We review and rate 8 free apps for learning Vietnamese on Android and Apple iOS.
TL;DR: Choose the Following Vietnamese Apps
- Beginners should start with apps like Mondly or Ling — they are fun & have lots of gamefied learning modules.
- After exhausting the above, proceed to the app Learn Vietnamese Offline and devote more attention to learning Vietnamese grammar.
- Intermediate and advanced Learners should try Easy Vietnamese to learn obscure and crazy expressions.
- Use the hourly pop-up “word of the hour” notifcations from InnovationLab’s app Learn Vietnamese Free to maintain and build your vocabulary.
Mondly is the perfect gamefied app to start learning Vietnamese: it is fun, it has lots of different games, quizzes, and interactive lessons. This allows the app to exploit the “three times rule”: you must use a word three times, in different contexts, to effectively learn it.
Mondly app includes games such as flashcards, unscramble-the-sentence, unscramble-the-word, a chabot, and more. One amazing feature is the ability to click on any verb in-game to reveal a pop-up table of verb conjucations. This type of student-centric enhancement really facilitates students’ natural inquisitiveness.
It is free to try a few exercises. It asks for credit card info at start-up, but you can skip it to continue. Mondly is a must-try — the only downside is that the free version is so limited.
By Simya Solutions
Free to try (limited without paid version)
Useful for: Beginners
An excellent app with gamified language lessons that are perhaps the best way to learn beginner-level Vietnamese. For example, the app includes flash-card exercises, quizzes, complete-the-sentence exercises, conversation exercises, and more. It has has over 1 Million installs and a 4.5 rating on Google Play
However, the free version has only a few lessons. If you can pay the hefty price-tag for the full version (9 USD per month), it is definitely worth your consideration. If not, check out our next recommendation that is free.
You can try the app without installation or registration by using their online web-app
By ASI Edu
Available for Android only
Free (ad supported)
Useful for: Beginners / Intermediates
Although this is a barebones app with a lot of annoying video pop-up ads, we nonetheless give it a high recommendation due to one feature: unlike other vocabulary/phrase-book apps, this app is the only one that provides lessons on Vietnamese grammar (pronouns, adjectives, conjuncations, and more). These are a must have for any study plan.
Basically, the app is a giant list of categorized words and phrases, with well-articulated audio samples. Because is it a little too basic, we can’t give it 5 stars — if it just had a few quizzes or flash-cards it would be ideal.
One down-side is that many of the words have missing audio files (will they add them in future updates?)
The comprehensiveness and grammar-focus makes it useful for beginners and intermediates a like. We’d recommend everyone learning Vietnamese to start here, after they have exhausted the funner, playful apps.
By Simya Solutions
Freeium – premium unlocks more phrases
Useful for: Beginners
Simply Learn Vietnamese emphasizes essential phrases. It has three core learning modules: i) a giant categorized list of phrases; ii) quizzes; and iii) flash-cards. That’s it!
Given that it is free, with no registration and no/few annoying ads, it is a solid app that everyone should use and exhaust before trying more expensive apps.
It doesn’t have gamefication features or multimedia learning (except for the quizzes and flashcards) and doesn’t delve into complex topics like grammar or Vietnamese tones [link]. Therefore, it is just a supplement to other more-formal learning materials.
It purports to have 4 levels from Beginner to Expat, but you would definitely need to use other learning materials to actually learn an expert level.
By Egemen Can Uze
Free (ad supported); premium unlock all phrases
Useful for: Beginners and intermediates
The “Learn Vietnamese Vocabulary” (on Android) or “Tobo: Learn Vietnamese Words” (on iOS) emphasizes building a vocabulary. It has one particular feature to encourage learning: “Earn points by learning and practicing, then unlock phrases and word lists.” This means it has an structured-learning pathway to step-through audio flashcards, followed by quizzes and phrases. This is a useful learning-hack to help you feel like you are progressing, and follows the “repeat three-times” mnemonic rule to help you learn.
The learning-pathway progresses through themes like “Doctor, Hotel, Human body, Travel, Flirty”. It is fairly comprehensive.
Tobo App lacks basic learning features like grammar and intonation — instead, it focuses on building a useful vocabulary. Therefore, it is just a supplement to other learning materials with more formal lessons.
Unfortunately, the worse aspect of the app is the poor audio quality: this knocks it down to 2 star, despite its good overall design and being effective at what it sets out to do (build a useful vocabulary).
The focus of the app “Learn VIetnamese Free” is vocabulary — not phrases nor grammar. What differentiates this app from others is its hourly pop-up notification that provides a “word of the hour” — we maintain a “Word of the Day” blog, so we love this hourly pop-up to help build and reinforce our Vietnamese vocabulary.
We’d give it more stars, except for the annoying video ads. Otherwise, the app is just a big categorized dictionary with audio. No gamefication, no quizzes or flashcards. Unverified: the paid-version seems to have it more features like flash-cards.
This is the only app on this list that dedicates some learning to the different Vietnamese letters.
By Technology for Early Education
Available on Android
Freeium (ad supported)
Level: intermedate or advanced
Easy Vietnamese is a funny app — it is basically a giant list of obscure phrases organized into functional-themes (such as meals, shopping, banks), plus accompanying audio to listen to the phrases’ pronunciation.
While it lacks interactivity, it has an enormous breadth of funny expressions. For example, “Wise guy eh?“, or “Add fuel to the fire?” making it suitable for intermediate or advanced learners, but perhaps silly for beginners.
If you have a Vietnamese friend or tutor, you can use these weird phrases to kick-off fun conversations about the appropriateness of these expression or how out-of-date they are. Beginners will probably want to steer clear of the app.
Available on Android
Useful for: Intermediates
The VietStories app for Android just features on thing: long conversations between two Vietanese speakers. This is suprisingly effective!
So far, there are only 5 dialogues, which makes the app very limited.
If they continue to add more dialogues, then this would be a must-have app to learn Vietnamese, especially for travellers to Souther Vietnam (it has the Southern dialect).
But until then, it is just too limited to be very useful, except as a one-time supplement to other learning materials.