Best free language learning apps
Professional and polished interactive software for learning a new language, like Rosetta Stone and Fluenz, cost hundreds of dollars. Even online-only programs, like Babbel and Transparent Language Online require subscription fees that add up over time. Occasionally, you can find a deal, like with Rocket Languages Premium, which grants a lifetime license to its lessons for a single payment, but even that is an investment. It begs the question: Are there any programs or apps that help you learn or practice a new language that are free?
The answer is a not-so-straightforward "yes." Finding the right language-learning program for you—based on your learning style, current level, objectives, not to mention which language you want to study—is tough enough when you pay for software, so rest assured it's even more difficult when you're looking for a free solution.
On the following pages, I've named several free resources for language-learning that offer content in multiple languages. A few can be classified more as vocabulary aids rather than complete programs, but I think they may still be helpful to some learners, especially when paired with a more rigorous course.
I've used a few unique apps that have excellent content for learning and studying, but they tend to be one-off apps for a specific language and purpose, rather than general programs with course content in many languages. Two mobile apps that come to mind are Human Japanese Lite and Conjuverb for practicing Spanish verb conjugations. Another example would be DW's Language course, which only covers German.
I've excluded those kinds of apps from this list, but if you know of a great app that is specific to one language or purpose, please do share it with other readers via the comments. I'm sure more people will want to know about its existence.
Finally, public libraries (at least in North America) often have copies of that expensive language-learning software for loan. I highly encourage anyone who is serious about language learning to use a library as a free resource to at least try out a few different programs before committing to one.