Best Language Learning Apps in 2020

Today, you can learn languages anywhere and at any time thanks to modern language learning apps. Regardless of if you’re a complete beginner or have already been studying for a few years, best language learning apps can help you get the practice you need to get closer to language mastery. 

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But are all language learning apps worth your time and money? No, of course not! Which is why we’ve selected the five best language learning apps in 2020.

5 Best Language Learning Apps

When determining what is the best language learning app in 2020, we were interested in several things: 

  • Effectiveness: This is the most important evaluation criterion because even the most well designed and fun apps for learning languages are useless if they don’t help their users improve their language skills. 
  • Usability: Language apps should be easy to use and engaging. Users shouldn’t be forced to go through complicated tutorials and read lengthy guides just to start learning. Best language learning apps motivate their users to come back and continue studying, and they make language learning feel just as fun as playing a video game.  
  • Value: Not all language learning apps provide the same value. Some require their users to pay a large monthly subscription fee, while others offer very limited features. The best language learning apps provide some content for free, allowing you to try them without paying money. 

After testing dozens of language learning apps, we were able to narrow them to just five and pick the best app for learning a language in 2020. Here are the results. 

1. Encore!!! (Android, iOS)

People who move to a country where their mother tongue isn’t spoken typically become fluent in a year or two depending on how often they interact with locals. Their secret? Complete immersion in an authentic language environment. Encore!!! uses this language learning fact to the benefit of its users, allowing them to immerse themselves in authentic language while driving, working on the computer, jogging, doing dishes, and just about anywhere else.

Encore!!! (Android, iOS)

At the time of writing, Encore!!! supports 12 languages, providing thousands and thousands of hours of content for each language. The content is organized into pre-made lesson plans, but users are also free to create their own playlists and add additional content to customize their learning experience. Language learning with Encore!!! is based on repetition, which is a proven language learning strategy and the cornerstone of most language courses. 

You can download and use Encore!!! for free, but it costs $49.99 per language to unlock all content this offline language learning app has to offer. When you compare the price of Encore!!! with the prices of popular language textbooks and courses, it instantly becomes evident why Encore!!! belongs at the very top of our list of the best language learning apps in 2020. 

Price: Freemium ($49.99 per language) 

Pros: Free version available, can be fully personalized, supports 12 languages, offers a huge content library, offline learning. 

Cons: Each language is a separate purchase.

2. Duolingo (Android, iOS, Web)

Duolingo is a popular language learning app that relies heavily on gamification to make learning fun and engaging. Users are motivated to progress through Duolingo courses with virtual coins and other rewards, which they earn for mastering new words, phrases, and grammar. Duolingo keeps track of how individual users are doing, and it adjusts lessons based on their progress and preferred learning style. 

With Duolingo, you can learn over 30 different languages, but some courses are more comprehensive and polished than others. Duolingo courses end at the upper-intermediate level, making them suitable mostly for beginners who are looking for a fun way how to learn basic vocabulary, phrases, and grammar.

Duolingo is a popular language learning app that relies heavily on gamification to make learning fun and engaging. Users are motivated to progress through Duolingo courses with virtual coins and other rewards, which they earn for mastering new words, phrases, and grammar. Duolingo keeps track of how individual users are doing, and it adjusts lessons based on their progress and preferred learning style. 

With Duolingo, you can learn over 30 different languages, but some courses are more comprehensive and polished than others. Duolingo courses end at the upper-intermediate level, making them suitable mostly for beginners who are looking for a fun way how to learn basic vocabulary, phrases, and grammar.

Duolingo (Android, iOS, Web)

You can use Duolingo for free without any limitations, but there’s also a premium version, which offers several additional features, such as offline courses, learning without ads, and progress quizzes. It’s a good idea to use Duolingo together with other top language learning apps, such as Encore!!!, to progress at a faster pace. 

Price: Freemium (Duolingo Plus costs $6.99/month)

Pros: Free plan available, fun gamification of language learning, offers over 30 languages, no user-created content. 

Cons: The free version has ads, not all courses are equally polished, ends at the B2 level.

3. Memrise (Android, iOS, Web)

Memrise has been included on many lists of the best apps to learn languages because it provides an enjoyable approach to language learning that helps busy individuals fit bite-size language lessons into their busy days. From a distance, Memrise seems very similar to Duolingo, but there’s one crucial difference between the two best apps to learn a new language: Memrise allows users to create their own content, whereas Duolingo doesn’t. 

Because anyone can create a Memrise course, there’s no shortage of content to choose from, and the available courses go beyond language learning, covering everything from arts and literature to math and science. To start learning a language with Memrise, all you need to do is select a language you already speak and then pick the language you want to learn. 

Memrise (Android, iOS, Web)

Memrise courses cover all language skills, and they make good use of interactive activities and multimedia. After a while, the content can become repetitive, especially if you use the site to learn multiple languages at the same time. However, the biggest problem is the lack of quality control when it comes to user-created content. This problem is made even worse by the fact that courses are presented in a chaotic way, so users often end up opening a user-created course without even realizing it. 

Price: Freemium (Memrise Premium costs $8.99/month)

Pros: Many language learning activities, lots of content available for free, user-created content. 

Cons: Can be repetitive, courses are presented in a chaotic way, Memrise Premium isn’t worth the price.

4. Busuu (Android, iOS, Web)

Featuring over 1,000 language learning lessons created by experts, Busuu can supply even the hungriest language learners with enough content to last them for months. You can use it to learn English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Russian, and Arabic. 

Busuu (Android, iOS, Web)

Bussu believes in the importance of feedback from native speakers, which is why it connects over 90 million learners and native speakers. You can get instant feedback on written and spoken lessons from people who actually speak the language you’re trying to learn, which is the main reason why language learners pay expensive tutors. 

Unfortunately, this feature is available only with a premium subscription, which costs between $6 and $10/month. Included in the premium subscription is also offline mode, grammar lessons, vocabulary trainer, official certificates, and other features. Without the premium subscription, Busuu feels very limited. 

Price: Freemium (Busuu Premium subscriptions costs between $6 and $10/month) 

Pros: Feedback from native speakers, offline mode, many language lessons to choose from. 

Cons: The most interesting features are available only with a premium subscription.

5. Rosetta Stone (Android, iOS, Web)

Named after the granodiorite stele with texts in Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek, Rosetta Stone is a popular language learning software product aimed at organizations and individuals alike. Rosetta Stone presents new vocabulary and grammar in context, without relying on lengthy explanations. It wants language learners to figure things out on their own the same way children learn the language of their parents. 

Rosetta Stone (Android, iOS, Web)

The biggest benefit of this approach is that it makes language learning feel very engaging and accessible. Many language learners who have never enjoyed learning languages at school have found great success with Rosetta Stone, even though the app itself isn’t enough to achieve fluency. The biggest downside of Rosetta Stone’s approach is that grammar concepts can be very difficult to grasp. Users often have to look for explanations on their own, which isn’t exactly ideal considering how much money Rosetta Stone costs. 

Rosetta Stone can be purchased either as a downloadable application or used online with a paid subscription. Both versions are virtually identical, featuring interactive courses in all major languages, speech recognition, live online tutoring, as well as various games and activities. 

Price: Commercial (Lifetime subscription ranging between $130 and $200, or a monthly subscription that costs between $10 and $35)

Pros: Engaging, great pronunciation practice thanks to speech recognition, over 20 languages to choose from, lessons can be downloaded for offline use. 

Cons: Not as effective as Rosetta Stone promises, expensive subscriptions, buggy mobile applications.

Conclusion

After reviewing dozens of the best apps to learn a new language, Encore!!! emerged as a winner, giving language learners the opportunity to immerse themselves into the target language anywhere and at any time. You can get started with Encore!!! for free and spend money to unlock more content only when you’re ready. Because Encore!!! lets you create your own language lessons, there are limitless possibilities for you to make it part of your language learning.

Download Encore!!! and elevate your language learning to the next level