2021 is finally here! The start of a new year usually means a lot of people are Gung-ho to try something new or work harder to reach their goals. This year, my personal goal is to get my B1 German Language Certificate. Over the years of my German learning experience, I’ve tried many ways to improve my language skills and some ways are better than others. If you are also hoping to improve or learn a language in 2021, then keep reading for the best Apps try!
I really commend people who have learned languages the “old fashioned way” with books, going to in-person classes and travelling. Thanks to the dumpster fire that was 2020, the mobile world has proved that it can successfully help people learn languages without having to leave the house and actually get on a plane. I know that a lot of people talk about apps like Duolingo or Babbel, so I wanted to share other favourites of mine that I’ve used. I find that it’s nice to have options on what apps I use when practicing my German so it doesn’t get too boring. There are lots of options out there, all with their pros and cons, but these are my 4 favourites!
If you have a favourite language learning app, please share in the comments below!
Lingoda is essentially a virtual language learning classroom and probably your best option if you’re wanting to learn a language thoroughly. While they only offer courses in English, German, Spanish, and French, each language will take you up to the C1 language level.
While a lot of mobile language apps can be used free of charge, Lingoda is a paid subscription-based language program. It’s one of the pricier options out there, but as I said, it’s the best option for proper language immersion. Monthly subscriptions range from €56 to €720, which would be the equivalent of $1100 CAD. You are, however, getting taught a proper curriculum by a teacher. After completing each language level, you will also received a Cambridge certified language certificate.
They also offer their Sprint or Marathon Challenges where you sign up for a certain number of months to complete a certain number of classes. These Challenges do roll into a subscription (which I’m not a fan of), so you have to cancel before you finish your challenge or you’ll be billed for another month after the fact.
One of my favourite feature of Lingoda, is that classes are available 24/7. As a parent, I really only had a 2 or 3 hour time window where I was able to take classes. I had no problems completing a my A2 German course regardless of this.
Busuu is another language learning platform that I’ve only just discovered in 2020 and they have a free as well as premium member option for users. As far as language selection, they include German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turisk, and Arabic. It’s quite a decent selection that I’m sure will grow, but not every language course will take you as far.
This App, which can be used on your mobile phone or desktop, is quite user friendly and enjoyable to use. I tried out a beginner Italian lesson as well as the intermediate German and it was great for both learning levels.
One of the things they highlight about the App is the community aspect, which is accessed by the premium membership. You can communicate with native speakers of the language you’re learning and they can correct written exercises for you.
I’ve been using Memrise for roughly 5 years now, and it continues to be one of my favourite sites to go to for brushing up on my German vocabulary. Just like Busuu, they have a free as well as premium membership. From my experience, the premium membership is most noticeable if you want to use the mobile app frequently and it doesn’t make much difference when visiting the site from your desktop, which I prefer anyways.
Like I said above, I really like Memrise for learning a lot of new vocabulary. They teach you lots of useful phrases and focus on repetition of those words.
One of the features of the Memrise platform is that anyone can create lessons for any language that they want. This means that there is a very large selection of languages to choose from. I usually prefer the courses created by the Memrise team themselves and these include short videos of native speakers speaking the language you’re learning.
I don’t hear a lot of people talking about Memrise, but it’s a site I always go back to and would highly recommend!
iTalki is a language learning platform where you can book 1 on 1 video lessons with a teacher or tutor from the large selection that is on their website. All prices vary and there are classes available whenever you want, just like Lingoda.
One of benefits to this platform is being able to find teachers within your budget. Some teachers are $10/hr and some are $40/hr. If you choose to have lessons with a tutor, like I did, the experience is casual but you’re still getting that 1 on 1 time to speak in your target language.
I hope that this post inspired you to start learning a new language or continue on the journey you’ve already started. If you have a specific goal in mind, or it’s just a hobby, language learning is a great way to expand your world.
If you want to read more about my language journey, check out my post about raising our bilingual child in Germany. And if you have any questions regarding my experiences with any of the apps mentioned above, please leave a comment!