by Ben Lo | 6:49 pm

Hi readers, I would like to share some thoughts of using foreign language learning apps – Duolingo and Memrise. As smart phones become more essential than ever before, people do not simply stick to traditional way of learning languages, name it textbooks or traditional classroom learning style. Instead, people start to learn from websites or apps on laptops, computers or even cell phones. Thus, I am writing this post to help you learners have more access to more resources and see if you would like to give them a try.


Duolingo ranks #4 under the category of Education and gets 4.6 out of 5 (53700 ratings) as of Feb.08, 2019 on App Store.

Duolingo is a foreign language learning platform, including its website and an app.



1. Free of Charge

It is totally free and can be very beneficial to beginners to build a solid foundation of vocabulary, phrases and simple sentences.

2. Gamified Design

You can see lots of gamified design in this app to help you stick to your language learning goal, such as winning crowns and lingots, achievements, connecting with friends and joining a club and so on. Language learning can sometimes be difficult, tiring and boring. With these features, they can help you keep yourself motivated and feel less stressful and frustrating.


1. Audio Sounds Only

Compared with Memrise, Duolingo only offers clear pronunciation with audio sound (Read Memrise below for more), so it feels a bit less real. Of course, it is not really a big deal but it surely can be further improved.

2. Limitation

I think this can be the disadvantage for most applications on cell phone. It might be a great start for beginners but when you progress, you might feel the limitation of the app. You might need to find some other supplementary materials to meet your needs such as the explanation of grammars points, sentence structures and so on.

This review video also gives you a clear summary of Duolingo.


Memrise ranks #55 under the category of Education and gets 4.7 out of 5 (12200 ratings) as of Feb.08, 2019 on App Store.

Memrise is a language learning platform which mainly focuses on memorizing new vocabulary, phrases and sentences with spaced repetition concept.


1. Short Videos

Unlike Duolingo with only audio sound, you can actually see people say the words or sentences in a video which makes the learning more interesting and authentic.

2. Gamified Design

You are not only learning but also trying to level up along the way. The gamified design makes Memrise not just a language learning app but with lots of fun.


1. Accuracy and Consistency

As the learning contents are user-generated, the quality might not be as consistent as that other materials. You will have to cherry-pick the one that fits your need and the one that does not make too many mistakes.

2. Limitation

As it mainly focuses on vocabulary, phrases memorization and sentences translation, I believe it might be suitable for beginners to get familiar with the language and memorize some words. However, as you are progressing, you might need some other materials that are more comprehensive (grammar, sentence structures and so on) to help you progress in a faster and more comprehensive fashion.

The video below also gives a great review and summary.

Final Thoughts

Both Duolingo and Memrise are a great tool for beginners to get familiar with a new foreign language and can build a solid foundation on vocabulary, phrases and sentences. Also, the gamified design can make learners feel less bored and frustrating. Users can use when they have free time and can decide how long they would like to learn per day.

On the other hand, when learners progress towards a higher level, they might need to find other supplementary materials to meet their other needs such as the explanation of grammar points and different sentence structures. Also, learners might want to practice their speaking ability which does not really be trained on Duolingo and Memrise. In this case, I will recommend that you use italki as a supplementary tool to practice your writing and speaking ability. Feel free to check my post for more information about italki.

Last, I hope this post can give you a general ideal of how these two language learning platforms are doing and hope that you all can benefit from these two. On top of that, hope every learners can achieve their own goal on language learning. If you have any thoughts and comments, do leave them below. I am very looking forward to reading them. Happy language learning.

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