You’ve already made the most important decision and that is to learn Spanish; the second most spoken language in the world by native speakers. Now you need to decide which apps to use.
Learning languages has never been easier and a big reason for that is due to technology. Obviously when you’re learning a language it’s important to get out and speak to people. I can’t stress this enough, but if you don’t have any vocabulary and you don’t know any grammar structures then you’re going to have a hard time speaking.
When I learn a new language I like to get in as much input as possible within the first couple of months then I start trying to speak it. I understand people are different and some of you will have the confidence to start speaking from day one. But regardless of where you’re at, I think there’s no debate that you will need some apps to help you learn.
Luckily for you the apps available today are amazing. With the internet, the language learning community keeps growing and the people trying to contribute to that community is growing too. And as the competition gets bigger, the apps keep on getting better.
And considering that Spanish is such a popular language to learn, this means you have a lot of choice when choosing which apps to help you learn.
Here are our favourite apps to learn Spanish
Duolingo – Our top choice
Skills: a bit of everything
It might be an obvious one but for us the best app to learn Spanish is Duolingo. It won’t get you to fluency but it’ll definitely help you along the way. I’ve used Duolingo for a few different languages and I think it works best with romantic languages.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Duolingo, it’s an enormous online language learning community now, possible the most popular language app available.
Duolingo uses a series of games and exercises that practise your speaking, listening, reading and writing. The course takes you through different modules that start off with things like ‘the woman,’ ‘the apple,’ until you reach grammar structure like the future conditional. Duolingo incentivises you, through streaks, gold circles and leadership boards.
The app has courses for over 30 different languages but the Spanish one is probably the most detailed and comprehensive.
You will need other things to complement your learning but I think anyone starting off learning Spanish should be using Duolingo as some past of their learning process to help you learn vocabulary and grammar structures quickly. If you get this input quickly you’ll have more confidence speaking because you’ll realise you already know so many words.
If you want to read our comprehensive review of Duolingo you can find it here.
Compared to Duolingo which is teaching you vocabulary and grammar, FluentU is helping you practise a specific skill, perhaps the most difficult skill and that is listening.
FluentU has thousands of authentic videos to help you practise your listening. They are usually subtitled and vary in difficulty so you can watch different ones as your learning improves.
When people start learning, they often overlook the importance of listening practise, then they get to a stage where their other skills are much stronger yet they find it hard to understand someone speaking. That’s why I would recommend getting started with your listening from day one. It is a form of input after all. You don’t even have to spend that long listening, but a bit a day will make a huge difference in the long run.
The only downside of FluentU is that you have to pay to use it’s service. The up side is that they usually give you a free trial, so you can check it works for you before you invest any money in it.
Skills: Learning vocabulary and memorisation
Memrise is essentially a memory app. I would recommend using Memrise to practise learning specific vocabulary but probably not grammar or sentences.
Memrise takes you through exercises with the aim of helping you remember things. The thing I like about Memrise is that it’s based on timed repetition, so it will appear in the exercise again before you have the chance to forget it. It’s a really useful app to use if you’re trying to learn specific vocabulary, especially if it’s for an exam or a new topic and you want to get started speaking right away.
Another useful thing about Memrise is that anyone can upload courses to it. On the one hand this isn’t always great as it’s harder to manage the quality of the courses, but on the other hand you can pick and choose specific courses tailored to you rather than working your way through a course like on Duolingo.
Skills: A bit of everything
Firstly, my favourite thing about Busuu is that it lets you sign in with google rather than having to create an account. I hate language apps that make you create a new account when you use them because you just end up with a load of password to remember, so this is something I really like about Busuu.
Busuu takes you through modules with increasing difficult like other language apps. If you get stuck there are grammar tips in the corner. Most of the app is free, however you have to pay to access the premium course which isn’t as appealing as when you have Duolingo giving away pretty much everything for free.
Skills: Talking and writing
Hello talk is the app that you’re going to use to practise your speaking and writing. It’s basically a way to find people learning your language that speak the language you’re learning. It’s an easy way to find a partner for a language exchange.
Normally you search within your city as people want to meet up but you can also find people just to text instead. A useful feature that Hello Talk has, is the ability to correct each other’s messages. So if you keep making the same mistake over and over again, your language partner can correct it for you and show you where you went wrong.
Speaking might be the scariest thing to practise, but if you want to be able to speak Spanish, you’re going to have to practise it. I would definitely recommend downloading this app, but you might want to do a bit of Duolingo first so you feel ready to practise talking to people.
Skills: A bit of everything
Rosetta Stone has come a long way in the past few years. Perhaps one of the most famous names in language learning resources, I tried Rosette Stone a few years ago and found it to be outdated and a bit boring. Now the Rosetta Stone is interactive and much more fun.
You can choose whether you want to learn Latin American or Spanish from Spain which is an advantage Rosetta Stone has over other language learning apps.
The app takes you through the course on a module by module basis, practising reading, writing, listening and speaking. Although it’s not my favourite learning device, it might be worth a go if you are learning a specific type of Spanish and you want to make sure you learn the vocabulary and grammar related to that type of Spanish.
Other useful apps
SpanishDict isn’t going to help you learn Spanish necessarily but it’s very useful to have if you’re learning Spanish. It’s basically what the name says: a dictionary. But in addition to translating words for you it also has the conjugations for every verb you could possible imagine which comes in so useful. Especially if you get to the point where you’re learning the subjunctive but can’t remember if a verb is irregular or not.
Even if you’re not learning Spanish but just going to Spain on holiday or to visit I would highly recommend downloading this app. It will be the most useful app on your phone.
The apps that we’ve recommended practise different skills. Apps like Duolingo, Busuu and Rosetta Stone take you through Spanish in a course like structure, Memrise helps you remember vocabulary, FluentU helps with your listening skills and Hello Talk helps you practise your writing and speaking skills.
The reason we’re recommended such a range of apps to help you learn Spanish is that you need to practise all the skills if you’re going to learn. You may find your listening is quite strong, so you don’t want to use FluentU, or you’re not ready to talk to people yet so you don’t want to use Hello Talk. Regardless of where you’re at, at some point you’ll want to practise all of the language skills and we hope this list can help you.
As mentioned earlier, our top choice for beginners learning Spanish is Duolingo, but as you gain confidence you may find your learning needs change.
Good luck and keep on learning.