Helping Learners Understand Spoken English

5 Language Learning Apps


Practicing and Learning a Language Can Be Fun!

Put technology to work for you and get more English input while playing games or using a language learning app!

The following apps have been recommended by many English language websites and by learners who love them.

When playing games that are not specifically meant for learning English, the key is to set your language choice to English.

1. HiNative App

HiNative is a language learning app (not just for English!) that can help you with vocabulary, pronunciation, culture, and just about any question you have about the language you are learning. HiNative is a global app where you can get the exact help you are looking for from native speakers for free! They have also incorporated AI into it recently, and in my experience AI is very beneficial for language learning.

HiNative is my number one recommendation for getting help with pronunciation and specific questions you have about language use.

2. Duolingo App

Duolingo used to be my favorite language learning app because it is gamified, addictive, fun, and free. I used it for learning Korean. You can use it for English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, or another of their many languages. I recommend it if you are looking for a motivating and game-like language learning app. It is also highly recommended for beginners. However, the usefulness of the vocabulary is a consideration for some.

3. Memrise App

Memrise supports many languages and has hundreds of free courses to choose from.  Memrise is all about helping you remember what you are learning in creative ways. There are over 30 million learners using it worldwide. Heck, over 1.6 million users are using 400 words of TOEFL – Intermediate English through Memrise! Choose your language, choose your category, and get learning! You can learn anything from vocabulary and grammar to accents and conversation skills. I haven’t checked out their chatbots yet, but chatbot technology is really taking off these days!

To be honest, I prefer using Memrise’s website to their app. To be even more honest, I used Memrise a long time ago when they had a completely different format than they do now. Personally, I liked it better then. Still, I think they offer a lot of value and great variety of courses to meet many different needs. Here are the English courses on Memrise. If you enter the language you speak, you’ll see translations in your language.

4. Words with Friends App

Words With Friends is a word game where you create words. You are given 7 letters per play and must connect them to the other words on the board. You can play with friends or connect with random players using Smart Match. You can also play offline in practice mode. You can play in US English, UK English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, and German. I recommend this game for vocabulary development and practice. It also features a Word of the Day with explanation, example sentences, and a word frequency bar. Another feature I really like when I’m playing with friends and family is the messaging feature.

While I haven’t tried it, there is now a newer version Words With Friends where you can play with fictional characters like Shakespeare and Jane Austen. The new version has 50,000 new words in its dictionary.

5. English Grammar App

LearnEnglish Grammar provides a way for all learners, from beginners to advanced, to learn and practice their grammar skills. While I haven’t used this app, I believe I can recommend it with confidence because it is from the British Council. Need I say more? I figured I better give a shout out to British English and grammar too while I’m at it.

Language Learning Tip

By setting your language choice to English (or whichever language you’re learning), you will be seeing and hearing all the English related to the game play. At first, you may need to actively work on understanding the vocabulary (and your game play may suffer for a bit!), but the more you play, you’ll naturally start acquiring the vocabulary though repetition.

You can use any app on your phone to improve whatever language you are learning by changing the language settings.

To increase your English vocabulary, change your language setting to English, and you’ll soon add a bunch of new vocabulary to your repertoire!

While these recommendations are geared towards (designed to be suitable for) iPhone users, many of these apps are also available on Android.

For additional recommendations and resources, check out my Recommendations and Resources page.

Related post: ChatGPT for Language Learning

Never stop learning!