Memrise language courses leave Duolingo behind

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

I grew up trilingual, speaking Arabic natively, French almost natively, and English from the age of eight. I was quite satisfied with this versatile knowledge, until I met my husband, and he also began to teach me the basics of the Spanish language. I spent several months organically analyzing Spanish; It’s relatively easy if you already speak French and someone explains the basic rules to you. I then switched to Duolingo to (presumably) take my language learning to the next level. I’ve tried app after app, but the end result is clear: Duolingo doesn’t work for me. Therefore, I transferred my language learning to Memrise and I can only say good things about it.

Why Duolingo Methods Failed Me

Duolingo’s boring and pointless reruns pissed me off. I swear I learned that “woman” means woman. Duolingo doesn’t care. The gamification based system wants you to come back every day and repeat the same exercises over and over again until you reach a new level. Only then can I unlock more lessons.

Read more: Gamification has taken the fun out of training and learning

The Duolingo learning path is also focused on nonsensical phrases that I will never use. Things like “cats drink milk” or “a monkey eats an apple”. When would you say it? (It should be noted that I have only tried a few Duolingo courses, namely French-Spanish, English-Spanish, English-German, and French-Italian, so things may be different with other language combinations.)

Duolingo was determined to teach me useless phrases about cats and apples.

Despite the boredom and lack of motivation I felt, I kept coming back to Duolingo and tried my best. I have failed several times. Until I decided to see what other language learning apps are available.

Memrise’s approach to language learning is different

memrise duolingo simple

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

After a few setbacks, I settled on Memory, looking through an English and German class, shrugging my shoulders and thinking, “Well, how bad can that be?” »

Nothing wrong. Please. Amazing, really great. After 10 minutes, he learned a few words and watched videos, trying to choose those words in the middle of a conversation. I went back the next day for a second session, then the next day, and then the next.

In less than a week I had a very basic understanding of the German language.

In less than a week, and in just 15-20 minutes a day, I had a (very) general understanding of German that I never felt after countless hours on Duolingo. I still use Memrise and have almost completed my first German course. I also started to learn a little Italian, why not.

The first thing I noticed in Memrise is the “I already know” button when typing new words. Tap it and the app will assume it’s a known word and ignore it (unless you mark it). In addition, at any time you can mark words as known or difficult, and then review the learned words or continue learning new ones, progressing at your own pace. No more unnecessary repetition.

To combat boredom, Memrise uses less repetition, on-site video, adaptive learning, and multiple testing methods.

The second thing that struck me is how Memrise teaches you words and phrases. Use matching games, writing tasks and pronunciation quizzes. The best parts are the short videos of the locals saying the words besides text-to-speech, and there’s a hell of a difference between the two. Residents speak faster, more fluently, skip or confuse certain letters, while robotic pronunciation is slower and more articulate. I learn how German is actually spoken, which is much more useful for understanding a real person.

Memrise also provides a literal translation of each phrase. For example, many of us know that “Gesundheit” means “bless you”, but did you know that the literal translation is “health”? Literally, “es ist leider nichts mehr frei” translates to “unfortunately, it’s no longer free”, but is used to indicate that the place is full. Take your time to review these literal translations as you learn the expressions, and you’ll quickly expand your vocabulary and grammar without even realizing it.

Extra Features: The Best German Learning Apps for Android

What’s more, the lessons first focus on travel phrases like “what’s the Wi-Fi password” and “where are you from?” they eat apples instead of ducks. There are also grammar rules and lessons that helped me understand sentence structure early rather than guessing it over time.

Additional feature that makes it different

memrise studies with the locals 2

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

The only feature that made me fall in love with Memrise is the exciting video section. Unfortunately, it’s not available in all languages, but when it’s there, it makes a big difference. You see short 10-15 second TikTok style videos of locals fake talking to themselves (but dressed differently). A little hard to explain, but amateur acting, props and situations; everything is cute and funny. You don’t have to understand everything, but you do need to understand if the character should go left or right, likes sushi or pizza, is local or from the US, etc.

Memrise’s captivating, immersive TikTok-style videos boosted my confidence in the words I learned.

The application depends on your understanding of the context and your ability to learn the words you have already learned. And it works great. From the first video, I was able to understand the situation and respond correctly, although at that time I knew only a few words.

As I said, this immersion mode is available from English to German, but I haven’t seen it in other courses. It’s a shame because it really makes the app infinitely more fun and useful.

A month later I went to Berlin and was surprised at how well I understood German.

In less than a month with Memrise for 10-15 minutes a day, I went to Berlin and was amazed at how well I understand the surrounding German. Obviously, I did not speak the language perfectly, but I caught the general meaning of conversations, announcements and announcements around me. I went to Cologne last year and couldn’t understand a single word other than “bitte” and “guten morgen” so I can thank Memrise for all the improvements.

Our Pick: The Best Language Learning Apps for Android

Some missing features

However, like any application, it’s not perfect. It took me a while to figure out how to skip the repetition to learn more words, or how to go through the list of words and phrases I already learned. I’m also annoyed by the lack of a search function. I would like to find “night” and see all the expressions it occurs in, e.g. Also, I’ve noticed that some languages ​​aren’t treated like royalty like an English-German course: they have fewer local videos and no fun TikTok-style quizzes.

But luckily, the service is free for as long as you need, so you can try it out and see if the language pair you’re interested in offers everything you need. A professional subscription unlocks offline mode, the ability to correct complex words, and some other additional features; it’s a nice addition, but by no means essential.

Have you used a free language learning app?

318 votes

Yes, Duolingo.


Yes Memris.


Yes, different application. Let us know in the comments.

of them%

No, but I’m considering them.


No, and I don’t think I’ll be wearing it anytime soon.


But is Memrise enough to learn a language?

memrise studies with the locals 1

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Perfection aside, however, Memoir It completely won me over, which is why I am writing this article and sharing my experience with you. The app often outshines its giant competitor, but I think it deserves credit for its different methods and playful approach.

But is it enough?

To be honest, if you’re serious about the language, I don’t think Memrise is good enough on its own. You will need a varied mix of learning methods such as videos, podcasts, grammar lessons, and conversations with native speakers. In this context, Memrise can be your complementary tool.

ROI with Memrise is incredibly high, unlike Duolingo.

But if you want to pick up the basics of the language quickly, whether it’s for a short trip or out of sheer curiosity, then this should definitely be your app. The ROI, which is the number of useful words and language concepts you learn in a short amount of time, is incredibly high and leaves Duolingo far behind.

Another Opinion: Do Free Language Learning Apps Really Work?


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