You are a language lover? You are looking for educational apps for adults? Or you want to learn new languages but you are hesitant? You don’t know which application or website to choose for learning new languages? In this article, we will give you information about the three best applications for learning languages. In fact, we are going to present to you the advantages and disadvantages of Duolingo, Memrise and VocApp. We are not going to compare like Memrise vs Duolingo as a battle between both apps. No, our goal is to let you know the characteristics of those three language learning applications to make a choice according to:
- the best language to learn
- your preferences
- your needs
- how to learn languages fast
- how to learn a new language
- and which app you think is better for you, Duolingo or Memrise or VocApp
Most famous language learning app: Duolingo review
Duolingo is one of the most popular language learning applications. It was created in North America and extended to Europe. This application represented by a green owl offers courses to learn languages in general. What does it mean? It means that with Duolingo you will learn vocabulary and grammar about languages you choose. If fact, Duolingo vocabulary list is full of categories (food, sports, animals, clothes, etc.). You will work on the main language skills: written and oral comprehension and expression. It is really complete learning!
Which languages Duolingo offers for English speakers?
This application and website have a lot of choice regarding languages you can learn with English being the source language. In fact, when you change your source language, you should find fewer language options. But still, in English, you can choose to learn: Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Polish, Irish, Greek, Hebrew, Danish, Hindi, Czech, Esperanto, Ukrainian, Welsh, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Swahili, Romanian, Indonesian, Hawaiian, Navajo, Klingon, High Valyrian, Latin and Gaelic. What a selection!
Thus, this application and website would give you the chance to learn formal and usual language registers freely, but you can subscribe to the premium version to have advantages. For instance, in Duolingo, you have a system of “lives”. You have 5 lives (represented by hearts) when you start learning. When you make a mistake, you lose a life/heart. After 5 mistakes, if you didn’t subscribe to the premium version, you could not learn more during the day. You should wait for the next day or for some hours (or try to answer a lesson without making a mistake to earn a life/heart). In the premium version, your life is unlimited so your mistakes are not an obstacle for learning. In conclusion, if you want to learn freely, you just have to be patient and you could learn a new language well with Duolingo.
Advantages and disadvantages of Duolingo
With this application and website, you would be able to see your learning as a game: you have lives, the graphism reminds of games; the green owl is a character who talks to you, you have a ranking, an avatar, etc. If you are not totally motivated to learn new languages, perhaps this style could help you to be more attracted to learning new languages.
An advantage and a good one is that you will master a language if you invest in learning a language in this application even freely because you will work all the language skills and grammar.
By the way, another important thing we can add about this application, which is a great advantage even if it works only in English, is that they created a system of stories. Duolingo stories are conversations made in English, Spanish, German and French that you could listen to and try to understand during your learning. This is very efficient during learning, but you have to choose English as the source language.
A disadvantage is that you have to be really motivated. One other disadvantage is that, when you choose the application to not send you a message or email for reminding you to learn and study, they continue to do that.
Personal experience in Duolingo
My personal experience is that I was motivated but I felt stressed and forced to learn by the app. Moreover, I didn’t feel that I was improving my language skills. You could learn a lot but perhaps they are not useful things at the beginning. For example, the first lesson you will learn about any language you would choose is about how to say “man, woman, apple, girl, boy, to drink, to eat, milk”. So, if you want to learn a language quickly because you will travel to a country, unfortunately, I guess that Duolingo is not the best way to start learning in this case. That is why, depending on what you are looking for, only you could answer the question does Duolingo work?
Learning language application: Memrise review
This application and website is also a North American platform, it offers the possibility to learn languages thanks to the flash card template. If you only want to speak languages freely, this app will allow you to learn written comprehension and expression but then only oral comprehension.
Which languages does Memrise offer with English as the source language?
We can find the same problem that Duolingo has, you have a lot of choices from English but if your source language is another one, your chance to learn a non-European language will be reduced.
Thanks to Memrise, you can choose to learn from English: Spanish (from Spain or from Mexico, that is a distinction that Duolingo does not have), French, Arabic, German, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, Dutch, Swedish, Portuguese (from Brazil or from Portugal, once again Duolingo does not offer both), Italian, Chinese (simplified), Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Danish, Icelandic, Mongolian, Japanese without the script and Slovenian. Again, what a range of choices! Thus you can notice that they offer simplified courses in Chinese and Japanese to help you learn easier. With this application and website, you would learn usual languages.
Advantages and disadvantages of Memrise
Memrise could help you to learn useful things. For example, the first lesson is about the basics: how to say “hello”, “thank you”, “goodbye”, “please”, etc. More useful than the first lesson of Duolingo! But the problem is that you quickly have to pay for learning more. In fact, you should learn 10 words and then you would pay to have courses. You can have 7 days free to try and then you should pay for an entire course once a year.
You can find a useful advantage in Memrise that Duolingo doesn’t have. It consists of taking a photo of something and what is recognized in the picture will be translated directly. So, if you want to travel in a country and you did not have any time to learn the language, if you have this app on your smartphone, you will be understood by native speakers by just saying the translation of the thing you took a photo of. This tool is free, that is why it is very interesting to use it. If you are not going to travel, it will help you to learn more vocabulary freely. Moreover, it represents an easier way to memorize because it will refer to your own photo and a precise moment when you took this photo. You will probably learn more vocabulary faster with this free tool than with their free courses which are very short.
Personal experience in Memrise
The truth is that this app is very frustrating if you just want to learn languages freely. In fact, the style is great and the app is easy to use so when you start learning, you want to be serious and to do it well. After 10 words, you cannot do anything more than taking photos to learn vocabulary and you could feel annoyed. But, if you want to learn new languages and it is not a problem for you to pay, I think Memrise could be a good application to learn new languages.
European language learning app: VocApp review
Finally, a European platform! Yes, VocApp is a website and an application to learn languages and it was born in Poland under the name of Fiszkoteka. It will offer you courses based on flash card template but even if the majority are vocabulary teaching ones, you will also find flashcards about language grammar and culture too. That is to say that VocApp will allow you to learn all the language skills from oral and written comprehension and expression to language culture. That is an element that Duolingo or Memrise do not offer.
Which languages can you learn with VocApp knowing English?
The same constatation as for the other applications and websites, you should have more choice if your source language is English. So with VocApp, you could choose to learn these languages from English: German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Dutch, American English, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Ukrainian, Arabic, Belarusian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Galician, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Kazakh, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxembourgish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Turkish. Again, you have a lot of choices! What is the best language to learn? So, what is sure is that if you want to learn one language that another app does not offer, you should directly know which one is better for you. But, if all the apps we present have the same language you want to learn, let’s see what are the advantages and disadvantages of VocApp.
Advantages and disadvantages of VocApp
In this platform, you would learn usual, formal and informal language registers. The flash card template allows us to create a range of lessons about varied topics. For example, you can find a lesson called “Untranslatable words” which permits you to learn very specific things that only a native knows.
Each language’s first course called “language day 1” is free in this application and on the website. Thanks to this course, you should know the basics but not only 10 words as Memrise offers but at least 100 words.
A disadvantage and at the same time an advantage: courses are paid but, contrary to Duolingo or Memrise, courses are divided by topics, they are more specific. So, you could buy the topic you are interested in. What does it mean? It means that with VocApp, you will not lose your time learning vocabulary you will not use. With this app and website, even if you have to pay for a course, you know that what you are paying for something that corresponds to your needs.
Here, you can find the full list of language courses offered by VocApp.
Another advantage of VocApp is that you can decide the hour of the reminder, as Duolingo does, but you can also choose to put on the tool “quick study opening your phone”. This option allows you to study when you unlock your phone. If that is not the best way to learn a new language fast, we do not know what you are looking for!
Personal experience in VocApp
Most users claim that VocApp is really well thought, but at the beginning, it is not really clear how to use it. There are many different functions and settings that may overwhelm an average user. VocApp develops AI-based solutions called “Smart Creator” – those are the functions that let you take a photo of the text and the software will create flashcards with the most difficult words that appear in the text. Another AI solution lets you take a photo of objects that are around you, and will create the flashcards with the names of the objects in 2 languages you choose. There are different study modes, and settings that will change learning pace, so everyone can adjust the app to their preferences.
Once you understand how the application works I am pretty sure that this is the app which will allow you to learn a new language fast and easily. Because this application is made to fit your desires and even the most demanding needs regarding language learning.
Duolingo or Memrise or VocApp or all of these language learning apps
Now you know better the differences and common things between these three applications: Duolingo, Memrise and VocApp, you are the only one who knows what fits better with what you are looking for regarding new language learning. My advice if you want to learn a language freely is to use Duolingo and VocApp. If you are okay to pay for learning and if you have a precise goal I guess that VocApp is the better app to learn a new language fast. But if you do not have time and you are going to travel soon, the photo tool of Memrise can help you a lot.
In a nutshell, here you can find a table to sum up the article:
|Country||North American platform||North American platform||Polish platform|
|Kind of product||Courses||Flashcards||Flashcards and courses|
|Worked skills||Oral, written comprehension and expression||Oral, written comprehension, written expression||All: oral, written comprehension expression, language culture|
|Available languages from English (that the other apps do not offer)||Irish
|Mexican Spanish |
|Interfaces||Website and app (all 3 apps are available on iOS, Android and on the website)|
Paid premium version
Pair premium version
Paid integral courses/year
“Language Day 1” free courses
Specific paid courses
|Language registers||Usual and formal||Usual||Usual, formal and informal|
|Progression||Effective and freely during a long period if you want to master the language basis||Uneffective, freely||Effective, freely and quickly if you want to learn basic words|
|Advantages||Stories from English to Spanish and German
|Screen translation||Quick study while unlocking the phone
Selection of topics = useful vocabulary
Effective, useful vocabulary and quick learning with charged courses