arrow-down arrow-to-left arrow-to-right arrow-up bc-left check delete download facebook google-plus home map menu print search smiling three-lines top-left twitter youtube
July 2016

5 Language Learning Apps and Websites for 2016

Free language learning apps and websites that you should check out

Remember Livemocha? It was dubbed the “Rosetta Stone killer” with its similar interface and robust social element. That is, of course, until Rosetta Stone bought it and absorbed it into its own offering. Needless to say, this has no doubt improved the Rosetta Stone software to become one much more robust and community oriented. However, the Livemocha service as a free tool no longer exists. So what are the other options for monetarily constrained language learners in 2016? Here is a list of useful (and free) language learning apps and websites that you ought to check out.


Duolingo has been a favorite of language learners since its inception. And it’s only gotten better since, now offering a slew of new languages previously unavailable. It’s simple to use, the lessons are “gamified” (meaning you earn points for each completed lesson, much like a game), and it’s easy to use everyday as lessons are presented in manageable chunks. And because Duolingo works on mobile devices, it’s easy to go through your language lessons while commuting to work, so long as you’re not the one driving.

Conversation Exchange

Conversation Exchange may not be the most beautiful of sites, but its usefulness cannot be overemphasised. The site is essentially a social exchange. Users meet native speakers of their target languages who have an interest in learning the native language of the other. So, for example, an English student of German would pair with a German student of English. Conversations can occur within the site itself, or, more commonly, they can be ported over to Skype, Google Hangouts, Gmail, or whichever platform the students most prefer. The emphasis of the site is learning, and there isn’t even an opportunity to upload your own photo, making it much less likely that you’ll be approached by creeps looking for a date.


Memrise has been popular with language learners for some time, and it continues to remain a strong alternative to paid language lessons. The multimedia flashcard service is actually suitable for learning whatever you want, however the site already provides a deep trove of language courses so you won't have to create your own. That lessons are more specific than those of other apps means that intermediate and advanced learners can easily focus on subjects that they need to work on. Available for iOS and Android devices, it’s easy to use while on the road. Additionally, you can challenge your friends while learning to make the experience more fun.


While busuu offers paid premium versions of its language courses, the free offerings cover a good amount for the beginning student including flashcards, writing exercises, and corrections from native speakers. Like the now-defunct Livemocha, busuu is a vibrant language learning community, meaning you may make a few friends on your path to fluency. Like Duolingo, busuu is available for the iPhone and Android, as well as on the web.

Google Translate

Okay, this one may seem like a strange addition, but for those who have surpassed the levels offered by the other platforms (or find it too time consuming to go through the lessons), pairing Google Translate with any text found online can be an ideal way to learn. For example, pairing Google Translate with current news articles from an online news source in your target language provides language learning material that is not only free, but useful for learning current events about the ongoings in your target language’s country. The side-by-side view of Google Translate is reminiscent of a dual language book, where one side displays the foreign text and the other side features the translation in your native language. Reading the translated text of newspaper articles is a great way to learn a lot of new words and phrases in a short amount of time.

What are your favorite free apps and websites for learning and improving your fluency in a foreign language? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more language learning articles!

Picture: (c) dunadicarta, Fotolia