The world is constantly moving, and one of the best ways to ensure that you stay relevant in your field is by investing in your professional development journey. Gone are the days when you can sleep tight knowing that you have a thriving career in the next 10 to 20 years or even up to your retirement age. Today, jobs are not as stable as they once were, and they are constantly being dissolved depending on the emerging technologies and circumstances.
Given the blazing fast pace by which the corporate world is moving, now is the best time for you to consider pursuing foreign languages of your choice. Since most companies are expanding globally with the aim of reaching international clients, having fluency in some of the most useful languages to learn in a business context will significantly give you a competitive edge over other employees. In addition, business owners are found to be willing to pay higher salaries, especially if the employee can demonstrate a near-native level of proficiency and can help in localizing marketing copy or translating pertinent documents.
Ready to kickstart your language learning adventure without spending a dime? Language learning apps like Duolingo, Ling App, Memrise, Busuu, and Babbel can help you out as these are developed to support a diverse range of individuals with the desire to become truly fluent in some of the best languages to learn today. Depending on the app you will choose, you can expect that almost all of the lessons from the inside will touch on critical language areas related to reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In addition to that, these are all available for download through the PlayStore and AppStore using any mobile device and can be accessed anytime and anywhere. And the best part of it all? The mobile applications can be accessed for free, which means that you do not have to pay tutors with hundreds to even thousands of dollars just to learn the basics!
Duolingo is one of the frontrunners in this field and has been considered one of the most interactive applications that will teach you over 106 different languages (including Klingon of Star Trek and High Valyrian of Game Of Thrones!). It is an ideal solution for those interested in continuous practice, as you can set review alarms to help you remember that it is time to learn your target language. Kids and even professionals will fall head over heels with its user-friendly interface that takes on a gamified structure with its short but sweet exercises. The exercises are challenging and are not repetitive, which means that you will have a great chance to work on various assessment types like word association, actual translation, fill in the blanks, character writing, and actual sentence construction.
While the free version of the Duolingo app is already informative enough, you can upgrade your account to a Duolingo Plus, which gives you unlimited hearts, test-outs, lesson downloads, and a streak repair feature. This premium membership will also remove ads and give you better features like the mastery quiz and personalized mistakes review.
With the Ling App, you can learn without interruptions as you don’t have to pay a single cent to remove ads or access the full feature of the platform. From the inside, you’ll get to discover over 60+ language courses that are all strictly developed, reviewed, and updated by real native speakers. It is best for goal-oriented learners who are determined to reach a certain level of fluency without having to commit so much time, money, and effort! In fact, the whole app is designed to be seamlessly used in as short as 10 minutes per day, and it packs in so much information in such a short span of time.
What makes it interesting is that it has a fully functional AI-based chatbot where you can practice the learned vocabulary words or expressions anytime! It also embeds audio files so that auditory learners can learn too and mimic how native speakers pronounce common words and expressions in real life. Just like in Duolingo, the assessment methods will vary so that you can become confident that you understood the learned concepts deeply.
Memrise is an ideal learning tool, especially if you want to remember casual words and phrases that can be used in real-life situations. It comes complete with over 50,000 videos and audio files perfect for learning pronunciation rules and acquiring a native accent. As of writing, it offers 23 languages that will cover specific categories, including how to introduce yourself, ordering food, and even asking locals for directions and recommendations. It is suited for total beginners who are planning to at least reach a conversational level through spaced repetition and the use of flashcards (quite similar to Anki and Babbel).
For most language enthusiasts and travelers, the free version of the Memrise is already enough to get you started in joining conversations. However, if you want to access a unique learning plan and unlock other learning techniques, you will have to pay an additional amount for that. The good thing is that the company usually runs annual sales where you can score a full-year subscription for 50% off the regular price.
Busuu is a language learning platform where you get to interact with real native speakers and other learners authentically. It has better features than Memrise as it goes deeply into core points of a language, including grammar, speaking, and also touches on some social/ cultural aspects. Just like the Ling App, it also features the power of AI on its grammar training page where you can get personalized assessments to help you learn languages effectively.
The only downside of this is that the free account has a number of limitations since not all the features can be used without subscribing to the premium account. With this being said, the free version will still cover a decent amount of content for expanding your vocabulary in just one language. If you want to unlock quizzes and challenging exercises, an upgraded subscription is needed.
Babbel is regarded as one of the best language apps perfect for developing an ear for your target language. The whole platform is based on a number of relevant teaching methods including communicative didactics, cognitivism, constructivism, and behaviorism. This is an excellent tool for learners who want to be exposed to real-life dialogues through the use of its audio, video, and image materials.
One notable downside of this app is that the content for the free subscription is a bit limited to the point that it only offers about 40 lessons. Suppose you want to download materials for offline use, unlock a massive range of exercises and learning techniques, as well as use the speech recognition feature. In that case, you will have to upgrade to a premium account.