There's no better time to learn a new language than now, when multilingualism is on the rise and the Edtech industry is booming. A recent American Community Survey indicates that we are now using a second language in 21% of our households. The number of people aged 18 year old or older who speak more than English has risen significantly from 9.2% in 1980 to 15.7% in 2014. Entrepreneurs are eyeing this lucrative market, where language acquisition edtech is in high demand and venture funding continues to increase.

The language industry has been known to be a large industry to tap into.

Its projected growth is in the range of 6.5% to 7.5% through 2018, according to a global market study by Common Sense Advisory. While Americans are not famous for speaking a second language, we have a growing set of tools at our advantage. A list prepared by EdSurge shows that there are currently at least 40 free and paid language learning platforms and apps. Here are a few that have caught the attention of the edtech community.

Duolingo: award winning and revolutionary

The Duolingo app was released for iOS in November 2012. Since then, it has quickly become the number 1 education app in the Play Store, with 120 million users worldwide. In 2014, Duolingo launched the Test Center, which was a separate app that was later on selected as one of Google’s apps of the year.

In 2015, the company was valued at $470 million with a total funding of $83.3 million from venture funding, private investors, and investor firms that include Ashton Kutcher, Google Capital, and Tim Ferriss. The Pittsburgh-based language learning platform is a free platform facilitating people interested in practicing a new language.

It offers 22 courses in a variety of languages, including Hindi, Japanese, Indonesian, and Klingon, all of which are currently under development. Last year, Duolingo introduced Language Clubs, a feature that lets learners motivate each other by joining a club with other language learners. More language test certifications, which later on can be listed on a LinkedIn profile, are currently being developed.

Tandem: language hacking for fluency and for free

The work of a group of Berlin language hackers, the Tandem app was introduced on iOS in 2015 as a language chatting app. It helps learners practice with a native speaker by pairing them whenever available. The idea is to learn together with a language learning buddy or a tandem who already speaks the language. The app is currently available in Android, supporting 148 languages, with the US, China, Brazil, Italy and Mexico as their top five markets. Tandem’s co-founder Arnd Aschentrup tells TechCrunch in January that Tandem is the only app to reach fluency for free: “Duolingo, Memrise, Babel, Busuu etc are a great starting point for beginners to build vocabulary and make the first steps.”

Don't miss our page on Facebook!