Nick

Memrise vs Duolingo – Not An Either/Or Decision

Memrise and Duolingo are two companies that have made language learning much more accessible to people all over the planet.

A ridiculous number of people use these platforms to study. Duolingo has over 300 million users, while Memrise has over 35 million of their own.

They’ve made a mark on the world of language learning largely due to the fact that they’re free to use. While both platforms do have a premium subscription option, most users will find more than enough value in the free versions.

If you want to start learning a language but aren’t sure which one to go with, I’ll help you figure that out here.

The truth is, it’s not actually an either/or decision. These two platforms teach languages in completely different ways that complement each other very well.

Memrise is very good with the same things Duolingo struggles with. Likewise, Duolingo can help fill in the gaps where Memrise is a bit weaker.

Memrise is much better for learning and remembering individual words or phrases.

Duolingo is much better for learning how to construct sentences.

I love how both platforms make it super easy to get started and do a little bit each day. The fact that they’re available to everyone regardless of their financial situation is amazing.

Both are better for casual learners. These platforms are perfect for those who are just curious or want a low-risk way to try studying a language.

More serious students, such as those who need to learn a language for work or are planning to live abroad, would be better off using other resources. Unfortunately, that may cost some money – though not necessarily a lot.

For those students, Memrise remains pretty useful as a complementary resource, whereas it’d be better to replace Duolingo with a different, more thorough, course.

For now, let’s take a look at what it’s like to study with each of these platforms.
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Babbel vs Duolingo – A Deeper Look Reveals Their Differences

Duolingo and Babbel are two language learning platforms that are pretty similar. Duolingo is completely free, and Babbel starts at $12.95 per month.

The quickest way to describe the differences between them would be…

  • Duolingo is best for casual learners who may want to dabble in a few different languages, may struggle with staying motivated, or aren’t willing to spend money.
  • Babbel is best for more serious students who are only interested in learning one language, would like clear explanations, and want to learn content that they’ll use in real conversations.

I definitely would recommend Babbel ahead of Duolingo for most people. However, there are plenty of other language learning apps worth considering besides these two.

Because our top recommendations vary so much depending on the language you’re learning, it’d be impossible to list them all here. The links in the table below can help you figure out which resources may be a better choice.

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Rosetta Stone vs Fluenz: Both Expensive, Neither Amazing

Rosetta Stone and Fluenz are language-learning resources that offer learners complete study solutions.

While Rosetta Stone and Fluenz may appear to be quite similar, the manner in which they teach is completely different. Here’s what sets Rosetta Stone and Fluenz apart:

  • Rosetta Stone is completely immersive, meaning you won’t be given any explicit explanations of what you’re learning, whereas lessons in Fluenz include lots of explanations in English.

Out of the two resources, Fluenz is easily my first choice. However, I think there are plenty of other language-learning resources that offer better value than Rosetta Stone and Fluenz.

I’d recommend looking at all of your options before deciding which course is for you. The table below highlights some of our favorite tools for some of the most commonly studied languages.

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Pimsleur vs Rosetta Stone – Or Possibly Neither?

If you’ve started looking for a language learning course, chances are that you’ve already come across both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.

So which one is better?

If you would have asked me that question a year or two ago, I would have emphatically said…

Neither!

Perhaps because of how famous both companies are, they’ve also been some of the most absurdly expensive courses around.

Pimsleur still sells CD versions of its courses for hundreds of dollars – far more expensive than other more modern products.

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Rocket Korean

Quick Review

Summary:

After trying Rocket Korean, I came away pretty disappointed. In part, this is because they don’t do a great job of teaching Hangeul, which leaves learners unable to read even very basic Korean. I thought this, coupled with the repetitive exercises, made Rocket Korean uninspiring. There are better courses that will help you build a sturdier foundation while also being more enjoyable to use.

If Rocket Korean is for anyone, it’s for learners that are willing to supplement with resources that teach Hangeul well and for those that don’t find a less-than-exciting course, though it is structured clearly. It probably isn’t the best option for learners on a budget or those that want to learn to read.

Quality

Very repetitive review exercises that aren’t particularly well done.

Thoroughness

Does a poor job accomodating a different writing system.

Value

Too expensive to justify the cost.

Price

There’s only one level of Rocket Korean which costs $99.95. You can also pay in six-month installments which costs $19/month.

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Rocket German

Quick Review

3.3 

Summary:

Rocket German is a decent enough course, but it falls short of the high praise it often receives. The audio lessons aren’t bad, but they aren’t exceptional either, and the activities that are part of every lesson are too repetitive and boring. Nevertheless, it’s a fairly good course, with a nice structure, lots of clear grammar explanations, and opportunities for you to practice what you’ve learned.

As such, this is a course that could potentially work for learners that are looking for a course with a very clear structure, lots of explanations, and a mix of audio and visual content. Learners that are after an engaging course, are on a budget, or want better cultural insights should probably look elsewhere.

Platform

Nicely designed interface with pretty good lessons.

Content

Lots of exercises, but they’re all very similar and repetitive.

Value

Pretty expensive for what you get.

Price

Level 1 costs $89.95
Levels 1 & 2 cost $239.90
Levels 1,2 & 3 cost $249.90

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Rocket Chinese

Quick Review

2.8 

Summary:

In the past, Rocket Chinese was among the worst online language courses I’d tried. Fortunately, they’ve made massive improvements to their course and have improved on a lot of their weaknesses. That said, I still wouldn’t recommend using it as I think there are better online Chinese courses.

Quality

Pretty detailed lessons with lots of practice opportunities.

Thoroughness

Covers most parts of the language, but some of it isn’t done particularly well.

Value

Your money wold be better spent elsewhere in my opinion.

Price

Rocket Chinese costs $99.95 for level 1, $249.90 for levels 2 and 3, $259.90 for levels 1, 2, and 3.

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Rocket Japanese

Quick Review

3.7 

Summary:

Rocket Japanese doesn’t excel in any one specific area, but it’s more well balanced than other Japanese courses I’ve tried. The lessons can be very repetitive, somewhat boring, and rely too much on memorization exercises. But, the various aspects of Japanese are all explained pretty well. Their lessons also push you to speak aloud often while not neglecting things like grammar or Japanese culture. Overall, it’s better than I expected.

It will likely appeal more to learners that like a mix of audio and visual content as well as a clearly structured course. Advanced learners, those on a tight budget, or anyone particularly interested in improving their reading and writing skills may want to look elsewhere.

Quality

Everything works well, but parts of their teaching methodology could be improved.

Thoroughness

It covers most things well, but reading is mostly ignored.

Value

It’s somewhat expensive, but the price is reasonable considering everything included.

Price

Level 1 costs $99.95
Levels 1 & 2 costs $249.90
Levels 1, 2 & 3 costs $259.90

Alternatives: There are several online Japanese courses that I prefer over Rocket Japanese.

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Rocket Spanish

Quick Review

3.8 

Summary:

Rocket Spanish is a pretty good Spanish course, but it’s not my personal favorite. Although I find the lessons tend to be very boring, the content is well structured and fairly comprehensive. There is a good mixture of listening, speaking, grammar, and review activities.

Quality

The app and the lessons are well designed, but I experienced some minor annoyances.

Thoroughnes

There are lots of practice activities following each lesson, and course structure seems logical.

Value

Not cheap but not absurdly expensive either.

Price

Level 1 costs $99.95. Levels 1 & 2 costs $249.90. Levels 1, 2 & 3 costs $259.90

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italki

Quick Review

4.5 

Summary:

italki is the most flexible and affordable place to find a tutor for the language you’re learning. They have a huge number of teachers offering classes to students of over 100 different languages. As a learner, you’ll be able to find a tutor that best fits your learning style, schedule, and personality. Teachers are able to set their own prices and make their own schedule.

Teacher Quality

You’ll find everyone from long-time professionals to brand new teachers.

Platform

The overall platform has tons of useful features but also some room for improvement.

Value

Huge number of teachers, low prices, and flexible scheduling.

Price

The prices vary by teacher and language with some being as low as $4 and others as high as $60 per hour. Most will fall somewhere near the $10 per hour range.

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