Over the past few months, we’ve all found ourselves spending a lot more time at home than usual. So if you’re hoping to be more productive during social distancing, now is the perfect opportunity to learn a new language. The benefits of bilingualism are undeniable: boosting brain power, improving memory, providing better career choices, gaining a deeper understanding of a culture, and many more. Additionally, travel is opening up this summer across Europe, meaning that you can actually put your learnings to good use.
Having scouting the app horizon, we have put together a list of the most established language learning apps founded in Europe. These startups have scaled successfully, grown a large team, landed funding rounds and remained stable throughout the pandemic.
So, are you ready to take the next step in your foreign language study? Here are 10 language learning apps to check out:
Babbel – An oldie but goodie. Founded back in 2007, Babbel is almost an institution in the world of online language learning. It offers subscribers a choice between 14 languages through grammar courses, vocabulary lessons, and basic phrases for conversations that are specifically focused on beginners and intermediates. According to them, 92% of Babbel users improve their language proficiency in just 2 months and 73% of users are able to have a short, simple conversation in their new language within five hours of using Babbel. Crazy right?
Lingoda – If you are aiming for English, French, German or Italian maybe you should check out Lingoda. The Berlin-based startup has been helping users learn any of these languages since 2013 through various offerings. If you decide for the Language Marathon, you get 180 interactive online classes with qualified native-speaking teachers, in a group or private classes, studying at your own pace. On the other hand, for the Language Sprint, you have to be faster. You can choose 15 or 30 classes per 3 months, with the possibility to get 50% or 100% cashback when you attend all of your classes.
Preply – These Techstar alumni offer a global SaaS based marketplace for private tutoring, such as foreign languages, science, humanities, and various hobbies since 2012. For example, people interested in learning a new language can easily find a language expert at a time and price point that’s convenient for them. With a record number of daily hours booked and a big spike in demand, the Ukranian startup just raised €9 million of funding for Europe-wide expansion and a new branch office in the US.
Speakly – Imagine moving to a new city where you don’t speak the language. What you need is an intensive course that will help you in real-life situations. And this is how Speakly was born in 2013. Using a unique methodology which teaches words and sentences based on their real-life relevance, Speakly gives you guaranteed results in only a matter of months. The Estonian language-learning app will understand which words you have to repeat more and when you have to do so. Pretty cool, right?
Drops – Perfect for people with short attention spans, Drops (2015) is a game-based language learning app, which promises to unlock the mystery of a new language through a 5-minute session per day. Lessons walk you through 120 word buckets covering food, drinks, numbers, and hotel terms, using illustrations and word games. At the beginning of 2020, the Estonian startup announced a new product, ‘Droplets’, an app designed specifically to teach kids aged 8-17 to learn foreign languages.
Mondly – The story of the Mondly chatbot dates back to 2016 when the AI-powered training app was introduced, featuring standard dictionary, verb conjugator and speech recognition technology. Fast forward to 2020: MondlyVR and MondlyAR, allow you to have real conversations with its virtual characters. In 2016, the app was chosen as ‘Best New App’ by Apple, in 2017 won the ‘App of the Year’ by Facebook, and was an ‘Editor’s Choice’ by Google Play. The Romanian startup offers 33 different languages and their motto is “play your way to a new language”. Find out for yourself.
Memrise – The British award-winning language learning system Memrise (2010) focuses heavily on learning words and phrases. It uses a variety of fun and proven memory techniques that will speed up your learning and as you progress in your learning, you earn points for correct answers, collect badges, and watch your skills grow from seedlings to flowers. Best thing about it: You learn real conversational language from native speakers. 40 million users and counting are improving their language skills with Memrise.
Tandem – Learning a foreign language is hard work and if you don’t practise it afterwards, all that hard work will be for nothing. Luckily Tandem (2015) is here. The Berlin-born Tandem language exchange community connects people from all around the world who want to practice a foreign language. It’s very simple. Just log in the app, find someone online who speaks your target language, and invite them to chat for free.
Speexx – Munich-born Speexx is a language learning app positioned towards workplace learning. If you are looking for an app that can be used for multiple users and track team language skills progress, this is the one. Users don’t just get language tutoring, they also get specific online business communication skills, so team mates can start using their language directly in a work environment. Founded in 2011, its already trusted by 8 million users in 1,500 organizations, including UNHCR, Adecco and Renault.
Lingvist – Tallinn-based Lingvist (2013) aims to get its students learning English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, or Portuguese in record time. Founded by Techstars London alumni, the company has built a fun but informative app that uses artificial intelligence to improve your vocabulary retention. The app also has different variants of languages available, like European or Latin American Spanish, and offers support in 11 different languages in case you need it.
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