The English language is spoken by over 1.5 billion people in the world ー about 20% of the world’s population. However only 24% of those English speakers consider it to be their first language. English is known to be one of the most difficult languages to learn, but thanks to advancements in technology, learning it can be easy and fun! Here’s a list of 5 apps that will get you well on your way to becoming a fluent English speaker.
If you’ve ever expressed interest in learning a new language, you’ve likely heard of Rosetta Stone. Available through its website, iOS and Android platforms, Rosetta Stone is probably the most popular language learning method. It takes a unique approach to learning a foreign language. While you would typically have access to translations and explanations in your native language, Rosetta Stone eliminates all use of your native language and completely immerses you in the language that you are trying to learn. It starts you off with basic words learned through pictures, and progresses to phrases and sentences as your proficiency increases.
Price: Pricing starts at $6.99 a month.
FluentU is also unique in its teaching method. Instead of simply learning and memorizing individual words, it takes popular commercials, music videos, talk shows, and news segments, and transforms them into learning tools. All videos are accompanied by interactive captions that allow you to click on each word, read the definition, and learn how to put it into context with other words for a more natural learning experience. FluentU’s goal is not only to teach a language, but to ease the learner into that language’s culture and everyday usage. As you progress, you will be recommended readings and videos based on what you’ve already learned for extra practice.
Price: Choose between $240 annual payments or $30 monthly payments.
DuoLingo is structured to help you learn a language quickly. It is recommended that you use DuoLingo for only 20-30 minutes each day, as a technique that is less stressful than hours of learning a foreign language in a classroom setting. Each lesson will teach you a few words that are all based on a specific topic. In order to move on to the next level, you will have to complete and pass a series of exercises such as repeating phrases or matching words and pictures. As you learn, DuoLingo will keep track of the areas of English you are struggling in, and design customized lessons and exercises to help you improve. As a plus, DuoLingo offers the DuoLingo English Test, an affordable language certification option that is accepted by over 2,000 universities.
Price: Completely free! You can upgrade to DuoLingo Plus for $6.99 a month.
If you want a fun and interactive way to learn English, Memrise may be the tool for you. Memrise uses humor as a method of teaching a foreign language. Their philosophy is that if something is funny, you are more likely to remember it. The website offers over twenty pages of courses that range in difficulty level. The unique part about Memrise is that the courses are designed by users instead of certified language teachers. This provides a more relatable experience, as learners are able to exchange helpful advice with each other.
Price: Memrise offers several resources for free. You can upgrade to their premium plan, Memrise Pro, starting at $6.67 a month.
Similar to FluentU, Babbel is designed to teach you real-life conversational English that you will use every day. In addition to learning usage and definitions, Babbel has the capability to listen to you speak, and make corrections to refine your pronunciation and accent. After learning the basics, you will be allowed to choose courses that are specifically catered to your interests, hobbies, and profession. This ensures that the things you are learning will not only stay in your long-term memory, but will also provide you with the ability to effectively interact with the people in your life.
Price: Some courses are available to test out for free. Full access to all of Babbel’s courses and resources start at $6.95 a month.
Many of these websites and apps have free trials and basic versions that allow you to try them out before you spend your money. If you find that you aren’t enjoying one, try another one! There are so many options out there that are suitable for every type of learner. Whichever tool you choose, be sure to put in the time and effort, and have a little patience with yourself to see the best results.