Alternatives to Duolingo

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Alternatives on June 27, 2022
If you're looking at programs that can help you learn a new language, you've likely come across Duolingo. We help you see how Duolingo stacks up against other top choices.

    Ready to learn a new language? We’ve got you covered! Duolingo can be a great tool for language learners, whether you’re looking to learn English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, German, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Italian, or another foreign language. Here, we’ll take a look at what you need to know about the Duolingo language app, as well as other apps like Duolingo that you can try to learn different languages.

    How to master a new language

    Learning a new language takes practice. Some people are able to speak a number of languages, while others have a hard time picking up a second language. No matter what your intrinsic skill level when it comes to picking up a new language, using a language learning platform can be a great way to boost your language learning experience. Whether you want to be able to communicate with people in their native language in real-life or you simply want to be able to understand social media posts in other languages, choosing the best app for your needs from the start can help you move in the direction in becoming fluent in the new language of your choice.

    Duolingo and other language learning tools

    Duolingo (both the paid and free versions) provides users with interactive language learning tools that help them learn both the basics and intricacies of a new language. The platform offers a gradual increase in difficulty, allowing users to build their knowledge base before they move onto a more complicated skill.

    Many language learners enjoy using Duolingo because the simple interface and positivity of the app make the courses feel like a game. The program uses artificial intelligence to adjust the levels to the need of the user, helping each user to feel challenged while also meeting them at their skill level.

    Duolingo also offers stories, which are targeted to the user’s level and helps them to get an immersive experience through the app. While listening to stories, users are able to pick up on nuances of conversation, including pronunciation and inflection, that can be hard to understand when not surrounded by native speakers of the language. Speech recognition capabilities also help users develop their pronunciation skills.


    Created by renowned linguist Paul Pimsleur, this program uses the Pimsleur method, which doesn’t require studying vocabulary or memorizing grammar rules. The Pimsleur method requires that users listen to the program for half an hour each day.

    The method is based on the idea that learning too many complicated rules while trying to learn a new language can actually slow down progress. Just like children don’t memorize vocabulary lists when they’re learning how to talk, the Pimsleur method relies on users listening to conversations and interacting with language in normal, every day ways.

    Listening to conversations in your new language can help you understand inflection and tone. Your daily 30 minutes with Pimsleur can easily be completed in the car, at work, or on the go.


    As the world’s first language-learning app, Babbel works to help users get conversation-ready. The Babbel method offers users 14 different language courses to choose from. Babbel takes the language that you already speak and looks for similarities between your native language and your new language, helping to bridge the gap between the two.

    Babbel users need to log onto the app for at least ten minutes per day to keep moving forward towards learning their new language. If you prefer to use a hands-free learning option, you can also listen to one of Babbel’s language learning podcasts, which allow you to hear your new language spoken aloud.

    The creators at Babbel believe that language isn’t just about words and grammar–the program also focuses on teaching users about the language’s history, foods that are popular in the regions where the language is spoken, and songs that can help make your new language stick.

    Rosetta Stone

    With a history of three decades of teaching language, many people have used Rosetta Stone programs to either get started with a new language or take their fluency to the next level. The program provides users with interactive activities, native speaker audio, and real-world situations that help them learn how the language is meant to sound.

    Want to get feedback from someone who speaks your new language? Rosetta Stone offers live coaching with native speakers, making it easy for you to get instant feedback on what you’re doing well and what you can do better. When you have a live conversation with a native speaker, you’re not just learning about the language–you’re making a new friend as well.


    Offering language instruction for 23 different languages, Memrise uses games, immersive learning practices, and courses designed by native speakers of your new langauge to help you start learning fast. The Memrise app uses memory techniques designed to help you boost both how quickly and how much you’re learning.

    Memrise works twice as fast as taking language classes in a traditional classroom setting, and provides you with the language skills you’ll actually need (like making small talk at a gathering). The Memrise app is available on multiple platforms, including iOS and Android.


    Busuu works to help users learn a new language in just 10 minutes of study per day. Busuu doesn’t require users to be online in order to use the app, making it simple to keep moving with your studies no matter where you are. An independent study at the City University of New York showed that 22 hours of using the Busuu Premium app is just as effective as taking a college semester class of a language.

    Tip for native speakers learning a new language

    Ready to learn how to speak a new language? It’s key to get consistent, as learning a little bit of a new language each day is far more effective than trying to cram in hours of study. Taking half an hour every day (or less, if necessary) is a smart way to get started with learning a new language.

    Don’t be afraid to get in conversation with native speakers of your new language if you have the ability to do so in real-life or online. When you speak with someone in your new language, you’ll get to learn new words (like popular slang), as well as learning more about inflection and tone. Working with a language exchange partner is one of the best language learning resources you can use.

    Use Speechify text-to-speech audible tool

    If you’re working to learn a new language, hearing the words spoken out loud can be key in helping you move forward. Speechify translates text files to audio, making it easy for you to listen to your new language on the go.


    What is the best language learning website?

    • LingQ
    • Memrise
    • Omniglot
    • Living Language
    • Mondly
    • Mango Languages
    • Lingodeer
    • Lingvist
    • FluentU
    • Busuu

    Is Duolingo a waste of time?

    Users agree–nope! Duolingo is an easy way to learn both popular languages and less common languages, and all of your learning happens easily on your phone. If you’re looking to take your language learning experience to the next level, be sure to check out Duolingo Plus, which offers more resources and features to users. One of the best things about Duolingo is how quickly lessons can be completed. When you have a few spare minutes in your car or in line at the grocery store, it’s easy to take out your phone and learn a few new words.

    Is Duolingo better than Memrise?

    Many language learners feel that Memrise is best for learning vocabulary, while Duolingo is better at helping users form sentences. Using the free version of both of the apps can be a smart way to fill the gaps between the two. Using a language exchange service that lets you participate in real-time conversation with a native speaker can also go a long way to support the instruction that you’re getting from Duolingo and Memrise.

    Is Rosetta Stone better than Duolingo?

    Duolingo feels more like a game, and Rosetta Stone feels more like a classroom course in learning a new langauge. While both are fun and effective, many users feel that Rosetta Stone programs offer more comprehensive instruction. As mentioned, one of the most effective ways to pick up on a new language is to speak with a native speaker, and Rosetta Stone’s language exchange program makes this easy for language learners to accomplish.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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