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Using high-quality apps to start your language learning journey can make a difference on your path to fluency. If you want to learn the basics, you might have heard about Babbel and Memrise. They both have interactive features to make your study routine fun and engaging, but only Babbel has everything you need to become conversational.
Memrise and Babbel are often compared because both have game-like features that help you learn a language from zero. They have flashcards and vocabulary and grammar reviews. However, there is a huge difference in what these apps can do for you. In this article, we’ll help you discover the pros and cons of each app to see which one can best help you learn a new language.
Babbel vs Memrise: A Quick Breakdown
Babbel and Memrise have multiple tools to teach you the basics of a language from the start. Babbel offers complete and structured language courses with interactive exercises, games, quizzes, and review practices you can use to develop your language skills. Its courses also include cultural notes to introduce you to the culture and history of the language you are studying. Memrise helps you learn a lot of vocabulary quickly. It doesn’t follow a progressive lesson plan but has flashcards and review modes to help you practice your skills.
|14 languages||23 languages|
|Free Trial for First Lesson||7-day free trial|
Memrise vs Babbel: Cost Comparison
Memrise has a free version you can use to learn basic words, phrases, and grammar. But, if you want to unlock all the features available on Memrise and download the user-generated courses to your device, you need to buy a subscription. A Memrise subscription starts at $14.99 per month, but you can save some money if you choose a yearly subscription for $89.99 ($7.50 per month). You can also buy lifetime access to the app for a one-time payment of $199.99.
With Babbel, you have to subscribe to each language individually. A Babbel monthly subscription costs $7.99 per month, but there are also longer options available. You can get 3 months for $35.99, 6 months for $47.94, and 12 months for $95.88. If you want to study multiple languages at the same time, Babbel also has a lifetime subscription you can buy for $499 to access all language courses. You can try the first lesson of each Babbel language course for free to see if you like the app.
For the price of their subscriptions, I’d pick Babbel. While Memrise has interesting features like user-generated courses and videos of native speakers, it works more like a complementary app. Memrise can help develop your vocabulary, but it won’t take you to the next level. Babbel has high-quality content and gamified elements to make learning fun and effective. All Babbel language courses include natural language and build on what you previously learned. For its features and approach, Babbel is the best option.
If you’d like to try more apps before deciding,we have more recommendations for you. Here are some similar alternatives:
Babbel vs Memrise: How They Work
Babbel and Memrise are great apps to start your language learning journey, even if you are a complete beginner. Babbel has quick lessons with interactive exercises and advanced speech recognition technology to help you speak. Memrise uses flashcards that introduce you to new vocabulary and phrases. Both apps use spaced repetition, but Memrise also has a community aspect you can use to expand your knowledge or explore other languages. Babbel doesn’t have a similar feature, but it has games, flashcards, quizzes, and listening and speaking practice to help you improve all your language skills.
Check the table below to see how the apps rate across the Internet in 2023.
|Total Average Score||4.4||4.1|
How Babbel Works
Babbel is a language learning app with comprehensive courses. Its lessons follow a logical order and can take you from a complete beginner to an advanced level. You can complete each unit in order or jump around and study the content that interests you the most.
The app has interactive exercises that use spaced repetition to help you remember the words in the long run. It has an advanced speech recognition tool to improve your pronunciation. All the content included in Babbel’s courses is developed by linguists so you can learn to speak the language in the most accurate way possible. Babbel also uses grammar tips during lessons to show you how to apply grammatical rules in different sentences.
Babbel has many review tools, like games, flashcards, listening and speaking practice, and quizzes. There are also cultural notes, 2-minute stories, and podcasts to teach you more about the culture of the language while you practice your skills. If you want more guidance, Babbel has live group lessons available with a tutor through Zoom.
If you want to know more about the app, read this complete Babbel review.
How Memrise Works
Memrise is a flashcard app that can help you increase your vocabulary and grammar. It uses spaced repetition to help you remember words and phrases. Since its lessons don’t follow a set order, you can choose which features you want to use to study and review what you previously learned.
Its lessons cover all sorts of topics like greetings, introductions, the days of the week, numbers, and more. You can use its flashcards to learn new words and use its review modes to practice grammar, speaking, and listening. Memrise has different review modes, like a speed review, a grammar review, and an immersion review.
The app has 23 official language courses, Memrise also includes access hundreds of user-generated courses on its website. Memrise has an active community, and its users have created courses for less common and fictional languages. You can download all the courses to your mobile device with a Memrise subscription.
You can learn more about the app in this complete Memrise review.
Babbel: Pros and Cons
With Babbel, you can learn to express yourself like a native speaker. Each Babbel language course is individually developed by professional linguists. You won’t find any words or phrases copied and pasted from other courses because they only include natural language. I’ve used many language-learning apps before, and many focus on the formal form or have unnatural-sounding sentences. Babbel, on the other hand, teaches you useful phrases for basic communication you can start using right away.
In my opinion, Babbel’s approach to grammar is the best way of making sure you understand how to use the language. Instead of relying on long explanations, Babbel uses pop-up grammar tips that explain how to apply different rules to sentences of different contexts. This way, you can learn without having to interrupt your practice. I think this is way better than memorizing grammar rules and very useful if you want to become conversational fast.
Even though Babbel has comprehensive lessons that tackle all areas of language, it doesn’t offer as many options as other apps. Many other apps have over 20 languages, including some less common ones. Right now, Babbel is somewhat limited and only offers 14 language courses, and its list only includes some of the most popular European languages. They don’t offer Asian or ancient languages like Latin. While all Babbel courses are high quality, it would be nice to see the app include options like Korean, Japanese, or Chinese in the future.
Unless the language you want to learn is common, like Spanish or French, you might find some features missing or fewer units in your course. Since Babbel charges the same subscription price for all languages, this doesn’t seem very fair. Of course, Babbel can add much value to your study routine. But, buying a subscription only to discover that many features are missing from your language course can be disappointing.
Memrise: Pros and Cons
Memrise is mainly a flashcard app, but it has multiple review modes to refresh your knowledge or continue practicing. You can use its Learn Grammar and Speed Review to practice using the language and test your vocabulary skills, or immerse yourself in the language with the Learn with Locals feature. In the Learn With Locals review, you watch videos of native speakers pronouncing different words and phrases and repeat them to improve your pronunciation. If you aren’t ready to study with a tutor, this is a great alternative to help you listen to native speakers.
Besides its official content, Memrise has many user-generated courses on its website. You can use them to expand on what you previously learned with Memrise’s official language courses or discover other languages. Memrise has an active user community, and it has courses created by other users for some of the less common languages, like Quechua, Flemish, and Latin. However, you can also find courses for fictional ones like Simlish, Klingon, and Elven.
I noticed that there isn’t a real connection between the lessons and sets of words you learn on Memrise. Unlike other apps, you don’t build upon what you previously studied. You can go from learning vocabulary for topics like kitchen utensils to talking about the weather, which isn’t too helpful if you are a complete beginner trying to learn the basics.
Because Memrise doesn’t control the language courses posted by their users, they are not the most serious form of study. Anyone registered on Memrise can create a course, so there is no way to verify if the language introduced in the user-generated courses is the most accurate. You can use them casually or to explore different language options, but I wouldn’t recommend them if you want to learn a language accurately.
Babbel or Memrise: Which is better?
Memrise and Babbel may seem like they have similar features, like tools to help you listen and speak and gamified exercises. In reality, these apps offer entirely different learning experiences. From their lesson structure to the abilities they help develop, Memrise and Babbel are in contrast with one another.
Memrise is a flashcard app that introduces you to new vocabulary. Its lessons are quick, like Babbel’s, but it doesn’t provide thorough grammatical explanations or reading material. You can use Memrise to learn the essential language you need to communicate, but that’s about it. To advance to the next level, you need other resources. For the price of its subscription, I think I would only recommend it if you are very interested in its user-generated courses.
On the other hand, Babbel has everything you need to develop all your language skills from the start. If you only want to use one app, Babbel is an excellent pick because it has content for learners of all levels. Even though Babbel doesn’t have the community aspect that Memrise offers, all its courses are developed by professional linguists, so it’s the best app to become fluent. In general, Babbel can take you further in your language-learning journey for a fair price.
Memrise or Babbel: FAQ
Depending on your learning level and language goals, Memrise could be better for you than Babbel. Memrise works best for complete beginners who want to explore a new language or want to learn vocabulary and phrases for essential communication. It has a lot of free content, so it’s worth trying.
Memrise can help you learn a lot of new vocabulary and phrases quickly, but you probably won’t become fluent using only one app. To become fluent, you need to develop all language areas, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing. You can combine multiple resources to fill in the gaps, like textbooks, videos, online courses, or even hire a tutor to practice conversation.
Babbel has complete language courses, but there might be better apps for you depending on the language you’re learning. If you want to improve your pronunciation on the go, apps like Pimsleur might be better. You can also use apps like Preply and italki to find a language tutor.
Babbel has thorough lessons for foreign language learners of all levels, but you might need more resources if you’re looking to become fluent. You can combine Babbel with apps like Clozemaster or Busuu to help you learn how to use the language in context. If you want to practice reading and understanding, you can go beyond apps and find news articles and other authentic reading materials online for free.