If you’re a linguaphile like me, you must have used or heard of Duolingo. It is easily the most popular language learning app that allows you to learn several languages all for free.
With over 500 million users and 10 million daily users, it isn’t hard to see why Duolingo is a popular language app. First, it uses a gamification technique that teaches you new words, sentences, and phrases. You’re then rewarded with points when you take lessons daily.
However, as much as this app covers 40 different languages and has an intuitive interface, it isn’t without flaws. I noticed that Duolingo focuses mostly on English speakers and the app seems slightly redundant.
It also seems to be better suited for kids and it isn’t necessarily the best choice if you want to advance your language skills.
The good news is that we have some good alternatives to Duolingo in the market. In fact, I have listed some of the best in the article below.
Without much ado, let’s dive in!
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Babbel is reputedly the first language-learning app in the world and also one of the most successful. It is one of the best apps to check out if you want to learn a language from scratch or improve an already-learned language.
Babbel is easily a top choice because it provides the right atmosphere to learn a new language with over 60,000 lessons to pick from. The best part is that all of the lesson modules are formulated by a team of over 150 language experts to make sure you grasp each concept easily.
Each lesson is tailored to match your learning level and you can hone your pronunciation with its speech recognition feature.
There are also fun and interesting activities to do on the app; whether you want to participate in a live class, games, watch videos, or listen to a podcast, Babbel has everything to make your learning process the best.
Over time, you’ll receive vocabulary reviews and tips so that you can track your progress and know where more work needs to be done. Babbel is a better alternative to Duolingo as every lesson is crafted by a language expert.
It also has more engaging materials. To get started, you’ll need to download the app via Apple Store or Google Play store for Android devices.
Create an account with your email address and then select the language you want to learn. You’ll be given a placement test to determine your learning level and voila! You’re ready for an engaging learning experience.
Busuu is another top-notch app that’s a better choice than Duolingo. It boasts of being the app that empowers people through languages and has several language courses available.
Each language course on Busuu is developed using the internationally recognized Common European Framework of Reference (CERF) standard. It includes the four stages of the CERF standard, so you can be assured that you’re getting the best learning experience.
One of the major reasons why I like Busuu is that you get to study at your own pace. Each course is made up of bite-sized lessons so you can choose how many hours you want to spend learning.
Each lesson is also sprinkled with captivating scenarios, as well as writing and listening exercises. Unlike Duolingo, Busuu also has a smart grammar review tool that highlights words you’ve learned and those you’re still struggling with. The goal is to make sure you become fluent in the language you’re learning.
I especially like that you can send out your exercise to Busuu’s community of native speakers who will, in turn, provide constructive feedback. The app is available on iOS App Store and Google Play and the signup process is pretty easy.
You simply need to select the language you want to learn and set up an account with your email address.
Memrise is also another great alternative to Duolingo. Offering courses in 23 languages and having 60 million registered users, Memrise is simply an interesting platform to be on.
Like Duolingo, the app teaches language courses through a gamified method. However, Memrise takes things up a notch by mixing technology and science to bring your brain to life.
Each lesson is presented in a simplified way so you don’t have to struggle to grasp new words, phrases, or sentences. I also like how each learning session is accentuated with fun videos and audio clips to ensure you never get bored.
All lessons are administered by a team of in-house language experts passionate about teaching their native language, so you’re certainly learning from the best. You can always decide to learn multiple languages at the same time while tracking your progress on a leadership board.
Another reason why I like Memrise is that it has a catchy and upbeat user interface. At first glance, you can tell it is going to be a fun experience.
Memrise is available for download on App Store and Google Play. The sign-up process is a breeze as you only need to click on sign up and select the language you speak and the language you want to learn.
After doing that, select your learning level, then enter a username and an email address, and create your password.
Rosetta Stone is another popular language-learning app to seek out if you’re looking for something outside Duolingo. It focuses on speaking-based lessons that ensure utmost comprehension.
Rosetta Stone uses a Dynamic Immersion and Contextual learning method that combines interactive lessons with its TruAccents Technology to help you pronounce confidently.
You can hone your pronunciation and practice speaking the language with native speakers talking via the Stories feature. This feature isn’t available on Duolingo which gives Rosetta Stone an edge.
To get the translation of a sentence or phrase, you simply have to touch and hold your screen.
I also like that you can take any of the 10-minute lessons anytime you want, whether you’re online or offline, which makes the app a great one for those with a tight schedule.
Another interesting feature I like about Rosetta Stone is that you can always take a break from staring at your screen by listening to the app’s AudioCompanion lessons.
Rosetta Stone is available for iOS, Android, Samsung, and Apple Watch. Signup requires an email address to create an account and access lessons.
With over 70 languages available to learn, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try Mango Languages. It is an impressive language-learning app that takes an academic approach to teaching.
Mango Languages uses the six critical language learning skills to make sure users fully grasp and understand foreign concepts.
That is, the app uses the vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, culture, comprehension, and retention methodology to make sure learning is effective just like Duolingo.
You get to speak like a true native with its Native Speaker Audio feature as well as real-life conversations to help improve your pronunciation.
I love that the app not only focuses on teaching foreign languages but also provides cultural context to give you more insights into these languages.
I also like that the app has intelligent algorithms that provide daily personalized review cards so that you won’t forget what you’ve learned.
Mango Languages is available for personal, classroom, business, and even government use. To get started with the app, you first have to download it from the iOS App Store or Android’s Google Play.
The Rocket Languages app is an alternative to Duolingo that you should check out. It is perfect for both beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners.
Rocket Language not only provides 14 different languages to learn but provides cultural content to help you understand the language as well as a native speaker. Each course has a state-of-the-art voice recognition system that allows you to check your pronunciation as you learn.
You also have access to the Native Speaker Audio feature that lets you download audio tracks that contain thousands of words and phrases to make learning a lot easier.
Rocket Languages uses an intelligent algorithm to curate fun activities alongside every lesson which identifies words and phrases you have difficulties with and lets you practice until it is etched in your memory.
One reason why I like Rocket Languages more than Duolingo is that its thousands of audio tracks make it a hands-free learning platform.
You can learn without having to look at a screen and it is also perfect for those with visual impairments. I also like that it has motivational tools and techniques to keep you interested in learning and making progress daily.
You can access the app by downloading it via Google Play or App Store.
If you’re looking for a language-learning tool that offers extensive information on the language you’re interested in, LingoDeer is a perfect choice. With LingoDeer, you’ll get a detailed explanation of the language you’re about to learn, starting with the basics.
It uses a grammar-based curriculum curated by language experts, so you can get a deep understanding of your chosen language without feeling lost or confused.
I like that you can start your first lesson on LingoDeer with audio from native speakers. That way, you already train your ears and speech to sound exactly like what you’re hearing from the very beginning.
I’m also impressed with how LingoDeer makes the learning process easier by having users read out interesting stories with cultural context while learning new phrases and words.
Like Duolingo, you can also boost your language skills by playing interactive games on the app. Its intelligent algorithm also makes it easy for you to target weak areas and practice more.
LingoDeer also uses flashcards to review key grammar limits and ensure you don’t forget what you’ve learned.
The app is available on App Store and Google Play and setting up an account requires just a few steps. You have to first choose a language you want to learn, choose your language level, and enter a valid email address.
If you’re trying to learn a new language as a beginner, you should check out Drops. Like Duolingo, the app uses a gamification system to help you learn new words and phrases most engagingly.
Drops combines fun word games and mnemonic associations in a way that makes sure anything you learn sticks. Offering over 45 languages and a series of bite-sized lessons, you can always squeeze in time for a lesson regardless of your schedule.
There are also over 20,000 illustrations that you can match with words to help improve your learning process, especially if you’re more of a visual learner. I love that the app’s interface is colorful and intuitive.
I also like how the app makes learning a lot easier than what you’d get from other platforms, especially with its memory association exercises.
Although Duolingo is quite easy for beginners, Drops tops this ease by breaking everything down and even providing illustrations to ensure whatever you learn sticks. Drops is available for download on both iOS and Android.
Lingvist is a great app dedicated to learning languages in the fastest ways possible. It uses big data and AI to map out the skills and learning level of every user, and then provides materials that align with these.
Lingvist is easily a better option than Duolingo because of how it uses several exceptional language analysis methods to provide targeted course content to help you learn ten times faster.
One thing to like about Lingvist is how it takes you from a basic to a more advanced level. You start by learning simple words and phrases commonly used in that language.
With real-time context, you can greatly improve your listening and speaking skills until you can speak the language with confidence.
I like that Lingvist offers a variety of general language decks, themed decks as well as personalized decks, so you can choose whatever it is you want to learn.
You also get to decide how much time you want to spend on learning with several bite-sized sessions you can study. I like that users can track their progress and view how many words they’ve learned so far.
Most interestingly, it’s seamless to transition from the mobile to the desktop app anytime you want. That means, you can study anywhere and on the go without excuses. The app is available for download on the App Store for iOS devices.
Mondly is easily a top choice if you’re looking for an app better than Duolingo. It has over 100 million registered users and offers 41 languages to linguaphiles looking to learn a language aside from their native language.
Mondly features fun, interactive and effective courses, compiled by language experts to make sure your learning is as easy as possible. It doesn’t just focus on improving your speaking and listening skills but also aims to boost your reading and writing ability.
You get to participate in quick daily lessons so that your learning is accelerated. There are about 50 topics available in each language unit to teach you basic words and phrases used in everyday communication.
You also have access to vocabulary builders which help you to learn words faster. I like that Mondly also includes real-life conversations so you can listen to native speakers and improve your fluency, which is a feature Duolingo doesn’t offer.
The app is available for download on Apple Store, Google Play, and Huawei’s AppGallery. Signup is free and follows the same process as other language-learning apps.
If you need an app that can help you converse in another language, consider using Pimsleur. It combines the reputed and portable Pimsleur Method alongside the ease of using technology and interactive apps to make learning a great experience.
One reason why I like Pimsleur a lot better than Duolingo is that it is a hands-free app that offers 30-minute audio lessons. Hence, you don’t necessarily need to be staring at your screen and can also learn on the go, regardless of where you are.
Pimsleur also provides interactive reading lessons, to help you practice pronunciation. I especially like its Voice Coach feature (voice recognition) that sends feedback on every pronunciation you make.
You’ll also enjoy its interactive game that’s designed to test how fluent you are in conversational communication. Pimsleur also uses digital flashcards to help you improve your writing skills as well.
With every lesson you take, you’ll earn badges that unlock more phrases to learn and become fluent in your chosen language.
All you need to do to start streaming lessons include downloading the app on your iOS or Android device and creating an account. You can also launch the Pimsleur app on your desktop using Chrome, Safari, or Firefox browsers.
Tandem takes language learning to a whole new level by letting you master a language by chatting with real people. Unlike Duolingo which focuses on formal teaching, Tandem is a language exchange platform.
It uses a form of chat system that lets millions of users teach others their languages. The tandem app has both language and interactive tools that let you practice your target language with a partner.
I like Tandem because it is one of the most engaging platforms and is best suited for those who find it easier to learn in groups. You can take lessons together and practice pronunciation with a partner that also doubles as a coach to guide you.
Tandem not only lets you chat with your partner but has video, in-app correction, and translator features.
You can get started by downloading the app from either Google Play or App Store. Sign up for free with a valid email address and find the perfect language exchange partner to get started.
13. Innovative 101
Innovative 101 is another interesting language learning platform that’s a better alternative to Duolingo. It offers countless free audio and video lessons for users looking to learn a target language fast and has 34 languages available.
Innovative 101 provides language tutors who are also native speakers and you can be assured that each learning session is personalized.
One thing I also like is that the app lets you listen to practical, native-level conversations with a language tutor always on hand to explain words or phrases that are too difficult.
Innovative 101 is a better option for Duolingo because it is more focused on actually speaking the target language than studying courses. You can spend time listening to audio lessons to help improve your fluency on the go, so there are no restrictions on how much you can learn.
You can always track your progress with the app’s progress tracking reports. Signup is free and you can get started learning your favorite language by downloading the app via Google Play for Android devices and App Store for iOS devices.
HiNative is a unique language-learning platform that works as a question-and-answer community. That is, you can ask questions regarding a specific language and get answers from native speakers all over the world, unlike Duolingo.
HiNative also allows you to become a tutor to someone who needs to learn your language. I like HiNative because it is the perfect platform for those who want real-time answers to their language-related questions.
It is also the perfect place for those who are studying for language proficiency tests as well as those interested in foreign languages and cultures.
I especially like that HiNative features a question template, so you can know the right questions to ask without having to think too much.
You also get to use voice recognition to post questions and get audio answers to help boost your speaking skills. The HiNative app is free to download and use for both iOS and Android devices.
You can also use it on a desktop whenever and however you want.
15. Ling App
If you’re a fan of gamified language learning apps, then you’ll like Ling. It teaches users new languages via fun and engaging mini-games.
You get to choose from over 60 languages, depending on your level, and also listen to audio tracks from native speakers. Each lesson is bite-sized, so you only need 10 minutes to learn a language skill daily.
Although it is easy to think of it as similar to Duolingo, Ling takes things further by including puzzles, word-pictures, and matching quizzes as well as learning sentence composition.
One thing to like about Ling is how interactive the lesson can be via the use of the app’s chatbot. Having this conversation practice feature makes it easy for you to hone your speaking skills until you become as good as a native speaker.
Ling is free to use and available for download on App Store and Google Play.
The apps reviewed above are the top-rated options to help you master a language perfectly.
However, my number one choice would be Babbel because it offers a vast library to help you on your learning journey.
The app is user-friendly and you get to learn from language experts. However, other apps are great as well and should be on your list if you’re looking for language learning apps better than Duolingo.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.