Learning a new language can be hard, but it’s extremely exciting. Spanish is one of the world’s most spoken languages, and it’s likely you already know a little Spanish or are familiar with another romance language (such as Italian or French). But even with that in mind, learning can be tough, and it often pays to have a little extra help. This is where language-learning apps come in. These can make learning Spanish not only easier, but more fun. Here’s a list of the best apps to learn Spanish, regardless of whether you’re a complete newbie or someone who can speak a few phrases.
You can also check out our article on the best language-learning apps for 2021 if you want to learn even more languages.
Duolingo is one of the biggest language apps around, and with good reason. It gamifies language learning, using games through a series of levels and difficulties as you progress from beginner to intermediate and beyond. It lets you learn more than 30 languages, of which Spanish is one of the most popular. You begin by learning the basics, such as common phrases and words, before moving on to more complex areas, such as possessives, locatives, datives, conjunctions, adverbs, infinitives, and so on — but don’t worry, you don’t need to be a grammar expert to use it.
The app makes learning a language more manageable by breaking down everything into short lessons that ask you a handful of questions. It will ask you to translate a sentence (from Spanish into English), speak a sentence (in Spanish), transcribe a sentence (in Spanish), or pick the right option. It also tracks your progress, giving you tests at the end of groups of lessons, and even has a competitive leaderboard, so you can compete for the top spot and get promoted to the next league. Free access gives you a limited number of mistakes per lesson, and you can use in-game currency to buy more, or upgrade to Duolingo Plus ($7 a month) for unlimited mistakes in lessons, and access to the Progress Quiz.
Memrise is arguably the most fun app on this list. It takes a more playful approach to learning Spanish, providing a mix of games, quizzes, and video clips to help you get to grips with the language. It focuses on teaching you words and phrases (rather than getting bogged down in grammar), while showing you video and audio clips that aim to immerse you in how Spanish is actually spoken by native speakers. It lets you play a variety of games to improve your skills and memory of Spanish, while its pronunciation sessions give you feedback on how you speak words. Overall, it’s a great app for learning Spanish, and also works offline if you subscribe to the premium version of the app (which costs $9).
Busuu offers an excellent online course in Spanish. The app takes a very comprehensive approach to teaching the language, providing users with flashcards of essential terms, along with exercises that teach grammar, writing, listening, and speaking. As with Duolingo and other apps on this list, fun quizzes and vocabulary games providing with you an enjoyable hook that keeps you coming back for more. It’s tailored to complete beginners and more intermediate speakers, while it also offers travel courses that can you prepare for a trip to Spain, Mexico, or any other Spanish-speaking country. The app boasts a strong community of learners and native speakers, meaning that you can learn Spanish by actually speaking it with another human being. As good as it is, users should note that you’ll need a subscription (at $10 per month) to unlock all of its features.
Rosetta Stone is up there among the best apps to learn Spanish, including Latin American Spanish and Spanish from Spain. It’s another app that takes a very comprehensive approach to teaching the language, while at the same time ensuring that lessons and the overall course remain fun and engaging for users. In contrast to many other apps on this list, it teaches Spanish by immersing you completely in it. This means that you get zero translations into English (or any other language) and that you end up learning Spanish the way a child would. Aside from that, it offers a variety of 10-minute lessons, stories, and phrasebooks, as well as the ability to take lessons with a live tutor. It also has a highly capable speech-recognition feature that provides you with helpful feedback on your pronunciation. It’s free to download, but most of its features can be accessed only through a subscription, which costs $110 a year (just over $9 a month).
While Learn Spanish with Wlingua isn’t as well known as the other apps on this list, it has strong reviews in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. It’s focused solely on Spanish and gives you the option to learn either Mexican Spanish or Spanish from Spain. It provides two different courses. The first is the main Spanish course, which offers 20 lessons with hundreds of vocabulary and grammar lessons, as well as exercises for practicing reading and listening. The second is the Spanish Verb Conjugation course, which, as the name suggests, provides around 200 lessons that help you hone your verb-conjugation skills in a variety of tenses. Lessons are grouped according to theme and topic, while written tasks are complemented by audio clips that improve your ability to understand spoken Spanish. The app is free to download, and while you can complete either course without subscribing (for $11 per month), the subscription does unlock certain features.
Capping off this list, Gritty Spanish is a language-learning app with a difference. Rather than promising a comprehensive course that covers every conceivable base, its focus is on providing “gritty” film stories that expose you to how Spanish is really spoken. It offers a wide library of short films and narratives, which come with subtitles in English and Spanish. Each film covers a variety of vocabulary and phrases, and is suited more to the intermediate learner than beginner. The app also lets you slow down recorded dialogs, so that you catch every new word and phrase it introduces. It’s a great way of improving your Spanish listening skills, although you will have to pay for a subscription to unlock everything. It’s also worth noting the app has a 17+ rating, since some of the narratives have themes that aren’t entirely child-friendly. You’ll have to pay an individual price for each course though, which may appeal if you’d rather just drop a single price at a time.