Rosetta Stone is still the leading language learning software for non-mobile devices, but surprisingly things get a bit more even when comparing their mobile companion software to current ITunes apps. There are a lot of good choices when it comes to language learning on the go, and they’ve developed a lot more than flash card exercises.
This free app offers courses in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English. Like most apps of this type the way it teaches is through repetition. What makes it different is that it turns the learning process into a mini RPG (Role Playing Game) where completing learning tasks earns you experience and lingots (in-game currency) in order to progress further into harder levels. They even managed to throw in an option to challenge a friend head to head. Lazy users are punished by automatic skill level drops, forcing a very intuitive way to stay on top of learning.
Bussu was iTunes app of the year in 2014, and has a user base of over 50 million. To be clear, it’s the Rosetta Stone of the mobile world when it comes to language. It supports English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, and Turkish. This is the most involved app on the list, incorporating tests, goals, pop quizzes, and even consultation with native speakers. The original download is free, but monthly subscription cost to get premium content can range anywhere from $10.00 a month to $64.99 yearly.
This is one of the more interesting apps on the list, as a free download and only requiring you to create a user/pass combo. It supports over 120 languages, so is easily the best on the list as far as languages available. The website Lang-8 is a good way to gauge whether this app will be for you, as that is pretty much where the content is being pulled from. Like Busuu, it allows you to contact native speakers and upload audio files and pictures to correct your pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. The strength of HiNative is also its weakness, as there really isn’t a great structured learning program included, and it relies heavily on community interaction for learning. Another drawback is that it also incorporates a premium feature that costs $7 a month or $63 yearly. Regardless, this is still an incredible website and community for language learning.
Brainscape can be used for more than language learning, as this is a free app that uses cognitive science through a smart flash card system to teach you anything that you throw at it. The app goes together with the website, and very well at that. The user can select one of the premade sets from Brainscape, or make their own set to be quizzed with. This smart flashcard technology is so advanced it’s used in some schools, and is a very proven method. If using a premade set it can be free or cost up to $29.99, depending what you choose.
The most marketed immersion system on the list is from this app, where both its desktop and mobile components meet as one. The language list is too diverse to go through, and the app itself is free and offers the first lesson of any language for free. After that languages can be purchased for $199, and include speech recognition technology, automatic syncing, and convenient IAP of additional languages.