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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What Are The Best Free Language Apps?

While learning a language can be fun, and come with many benefits at that, it isn’t always cheap. In the efforts to save, there are many interested language students that ditch the traditional language teachers, and instead, opt for language learning through their own efforts, with a little help from the computer. However, even at that, professional language software can still cost a pretty penny. There will always be language students who will constantly look for ways to save money while still being able to learn a language. For these students, a typical question would be: “Are there any free and good language apps that I can download?” The short answer is yes, and we’ve taken the liberty to list some of them out for you.

1. Byki - Byki seems to be a very popular language app, based on the many people that we’ve encountered that have raved about it. Byki’s premise is really simple, as it operates much like a flashcard program does. This may also explain parts of its appeal. Byki allows the user to expand his vocabulary by learning plenty of simple words through association. Byki is also available in several different languages, which makes it great for linguists of different concentrations.

2. Duolingo - Out of all the free language apps, Duolingo is arguably the best structured program. Despite it costing nothing, it really looks like something that you paid good money for. What’s nice about Duolingo is that is has plenty of drills for the user to try out. At any given time, the user can work on his grammar, vocabulary or phrases. However, the downside of Duolingo is that it has very few languages. Duolingo mainly focuses on romance languages and is currently available in Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and of course, English.

3. Babbel - Instead of having multiple focuses, Babbel is a language app that is solely dedicated to boosting one’s vocabulary. Babbel is currently available in 7 languages and has about 3000 combined words that users have to use in sentences. An extra perk found in Babbel that is absent in other free language apps is the sound of a native language speaker actually saying the word. Should the user want to learn more, the Babbel app can actually be integrated with web-based courses, although this isn’t compulsory.


If you’ve personally used a mobile app to master a new language, we’d love to hear from you. What did you think of the apps we mentioned above? Do they make it into your top picks too? Do you have other language apps that you recommend or prefer. Give us your feedback and let’s get the discussion rolling.

Guest post by Sam Briones, a freelance writer and also contributes at Technovate Translations. If not writing for the language and culture subject, she's on the keyboard writing about fashion and pop culture.
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