Being multi-lingual, is an impressive skill that can open various opportunities and enable you to survive in foreign lands. Swahili in particular is very crucial for those who live throughout East Africa. However, not everyone has time to enroll in a class and study away. So rather than paying money to attend a class, you can decide to download these apps as you embark on learning a new language. Most of these apps cater to both beginners and advanced level learners, and only take up roughly 5-15 minutes of your day;
- Duolingo: It’s free, well-designed, and accessible. Lessons are broken down into bite-sized chunks and it feels like you’re playing a game.
The app divides languages into different topics, such as clothing or business, but also into adverbs, pronouns, and other grammatical subjects. The app’s answering structure encompasses a wide range of activities, too, meaning you’ll often have to type answers, speak them aloud, and chose from a set of multiple choice answers.
Duolingo is a great introduction, but it can feel like you’re learning a random mix of information, often through repetition. Obviously, the more you do, the more robust your vocabulary will be.
Supported languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Russian, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Polish, Turkish and Kiswahili
- Memrise: The app is set up like a game, one in which you travel to a foreign planet as a spy and you score points for correct answers. It’s a unique way to frame language lessons, and the bulk of the courses consist of memorizing specific words and phrases using mems, which are strange sentences or images.
Memrise primarily functions as a vocabulary builder, so you’ll want to combine it with conversation and grammar lessons, if possible. You can sign up for the app via email, or use your Google or Facebook account, which grants you access to the wealth of community-created content.
The app’s basic functionality is free, but a subscription ($9 a month) will grant you access to additional games and an offline mode.
Languages you can learn: French, Spanish, German, English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Swahili more than 100 other languages.
- Rosetta: Rosetta Stone offer a free app meant specifically to help travelers learn basic words and phrases.
There are dozens of pictures tied to common phrases that are spoken to you in the language you’re wanting to learn, and you have to repeat the words back to practice your pronunciation. You can skip forward to any lesson you like or just follow through.
There’s also a searchable phrase book with basic words and words related to restaurants, hotels, and getting around – all very useful for someone traveling.
Works With: iOS and Android
Languages you can learn: Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Kiswahili
- Google Translate: Most language learning apps teach you a language through exercises and progressive steps, while Google Translate simply tells you how to write and speak anything you run through it.
You can translate text, handwriting, and your voice with Google Translate. This means you can enter text manually, draw the text, or speak it to convert it into the target language. You can even save your favorite translations so you can refer to them quickly whenever you like.
Google Translate may not be like other language learning apps, but it’s certainly a great tool if you’re stuck on a specific word or phrase, or if you prefer to target your learning to particular phrases and sentences only. It can especially prove to be beneficial if you’re speaking with someone that doesn’t know your language.
Note: Not all translations can be spoken back to you, but all translations can be displayed.
Works With: iOS and Android
Languages you can learn: Japanese, Dutch, Danish, Greek, Bulgarian, Swahili, Swedish, Ukranian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Chinese, French, Hungarian, Korean, Czech, English, Persian, Latin, and over 60 others