10 Android Apps for Learning Languages

Women holding a Samsung phone and taking a picture. There are several great Android apps for language learning.

Photo courtesy of Sylwia Bartyzel.

Welcome to week two of the apps for language learning series.  Today’s focus is Android apps for learning languages.

As I discussed last week, your smart phone is a valuable tool for learning languages in your spare time.  I have six new apps to feature as well as apps from last week’s iOS feature that are also available on Android.

General Android Apps for Learning Languages

byki Mobile language learning app Byki teaches you the most common words in your target language.  Words are shown in their native form and are pronounced for you.  One of the cooler features of the app is the ability to search Twitter for examples of native uses of the vocabulary that you are learning.  Byki also has a refresh function to help you check vocabulary.  $7.99 per language.

Android Translate Language is another general purpose translation app. The app covers translation to and from over twenty languages including Persian, Norwegian, Croatian, and Vietnamese.

Google Translate

Google Translate is another general purpose translation app.  The app really shines with the camera function.  For languages that don’t use the latin alphabet, take a picture of what you are trying to translate.  It isn’t perfect, but it can be really helpful when you are travelling and need a quick translation.  Be aware that you need internet access to use the camera function.  There is a keyboard input option when you are without internet.
Duolingo is one of my personal favorite apps for language learning. Duolingo is a FREE app that offers French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and English courses. The app encourages you to review older material to keep your level on each skill high. Another feature that I love is the streak feature. Similar to the Don’t Break the Chain philosophy, DuoLingo encourages you to spend time studying each day.

Language learning-flashcards allows you to create your own vocabulary decks. The app supports multiple language keyboards to keep accents and special characters in your target language correct. Another good feature is a timed quiz mode.
AnkiDroid is the Android port for one of my favorite apps for language learning: Anki. Anki is a flashcard system that uses spaced repetition software to help you learn vocabulary. Anki allows you to import decks that other people have created or you can create your own. I currently use Anki to learn German vocabulary using the 10,000 sentences method. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend the iOS version since the app is priced too high. While I have no problem paying for premium apps like Omnifocus and Devonthink, I do expect an app to be priced at a reasonable level.

50 languages

50 languages offers 100 lessons in the target language over your choice. As the app title suggests, you have over 50 languages to choose from. Language lessons include mp3 pronunciations of words. The lessons are targeted to the A1 and A2 levels of the Common European Language Framework. The first 30 lessons are free.

Japanese Specific Android Apps for Learning Languages

Jsho is a great Japanese dictionary app. Unlike a lot of dictionary apps, the app is 100% functional offline which is great if you are cheap  like me with a low data plan. You can also put in sentences and the app will attempt to break the sentence into the component words.
Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese is the most well written guide to Japanese available on the web. I consider it an essential read for any Japanese learner.   I mentioned Tae Kim’s guide last week in my iOS apps.  No matter what platform(s) you use, you need Tae Kim’s guide if you want to master Japanese grammar.  As a bonus, the app is free.
Human Japanese Human Japanese describes itself as “your sensei in a box.” The description is pretty accurate. Human Japanese is one of my favorite language apps end of story. I mentioned Human Japanese last week in my iOS guide to language learning apps.  Human Japanese has also added an intermediate version.  I am working through the intermediate version, and I love the kanji section.  While the app doesn’t teach you that many kanji, it does make sure that you thoroughly understand each kanji that you learn. $9.99 for full version.  There is also a Lite version if you would like to sample before you buy.
JA Sensei JA Sensei is a multi-featured Japanese learning app.  The app includes a kanji learning function which teaches proper stroke order as well as grades your accuracy.  Other features include lessons, vocabulary flashcards, and common travel phrases.  In terms of features, JA Sensei is one of my favorite Japanese language apps.  My one complaint is the amount of vocabulary featured per lesson.  There is a LOT of vocabulary to learn in each lesson.  For this reason, I recommend going through Human Japanese first.

Do you have any favorite language learning apps?  What are your tips for fitting study into a busy schedule?  Let me know in the comments!

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