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Apps to learn a language

Whether preparing for a leisure travel, business meetings, or just for fun, many people want to learn a new language.

Plenty of expensive programs available, but using one of these apps from PC Mike Wendland can save you money and time.

Duolingo features short lessons on more than 30 languages that take about five minutes, and cover reading, writing, listening, and speaking – and don’t worry, you can turn off the speaking option if you’re in a quiet place. You move on only when you’ve learned enough to do so. The app is free for iOS and Android with expanded features available for purchase.

Rosetta Stone features 24 languages and is based on what it calls the “Rosetta Stone immersion method.” Practice learning basic greetings, questions, and phrases you need to introduce yourself, get around, and start simple conversations with the proper accent. Lessons increasingly become more challenging as you improve. The app is free for iOS and Android with some in-app purchases available.

Babbel offers 14 languages and a goal of getting you to speak a foreign language from your very first lesson. Babble uses 10-15-minute bite-sized lessons that fit conveniently into your schedule. Lessons also cover a wide range of useful topics, from travel to business and a lot more. The app is free for iOS and Android with in-app purchases available.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.