: Screenshot of the language app Babbel with a white background and a picture of a dark-haired girl waving wearing a burgundy knit beanie waving with both hands along with text written in black.] Via babbel.com
Babbel takes you step-by-step in learning a new language. Furthermore, the app helps you practice vocabulary for everyday conversations. Based on the student’s skill level the app gives an array of images and words to learn and repeat.

Along with the app’s interactive dialogues it train’s the user early on for practical conversation. It offers material on 14 different languages most of it free with a few paid features. The sync feature allows you to start where you left off on any device the app is download on- desktop, mobile or tablet.

4. If you want something fun- MindSnacks

A black background with a black iPhone showing the app MindSnacks along with various colorful icons to the left of the iPhone.
[Image description: A black background with a black iPhone showing the app MindSnacks along with various colorful icons to the left of the iPhone.] Via MindSnacks
As the name suggests the app gets you to learn a language while solving puzzles. Its colorful design and graphics make learning new words entertaining. The fun storyline is a nice break from a standard language app.

Most games are aimed around grammar, vocabulary, and listening in the language you’ve chosen. Throughout the games, progress is tracked, allowing users to see how much they’ve improved.

5. For a more serious commitment- Coursera

Screenshot of the Coursera website with information written in black against a white background to the right there's a picture of a white iPad with the preview of the app.
[Image description: Screenshot of the Coursera website with information written in black against a white background to the right there’s a picture of a white iPad with the preview of the app.] Via coursera.com
An online learning platform also available as a mobile app. partnered with top universities, it aims to provide universal access to online courses. The platform provides specialized courses and degrees in various subjects.

If you’re looking for a long-term commitment and maybe even a certificate at the end of the course, this is the app for you. Most of the material is free to access, though to earn a degree/certificate you have you pay.

Coursera provides material on Russian, Korean, French and specializations in English.

A new language can be a tricky thing to master but don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The key is progress over perfection.