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Babbel vs Busuu: Similar But With Important Differences

Babbel and Busuu are two of the most popular online language learning tools with millions of users between them. They are both available on the web, on iOS, and for Android, and are designed to teach courses in a variety of languages to a basic and intermediate level.

Both courses offer grammar and vocabulary practice through a number of short, self-paced activities. The key differences between the two resources are:

  • Babbel’s lessons have a stronger focus on grammar, while Busuu doesn’t cover the area in as much depth.
  • Busuu offers more varied exercise types. Babbel features many different exercises, but it favors repetition, and structure doesn’t change much.
  • Busuu’s unique community feature offers a social aspect to language learning that Babbel doesn’t have.

As Babbel and Busuu are fairly similar in their offerings, it’s not possible to recommend one over the other as a universal preference. It’s worth looking at your own learning style and requirements for an online language course when deciding which of the two is most suited to you.

Another point worth mentioning is that Busuu’s Chinese course was of much lower quality than their courses for other languages. As such, this led to them receiving a lower overall rating when we reviewed their courses. So, if you’re considering studying a language that doesn’t use the Latin alphabet, we’d be very hesitant to recommend them.

Babbel doesn’t offer courses for Asain languages which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We appreciate their humility in not attempting to make a course for a language if they can’t do it well. Many language learning resources pump out courses for every language they can while following the exact same template. Babbel seems to focus on ensuring their courses are well-designed.

The table below highlights some of our favorite resources based on the language you want to learn.


Pimsleur vs Fluenz: Communication Focused vs Academic Learning

Pimsleur and Fluenz are two language learning programs that are quite different. Both offer learning of the same or similar languages, but their approach is not the same.

In short:

  • Pimsleur is mostly focused on speaking, whilst not including written language as much and ignoring grammar. Learners will need to participate and speak aloud often.
  • Fluenz simulates a one-on-one tutor experience with the focus on more passive learning. An academic approach is characteristic of Fluenz as it explains important aspects of the language well.

Although my personal preference would be Pimsleur, as it is much more practical for beginners who want to quickly be able to communicate, I can see how Fluenz can be useful for learners who want a more balanced approach to learning a language.

There are, of course, many more language learning resources, including apps, to consider besides these two options. You can find our favorites for the most popular languages from the table below.


Rosetta Stone vs Living Language – I’m Not A Fan Of Either

Rosetta Stone and Living Language are online resources providing numerous materials for learning a language. The tools combine a number of activities aimed at helping users to gain skills in communicating, writing and reading a language at a beginner or intermediate level.

Both resources use contrasting methods of teaching, and there are some notable differences between the courses that are worth pointing out:

  • Rosetta Stone is fairly easy to use and navigate while Living Language looks more like a database than an interactive learning tool.
  • Living Language presents lots of information in a scattered way. Rosetta Stone presents its material more clearly but doesn’t explain everything, leaving users to infer meaning from images.

Looking at both resources together, I wouldn’t say that either was very good. Both Rosetta Stone and Living Language charge more for subscriptions compared with other resources, and I personally don’t think they’re worth the investment.

I wouldn’t recommend either tool for someone looking to learn a language. There are much better options available for lower costs. It’s a good idea to look into all of your options before choosing a course that’s for you.

The table below highlights some of the better language learning resources based on the language you want to learn.


Duolingo vs Pimsleur – Both Have Their Benefits, But I Prefer Pimsleur

Duolingo and Pimsleur are two popular language learning platforms. They teach in completely different ways, having different strengths and weaknesses.

The main differences between Duolingo and Pimsleur are:

  • Duolingo is free to use while Pimsleur requires a subscription or purchase of their courses.
  • Duolingo more broadly focuses on the different aspects of a language, with no proper speaking practice, while Pimsleur’s courses primarily focus on oral language.
  • Duolingo’s lessons are more fun with their game-like elements, while Pimsleur’s can get boring.

Comparing the two platforms, Pimsleur offers higher quality lessons that will improve your communication skills much more quickly, as such, I’d recommend it over Duolingo.

That said, Duolingo is free to use, so if you’re not quite ready to commit to a subscription fee, or dabble in a few languages, you might want to get started on there.

Remember that there are plenty of other language learning apps that might be better for you than Duolingo or Pimsleur. Make sure you know your options before you settle on a final choice.

The table below shows some of the best language learning tools based on the language you want to learn.


Babbel vs Memrise: A Full Course vs A Supplementary Tool

Babbel and Memrise are two incredibly popular language learning tools available online and on mobile. They are intended for helping users to learn a language through a variety of exercises and features.

There are a number of key differences between Babbel and Memrise, namely:

  • Babbel is a full course that’s structured-well and teaches in a comprehensive manner whereas Memrise is more of a supplementary tool that should be used alongside other resources.

Both are good at what they do but still have some limitations. Memrise is excellent for studying and reviewing vocabulary but it doesn’t do much beyond that. Babbel is well-thought-out, the price is affordable, but it’s not the most unique or exciting course around.

It’s worth noting that there are plenty of other language learning apps available that may be a better fit for you. The table below highlights a few of our top picks based on some of the most popular languages.


italki vs Preply vs Verbling – Similar Features But Important Differences

italki, Preply, and Verbling are three online platforms with the common goal of matching teachers to students who are looking to learn a new language. All three resources allow you to book classes directly with a teacher for a wide range of languages.

While italki, Preply and Verbling work very similarly, and offer virtually the same opportunities to students, they do have some very minor differences worth pointing out:

  • italki has a wider range of teachers, which allows you to be pickier with your selection requirements. It’s usually cheaper than Preply and Verbling and offers many extra community features for free, which can help you get more out of your language learning experience.
  • Preply has lots of other subjects besides languages, but lesson packages can only be used with one teacher.
  • Verbling and italki let you pay for one class at a time, which makes purchasing lessons more convenient than it is on Preply.

All three platforms offer flexibility, allowing you to book classes to a schedule that suits you.

Italki is my favorite of the three because it offers the best value for money, has the biggest range of teachers to choose from, and great free features.

Preply does a few things that rub me the wrong way with regard to their trial lessons and the fact that packages aren’t transferable between teachers is a problem.

Verbling is a solid option despite being a little more expensive and having fewer teachers to choose from.

All three platforms exist to make it easier to find a tutor. But, they aren’t language courses in the traditional sense, so they are better used as a complementary resource to a structured course. You can check out the best courses available based on your language learning preferences from the table below.


Mondly vs Rosetta Stone: Neither, Use Something Else Instead

Mondly and Rosetta Stone are online tools that provide courses for learning a language. Both resources are suitable for beginner and intermediate learners. However, I’m not a fan of either as I think there are better options available.

The teaching methods used in Mondly and Rosetta Stone are very different. The main differences between Mondly and Rosetta Stone are:

  • Rosetta Stone only uses your target language while Mondly has explanations in English.
  • Rosetta Stone’s lessons are better structured but trying to infer meaning only from pictures is frustrating.
  • Mondly is more reasonably priced for the content it offers, while Rosetta Stone is more expensive than other courses, despite offering no additional value.

Comparing one resource to the other, I’d find it hard to give one definite recommendation. We gave both resources a pretty low rating and would generally advise using other resources instead.

If I were forced to choose one, I’d lean towards Mondly simply because it offers cheaper subscriptions.

There are plenty of better alternatives to Mondly and Rosetta Stone. I’d suggest looking at what else is on offer if you’re trying to decide on a language course for you. Check out the table below for our recommendations on the best online tools based on the language you want to learn.


italki vs HelloTalk – italki For Tutors, HelloTalk For Language Exchange

italki and HelloTalk are online platforms that make it possible to find a tutor or exchange partner to practice a new language. italki primarily offers tutors for language learning, while HelloTalk matches native speakers with those learning their language for a different take on the learning experience.

The goal of italki and HelloTalk is the same: to help a user learn a language through personal communication alone. However, there are some notable differences between them, mainly:

  • italki works on a teacher-student concept, whereas HelloTalk pairs two students together to teach each other their native languages.
  • HelloTalk gives the option to subscribe to audio lessons in 10 different languages, while italki focuses primarily on matching tutors with students.

Both resources are flexible and affordable (HelloTalk is free for the most part), and I’d find it hard to recommend one over the other. If you’re looking to take a more standard approach to language learning, you would probably benefit more from italki. HelloTalk is a slightly more interesting concept and has the potential to be rewarding for users.

While italki and HelloTalk are two of the best platforms for language exchange and finding a tutor, both are better as complementary resources to a structured course. You can find more information on the best language learning resources based on the language you want to learn here.


Pimsleur vs Michel Thomas: One Is Good – The Other Is Not

Michel Thomas and Pimsleur are two of the most famous language teaching courses available online. They offer courses for learning languages from beginner level upwards but do so using different methods.

While both Pimsleur and Michel Thomas focus on oral language, there are some differences worth noting between the two:

  • Pimsleur’s lessons are much higher in quality, while Michel Thomas’s lessons are lacking in depth.
  • Pimsleur teaches languages up to an intermediate level. Users learning with Michel Thomas will only be able to understand and speak a language at a basic level after completing a course.


Pimsleur vs Babbel: Both Good, But Have Different Strengths

Pimsleur and Babbel are two of the biggest names in online language learning. They offer courses for learning a range of languages from scratch, although when it comes down to lesson specifics, they each have their different focuses.

Babbel and Pimsleur offer good courses but take different approaches to language learning. Some of the key differences between the two include:

  • Pimsleur primarily focuses on oral language which can help learners develop their conversational skills very quickly.
  • Babbel teaches more holistically, including grammar and written exercises – two areas mostly ignored by Pimsleur. Learners using Babbel would have a more well-rounded knowledge of the language, but lower speaking and listening skills compared with students using Pimsleur.

I’d struggle to choose a firm favorite between Babbel and Pimsleur because both are well designed and provide fairly high-quality lessons at relatively good value for money.