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Our 2 Favorite Free Apps For Learning Languages


By Vicki Little

We all know how quickly children learn new words. Utter a bad word just once and the next thing you know, those little sponges are repeating it to their Kindergarten teachers! Many parents spend a lot of money educating their children at private schools to ensure they learn to speak second or even third languages. Learning another language will help them compete when it’s time to apply to colleges and jobs, but not everyone can afford to enroll their child in a special school — or even hire a tutor. So how can the rest of us help our kids gain a competitive edge? Luckily, a little bit of searching led me to Memrise and DuoLingoThese are absolutely free sites that can help your children (or you!) learn multiple languages in a fun, easy way.

Both Memrise and DuoLingo offer a wide variety of languages to study (including American Sign Language), and both offer an easy-to-use format. They also are FREE and offer free mobile apps, too. They both make learning fun and engaging using games and other features. DuoLingo has more of a game-play feel to it. Memrise uses flashcards, mnemonics, and spaced repetition to help memorize specific words and phrases. DuoLingo teaches languages by showing how nouns and verbs are used, how to form sentences, and how to make possessives. The two actually work really well together. In my opinion, it would be great to start with Memrise to memorize some words and phrases, and that would make learning the language as a whole in DuoLingo even easier.

Another big difference is how easy it is to move to the next level or section of learning. Memrise gives you periodic tests to see how well you are doing, but really, you can continue on whether you pass or not. DuoLingo has built-in testing, which means you have to keep at least one heart to advance to the next level. So you get three chances to mess up, but after that, you are out and have to try again.

If you want your child to have a booster to a language they are already learning in school, or even to get a jump start on a language they will soon learn, Memrise is perfect. If you want your child to learn a language in-depth, then you would probably prefer DuoLingo or both of them combined. Since both resources teach through games, your child may want to play both anyway!


Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two children. A Colorado native, she spends her time writing, sitting in the bleachers for her daughter’s gymnastics, and engaging in spirited debates with her son. In her free time…well, she is still waiting for some of that.


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