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The Top 10 Best Language Learning Tools 2022

Catherine Miller

Learning a new language is a big and exciting project. Whether you’re learning for work, travel, or just for fun, it’s important to find the right tools to help you along. Language learning tools can help you master the key skills you need to reach fluency. Some tools focus on the building blocks of language, such as vocabulary or grammar. Others will give you access to reading, listening, or audiovisual material in your target language.

To take your speaking abilities to the next level, some tools also connect you with virtual teachers for conversation classes and interactive lessons. You might need to use a few different tools to uplevel your language abilities across the major skills. But finding the right one can feel overwhelming, especially with so many apps and resources to choose from. We reviewed 10 of the best language learning tools out there to help you get started on your language-learning adventure. 

Compare the Best Language Learning Tools
1
Pimsleur
2
Babbel
3
Lingopie
4
Mondly
5
Udemy
6
Rocket Languages
7
Rosetta Stone
8
Lingoda
9
Skillshare
10
Memrise
Best for
Diligent learners who benefit from routine
Students looking to learn 1 language on a budget
Language learning through TV shows and movies.
Beginners and busy language learners
Free classes
Users who want to learn language and culture
Building language skills gradually
Learning 24/7
On-the-go video courses
Learning relevant everyday language skills
Base price
Subscriptions: $14.95-$20.95 per month
$13.95/month
$5.40/month
$4.00/month
Varies by class
$149.95
$7.99/mo for 12-month subscription
$56-$4800 per month
$167.88/year
Free to $119
Free version
Free 7-day trial Free 30-minute lesson
7-day free trial
3-day free trial
7-day trial
Limited free trial
Languages available
51
14
6
41
11
14+
24
4
20+
23
Style of program
Reading/conversational lessons Audio-only CD Desktop/mobile app MP3
Audio, video, live video
Video
Audio-visual app
Video lectures Audio lectures Text lectures
Interactive audio, videos, visual, text-based
Desktop and mobile software with audio-visual material
Live online lessons
Video courses
Video
Mobile app
Video courses

A Closer Look at Our Top 10 Best Language Learning Tools

  • 1
    Pimsleur

    Pimsleur

    exceptional
    9.7
    • Best forDiligent learners who benefit from routine
    • Base priceSubscriptions: $14.95-$20.95 per month
    • Free versionFree 7-day trial Free 30-minute lesson

    With decades of research to support its unique approach to learning and offering access to resources for more than 50 languages, Pimsleur is rightly one of the best-known and most established names in its market. Some of its most attractive features include 24/7 customer service and access to interactive learning tools through its Premium plans, although we did find the design of the website a little dense and difficult-to-follow in places.

    As Pimsleur recommends taking one of its 30-minute lessons per day, it may be most suitable for those willing to make a regular commitment to language learning. And, although the pricing for its subscription plans is roughly in line with others in the market, the prices for its standalone CDs and MP3s are costly in comparison. If you’re not certain whether the approach is right for you, it would be wise to try a 7-day free trial of one of its plans or a free lesson from its website.

    Pros
    • Free 7-day trial available
    • 51 languages covered
    • Mobile app available
    Cons
    • Not accredited by the Better Business Bureau
    • Difficult-to-find pricing information
  • 2
    Babbel

    Babbel

    excellent
    9.1
    • Best forStudents looking to learn 1 language on a budget
    • Base price$13.95/month
    • Free versionNo

    Babbel is an affordable platform that offers video and audio based learning for 14 languages. You can subscribe to a basic digital curriculum or purchase a Babbel Live subscription for unlimited access to live, instructor-led courses. The learning experience is tailored to your level of expertise and the amount of time you can commit to learning the new language daily.

    Babbel’s pricing is competitive, priced slightly lower than competing app Rosetta Stone for a similar product offering. If you are learning multiple languages, you may find Babbel less economical, as each new language requires the purchase of a new subscription.

    Customers praise Babbel’s quality and teaching method, and 94% of its customer reviews on Trustpilot are very positive. The instructor-led courses are a standout feature as well, as few language learning applications offer them. Overall, we consider Babbel to be an effective and economical language learning app for individuals looking to learn a single language. 

    Pros
    • Effective at teaching new languages
    • Mobile optimized
    • Curriculum tailored to expertise and time commitment
    Cons
    • No free version
    • Each new language requires a new subscription
  • 3
    Lingopie

    Lingopie

    very good
    8.7
    • Best forLanguage learning through TV shows and movies.
    • Base price$5.40/month
    • Free version7-day free trial

    LingoPie offers an easy way to learn through immersion by giving you unlimited access to thousands of hours of native video content, both TV shows and movies. These come with clickable subtitles to help you follow the meaning, which you can then turn into flashcards to review later. Putting the language in context makes it easier to memorize. And, if you enjoy watching TV and movies on streaming services anyway, LingoPie helps you turn your everyday hobby into a fun learning experience. 

    Although it’s only available in 6 languages so far, you’re sure to find content on the platform that keeps you coming back for more. You can also search LingoPie’s directory of tutors if you want to get further 1:1 support. And if you are learning as a family or group of friends, the Family Annual Subscription Plan lets you buy a bundle of 4 accounts. If you’re learning one of the 6 included languages, LingoPie is a great way to go about it.

    Pros
    • Learn via real TV shows and films
    • Review vocabulary in context
    • 7-day free trial
    Cons
    • Limited to 6 languages
    • Free trial requires card verification
  • 4
    Mondly

    Mondly

    very good
    8.6
    • Best forBeginners and busy language learners
    • Base price$4.00/month
    • Free versionYes

    Mondly is a fun and motivating way to learn a new language. With lots of language options available, it’s likely you’ll be able to use this app to help you make progress in your target language. Content is delivered in bite-sized chunks learned through gameplay. You can take a daily lesson for free, or subscribe for further modules, including business and travel phrases. 

    Mondly also helps you practice conversations through interactions with a chatbot. 

    If you’re looking for longer, more challenging material, Mondly might not have enough content for you. In that case, it might work well as a recap tool in combination with other apps. However, if you’re a busy language learner wanting a short burst of daily study, Mondly could be the tool for you. 

    Pros
    • Free tier
    • 41 languages, with instruction available in 33 languages
    • Feels like a game
    Cons
    • Free content is limited
    • Doesn’t include more challenging material
  • 5
    Udemy

    Udemy

    excellent
    9.1
    • Best forFree classes
    • Base priceVaries by class
    • Free versionYes

    With more than 175,000 courses and more than 60,000 instructors, online marketplace Udemy allows students to take lectures in audio, video, and text formats across a range of subjects, including language learning.

    For many customers, Udemy’s flexibility will be its major selling point, with its business model enabling you to purchase courses on an ad-hoc basis without the need to commit to an expensive monthly subscription. As well as offering a number of free courses, the platform allows you to view free sample lectures on any paid courses and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. We were also impressed by its gifting facility, which enables you to give your friends, family, or colleagues a language learning course as a present. 

    When it comes to pricing, it’s certainly possible to find a bargain on the site, with its business model operating as a marketplace that frequently offers courses at massively discounted prices. That said, the company isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau Bureau and has a poor rating from reviewers on Trustpilot.

    Overall, Udemy does have a great deal in its favor and you would have nothing to lose by taking a free course or viewing a sample lesson on a paid course to get a taste of what it has to offer.

    Pros
    • Free and paid courses available
    • 30-day refund policy
    • Full-service app
    Cons
    • Not accredited by the Better Business Bureau
    • Phone support not available
  • 6
    Rocket Languages

    Rocket Languages

    very good
    8.8
    • Best forUsers who want to learn language and culture
    • Base price$149.95
    • Free versionYes

    Rocket Languages uses immersive and interactive techniques to help learners become conversational faster. It has a pleasant and easy-to-use interface, and its program style includes audio lessons, short videos, visual displays, and text-based tools for comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. In addition, its cultural studies and situational dialogues improve the student’s understanding of the language and local culture. Features such as Rocket Reinforcement and Rocket Record for memorization and pronunciation purposes, are also quite useful.

    Unlike its competitors, Rocket Languages offers fewer language choices, and it can be more expensive. Nevertheless, its payment plans give learners lifetime access to the language they have subscribed to, and they can pay for each of the 3 levels separately. The various language modules also come with bonus survival kits containing additional vocabulary lessons. Ultimately, its travelogues, downloadable lessons, and immersive features make Rocket Languages a good language-learning option for beginners to advanced students.

    Pros
    • Immersion in language and culture
    • 24/7 lifetime access to lessons for paid members
    • 30+ advanced learning techniques to boost proficiency
    Cons
    • Fewer languages available than in other language platforms
    • More expensive than other online language-learning programs
  • 7
    Rosetta Stone

    Rosetta Stone

    very good
    8.6
    • Best forBuilding language skills gradually
    • Base price$7.99/mo for 12-month subscription
    • Free version3-day free trial

    Rosetta Stone can be a one-stop-shop for language learners as it enables you to build reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in a gradual, naturalistic way. You will learn vocabulary and grammar through immersion in conversations and stories, while audio-visual cues support the formation of long-term memory. You can also download audio lessons, improve your accent and pronunciation through speech recognition, and connect with a tutor for live lessons. 

    Although it is one of the pricier options out there, if the learning style suits you, Rosetta Stone could be worth the investment to make quick progress in your target language. And if you’re a particularly keen language learner, you can study multiple languages with the unlimited option.  

    Pros
    • Helps you improve your accent
    • Experience real-world conversations
    • Personalized learning plan
    Cons
    • Pricier than some other language tools
    • Doesn’t assess your progress
  • 8
    Lingoda

    Lingoda

    very good
    8.6
    • Best forLearning 24/7
    • Base price$56-$4800 per month
    • Free version7-day trial

    Founded in 2013 and providing more than 550,000 classes per year, Lingoda is a well-established name within the language learning industry. By becoming a member, you can join 1-to-1 or group lessons 24 hours a day, which are delivered by fully qualified native speakers. Another plus is that the company offers a number of generous cashback schemes that enable you to earn fee reductions of up to £1100 if you attend at least 90% of your lessons. 

    If customer service is a top priority, you may also feel that Lingoda has a great deal to offer. As well as having an excellent rating on Trustpilot, the company provided us with excellent customer support during our email exchanges. And although its prices may initially seem high if you’re paying for your lessons in bulk, its individual price per lesson is, in fact, extremely competitive for this type of service.

    If you’re still uncertain whether Lingoda is right for you, it’s worthwhile taking out a 7-day free trial to get a flavor of its service. 

    Pros
    • 24/7 classes
    • 7-day free trial
    • Up to $1100 cashback on fees
    Cons
    • Homework corrections not available
    • Relatively few languages taught
  • 9
    Skillshare

    Skillshare

    very good
    8.7
    • Best forOn-the-go video courses
    • Base price$167.88/year
    • Free versionLimited free trial

    Skillshare is a video-learning platform that houses a vast library of short courses on a range of topics, from art to marketing. It also has language courses, each of variable length, but mostly containing several hours’ worth of video material plus downloadable resources and tasks to complete. It’s ideal for those who want to learn on the go, as you can take the classes whenever you want, wherever you are. 

    On the other hand, Skillshare’s membership isn’t cheap, and you may need to use other language learning tools in addition to the videos if you want to make significant progress. Therefore, Skillshare membership makes most sense if you want to learn a few different topics. 

    Pros
    • Take lessons anytime, anywhere
    • Mix and match short courses
    • Scholarships give free membership to those who qualify
    Cons
    • Not specifically focused on language learning
    • Need to buy membership
  • 10
    Memrise

    Memrise

    very good
    8.7
    • Best forLearning relevant everyday language skills
    • Base priceFree to $119
    • Free versionYes

    If you’re looking for immersive language learning with a flexible approach, Memrise could be an ideal solution. As well as providing free content in 23 languages, it offers unlimited access to all its material through paid plans, which allow you to subscribe on a monthly, annual, or lifetime basis.

    When you sign up, you’ll learn via flashcards that feature more than 50,000 videos of native speakers and focus on scenarios relevant to everyday life. When we tried a beginner’s lesson in German, we enjoyed the session and could see how this mode of learning would fit into a busy schedule.

    While many users may find its free content is more than enough to provide a flavor of the language, those seeking a higher level of proficiency may need to upgrade to a paid plan to thoroughly progress their learning. In addition to being more affordable than many similar services, monthly plans are currently available at a 10% discount for those who subscribe through Top10.com.

    Although Memrise doesn’t offer live lessons, this may not be a deal-breaker for many learners thanks to its active online community, who can host study groups and create non-official study material.

    Pros
    • More than 50,000 videos of native speakers
    • 10% discount on monthly paid plans
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    Cons
    • Phone support not available
    • No live teaching

Why use language learning tools?

In the past, language learners were restricted to a few scant resources. From heavy dictionaries to dense grammar books, they were difficult to use on the go. And while in-person classes and courses still have a lot of value for learners, they can be expensive and a big time commitment. By contrast, digital language learning tools give you the opportunity to study at any time, and costs are usually much lower (or even free). 

They can also bring learning to life, with multimedia resources that can make memorization and language practice much more stimulating. Many language learning tools use techniques rooted in neuroscience and educational research to ensure you’re getting the best results. There are even tools that can connect you with other learners or native speakers, making language learning less of a solitary pursuit. Even if you’re not able to visit a country where your target language is spoken, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to engage with authentic material and practice the key skills. 

What types of language learning tools are there? 

When it comes to language learning apps, you’re spoiled for choice. Many apps focus on vocabulary acquisition and memorization, but how they approach this will depend on the software. Some go for a spaced repetition approach, similar to flashcards. These will help you embed vocabulary by cycling the words you’ve learned so you’re exposed to them frequently over a period of time. Others will integrate vocabulary into short phrases, sentences, or even stories, so you’re getting used to the words in context. Many apps also use game-like features to encourage you to “level up” through repeated practice. 

Other apps focus on helping you navigate written or recorded audio material. Sometimes they may be presented together to help you improve your reading skills. Other tools may integrate vocabulary learning to make encountering an unfamiliar text less intimidating. There are even some solutions out there to help you watch TV shows and movies in your target language with the help of subtitles. 

When it comes to speaking, there are a number of tools that encourage you to start. This can be through repeating audio material or conducting fake conversations. Some apps even have voice recognition features that will assess your pronunciation. 

If you’re keen to work on your speaking and listening skills in a more natural context, there are a number of language learning tools that connect you with a virtual teacher, often a native speaker. This might be the whole focus of the tool, or it can be offered in conjunction with other features. Language lessons could come in the form of 1:1 conversation sessions or structured classes, which obviously make sure the focus is on you and your needs. 

Alternatively, some apps can connect you with other learners for group lessons, which can help you learn from others’ mistakes. There are also a number of apps that can connect you with people from around the world for language exchanges, which are less formal than lessons and won’t normally cost anything. 

How to choose the best language learning tool 

The first thing to think about when choosing a language learning tool is your budget. There are some totally free tools out there, and lots of them also have premium add-ons if you have a bit more cash to spare. Lessons with virtual teachers can be on the pricier side, but you may be able to vary the frequency of your lessons or choose a group learning option to cut the cost if needed. 

You’ll also need to look into whether your chosen tool actually covers your target language, especially if you’re learning something unusual. If it does, check what level the materials are aimed at. If you’re a total beginner, a tool that offers native-level content might not be the right choice. Conversely, an app that only covers the absolute basics might help at the start, but if there’s no room for progression you might not get as much value from the tool. Some apps let you add your own material, which can help you tailor the content to your own interests, something that might give you added motivation once you get past the basics. 

Selecting the particular skill you want to focus on can also guide you in choosing a tool. Perhaps you need to hone your reading, listening, writing, or speaking skills in particular. Or maybe you need to cover all four. Building a suite of tools can help you develop your language more holistically. 

Finally, think about the context in which you want to learn. Apps that rely on speaking out loud might be great if you’re studying in your own room, but for learning a language on the go, a bite-sized vocabulary trainer might be more suitable. Similarly, if you have time to commit to a pre-booked virtual lesson or language exchange, these can be a great way to uplevel your speaking and listening. But if you’ve got a tight schedule, you might want to start with an app with smaller chunks of content. Or, go for one that lets you follow your regular hobbies and interests (movies, blog posts, or music) in your target language. 

FAQs

When Should You Use Language Learning Software?

You can use language learning software from day 1 of your language learning project. Apps can help you build your vocabulary, start putting together sentences, and connect with native speakers. Using these tools on a regular basis can help you reach fluency faster. 

How Much Does Language Learning Software Cost?

The cost of language learning software depends on the tool you choose. Some language learning platforms are totally free or operate a ‘freemium’ model whereby you pay for upgrades and add-ons. Others will have a subscription cost or one-off fee. 

What Does Language Learning Software Do?

Language learning software can help you get to grips with the key skills of language mastery. Digital tools can help you learn vocabulary and grammar, build sentences, develop your reading, writing, and listening skills, or connect with virtual teachers.

Catherine Miller
Catherine Miller is a lead member of personal finance and pension innovator Maji, where’s she’s responsible for content creation and running Maji’s personal finance masterclass, among others. Miller also holds degrees in English and education, and worked as a teacher before moving into finance. Today, she combines aspects of education and personal finance to help readers make better decisions in finance and beyond.