Are Language Apps Effective?

Language can serve as the gateway to different societies and cultures

Learning a language has the ability to enhance your travel experience, personal ambitions, and career goals.

Are you looking for a way to completely immerse yourself in a new culture by learning the local language?

Language apps have been on the rise in recent years as popular apps are said to be revolutionizing language learning across the globe. Millions of people are turning to language learning apps for a hands-on solution and the convenience of being able to learn a language from anywhere at any time.

In the United States alone, more people are learning languages through the mobile language app Duolingo, than in the public school system. They reported having more than 57.8 million users are currently registered in the language learning process.

Their rise in popularity has people everywhere are wondering, just how effective are these applications in teaching a new language and can you really learn a new language by using one of these apps?

How Mobile Language Apps Work

The Conversation website reports that most people use language learnings apps based on personal interests, travel or for their career goals.

It’s no secret that most people complain about the traditional ways of language learning, such as studying grammar and textbooks.

People are now seeking a more of a communicative approach, the ability to be able to ask questions and hold conversations in their targeted language.

Each learning language app works a little differently but mostly teaches through an interactive method, with a large focus on reinforcement and repetition.

They tend to prioritize communication over structure, with an emphasis on pronunciation. It’s one thing to say a sentence grammatically correct, but what’s the point if the native speaker can’t understand your pronunciation?

The Best Learning Language Apps

It seems that language apps are popping up everywhere recently, and it’s easy to see that this trend of language learning is on the rise. Here are some of the best learning language apps on the market today:


Duolingo has led the pack with over 100 million users worldwide, with its interactive and easy to use interface. Duolingo courses are known to promote a sense of community and makes you feel as if you aren’t learning a language alone.

You have the opportunity to learn 30+ languages, which is something other language learning apps may not offer. They boost users’ language learning experience with rewards and daily reminders.


Memrise is quickly catching up as a fast-growing language platform with over 35 million users. They provide courses that use flashcards and repetition. They use user-generated content and target 16 different languages.


Babbel is a subscription-based application with a strong emphasis on academic learning practices and time-tested strategies. They offer 14 different languages with the promise to deliver the shortest path to real-life conversations in your target language.

They also offer a subscription service for businesses, to provide companies with an efficient and effective way to get their employees on board with the language learning process.

How Effective Are Language Apps?

Language learning apps can serve as a supplement when learning a language, but shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute.

In other words, they can provide you with an introduction to the language. With language apps, you have the opportunity to learn new vocabulary, phrases, and basic to intermediate conversational skills.

Shawn Loewen,  a director of the Second Language Studies program at Michigan State University states that “Despite the fact that millions globally are already using language learning apps, there is a lack of published research on their impact on speaking skills. There are virtually no other studies that have investigated mobile language learning apps in a quasi-experimental way. Therefore, this robust and methodologically rigorous study makes an important contribution to the field.”

To become more fluent in a language, it’s best to:

  • watch videos
  • study grammar
  • take language classes
  • or live abroad for a bit of time
  • in addition to using language learning apps.

➤ These apps are a great way to enjoy the process of language learning ➤ through fun games and competitions and are only getting better with time.

➤ While they can certainly provide a good head start into your target language ➤ more work from outside resources are required to really acquire a good grasp of that language.

Do you think language apps are an effective way to learn a new language? Which one is your favorite? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below! ↴

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