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  • Writer's pictureGwen

Four Best English-Learning Apps

Updated: Mar 30

Yes! You can learn English directly from your smartphone! Language-learning apps can really help you zoom ahead in your English. You can start improving as soon as you download the app. With a notebook and a commitment to learn every day, (most apps come with daily motivational reminders) you will be pleasantly surprised at the way your English learning speeds up.

There are lots and lots of apps out there on the market and you don’t need them all. So, I’ve narrowed it down for you. Here are the four best English learning apps:

the logo of the cartoon green owl and the word 'duolingo'


This is a platform that includes a language-learning website and mobile app, as well as a digital language-proficiency assessment exam. They offer a “freemium” model where the app and the website are accessible without charge. Duolingo also offers a premium service for about $6.99 per month. This app is fun with its gaming approach and is especially good for beginners. They currently have about 300 million users.

The cost is free.

Here is a video you can watch to check them out.

The word 'Babbel' in white on orange background


This is an interactive platform with 10- to 15-minute lessons. This app is great for students focused on learning basic conversational skills. It’s great for beginners, but it does allow you to jump ahead to more advanced lessons if you feel ready. The price ranges from $6.95 to $12.95 per month, with costs going down if you pay for several months at once. It has a 20-day money-back guarantee for the premium package.

Cost starts at $6.95 per month

Here is a video about Babbel.

the words 'Rosetta Stone' in black on yellow background beside a blue stone

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is a great mobile app for the serious English learner who wants to move toward fluency. They have been around since 1992 as one of the first computer-assisted language learning (CALL) tools on the market. The subscription option allows you to switch between devices.

It uses a “true accent” speech engine for feedback on pronunciation. However, in my opinion, even though speech recognition technology has come a long way, it still has a ways to go. I often found it very hard to get the green check mark for the correct pronunciation. You can also purposely say a word incorrectly and sometimes get the green check mark. I question the accuracy of the "true accent" speech engine. To learn to pronounce English accurately you need a real person to help.

Their “Dynamic Immersion” method simulates real world conversation. I used Rosetta Stone when I was trying to brush up on my French and I felt the “immersion” aspect was a big help. It forces you to figure out what is going on in the photos and start thinking with the language – like in real life.

Their prices have recently dropped, costing from $35.97 for three months to $299 for a lifetime subscription. They do offer a 30-day money back guarantee.

Cost starts at $35.97 for three months.

Here is a free demo.

map of world in conversation bubble beside the word 'FluentU' in white on blue background


This one is different in that it uses a huge variety of YouTube videos with captions to give you an immersion-like experience. Some of the videos are just one or two minutes long. You can click on any word in the subtitles to see an in-context definition of the word and some sample sentences. If you like watching great YouTube vids you will probably enjoy FluentU. It does not require you to speak or write the language so you will need an additional method for more active learning. They do have a quiz section to reinforce new vocabulary.

It costs between $20 and $30 per month depending on if you pay monthly or annually. They offer a 14-day free trial.

Cost starts at $20 per month.

Check it out on this video.

It’s important to keep in mind that no English-learning app will make you fluent. For that you need to interact, converse and receive immediate feedback from a real person.

According to the National Training Laboratories the human brain retains…

5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture. 10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading. 20% of what they learn from audio-visual 30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration 50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion. 75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned 90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately

If you are interested in one-on-one online English lessons, let's set up a time for a free trial lesson.

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