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Our Favorite Language Learning Apps (and Online Courses)

Here are a few more services and apps that can work well as supplemental tools to your language learning efforts, though some I don’t like as much as the options above.

Language Reactor (Free): This clever Chrome extension works with YouTube and Netflix to give you subtitles for whatever you are watching in two languages, so you can see your native language and the language you are trying to learn. You can also highlight words to see the translation, review all the subtitles, and get other examples of their usage.

Mondly ($10 per month): A colorful app offering short lessons organized into modules on different topics, Mondly is easy to jump into and offers lots of useful words and phrases with competitive gamification. Highlights include a chatbot, regular quizzes and challenges, and a leaderboard. Unfortunately, it makes little effort to explain grammar rules, and the app feels a bit haphazard and clunky.

Rosetta Stone ($12 per month): These immersive language programs offer bite-sized lessons, and there’s a focus on listening and speaking without explanations or translations. The content is accessible and polished, and you can engage in online tutoring sessions through the app. It’s a bit dry and formal, the speech recognition is hit-or-miss, and it lacks the style and gamification of many competitors. Still, it obviously works well for many people.

Lirica ($8 per month): Can you learn a language through music? Lirica is a fun app that uses popular songs and videos to teach you Spanish, English, or German. It breaks down song lyrics to teach you vocabulary and grammar with handy explanations of colloquial language. It’s a bit gimmicky and is best used to complement other learning approaches, but it is enjoyable.