A list of language apps to help you speak the local lingo.
The summer’s nearly over, so it’s the perfect time to start brushing up on your language skills in time for a winter break or even next year’s vacation. iPhone apps are a great way to do this: you don’t have to sit in a classroom, pay for a course, or even take up your valuable free time. Simply open up the app whenever you have a few moments, and your vocabulary will improve quicker than you can say “Hablo Inglés”.
iStart Spanish! – $4.99
iStart Spanish! gives you dialogues between an English tutor and two native Spanish speakers so you can improve your vocabulary and work on your pronunciation at the same time. This app is suitable for speakers who want to go from beginner to conversational level. With over 50 separate lessons, the app covers both European and South American Spanish.
Spanish Anywhere – $7.99
Spanish Anywhere is like having a phrase book on your phone. With lists of over 1,800 everyday sentences, helpfully categorized into different situations or topics, you can learn at your own pace. The app also contains over 5,000 verbs conjugated in Spanish and English.
Talking French Phrasebook – $0.99
The Talking French Phrasebook provides you with over 500 phrases translated into French. Users can view written translations, as well as audio recordings. Once downloaded, the app is available offline, so you’ll always be able to find the phrase you need.
iSpeak French – $1.99
iSpeak French is a text to speak app, where you can type in an English phrase, only to have it returned in French audio. This app helps you build on both your vocabulary and your pronunciation. It also translates from French to English, and you can save unlimited translations to your iPhone.
Intense German – $4.99
Intense German is designed to help you speed memorize German vocabulary in a hurry. Suitable for all students, from absolute beginner to advanced speaker, Intense German contains over 6,000 Deutsch words, including genders. The words are split into different categories and difficulty levels so you can pick and choose the topics you want to improve.
Hello Word Deluxe German – $4.99
Hello Word Deluxe German encourages you to learn German words and phrases in a fun and friendly way. With over 4,400 different words and 30 different categories, you can get to grips with your pronunciation, create your own vocabulary sets and test what you know.
You Have Words Italian – Free
This app helps you build on your vocabulary with speed. It optimizes when and how you review new words, so you spend less time on words you know, and more time learning vocabulary you don’t. The app comes with a fully-searchable offline dictionary and contains over 1,900 words.
Italian Study Buddy – Free
Italian Study Buddy is a fun tool to help you learn basic Italian vocabulary. Learn words using the study mode, test your knowledge in test mode, then view your report card to see how you’re doing. The app doesn’t require any kind of network connection, so you can enjoy it even when you’re traveling.
Free Chinese Essentials – Free
The AccelaStudy Free Chinese Essentials app helps you learn basic Chinese words and phrases. The app teaches you pronunciation and alphabet, and contains customized tests so you can see how much you’ve learned.
Learn a Language with Michel Thomas is a compilation of lessons from the master language teacher. Michel Thomas’ programs are world-wide bestsellers, and this app makes them accessible from your phone. While the app itself is free, each lesson costs around $4.99 as an in-app purchase. You only pay for what you use, so it’s a useful way to buy lessons as you learn, without having to purchase them all at once.
123 Color – $0.99
123 Color is a great app for kids who are just starting out with a second language. Compatible with French, German and Spanish, this app teaches numbers, letters (upper and lower case), and colors using engaging artwork, voice-overs, music, sound effects, and animation. It teaches children to recognize words by sight and sound, providing a helpful platform for introducing them to a foreign language.