You are heavy in learning another language, but private classes and p2p systems are exhausting or you just want something that takes small portions of your time, so you turn to applications and online methods that allow you to learn new languages in a self-taught way.
However, there are hundreds of these, and even among the most renowned is difficult to choose a system that really works based on your available time and capabilities at the speed you’re looking to learn.
Therefore, in this article, we review the 6 best Language Learning Software that you can find online.
How to choose a good Language Learning Software
Aiming to find a great language learning program is not as hard as it seems; what you need to know is the best way in which you actually learn things and the type of content and reputation of the company that developed the program.
If you are going to learn a new language you need to know that it works just like when learning anything else, and we are all different learners; and you can learn better either by ear, eyes or experience.
About this, most people are better learning by experience, which means that their best shot is either to live some time in a foreign country and learn the language by the force of survival instincts, or by going with a p2p method that involves talking with people in the target language.
On the other hand, if you are an ear learner, audio programs are the most effective language learning software for you; and luckily, most of the “self-taught” programs work by audio or images.
Let’s get down to our list!
Pimsleur Language Programs
Pimsleur foreign language software is a fully auditory program for learning several languages, but most of the reviews that you will find out there are based on the French and Spanish programs.
Unlike other programs, Pimsleur teaches the “right way” of speaking a language, which means that the content will teach you to speak in a very polite way instead of “real native”, which can be a bit shocking if you are just learning to spend a season or two in another country.
On the other hand, the content is designed just right, focusing on the way of speaking and use of words instead of going directly to the grammar rules –Which is far away from being how you learned English to begin with-.
Prices range from language to language, but you get a package of 1-5 CDs for a price of 550 $ to 1190 $ -And yes, it is quite expensive-
- Great methodology
- Well-designed teaching process
- Trustworthy company with more than 5 decades of happy customers
- The price is amazingly high
- The vocabulary is too polite for casual use
- No images whatsoever to relate to what you hear
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Technology advanced enough so that we are actually able to use a learning software in almost the same way as a p2p program, and Rocket Languages takes advantage of that by allowing you to interact with the app either on your computer or Android and IOs devices.
By using Google and IOs algorithms for voice recognition, you will have access to a really intuitive and ever-improving platform that allows you to learn more than a dozen languages in a quick way.
In addition, their language software is based on local ways to speak, which means that most of the information here is going to be actually useful when you travel.
Rocket Languages charges you a one-time fee by language or level; for example, the whole French course has a price of 250 $; while you could also pay by the level at 100 $ each.
This is a clear advantage to other online courses since you can go at your own rhythm and paying a monthly subscription usually means a lot of money in the long run for slow learners.
- One-time payments for each level/program
- Useful vocabulary all along
- Both online and downloadable content
- Great and intuitive voice reception systems –Based on Google and IOs which means that it improves as they do-
- Online content is a must to keep going and you will need to be connected to enjoy.
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This app is available for both browser and app that works in a quiz format; for which it is great to begin learning a new language but not so good for polishing conversational skills.
With Babbel’s program you will develop a basic vocabulary as well as advanced grammar skills, allowing you to learn to read, write and even listen to your new language without problem; on the downside, it does not help much to develop conversational skills, but its price reflects this, being extremely cheap when compared to other programs.
Bottom line, Babbel is good to start but will lose worth once you are advancing in your new language.
Between 7 $ and 13 $ monthly subscription based on the language –There are currently 14 languages available-
- Great to start with
- Low prices
- Monthly payments mean that you can pay a lot if you take the course slowly
- No conversational skill enhancement
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The Rosetta Stone program is on the same category as Pimsleur, they are both really established in the market and came along with new technology at the moment which forces them to grow with time adapting to new waves of learning technology.
On this regard, Rosetta stone’s program includes games, apps and teacher p2p lessons.
But, on the downside, most of the base content is still the auditory program and all the online based services are covered by a 2-year subscription.
The online subscription has a price around 205 $ depending on where you buy it; on the other hand, the physical package –The CDs and book- are priced around the 245 $ -Not including the eLearning subscription-
- Offers a good method with a lot of features
- Nice for both beginners and conversational skill seekers
- Relatively good price/value balance
- The content can be a little bit messy
- Online teachers aren’t always available
- Even when two years is a long time, we consider the periodical membership a disadvantage –If you didn’t finish by year 2 you have to pay another two years-
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Duolingois probably the most used language software from this list, basically, because it is “free” –Duolingo is not actually free, they use the correct translations that you make in exchange for the free apps.
Besides, this app works with a quiz based program that allows you to learn the basics of words and grammar of any listed language –There are a lot of them- with a lot of ease.
On the downside, the voice of the app is pale and feeling-less, you won’t catch any accent of focus, and the pretty owl that goes with you all the way does make you feel bad if you stop using the app for a few days – he says he’s going to die of loneliness-
The Duolingo business model is actually impressive, being able to offer a good quality app which is 100% free moneywise
- Free to download and use
- Great software with anti-bail measures
- The vocabulary extended isn’t that great
- The owl harasses you a little bit
- The voice of the learning app applies no emphasis or accents
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Fluenz is a language learning tool that tries to reflect on what a classroom teacher would be.
This program differs from the others here as it is aimed at an only vocabulary + grammar level –Which is exactly what you will get in a high school or college class, but then it fails in giving you some useful insights for real-life situations –Like taking a vacation in Barcelona, Spain, for example-
On the bright side, they are a snail-slow thorough method that can be useful for long-term applications, making Fluenz a great choice if you want to get a job in your target language; in addition, they are crystal clear with this, stating that their learning method is slow and they will guide you and be with you every step of the way.
You will pay a one-time fee of around 300 $ for hundreds of hours of simulated classes in video and you will always have access to the app and the videos once and over whenever you want.
- One-time payment
- Good for pre-studying for your target language class
- Professional level grammar
- The vocabulary is not as useful for a daily life situation
- It is a more efficient tool if you already manage to speak in the target language
In the end
Learning a new language takes either time or a lot of dedication, tools like Duolingo can ease the way on the beginning but fail to get you through the whole learning process, while more conversational tools can get to be expensive.
If you are looking for a self-taught learning program, going for a mix of Rocket Languages or Babbel + Fluenz can be a great deal.
Choose an app based on your time, budget and learning needs, which, in the end, is what you need to cover! What are you waiting for?