This post was written by Kate Wilkinson, a Psychology student at Wheaton College. A radio host, resident assistant, and club field hockey player at Wheaton, Kate interned at Brainscape in 2014, helping to grow our community of teacher users.
Learning a language requires constant practice! But with free apps and websites, it’s easier than ever to stay on top of your second-language skills. Once you know the basics of a language, these five language-learning apps are perfect for learning more words and phrases to expand your vocabulary!
Top low-cost virtual language learning tools
While it is not as popular as Google Translate, it’s a whole lot better! This language-learning app/website is a great go-to online dictionary. WordReference is most useful for singular words. For example, if you were to search the Spanish word for “brain,” the website would give you multiple translations, including ones for compound forms, so that you’re saying exactly what you mean.
The best part about WordReference? It’s actually a reference tool, and therefore approved by teachers and professors.
This free app is best described as a portal to other languages. You can select courses in English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. You can also download courses uploaded by other people using the app, so there is tons of variety.
Once you’ve picked a course, the app will start you on a lesson. With each word it shows, it will also pronounce it and show pictures to help you memorize it better. After you learn a couple of words, it will then test you by giving you the English word and asking you for its translation.
Offering Spanish, French, German, and Chinese, this is a fun and free app that uses games to help you learn vocab. It will also pronounce each word so you know exactly how it should sound. After each game, you rack up points to gain levels. The games will also give you a detailed list of what you need to improve.
This language-learning app comes with one free lesson and it only costs $4.99 to get the other 49.
Like MindSnacks, Duolingo uses games to teach the language of your choosing. The free app offers Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese. What makes Duolingo unique from other apps is that it allows you to set daily goals of how much you should practice and then sends notifications directly to your phone or tablet. And don’t worry that it will be too easy — you can take a placement test upon downloading the app, and skip lessons which cover material you already know.
The app exercises your brain in several ways by having you rearrange sentences, listen to and type what you hear, and repeat the words you hear. And for those who have a competitive itch, you can go head-to-head with other learners. Duolingo is excellent for someone to practice a language on their own.
Last, but certainly not least, is Brainscape’s language-learning app and website! Pick from Spanish, French, Latin, or Chinese and learn the basic vocab for each language. Each flashcard comes with the English word followed by the translation.
The app can also pronounce the word so that you can read and speak the language. And in signature Brainscape fashion, it will ask how confident you are in each item, then reorder the pattern of study based on your self-assessment, resulting in a more efficient study experience. Brainscape can also show you how well other people are doing on the same subject. It’s very useful for organizing your class notes or for getting a basic understanding of the given language.
Do you have a favorite language-learning app that we didn’t mention? Share it in the comments!
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