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The Top 10 Best Language Learning Tools 2023

Catherine Miller
Language Learning charticle

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
Rosetta Stone
Rocket Languages
Best for
Students looking to learn 1 language on a budget
Diligent learners who benefit from routine
Building language skills gradually
Beginners and busy language learners
Students who want to learn through entertainment
1:1 or group online language tuition
Learning 24/7
Users who want to learn language and culture
Free classes
Base price
Subscriptions: $14.95-$20.95 per month
$7.99/mo for 12-month subscription
$5.99/mo - $12/mo
$56-$4800 per month
Varies by class
Free, or from $39/month
Free version
Free 7-day trial Free 30-minute lesson
3-day free trial
7-day free trial, Free weekly live lessons
7-day trial
Languages available
English, Chinese, Korean, French, Russian, Spanish, Brazilian, Portuguese
Style of program
Audio, video, live video
Reading/conversational lessons; Audio-only; CD; Desktop/mobile app; MP3
Desktop and mobile software with audio-visual material
Audio-visual app
TV shows, movies, live lessons, podcasts, music, reading, conversation
Live lesson and learning materials
Live online lessons
Interactive audio, videos, visual, text-based
Video lectures Audio lectures Text lectures
Multimedia self-study
Mobile app
Yes: iOS and Android

A Closer Look at Our Top 10 Best Language Learning Tools

  • 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. 

    • Effective at teaching new languages
    • Mobile optimized
    • Curriculum tailored to expertise and time commitment
    • No free version
    • Each new language requires a new subscription
  • 2


    • 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.

    • Free 7-day trial available
    • 51 languages covered
    • Mobile app available
    • Not accredited by the Better Business Bureau
    • Difficult-to-find pricing information
  • 3
    Rosetta Stone

    Rosetta Stone

    very good
    • 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.  

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

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. 


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. Miller also holds degrees in English and education, and worked as a teacher before moving into writing about finance for Today, she combines aspects of education and personal finance to help readers make better decisions in finance and beyond.