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January 2020

Premium Language Learning Apps for Serious Students

Effective apps for learning a new language

Language students are very lucky to live in this age of smartphones and free language learning apps. But sometimes free doesn’t take you as far as you’d like. Many apps, including those you can start off with at no cost, usually offer premium subscriptions that provide even more language learning tools. For serious students of languages, these premium resources are worth exploring.


Mondly is a premium language app that offers something for everyone: Its mondlyWORKS is tailored to business professionals while mondlyKIDS is designed for young learners. Lessons use the latest in current technology, implementing virtual reality for role playing and augmented reality for exploring your surroundings in your target language.

The Mondly learning process focuses on phrases rather than individual words. Included are also lessons with native speakers, and the use of smart repetition to remember what you learned. The app currently offers 33 languages, and the software runs on iOS, Android, and web browsers. With such a robust offering, Mondly has been recognized as a Google Play Editors' Choice app, the Facebook FbStart 2017 App of the Year, and the App Store Best New App of 2016.

Language Zen

Language Zen is the so-called first language platform that adapts to students. The app uses artificial intelligence to tailor lessons to your interests and needs. There’s also an option to learn through music. A user can supposedly learn an entire semester of a college-level language course in just 25 hours.

Unfortunately, Language Zen currently offers only Spanish (Latin America) for English speakers. English for Spanish speakers will soon arrive, and they are working on more languages. Interested parties can opt to be notified when one of 15 other languages is available.

HelloTalk VIP

HelloTalk teaches languages as its name implies: through talking. Speak with native speakers in over 150 languages. The chat interface should be easy to use for anyone familiar with using common messaging programs. VIP status adds additional features like multi-language learning, increased exposure, and advanced search customization for finding local language partners.

As the app is all about chatting with others, it must have a big community for it to be useful. Thankfully, the user base includes more than 15+ million people worldwide, so you're bound to find someone with whom you can chat.


Founded in 2007, Babbel has risen to become one of the most popular language learning apps in the world. Over 100 linguists helped develop the app, and it's now used by millions of people worldwide.

A paid subscription offers lifetime access to all 14 languages, personalized review sessions, an offline mode for learning without an internet connection, and more. Babbel has many forms of lessons. The platform features over 10,000 hours of educational material.


If you prefer to learn by speaking with native speakers, uTalk may be for you. The app features recordings made by professional voice artists native to your target language. Speaking exercises help improve pronunciation through the use of recordings that students can later compare with those of native speakers.

The app is great for non-English speakers, as it’s localized to the student’s native language. Over 140 languages are offered, including a wide variety of specific dialects (seven forms of English alone). A user base of over 30 million language learners supports uTalk.

In the end, the best app is the one that works with your preferred language style and budget. While some of these premium apps offer lifetime subscriptions at high price tags, they’re all still substantially cheaper than many classroom offerings.

What is your favorite premium language learning software? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” telc English for more articles on language learning advice!