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How to learn a new language on your iPhone

With the UK ranking at the very bottom of the European league tables when it comes to foreign language skills we really need all the help we can get to improve. If you’ve got an iPhone, then why not use this incredible gadget to help you out?

Whether you’re learning a language for the first time or just want to brush up on your vocabulary, there’s a handy learning app suited to you and your lifestyle. After all, it’s never too late to learn.

When you next jet off on your next holiday, as well as checking your insurance for your iPhone is up to date why not download one of these apps and get practising? You never know when a few choice words in a foreign language can help you out of a tricky situation.

Phone on the beach

Getting started

Many people say they just don’t have the time to learn a new language or it’s just too hard. Fortunately, if you’re the proud owner of an iPhone there’s never been a better time to learn, thanks to the ever-growing variety of straightforward and easy to use language apps and platforms available.

Building a wide vocabulary in your chosen language, developing grammatical understanding and eventually becoming fluent can all be done with the best language learning apps.

Lessons delivered through such apps are easy to digest and retain as well as being budget friendly. Expensive tapes and CDs or formal schooling with a language expert are no longer a necessity.

In addition, many have features like speech recognition to help with proper pronunciation. While others offer a wide range of language options, perfect for those who want to push their linguistic skills even further.


The best language apps


Best for learning multiple languages – Duolingo

One of the most popular language apps on the market, Duolingo is free, easy to use and great fun, and the best part? It teaches you to read, write and speak in over 52 languages. From Arabic to Vietnamese you’ll be spoilt for choice. It even has High Valyrian and Klingon for you to try!

If you’re a gamer then this app will definitely appeal as it organises the language into skills where learners earn points for successfully completing lessons. But if you begin to miss your lessons you’ll soon be sent to a lower level to work your way up again.


Best for learning to speak casually - Memrise

When you’re out on the street in your ideal destination you’ll soon notice everyday people don’t speak in quite the same way as language tutors.

Amongst many other features Memrise has a great series of short videos using genuine locals to help you learn phrases. Both tone of voice and the casual pronunciation will help you not only adapt well on the ground but also help you sound like a fluent local speaker.

It also has a fun sequence of memorable cartoons, sentences and phrases to help the language really stick in your mind.


Best for online school experience - Babbel

If you’re looking for something most akin to an online school type language course then Babbel might be for you.

Sporting a minimalist design, you won’t find yourself confused and distracted by lots of bells and whistles. Babbel takes you through a series of lessons and uses a combination of repetition, completing phrases and repeating back phrases.

The 10 to 15-minute lessons are a great way to squeeze language learning into even the busiest day. The My Activity module lets you set custom learning goals as well, so your progress always stays on track.

The app syncs across all your tech including your iPhone, iPad and laptop so you can always pick up wherever you left off.


Best for goal-oriented users – Busuu

With daily study goals and a longer-term study plan you should be reading, writing, listening and speaking your chosen foreign language in no time.

With its clean and bright layout, over 1,000 fun lessons and ongoing progress tests it’s easy to see how well you’re doing. It takes  you from beginner to upper intermediate in 12 languages using bite-sized lessons perfect for everyday life, work and travel.

As an added bonus, Basuu has an online community so you can get feedback on any written work you produce.

There is also a Travel Language Course, which is particularly helpful if you’re planning on traveling to a foreign country soon and need to get the basics down beforehand. Be sure to speak to your iPhone insurance provider to make sure you’re covered for your destination.


Best for complete immersion - Rosetta Stone

Probably the most established and trusted name in language learning, Rosetta Stone has some great features.

Gone are the boxes of CD-roms from the ‘90s. Replaced by the TruAccent speech recognition technology and the Rosetta Stone immersion method.

Unlike some apps, Rosetta Stone also works offline, so you really can learn anywhere and at any time. Core lessons do take around 30 minutes to complete, however, so you probably need the extra flexibility.

But the innovations don’t stop there. The iOS app recently updated to bring the world of augmented reality into the mix.

This enables ‘Seek and Speak’, which is a scavenger hunt-style challenge. Simply point your camera at any object and get an immediate translation in the language you're learning. No wonder it’s so well regarded among business organisations like NASA, Easyjet and Hitachi looking to train their staff.


Best for visual learners – Drops

Colourful, fun and easy to use, Drops is the perfect app for visual learners and those who want learning a new language to be a little less intimidating.

The app uses word games and short activities to get you moving on a daily basis. The idea behind the app is to connect words with images in order to build for yourself an extensive vocabulary.

If you do get bored with your chosen language then simply choose one of the 30 other languages on offer.

Indeed, Drops recently teamed up with K-Pop star Amber Liu to celebrate all things Korean. What a great way to learn everything from K-pop words to numbers, music vocabulary and Korean food!


Best for auditory learners – Pimsleur

With the ever-growing popularity in podcasts there are clearly many people who prefer to get their information through listening.

With Pimsleur you have the ability to choose from a range of 51 language courses to be delivered in the form of podcasts. Each 30-minute auditory lesson is downloadable and can even be listened to in a driving mode.

So, you can keep working on your language skills even during long drives. Premium subscribers can also access reading lessons, roleplaying challenges and digital flashcards. 


Best for movie buffs – Netflix

Okay, while it isn’t strictly an app in its own right, the Language Learning with Netflix Chrome extension can help film fans pick up their favourite languages.

If you have a Netflix subscription then simply install the extension and click the icon to bring up the movie and TV show options. As the movie or TV show plays, two sets of subtitles appear showing your native language and your target language.

The words are highlighted as they’re spoken, giving you a great insight into how your chosen language works. The extension lets you listen to the dialogue phrase by phrase, pause and replay as needed, access a built-in dictionary and more.


Best for music lovers - Lirica

Teaching through the power of song is a tried-and-tested way to learn. Rapid-fire exercises based on memorable hit songs will help you master the language in this fun app. Lirica currently only offers Spanish and English but promises more languages are on the way.


Best for bookworms – Beelinguapp

If reading is your passion then learning to read in a second language has to be an important life aim. This app uses text from fairy tales and novels to news and scientific papers to help you read your target language.

The app works by showing the text side by side in the two different languages, so you can read both. At the same time, it is an audiobook, and with its unique karaoke-style reading feature you follow the audio in the text in both languages.

Great fun and a great addition to other apps that sometimes ignore the power of the written word.

Just like any audiobooks if you’re really getting into the story, you might not want to stop when you leave the house or office. Just make sure you’ve got iPhone insurance in place in case of an accident or theft.


Best for meeting other language learners - Tandem

Having conversations with native speakers of your chosen language is perhaps the most effective way to learn.

By speaking, asking questions and listening to responses you pick it up in precisely the same way native speakers do when young. The aim of the Tandem app is to link language learners together in a new and interesting way.

By signing up to Tandem you state what language you want to learn. Tandem then matches you up with a native speaker of that language. The clever catch is that not only will that person teach you but you also undertake to teach them your language at the same time.

Sending messages, challenging each other to language tests and even having video chats are the perfect way to learn a new language and make new connections.


Using your iPhone abroad as a translator

Say goodbye to leafing through a battered phrase book or having to enlist the help of a friendly local. When you’re on a mission and need to translate a sign, menu or even a conversation quickly, then your iPhone is all you need.

Simply download an app and your device can serve as your universal translator wherever you find yourself. Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, Translator with Speech, SayHi Translate and even Siri can all handle translations between English and a wide variety of other languages.

However, with the recently released iOS 14 update, Apple has really seized the initiative and got back into the translation game.

Apple’s new Translate app allows you to translate words and phrases in up to 11 languages. You can also save translations for quick access, get definitions for translated words, and download languages so you can use them offline.

To translate words and phrases simply open Translate, choose two languages, tap the microphone button and speak.

The translation will automatically play and appear under the original text. If you want to have a conversation with someone then tap the microphone button when they start speaking and the app will again translate what they said into your language. Simple.

Remember, if you’re heading off to interesting destinations be sure to arrange iPhone insurance to protect your device.


iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover

While many of these apps and tools are free, even the most expensive ones offer exceptional value for money. However, while your progress shouldn’t be lost if something happens to your iPhone, the same can’t be said for your precious device.

That’s why the dedicated team here at Gadget Cover will always set you up with an iPhone insurance policy to suit your device, requirements and budget. So, you can concentrate on your language learning without worrying about iPhone mishaps.

Our policies include protection for things like accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage, for an extra premium your iPhone will be covered against loss, too.

If your nearest and dearest also sometimes use your iPhone then our cover will automatically be extended to them as well.

We will also replace any of your iPhone accessories (up to £150) if they are lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your iPhone.

Cover is also automatically extended to include use of your iPhone anywhere in the world, up to 180 days in any one year.

So, what are you waiting for? Protect your tech with an iPhone insurance policy from Gadget Cover.

Get a quick quote today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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