How to Use Your Phone to Learn English

BridgeEnglish teacher, Colleen Luckett, already taught us how to use Netflix to continue learning English; now, here is the second tip in a three-post series about how you can supplement your English classes using technology: using your phone to improve your English!

Your Phone: Not Just for Calls Anymore

First things first: change your cell phone language to English. Immersing yourself in English while you’re here in the U.S. is the best way to become fluent quicker. Because we’re on our phones all day anyway, this is a simple way to always be thinking in English.

Let’s Talk Apps!


Everyone has their favorite apps for learning English, of course, but here are my two best recommendations for language learning apps that are easy to use, fun, and effective:

  • Memrise: I loved this app for learning Japanese, and I’m now using it to learn German. This app helps you learn new vocabulary by teaching you “chunks” of words at a time. Memrise tests your listening, writing, and comprehension of each new word. You’re easily able to review words that you may be on the verge of forgetting. And if you buy a Memrise Pro membership, you also have access to message boards and practice conversations with language “Chatbots.” Also, users create fun “memes” to help you learn new words (for example the Japanese word “yowai” means “weak” in English. The meme that helped me remember the word was: “Yo, why is that box so heavy? Dude, because you’re weak.” Funny, but it worked!).
  • FluentU: What I love about this app is that they use videos to teach other languages, including English. Each video comes with an English transcript, and you can click on and learn individual words from the videos you watch. You can do a 15-day trial of FluentU, and if you like it, you can then sign up for either a Basic or Pro account, and they’re not expensive. Both levels have unlimited videos and word lookup capability, but Pro really does come with additional valuable resources: quizzes, spaced repetition (so you don’t forget words), and pre-made and student-made customized flashcards. One limitation is that it appears FluentU doesn’t have an Android app just yet, but you also can access lessons on your e-tablet or PC.


The trick to learning English, or any language, is to take advantage of as many opportunities to practice as you can, and language-learning apps are a great way to do that. I mean, why not study English while you’re standing in line at the grocery store, right? Apps put English at your fingertips.


Do you have some favorite apps or videos for learning English? Please tell us in the comments!  And if you’re ready to learn about  3 more smartphone apps for learning English, click here!