I’ve always thought that the ability to speak another language would be awesome. I would be able to do this, too, if I had ever stuck with the many classes my conscientious mom enrolled me in—French, Spanish, Italian and Latin being just a few. But somehow I just never was able to get far enough past that initial frustrating learning curve to make a lifelong commitment. Perhaps if these fun apps had been available when I was trying to learn, I would be bilingual (or even trilingual!) by now. Here’s a list of some of the best foreign language learning apps for kids (and adults) on the market today.

1. Learn Spanish for Kids

This app is designed to get young kids (ages 1 through 4) familiar with both English and Spanish language speaking skills. The app is designed around the adventures of Lucy and Carlos, who teach English and Spanish vocabulary, respectively. Lessons include shapes, colors, body parts, animals, numbers and more.

2. Duolingo: Learn Languages for Free

Duolingo has been praised by luminaries like PC Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. It was named a Google Play “Best of the Best” for 2013 and Apple’s “2013 App of the Year.” The app teaches English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian and German—absolutely free!

3. Babbel

  • Get it for iTunes (free) (search by “Babbel” + “language desired” on the iTunes store)
  • Get it for Android (free)

Wired, Mashable and The New York Times all give Babbel their highest praise. Not just that, but you can’t get much more exotic and affordable than an app that teaches 13 languages for free, including Norwegian, Dutch, Polish, Turkish, Swedish, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Danish, Indonesian…and, of course, English.

4. Busuu

Busuu is another award-winning, free app that teaches 11 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Japanese and Chinese. In a word—wow! The app also has helpful free lesson reminders and prompts as well as the option to practice with native speakers. The app won PC Magazine’s “Best Free Language Learning App 2013” award. The app is based on the popular Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) learning method.

5. Mind Snacks

  • Get it for iTunes (free) (search by “Mind Snacks” + “language desired” on the iTunes store)

Mind Snacks is a fun and free app that uses games to help reinforce new language skills. The app won Apple’s award for “one of the best educational apps of the year.” You can learn more about word gender, conjugation, pronunciation, word combination and new vocabulary words through Mind Snacks. The app also has its own dedicated website complete with a video trailer: http://www.mindsnacks.com/help/.

6. Verbalize It

Verbalize It is just the supportive partner you want by your side as you’re trying out your new language skills for the first time in their country of origin. This free app connects you to a worldwide network of translators who can help you with Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin), German, French, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, Korean, English, Portuguese—140 languages in total! The app also has a dedicated website here: http://www.verbalizeit.com/.

7. Jibbigo

Jibbigo is another award-winning translator app that you can use online or offline (great for when you’re traveling internationally and don’t want to incur expensive overseas Wi-Fi fees). You can access the app for more than 20 languages, including Japanese, Chinese, German, French, Spanish and English. You can use the app’s voice recognition software or type and edit text manually. The app also has special modifications for users who are vision-impaired.

 
For money-saving tips, check out: