Today’s kids are growing up in a multicultural global society unlike any other. Learning to speak multiple languages is a real benefit, and the younger you start, the better. These world language learning apps provide options for students from pre-K through high school (and beyond), in the classroom or at home. Whatever language you want to learn to speak, there’s an app for that!
If you don’t want to waste any time introducing your little one to multiple languages, Little Pim is the app for you! Kids learn basic vocabulary through short videos, with no reading necessary. Little Pim the panda will teach them 360 words and phrases in 12 languages, including Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish. Parents and teachers can download companion guides to get the most out of every language.
Details: Ages 0-6. $9.99 a month or $69.99 a year. Available for iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon FireTV, Apple TV, and Android TV.
Peg and Pog (and their cute cat Cosmo) are touring the world, discovering languages along the way. They journey to different scenes and learn vocabulary as they explore them, from their own bedroom and the grocery store to underwater and outer space adventures! Kids interact with the scenes and characters by tapping to experience sounds, words, and animation. There are free printables like coloring pages and support exercises to accompany these language learning apps, which is a cool perk.
Details: Ages 3-5. Peg and Porg app is $3.99 and includes French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin. Individual apps are available for each language, $2.99 each. Available for iOS, Android, and Kindle.
Meet Gus, a world-traveling owl with a love of languages! He’s here to introduce the early learning crowd to a variety of languages from around the world. Gus on the Go is a series of language learning apps, sold separately, one for each of 30 languages (at last count). Each one contains 10 lessons with basic vocabulary words, using interactive games to help little ones learn. The language selection is wide, from the usual Spanish and French to Hebrew, Armenian, Hindi, and more.
Details: Ages 3-7. Individual language apps are $3.99 each. Available for iOS, Android, and Kindle.
Drops (owned by teacher-favorite Kahoot!) is one of the more popular language learning apps for adults, and Droplets is their specialized offering with kids in mind. Both apps focus on brief (5 minutes or less) lessons or games, so you can make progress in just minutes a day. There’s lots of emphasis on visual learning, too. 37+ languages are included as separate courses in the same app.
Details: Droplets was designed for ages 8-17, and Drops is appropriate for those ages too. The free plans allow five minutes of game play every 10 hours. Premium pricing starts as low as $5 a month (billed yearly) and includes no ads, unlimited play, and additional features. School license discounts are available. Available for iOS, Android, and web.
Duolingo set out to be the premier free language learning app, and they’ve certainly kept their promises. The free version has very few limitations, though you will see ads. Duolingo keeps their lessons brief and effective, and they have dozens of languages available with new ones always on the way. The app uses “streaks” to keep the motivation factor high, which is a nice touch. Duolingo for Schools is also free, and provides ways for teachers to track and review their students’ progress. Parents and teachers can set age restrictions to tailor vocabulary to be age-appropriate too.
Details: Account holders must be 13+, but parents can set up accounts for kids, who will do best if they have some reading skills. Duolingo Plus removes ads and provides offline access for $12.99 a month. Available for iOS and Android.
RosettaStone has been around for quite some time, and now offers their courses as language learning apps. Their immersion method has been a popular choice since its inception, and the apps continue that success story. Parents and teachers can track and monitor student progress, and features are available both online and offline, including audio-only lessons.
Details: Ages 6+, with basic reading skills. Individual languages are $36 for three months, or buy an annual subscription that includes all languages starting at $7.99 a month (billed annually). Available for iOS, Android, and web.
Babbel’s focus is on conversational languages, and their app covers about a dozen of them, including Spanish, Danish, and Polish. Progressive lessons build skills as you advance, using an immersion-style learning process. Speech-recognition tools listen and correct pronunciation as needed. The new Babbel Live program allows you to take live language classes tailored toward your needs, like German Travel or French for Dining.
Details: Ages 12+, Babbel Live Classes 16+. Subscriptions start at $6.95 monthly (billed annually) and include all languages. Babbel Live classes start at $15 per class. Available for iOS, Android, and web.
Pimsleur has the feel of a more traditional language class, delivered via app. Individual languages (50+) are available, including unique choices like Ojibwe and Icelandic. The program uses the Pimsleur method, with a focus on memory, context, and vocabulary. It’s ideal for a homeschool setting, or students who want to learn a language not offered at their school.
Details: Ages 13+. Course prices vary, with some offered by the lesson and others as a monthly subscription. Available for iOS, Android, and web.
As you might guess from the name, MemRise concentrates on memorization techniques to build vocabulary. This can be great for students who need some extra practice, but is unlikely to build fluency on its own. Some courses are user-built, and may vary in quality. You can try out any course for free, but you’ll need a paid subscription (which includes all available languages) to get access to all the activities and exercises.
Details: Ages 12+. Premium version starts at $7.50 a month, billed annually. Available for iOS, Android, and web.
Liria is truly unique among language learning apps, and bound to be a hit with teens! It’s easy to memorize song lyrics, even in other languages, but do you know what they mean? Lirica is here to help! The app teaches Spanish and German (as well as English) one hit song at a time, expanding on the lyrics to help you learn grammar and vocabulary. Spanish teachers will love using this one with their classes!
Details: Ages 12+. Premium subscriptions available for $7.99 a month or $24.99 a year. Available for iOS and Android.
Language Learning with Netflix is actually a Chrome extension. When you add it to your browser and log into Netflix, the extension recommends shows and movies that work well with its language learning features. Then, you can change the type of subtitles you see, pause them, and click to see a dictionary entry or save a word. It’s an interesting and free option worth giving a try if you’re already a Netflix subscriber.
What are your favorite world language learning apps? Come share on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE on Facebook!
Looking for more? Try these 5 Ways to Keep World Language Learners Engaged at Home.