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July 2017

Best Apps for Language Learning for People With No Time

Best language apps for people who don’t have time to study

It’s often hard to find time in our already busy lives to study a new language. The language learning process can seem like an endless one, and truly there is no end to how much one can learn. This path can be daunting to many, making it easy to eschew studying altogether. Truth is, a little bit of studying each day is better than none. Books can seem tiring and many software lessons feature long lessons. There are, however, fun apps out there that encourage short study sessions. Today we’ll look at the five best apps for learning a new language for people with little time.


Duolingo remains one of the best language learning apps, especially since it covers so many languages and offers so much without subscribing. It’s a simple app that makes language learning fun and quick. It feels like a game and lessons are well paced. If you’re an intermediate or more advanced learner, you skip the beginner lessons through a test and start at a later level. The only downside might be for those who are approaching fluency but need something even more advanced for learning efficiently.


Lessons span 10 to 15 minutes with Babbel, an inexpensive app that provides lessons focused on improving conversation. For those looking to learn a new language before traveling, Babbel is an excellent choice, especially since it also helps learners improve their pronunciation. Babbel lessons may be a bit more challenging for some than those on other apps, so if you prefer to push yourself a little more, Babbel might be the way to go. For those who like a more guided approach (or are looking for something completely free), they may want to try other options.


Pronounced “link”, LingQ is based on linguist Steve Kaufmann's method of language learning using the Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis. Learning is fast and entertaining as you acquire your target language by reading and consuming real-world media. This is highly useful for those approaching fluency, as lessons can be structured around current news articles of the day from actual newspapers from the target language’s country. To dive deeper into LingQ, however, a subscription must be purchased.


Anki is a flashcard software that also has a mobile app called AnkiApp. Flashcards are often very boring, however Anki utilises spaced repetition to aid learning. But when it comes to making flashcards effective for quick learning sessions, it’s really in the student's’ hands. Ideally, create flashcard sets of no more than 30 words, otherwise you run the risk of making long study sessions. The idea is to make studying accessible and not too demanding that you’ll come back to learning every day. While Anki for the computer is free, the smartphone app requires a one-time download fee.


With podcasts you can choose the length of what you want to listen to. Keep a dictionary app open to look up words you don’t know. Podcasts benefit advanced learners who would otherwise find the above apps inefficient or tiresome, as they’ve already mastered many of the basics to the point that paying for an app isn’t necessary. Podcasts are also great because they improve listening comprehension much better than any of the above methods, however you should probably find a friend to speak with to improve your conversation skills. Check your phone’s podcast library for language learning or news segments.

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