One of the biggest excuses I hear from people wanting to learn a second language is that they simply don't have the time, which I can tell you from experience is completely understandable. Learning a new language is a very time-consuming endeavor, and even programs like Rosetta Stone require a lot of time in front of a computer screen to get the most out of them. But as long as you have a smartphone and some good language apps, it's actually quite easy to pick up a new language, or at the very least, enough to get by. Here's just a few of my favorite language apps to get you started.


Duolingo is one of the most popular free language-learning apps out there, and it's easy to see why. First it takes you through the standard vocabulary and grammar lessons, which in this app are are easy to navigate and make good use of the touch screen. Then, Duolingo puts your skills to the test by having you translate content from actual foreign websites and blogs, and then lets others Duolingo users rate your translations. It's a really cool and highly effective way to learn a new language and actually put it into practice in the real world. Duolingo only offers 6 languages including English, which is a much smaller selection than some of its competitors. But the lessons for the languages it does offer are very comprehensive and more than enough to get you speaking in another language in no time.


It can be tough learning a foreign language all on your own. Sometimes, there's just no replacement for practicing with a native speaker. That's one of the cool things about Busuu: it puts you in contact with actual native speakers. Using video calls and a peer-to-peer network, native speakers will help you correct your work and practice what you've learned. And with over 25 million users on Busuu's website and mobile app, you're sure to find someone who can help you out with one of the 12 languages Busuu offers.


Good old-fashioned flashcards are still one of the best methods to learn anything, be that vocabulary or equations. Brainscape is basically high-tech flashcards on steroids. One of the things I appreciate about this program is that it really goes at your own pace. With each flashcard, Brainscape asks you to rate how well you think you understand the material on a scale of 1 to 5. If you rate something as a 1, the material will come up more often until your understanding increases. If you rate it as a 5, that material will come up less often. This sort of personalized repetition really lets you focus on the areas you have the most problems with. And Brainscape isn't just for foreign languages: there are flashcards for tons of different subjects, making this a fantastic app for students.

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