It has been shown that learning a language uses the part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex and because those who are bilingual or polyglots need to be able to keep the two languages separate from each other they tend to have better control over their brain functions. This means that learning a second language, no matter what time in your life can be beneficial to the health of your brain and cognitive functions which can help fight the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Working off of this knowledge and future studies we have developed a list of the top three language learning apps that you can use on the go or from your computer. In any event, it never hurts to know another language.
This app was developed by a professor at Carnegie Mellon University named Luis von Ahn and one of his grad students, Severin Hacker. They wanted to address the need they saw for free access to language learning resources. They are both non-native English speakers and knew how expensive lessons and schools can be which they wanted to tackle through their platform and they have. The app is highly successful with more than 300 million users worldwide, and 81 different language courses. It makes learning fun as each module is a level, so as you work your way through you level up and received small badges and prizes to chart your progress.
Memrise was created in 2009 by Greg Detre a neuroscientist from Princeton and Ed Cooke who is considered a Grand Master of Memory. Their app differs from Duolingo in that it is entirely based on rote memory. Each new letter, vocabulary word, or phrase is written into your memory as you look at various flashcards designed to enforce each new component in your memory. It could be filling in the blank, simply guess, or type in the answer. The app also likes to create memories by using funny pictures that your brain can associate with new vocab.
This is one of the newer language learning tools and was launched in 2013 by Jan Ihmels and Orly Fuhrman who hail from Stanford and Cambridge. The approach of their app is more on reading rather than conversation and grammar. All of the content comes from the internet and pieces that are written by native speakers of the language you are learning so it is an almost endless stream of articles to read at varying levels. At present only 10 languages are available which means this app definitely has some growing to do in order to compete with the other big two.