Best Language Learning Software of 2021

Final Verdict

Pimsleur is our top pick overall because it uses tried and true academically proven methods to help you learn a new language as quickly as possible, and pricing is reasonable for in-depth language instruction.

Other courses may be better for different learning styles, technology preferences, and price points, but overall, Pimsleur is an excellent provider of language education. However, depending on your language learning goals, learning style, and budget, any of these language software options could be the right fit for your needs.


Compare the Best Language Learning Software

Company Cost  Platforms Supported  Free Trial or Version Guarantee
Pimsleur
Best Overall
$14.95 per month Web and mobile 7 days 30-day money-back guarantee
Duolingo 
Best Free Software
Free to $12.99 per month  Web and mobile  Free version available None
Rosetta Stone 
Best for Variety of Languages
From $11.99 per month  Web, mobile, and desktop 3 days 30-day money-back guarantee
Rocket Languages 
Best for the Basics
From $99.95  Web and mobile  Limited free trial 60-day money-back guarantee
Memrise 
Best for Casual Language (“Real World” Language)
From $8.99 per month  Web and mobile  Free version available 30-day money-back guarantee
Babbel 
Best App
From $13.95 per month  Web and mobile  First lesson free 20-day money-back guarantee
Drops 
Best for Visual Learners
From $8.49 per month  Web and Mobile  Limited free version available 14-day refund policy
Italki 
Best for Auditory Learners
From $5 per lesson  Web and mobile  Three trial lessons None


How to Choose the Best Language Learning Software

While the goal is usually similar, every language learning software takes a unique approach to teach languages and app design. In addition to cost, it’s important to consider your preferred learning style and outcome.

  • Teaching methods: Some apps take a more academic approach, including grammar and writing, while others teach spoken language for casual conversation only.
  • Content styles: Different platforms offer a combination of video, written, audio, and quiz-style content, plus options for live instruction.
  • Learning focus: Some learners need spoken language for travel, some need business or government vocabulary, while others need a formal, academic type education. Each software has a different focus for various needs and goals.
  • Platforms supported: If you want to learn using a specific phone or computer, make sure it’s supported. Most language software reviewed worked on the web or dedicated mobile apps.
  • Cost: From free to hundreds of dollars, there are different apps for various budgets. Paying more may lead to better quality, but not always.


Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Language Learning Software Do?

Language learning software teaches users to understand, speak and read foreign languages. Typically, the software uses a combination of video, written, audio, and interactive quiz-style content to teach. Most language learning software includes a course for your chosen language, starting with basic content and moving forward as your skills progress.

It’s important to look at what type of language learning is covered when choosing a course, as some focus only on speaking and vocabulary, while others also include lessons on grammar and writing.

When Should You Use Language Learning Software?

If you’re looking to learn a foreign language for any reason, language learning software can be beneficial. Whether you’re traveling long-term, moving to a new country, or taking up a new assignment at work, there are many reasons to learn a new language. Language learning software gives you the ability to take a full foreign language course from the comfort of your home or the convenience of your smartphone.

How Much Does Language Learning Software Cost?

Language learning software varies widely in cost. Some programs are available for free, though you’ll likely see advertising in those cases. Paid programs typically require a monthly subscription of around $10 to $15, an annual cost of around $80 to $100, or a one-time fee of $150 or more. Higher-priced software isn’t necessarily better, so it’s important to consider your goals and learning style before paying.

How Does Language Learning Software Compare to Taking a Language Class?

Learning language software may be very different from a language class or very similar, depending on your chosen software. Most language software follows a course that’s in line with what you would see in a language textbook, but with interactive video lessons. A few language learning software programs connect you with a live instructor for one-on-one tutoring or a group class, just like going to a language class in person but using your device instead.


Methodology

When reviewing language learning software companies for this review, we looked for software that offers comprehensive language instruction for various goals and budgets. Features closely considered include the depth of instruction, type of instruction offered, platforms supported, and how the content is taught.

The cost was reviewed as well but was not the main factor as most software is similarly priced and rarely costs more than $150 for lifetime access. We looked at more than a dozen language software providers, and any in this final list should meet the needs of a typical online or remote language learner.