The best language learning software depends on you. If you need to learn basic language skills before a business trip, your needs differ from someone who wants to brush up on a familiar second or third language. Alternatively, use language learning software to supplement classroom instruction. The best language learning software programs offer different instruction modes, interfaces, and strengths.
Evaluate the language learning software program’s levels of immersion and intensity. Consider your language learning style before selecting the best language learning software.
Best Language Learning Software
Pimsleur language learning programs were developed by recognized linguistic and American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) language expert, Dr. Paul Pimsleur. The “Pimsleur way” includes more than 50 language programs. Pimsleur recommends that students dedicate at least 30 minutes per day to learn a chosen language. If you’re an auditory learner, you might prefer the primary Pimsleur approach. Each course offers 30 lessons per level. Complete five levels to complete the language course:
- Learn French, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Mandarin, Swahili, Thai, conversational Hindi, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Polish, Korean, Eastern Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, and more.
- Pimsleur courses are available in many college and university libraries. Flexible language learners are encouraged to supplement structured language coursework with Pimsleur software.
- Courses include audio CDs and books. Digital formats are available.
If you’re a visual learner, Pimsleur’s Unlimited programs for Spanish, Russian, German, Portuguese, French, Mandarin, or Italian might work best for you. The average new Pimsleur course costs about $250 on Amazon.
Pros: Pimsleur is a good choice for auditory learners. If you’re an auditory learner and don’t need flashcards and other visual drills, consider it. If you want a multi-media format, choose an “Unlimited” Pimsleur course. People worldwide consider Pimsleur to be one of the best language learning software options available.
Cons: It’s pricey. Try Pimsleur language learning software at the library or through your university. Alternatively, purchase a used course from a reputable vendor.
Rosetta Stone is CALL (computer-assisted language learning) software. The name takes after the ancient stone bearing the Decree of Memphis. Rosetta Stone programs are distinguished by version. A homeschool version is available. As of this writing, Rosetta Stone offers versions 1 to 5:
- Rosetta Stone offers a multi-media approach to language learning. Courses offer mobile apps, voice recognition software, CDs, and online coaches.
- Digital download or CD formats are available. The “TOTALe” program is interactive. Online only courses feature solo and group games plus an iPhone or Android app.
- “Complete” courses come with voice recognition software plus a microphone and headset.
- “Live Conversation” provides an opportunity for students to converse with native speakers.
Rosetta Stone is good choice for visual entry-level language learners. The approach uses images, flashcards, and games. Choose from Arabic, Mandarin, Dari, U.S. English, British English, Hebrew, Indonesian, Irish, Pashto, Farsi, Urdu, Danish, Welsh, and others.
The average new Rosetta Stone course is about $155 on Amazon. Rosetta Stone is also widely considered as one of the best language learning software writers in the world.
Pros: According to Consumer Reports, most people in search of language learning software are entry-level learners. Rosetta Stone is ideal for level one learners.
Cons: Comparison of Rosetta Stone versions might be confusing. Contact Rosetta Stone for assistance to purchase the best language learning software for your needs.
Transparent Language is used by government, business, and individual users to acquire new language skills. The program currently offers 100-plus foreign language programs. New learners can take advantage of a free trial and proprietary “EveryVoice” practice sessions. Courses are user-friendly. The Transparent Language dashboard helps you gauge progress.
Choose from Government, Corporate, Education, Library, or Personal versions. Select from online, audio, mobile, complete or Transparent’s “Connect Live” Tutoring program:
- Transparent Connect is an exclusive live tutor program. Students in search of a personalized approach like it.
- Everywhere Audio is useful for auditory learners. Flexible learners can study a chosen language via MP3 audio files.
- Byki mobile app is an attractive option for busy students.
Transparent Language also has language learning software for kids. Kidspeak is an interactive format for children. The average Transparent Language course costs about $100 on Amazon. User reviews say that Transparent Language is one of the best language learning software providers on the market.
Pros: Transparent Language offers courses tailored for users with flexible learning preferences. The Kidspeak program helps children learn a language by playing games. Transparent Language is one of the best language learning software options at an affordable price. Take advantage of the free trial option before you commit.
Cons: If you’re a structured learner, Transparent Language might seem confusing. There are so many ways to study the course material, you may wonder where to start.
Instant Immersion offers language learning courses in 120-plus languages and are taught via immersion method. Students learn new vocabulary words to help them communicate with native speakers. Immersion works by associating vocabulary words with images. The programs are designed to help travelers communicate about sports, directions, people, hobbies, hotels, and industry-specific vocabulary for finance, marketing, advertising, and so on:
- Select the language level you need (from Level 1 to 3 for most courses). Instant Immersion courses aren’t the best language learning software programs for students who want to learn to read or write in a foreign language.
- Choose the family edition to share with others. You’ll receive four programs plus interactive games, an audio CD, pocket phrase book, video phrasebook, and companion app.
Instant Immersion courses are inexpensive. It’s possible to buy all three levels of a language course for $50 or less on Amazon.
Pros: Instant Immersion courses are great for learners who need basic vocabulary to communicate with native speakers. Vocabulary is indexed by topic. Consequently, you may choose to learn phrases or words that are most important to you. The multi-media format works best for visual learners. Users say the courses are engaging and fun. The manufacturer offers a 90-day money back guarantee.
Cons: You won’t find a lot of English language explanations in the language learning software. You won’t learn to read or write characters in the language alphabet. That’s a negative for Asian language students. Users say that the Voice Recognition aspect of the program doesn’t always work well.
Rocket Languages initially launched its business by offering free online language lessons. The Premium (2017) version is so easy to use. If you’ve tried other programs and don’t like learning a language by immersion, this one offers an alternative. Rocket Language offers 12 language courses, including American Sign Language (ASL), Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, and French. Most courses offer three levels of content. Note that ASL, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, Hindi, and Korean courses are only available for level one. Chinese language offers two levels.
Pros: Rocket Languages also offers Farsi, Dari, Pashto, Dutch, Polish, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese, Greek, Latin, Irish, Swahili, and Hebrew in addition to the above courses.
Cons: Some courses are pricey. The average premium course from Rocket Languages costs about $300 on Amazon.
According to “Teaching and Researching Language Learning Strategies,” (2016) two primary variables influence your ability to learn a new language. Your general approach to learning and your specific strategies and behaviors developed to enhance learning should be considered before selecting the best language learning software programs for you.
“Consumer Reports” says that learning a new language may be one of the best ways to strengthen your memory. Think about what makes learning fun for you. If the idea of sitting at the computer to study a new language is a turn-off, don’t choose that format. If you’re a busy professional or mom on-the-go, select software with a language learning app to maximize travel or waiting time.
What’s your experience with the best language learning programs? Leave us a comment now.
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