With the technological growth of industries and communities around the world has come the desire and need to reach beyond the borders of our countries and homes. As a result, people are now interacting with others whose culture and language are vastly different from their own. Whether for the purpose of work, travel, or simple socialization, language barriers present a growing problem for communication. This is where our article aims to help by identifying the top language teaching services and apps.
We have carefully examined numerous language services, finding the ones that not only offer the best way to learn a language but also offer the service for a reasonable price. Use our detailed reviews and analyses of the top three services along with our comprehensive guide to learning new languages and you’ll be speaking a new language like a native in no time!
Top 3 Services for Learning a Foreign Language
- Pimsleur - Editor’s Choice
- Language Drops - Runner Up
- Preply Tutors - Worthy Mention
How Did We Choose These 3 Services?
Learning a new language can often be a complicated and frustrating process. Unlike with your own language, grammar rules and syntax can make the journey seem impossible at times. Therefore, language learning programs must be as easy to use as possible. To ensure that the three services identified on our list meet this criterion, we have highlighted four main factors that we believe language learners would find extremely important.
- Price - Finding language teachers is not a daunting process. However, finding good language teachers for a reasonable price can be. With rates for native speakers who are willing to teach a language reaching up to a whopping $160 per hour, it is pretty easy to put off your pursuit of finding the perfect teacher. We understand this and have ensured that all the services on our list are reasonably priced while providing the best language tutors possible.
- Methods - Fully understanding your target language can be complicated, especially when overwhelmed with information. As such, we have only included language services with lesson strategies devised to enhance the retention of any language skills obtained. The services on our list utilize flashcards, tests, and one on one sessions to make the process of learning a foreign language as simple as possible.
- Feedback - We are aware that simple mistakes in pronunciation or grammar can negatively impact the overall experience for language learners. Therefore, we have only included services that provide direct and often instantaneous feedback to assure customers that they are on the right track and encourage them. In addition, we have ensured that the feedback on our list can always be gained from a native speaker to ensure that customers are getting the most accurate information possible.
- Offered Languages - Language services often only provide access to learning material for the so-called popular languages. Such actions limit customers, and often, clients have already signed up for the service, only to realize that their target language is not on offer. We have only chosen services that offer a wide variety of languages to combat this, ensuring that our readers are allowed the freedom of choice irrespective of a language’s popularity.
Top 3 Language Learning Services - Reviews
- Pimsleur - Editor’s Choice
- Over Fifty Foreign Languages To Choose From
- Free Trial Option For New Customers
- Driving Mode For Customers On The Move
- Low Monthly Costs
- Regular Special Offers
Why Should Customers Choose This Service?
Selected as the number one language service on our list, Pimsleur offers clients a complete language learning service with native speakers and numerous technological adaptations to ensure ease of access. Clients who choose Pimsleur’s service can choose from over fifty foreign languages, including:
Clients can access the service via Amazon Echo devices or utilize Driving Mode to continue learning when they are on the move. A single Pimsleur account can be shared between three members of the same household and can be downloaded on three devices with software to support Android and IOS, along with apps for Mac and Windows. In addition, clients can take full advantage of Pimsleur’s 24/7 customer service and can even request new languages not currently available on the service.
How Does Pimsleur Teach Languages?
Following the research of Dr. Pimsleur, Pimsleur teaches languages by utilizing the principle of attraction, allowing the brain to make new connections by familiarizing it with the language being learned. This is accomplished using flashcards, speed rounds, and easy role play where conversation transcripts are regularly reviewed. Pimsleur uses the pronunciation and grammar from teachers who are native speakers to build vocabulary organically. Pimsleur also offers customers the chance to save core vocabulary for later review.
Pimsleur ties language to culture by including light bulb moments, allowing the brain to associate particular actions and experiences with specific words and phrases. Pimsleur further cements the customer’s knowledge with Quick Match quizzes, designed to keep the customer’s new language skills fresh and on point.
Is It Worth The Price?
Pimsleur is highly affordable, despite its place as the top language service on our list. Customers can sign up for one of two plans when accessing the service. Pimsleur All Access is available for $20.95 per month and allows clients access to all fifty-one languages available on the site. Pimsleur Premium offers access to Japanese only and costs $19.95 per month.
New customers are allowed a free seven-day trial that gives them access to the benefits of a Pimsleur Premium Access account holder. Customers can also gain $20 by referring a friend or taking advantage of Pimsleur’s Special Offers by simply signing up with their email address, country, and the language they are interested in.
Pimsleur is a well-rounded language learning service that has gained itself highly-rated customer reviews across various sites that offer the app and service. By using a distinctly scientific approach, Pimsleur has ensured that not only will its customers learn their target language, but that they will also save money while doing so. As a result, Pimsleur has thoroughly earned its place as the number one language teaching service on our list and our Editor’s Choice.
- Drops - Runner Up
- Five Minute Accessible Learning Sessions
- Instant Feedback
- Over Thirty Languages To Choose From
- Affordable Prices
- Visitors Must Sign In Before They Can Access The App
Why Should Customers Choose This Service?
Language Drops tackles the process of learning a foreign language in a unique way that doesn’t overtax or bore its clients. The app accomplishes this by making all the information that is being taught compact and easy to access. Customers can use their IOS or Android devices to either access information online or download the information to be used offline.
Language Drops provides a wealth of clear audio in the target language read by native speakers to familiarize language learners with pronunciation. The app also offers music in the foreign language and a listening test feature to ensure that clients are getting the most out of their experience. In addition, language Drops offers information and instant feedback on writing and grammar and also hosts services for more than thirty foreign languages such as:
Unfortunately, the app cannot be accessed without first signing up. But once signed up, customers are free to use the site with no hassle.
How Does Language Drops Teach Languages?
One of the unique factors of Language Drops is its use of visual association to help with memory. New and potential customers are presented with pictures while simultaneously being read the correct pronunciation of the word by a native language speaker. Members can skip a word or choose to learn it, whereby through repetition, Language Drops tries to ensure that language learners are familiar enough to recall the word on their own.
Members can choose between the topics of foundation, travel, food, and even fashion to find associated words for them to learn. Conducted in five-minute sessions, these foreign language drops aim to transfer as much information as possible without overloading the customer. Using a unique blend of words, Language Drops encourages clients to build their vocabulary one day at a time.
Is It Worth The Price?
While not as comprehensive in its approach to learning languages as Pimsleur, Language Drops offers a more than suitable price range for its services. New clients are allowed a 7-day trial, after which they can choose from one of three plans. A yearly subscription to Language Drops costs $69.99, while a monthly subscription costs only $9.99. Members looking for lifetime access to the app can pay $159.99 and never have to pay again.
Language Drops is a fun, innovative way to expand a foreign language vocabulary. While not as extensive as Pimsleur, the app can help customers build word associations that make understanding a foreign language more straightforward. Combined with its price, Language Drops is a solid pick for Runner Up on our language services list.
Learn more at LanguageDrops.com
- Preply Tutors - Worthy Mention
- More Than Twenty Language Options
- Access To A Live Language Partner
- Trial Lessons Available
- Easy Price And Schedule Adjustment
- No Self Study Options Or Apps
Why Should Customers Choose This Service?
Unlike the other services on our list, Preply Tutors does not contain language learning software. Instead, clients are provided with native speakers or language experts who act as language partners. As a result, Preply Tutors is a service for clients who would rather have a more classical approach to learning their target language. Customers can choose a language partner from a list of more than 140,000 tutors speaking more than twenty different languages, including:
Preply Tutors allows clients to choose not only the language they are learning but also any additional language that their language partner speaks to find one who is efficient in not only the target language but their own language as well. In addition, customers can select tutors in a specific country, differentiate native language speakers from language experts, and book time slots and days that are best for them. Unfortunately, Preply Tutors does not offer an app option or self-study that can be conducted on the go.
How Do Preply Tutors Teach Languages?
Much like any other online tutoring service, Preply Tutors offers online sessions between a language learner and a language tutor, according to availability. Language learning sessions are usually conducted in thirty-minute slots. In addition, clients can view a tutor’s profile, viewing not only if they are a native language speaker but also reviews left by past clients. New customers can also send potential tutors messages or even book a trial lesson to ensure that their chosen tutor is a correct fit. Tutors can be sorted according to popularity, ratings, and number of reviews, making finding the right tutor a breeze.
Is It Worth The Price?
The language teachers provided on Preply Tutors range from $1 to $40, much less expensive than the average $62 charged by most language tutors in the United States. Clients have the option of adjusting the price range of a language teacher to fit their budget. And while some top tutors in specific languages charge at the top end of the offered price range, many others, such as top French tutors, cost as little as $26 per hour. With such reduced rates, Preply Tutors is more than worth the price.
While not an app, Preply Tutors deserves a mention if only for the price of the language tutors the service provides. Combining these low prices with a high level of control over all elements of a possible tutor makes Preply Tutors a language service to keep an eye on.
Why Should You Learn a Second or Third Language?
With the boundaries of the world easing due to both technological and social shifts in society, limiting yourself to only the language for which you are a native speaker means losing countless opportunities. And while language learning is not always the easiest of tasks, the ability to whip a new language out of nowhere is more than worth the effort, even if only for the shock value.
However, for those who still aren’t convinced, we have compiled a list of the top ten reasons to learn a new language.
Reason 1: Business Opportunities - While speaking a foreign language is often seen as a fun skill, it can have drastic implications on business ventures. For example, businesses choosing to expand into other territories limit themselves by requiring translators to communicate with their business partners and employees. Furthermore, for people with limited knowledge of another language, something as simple as confusing grammar rules can cause embarrassing situations that could easily have been avoided by learning the new language.
Reason 2: Travel - Traveling the world with a travel guide translating every step of the journey can be informative, but it can also be restrictive. Unfortunately, if you are in a foreign country and not familiar with the language, traveling from point A to point B without a native speaker can be less annoying and more dangerous. There is also the fact that being immersed in another culture surrounded by people speaking their native dialect is thought to be a version of the best way to learn a language.
Reason 3: Romance And Friendship - With the growth of technology, creating and maintaining relationships with people once thought to be worlds away has become a simple matter of picking up a phone or opening an app. However, barriers do exist in communicating with a native speaker. Even popular translation apps can lose their reliability as grammar rules and pronunciations fluctuate depending on the cost of the translation software being used. By learning a new language, you can cut out the middleman, ensuring that the communicated information is correct and kept private when deemed necessary.
Reason 4: Improved Cognitive Abilities - It has often been incorrectly believed that only the super-smart can learn more than one language. However, the relationship is actually the other way around. Studies have found that learning a new language improves how your brain functions; in fact, it impacts something known as your intellectual flexibility. The constant challenges of creating new connections and pathways to negotiate outside of your native language stimulate the brain in ways that can be applied to other aspects of everyday life. In layman’s terms, language learning acts as a gym for the brain allowing the muscle to grow stronger over time.
Reason 5: Develop Better Decision Making Skills - Several University of Chicago researchers have found that language learning impacts how we think and handle decisions. In particular, the study found that thinking in another language allowed individuals to make more thoughtful decisions by allowing them an increased level of separation between their emotions and their actions.
Reason 6: Potential Protection Against Cognitive Disorders - A 2011 study linked the ability to speak more than one language to an extended level of protection against neurological disease. The study utilized 450 patients and found that bilingual patients tended to develop neurological diseases four to five years after those who only spoke one language.
Reason 7: Employment Opportunities - With new businesses opening worldwide every day, employers often seek people who can travel and communicate with their clients in other countries. By learning various languages, you can make yourself an indispensable asset to your company, ensuring that you will always have a place to work by saving the cost of a translator or translation software.
Reason 8: Cheaper Meals - Often, when in a foreign country, especially one geared towards tourism, something as simple as dining out can be quite an expensive affair. This is simply the establishment’s way of recouping the money it has to spend on specialized menus and staff capable of speaking enough languages to effectively communicate with their guests. Learning the local language means that you can dine with the locals, taking advantage of the cheaper costs of their eating establishments while potentially making new friends.
Reason 9: Better The Understanding Of Your Native Language - Due to the differences in grammar rules, rigid syntax, and other features of foreign languages, learners will often find themselves correcting their use of their own language. This is most likely due to the increased attention to detail that the brain has to employ while using an unfamiliar language being applied to an individual’s first language.
Reason 10: Better Grades - Learning a new language, especially at a young age, can reduce the stress of learning a new language in a classroom without one-on-one help. Basically, learning a new language beforehand gives you a cheat sheet, allowing more time to focus on the more complicated factors such as grammar while your classmates are still trying to memorize words.
How Long Does it Take to Learn a Foreign Language?
The length of time it takes to learn a new language depends entirely on how much time you have to learn. Unfortunately, most people find it difficult to eke out time for language learning around their work and family life. This is where apps and services such as Pimsleur come into play. The ability to use the app while on the move, whether driving or during breaks at work, can significantly decrease the time it will take to learn a language.
Also, individuals in scenarios where they are constantly exposed to the language they are trying to learn will usually pick up new words and phrases faster than those in a classroom setting. This is why it is sometimes suggested that relocation to a country where the language is spoken is one of the best ways to learn a new language. Apps and services such as Pimsleur have taken this into consideration, particularly in their Driving Mode. By allowing individuals to learn in a hands-free manner, Pimsleur has replicated the immersion that will help a learner grasp the language quicker.
Best Language Learning Method to Memorize New Vocabulary
There are several tips and tricks that individuals can use to memorize vocabulary in a foreign language. The most important thing is not to overload your brain with large clumps of information that will be near impossible to retain. Learning a language should be a fun experience, even if it is a requirement.
The best methods to memorize new vocabulary include:
- Using An App - Learning a language requires repetition to add foreign words into our long-term memory. However, this can be somewhat difficult when most potential learners don’t have the time to attend multiple language classes in the hopes of getting the words to stick.
This is where apps and services such as Pimsleur can help. By downloading these services that can be used on the go, customers can practice their memorization with or without screen time. Not only does this increase the amount of time that a customer has to practice their new language, but it also makes the activity less restrictive than being forced to sit in a classroom.
- Media - Utilizing media that you are already familiar with makes it easy to make a connection between the words of a foreign language and the words in your native language. Songs, movies, and even poems that you can recite by heart are the easiest to use as your brain automatically replaces the foreign word with the word you know.
Exposing yourself to songs and movies in a foreign language, even those you are not familiar with, also significantly impacts your ability to learn a language as it familiarizes you with the pronunciations and spelling of words.
- Context Clues - One of the fastest ways to keep specific new words in your memory is by creating situations where they make sense. Therefore, instead of only repeating the word, consider using them in sentences. Tying the words to specific scenarios or situations will make recalling them easier with context clues than remembering a word on its own.
- Visual Association - Allowing your brain to connect the image of a specific object and a specific word is a brilliant way of memorizing a new vocabulary. This process can be done utilizing flash cards or pop-up images. To make the lesson even more fun and interactive, learners can label objects in their own homes, allowing them to practice with the new word each time the labeled object is seen or used.
- Memory Techniques - The use of acronyms and mnemonic tools can also help learners to remember new words. The mental shortcuts allow users to form an association between specific words, thus triggering the memory of the foreign word whenever the word it is linked to is used. Individuals can personalize the memory technique used, making it as simple as possible. The more that the memory tool is used, the easier it becomes to remember the word.
Frequently Asked Questions
How hard is it to learn a new language?
This question is a complicated one because learning a language isn’t the tricky part. Finding a language learning method that suits you is actually the issue.
While memorizing new words and grammatical rules might seem complicated, improvement should be seen relatively quickly once you are comfortable with your chosen learning method.
Am I too old to learn a new language?
The answer to that question is simply ‘no.’ There is no such thing as being too old to learn a language. This misconception has arisen from the observation that young children tend to pick up new languages fairly quickly.
However, this ability has little to do with age and is instead a reflection of the flexibility of a child’s mind when it comes to the topic of change. Individuals aged seventy and older have successfully learned new languages, which means that you can too.
What are the easiest languages to learn?
Unfortunately, there is no specific language that is easier to learn than any other. In fact, the ease with which an individual can learn another language depends on their own native language.
For example, native English speakers often find French to be a more straightforward language to learn. This is not because French is easy per se, but simply because more than 10,000 English words resemble the same words in French, making it easier to understand.
What language should I learn?
Various factors will most likely influence what language you choose to learn, but the most critical factor is necessity. Living in a foreign country where you can’t understand what anyone is saying can be frustrating, so knowing the language is the best way to find comfort in your new home. If popularity is a factor, then the languages with the most speakers worldwide are Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and Russian.
What is the best way to learn a new language?
We learn languages organically as children, meaning that we learn by mimicking those around us. It is no wonder then that many believe the best way to learn a language is by immersing yourself in the culture.
For example, traveling to a country or region where most people speak the language you aim to understand will usually allow you to pick up words faster by making visual associations. Apps such as Language Drops replicate this approach to learning a language with genuinely brilliant results.
The world of language learning has evolved along with technology. No longer are learners stuck with dull, monotonous language classes that make learning a pain. Now language can be learned from home, work, or while on the go, opening up countless opportunities.
Taking full advantage of these technological advancements can be slightly overwhelming given the number of language apps and services currently on offer. However, using our brief article of well-rounded reviews, potential customers can identify the most attractive language service with the price, features, and availability to match their schedule. Learning a new language has never been easier, and with a world of possibilities waiting, not taking a chance would be foolish.