Duolingo vs. Memrise

Updated: 02. Nov, 2022

Making life decisions can be tough. Choosing between Duolingo and Memrise for your language learning journey is one of those difficult decisions. If you are interested in learning a new language, you’ve probably come across several apps like Duolingo and Memrise. While Duolingo has over 130 million users, Memrise has about 70 million users. This popularity is a result of the apps’ effectiveness and marketing strategies.

Duolingo and Memrise are the most popular free language learning apps out there. Regardless of your language goals, they have the features to sharpen your language skills. However, choosing the correct language app to learn a new language is necessary. In this detailed guide, we are digging into the details that make both apps outstanding.

Memrise Overview

Memrise is a crowdsourced way to learn any language as it is the opposite of traditional learning with textbooks. It is a language app where users can upload their content for other learners to see and learn. This upload method is in a flashcard style which is an effective way of comprehending new things.

These digital flashcards work on a system called spaced repetition system. With spaced repetition system, the cards you answer correctly are repeated less and spaced to give you a chance to learn other things. Although learning with flashcards may get boring over time, Memrise makes it interesting by including graphics, rewards points, and a timer.

Many options with a wide range of courses make learning flexible compared to other language learning apps. For example, Memrise focuses on vocabulary and aims to teach learners common words and phrases used in real-life scenarios. In addition, the language learning app also offers other extra activities like trivia questions on different topics, memory training games, standard exercises, etc. 

Memrise’s interface is less polished and straightforward than other language learning apps. You have to begin with the first lesson before starting a language course. Lessons on Memrise are locked until learners finish the current lesson. The lessons on Memrise are like games, so if you don’t complete a level successfully, you are not allowed to move on to the next one.

As a Memrise free member, you have access to as many language courses as you want with limitations. You can also select courses based on levels ranging from beginner to advanced. In addition, Memrise also has the “mems” to help learners memorize words and phrases better.

Duolingo Overview

Duolingo has a more traditional approach to learning languages with exceptional pre-designed lessons. These lessons are designed using visual, text, and audio formats, which helps learners comprehend better and makes learning fun. As a result, Duolingo is one of the most popular languages and the first free language platform to compete with other paid learning apps.

The language app offers different self-paced exercises that help develop a strong foundation in various languages. As a Duolingo intermediate or advanced learner, you can use the platform to review the language lessons you’ve learned earlier. Besides being a free app, Duolingo offers top-notch content that measures to other exclusive paid platforms. So, although you might not become fluent in your target language with Duolingo, the app is the best platform to practice daily.

Duolingo offers several language courses with different lessons. The language app aims to teach learners their target language within minutes of signing up. The language lessons are designed in tiny bundles that teach words ranging from beginner to advanced vocabulary lessons. Each lesson for any language course tests its learners by making them take exercises on word translation and sentence formation. The app also tests language lovers’ retentive abilities, making learning with Duolingo more concise and efficient.

Duolingo offers over 50 language courses ranging from Japanese and French to Russian and Hawaiian. Each course takes about 7 minutes to complete. After each lesson, the learner is rewarded with points to mark their achievement level. This is a sure way to motivate learners to keep up the lessons and not abandon them halfway. Duolingo begins with essential words and the pictorial representation for learners to match. Eventually, vocabulary and grammar are gradually introduced to the lesson.

What are the Similarities between Duolingo and Memrise?

Duolingo and Memrise are language learning platforms that allow you to learn any language at your pace. Both platforms are two of the most popular language learning resources with outstanding features. They have outstanding graphics and reward points for being consistent. 

Both language learning apps effectively teach basic words and phrases, saving time and effort. In addition, Duolingo and Memrise are easy ways to develop new study habits. Building habits is important when learning a new language. This is because, like every other skill, being consistent is more important than being hard working.

Many learners are procrastinators, and if a new habit isn’t easy at the beginning, then there is a chance that they will be discouraged and stop halfway. Both apps are available at your fingertips, so there is no need to have any specific learning plans or prepare notebooks. There is also no need to make a schedule; the concept of Duolingo and Memrise is to learn whenever you have free time. The learning platforms make your habit of learning very easy that it becomes hard to say no. And that’s the whole point of getting the right language learning app.

These apps have changed the way we learn languages forever. Both apps are accessible, have a user-friendly interface, and are beginner-friendly with easy-to-understand courses. At the end of your lessons on both apps, you should be able to construct commonly used sentences. These sentences include describing the weather, having a conversation about life, asking for directions, or making a food order. To achieve this, Duolingo and Memrise greatly rely on spaced repetition system. The concept of this system is to make learners repeat words to memorize them completely.

What are the Differences between Duolingo and Memrise?

Which language learning platform works best for you? Like every other language learning platform, Duolingo and Memrise have several differences that make each app unique. So, let’s quickly dive into the differences between these apps.

Language Difference

The available languages to learn on Duolingo varies based on which language you are trying to learn. For example, English speakers have the most languages when it comes to learning new languages. There are about 38 languages to choose from on Duolingo for English speakers. However, as a French speaker, only six different languages are available. 

English native speakers also have the opportunity to learn popular such as French, German, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Arabic, Russian and more. Duolingo also offers language learners fictional languages such as High Valyrian and Klingon for fun.

On the other hand, Memrise offers about 23 languages. Moreover, the languages available on Memrise are real and popular, unlike the fictional languages that Duolingo offers. Some of the most popular languages that Memrise offers for English speakers include Russian, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Korean. However, you can also switch your spoken language from English to French on Memrise.

Different Learning and Lesson Structure

Memrise uses a flashcard method of learning words and phrases. When you begin a new language course on Memrise, you see a series of words and progress to more complicated phrases. However, you can always tell Memrise that you are familiar with the word or phrase or tap the “Teach me this” button.

Most words or phrases in Memrise go together with a video of a native speaker saying them. Access to this video helps you learn how to correctly pronounce the word and the action or picture with the word. In addition, you can also get a literal and loose translation for every word in the lesson.

Once you have learned a few words and phrases, you can check out the review, immerse and communicate sections. These additional sections will help further your knowledge of your target language. While the review section allows you to test all the words and phrases you have learned, the immerse section tests your listening skills. Finally, the communication section helps improve your pronunciation skills.

On the other hand, the Duolingo app offers a more straightforward learning approach. Rather than learning individual words and phrases, the app simultaneously lays out the entire language course. The course comprises language grammar and vocabulary. While you can see the whole language course when you begin your lessons, some lessons are locked until the completion of the previous modules.

Every course in Duolingo has a certain number of lesson units that you can choose to test out at the beginning of a course. In addition, you can also start from the first unit and work your way to the last course. At the end of every course lesson unit, there is a quiz that you have to pass to unlock the next lesson unit.

Duolingo also motivates learners to keep learning through the app’s gamification. The gamified element in Duolingo includes the daily streak where you have to finish one lesson a day to keep up your streak. Other gamified elements include fun achievements to motivate learners to learn and experience you earn after every lesson. Finally, learners can also be thrown into a league with fellow learners.

Online Communities and Forums

Certain community-building features are available on Duolingo, such as adding friends and competing with other language learners in the league. These community features encourage friendship among Duolingo users. However, the lack of forums to consult, especially when a learner has a burning question is bad.

On the other hand, Memrise has an extensive online forum that handles different language topics. In this forum, there are four categories for learners to explore. These include official Memrise courses, Welcome to the forum, community-created courses, and Memrise Bug control. In addition, each of these categories has several sub-categories to explore to enjoy user-generated questions and comments.

Duolingo and Memrise Prices and Plans

Duolingo and Memrise provide free versions, which are commendable. The free versions are developed nicely and are ideal for language beginners. However, both apps offer paid premium and pro versions for learners to get more extensive features.

While Duolingo offers a free version, there is also Duolingo’s premium plan and Duolingo Plus. The paid plans offer few features for a monthly and yearly subscription fee. When you subscribe to Duolingo Plus, you will have no ads and be able to complete as many lessons as you want. In addition, there are no restrictions, and you can take different progress quizzes as you like.However, there are not many features on the Premium version of Duolingo.

However, with Duolingo Plus, you can enjoy the luxury of removing unwanted ads and downloading lessons and learning as much as you want. A monthly plan costs $12.99. However, subscribing yearly costs about $79.99, which gives you a considerable discount, as you get to pay just $7 per month. You don’t get any additional content for upgrading, but the opportunity to learn faster.

On the other hand, you can upgrade the Memrise Pro plan and unlock additional content and features. Subscribing to the Pro plan will cost about $8 for a month-to-month plan. However, if you wish to pay for a lifetime pass, it will cost about $120. In addition, the annual subscription is $59.98 per year. Furthermore, the Memrise Pro plan offers other features, which include a grammar Bot and a chatbot to improve learners’ language skills.

Finally, Memrise’s pro version is quite affordable compared to Duolingo plus. You also gain full access to the app’s language courses with other 30,000 native speaker videos.

Extra features

There are extra features on Duolingo for language learners. However, with Memrise, there is not much beyond their standard language lessons and user-generated courses. The additional resources that Duolingo offers beyond their core curriculum include short stories to improve your listening and reading skills. Other extra resources include interesting podcasts, a translation dictionary, and online events to interact with fellow learners directly. These online events are an opportunity to have face-to-face zoom conversations to practice language speaking or discuss any other topics.

On the other hand, Memrise offers a few extra features to give learners a full learning experience. These extra features include mem creation, grammar bots, and chatbots. With Memrise, you can create mem by personalizing each flashcard. Mems are simply mnemonic devices in the form of pictures or texts that help make words and translations memorable. Chatbots lets you practice your target language without the stress of making fun of yourself in front of a person. Finally, Grammarbot is a chatbot that focuses on parts of speech and grammar. These features offer learners considerable improvements as they pursue their language goals.


Duolingo and Memrise are outstanding with exceptional features. While Memrise helps improve your vocabulary, Duolingo enables you to understand the foundation of grammar and sentence structure in your target language. Both apps complement each other because they help you reach different language goals. Of course, everything depends on what language goals you want to achieve. If you are a complete beginner, both apps go hand in hand.

Duolingo is a general learning platform with an excellent learning method that everyone can enjoy. It has different levels dedicated to grammar, with grammar explanations for every level. On the other hand, Memrise is incredible as it helps you memorize some irregular words and phrases. However, both apps work best hand-in-hand but use different methods.

Frequently Asked Questions On Duolingo vs Memrise

Is Memrise better than Duolingo?

While the Memrise app is robust and offers profound lessons, Duolingo offers a traditional learning method. Both apps aim to teach learners new languages but have different teaching methods.

Is Duolingo cheaper than Duolingo?

Both Duolingo and Memrise offer free plans. But, if you decide to sign up for a pro or premium subscription plan, then Memrise has cheaper plans than Duolingo. 

What is the key difference between Duolingo and Memrise?

The lessons on Duolingo and Memrise are similar in various aspects. However, the differences lie in the teaching method of an individual language learning app.


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