The iPad makes learning a foreign language on the go simple, thanks to some of the best apps that teach French, Spanish, Italian and several other languages. Using the iPad's built-in microphone, some apps let you practice your pronunciation to see how it matches up to a native speaker’s tongue; others offer games and vocabulary practice to engage you.


Duolingo, PC Magazine Editors' choice for best language learning app, is a free app that will have you learning French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German in a snap. Duolingo has fun grammar and vocabulary lessons and quizzes for both beginners and those who want to supplement current classes or further their basic studies. You can test out of a level for more advanced learning, which includes translating text both visually and transcribing what you hear on the speakers.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone Course for iPad, an Editor's Choice program from PCMag, has the most extensive amount of languages offered, with over 20 to choose from. Mimicking its online immersion course, Rosetta Stone TOTALe is an excellent voice recognition language program that teaches through grammar, reading, and pronunciation activities. Rosetta Stone allows you to play language games by yourself or online with others for an interactive foreign language experience. While the iPad app requires you to have a paid, online subscription with Rosetta Stone, it offers an in-depth way to learn the language for beginners to advanced speakers.


Learn one of 12 languages for free using Busuu. The program features beginner to advanced-intermediate levels on 150 various topics. Busuu will teach you over 3,000 words and key phrases, testing you on vocabulary, grammar and listening comprehension. Busuu is excellent for visual learners, as it is a photo-based learning system.


Brainscape lets you learn any of eight foreign languages, including Latin and French Creole, by using flashcards that drill vocabulary and verbs on your iPad. The paid app modifies its lesson by examining your responses and becoming increasingly difficult the more questions you answer correctly. Brainscape also asks you to rate your confidence in what you are learning, so that it can help you concentrate more on areas you feel you need extra help.

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About the Author

Bonnie Crowe is a mother of two teenagers; a teacher and author of children's books, curriculum and articles on English grammar, literature, technology, art, parenting and career guides for high schoolers. She's a former director of AOL Parenting, a member of SCBWI, and a graduate from the University of California,Berkeley.