You may not be able to travel anywhere at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t study a foreign language. If you’ve spent time searching for a language learning website, you must have heard of Memrise — a language app. Let us begin the Memrise Review 2023!
Over the last decade or so, language apps have been getting more and more popular, and for genuine reasons.
Online language education benefits are apparent — convenient, affordable, and simple.
Of course, there are several drawbacks of language apps.
For instance, no single app can get you fluent. It should be a starting point, not the end.
You can use these smartphone apps to supplement language classes with a teacher or for full independent practice.
I’ve tried and tested an array of language apps in the past.
Some were great, but most were just absolute garbage. This post is my first language app review, with many more to follow.
Irrespective of your goal, you will probably find an Android or iOS mobile app. One such language-learning app is Memrise.
I take a detailed look at this app in my never-ending quest for the best language learning resources, weigh the pros and cons, and Memrise review.
Table of Contents
- The History of Memrise
- What is Memrise?
- Pros and cons of Memrise
- 3 Benefits
- 5 Disadvantages
- Free Vs. Paid — The Pro Version is not worth it
- If it is terrible, why is it so popular?
- My Memrise Review: Below-Average – 2/5
The History of Memrise
Ed Cooke launched Memrise in 2010, along with other Co-founders Ben Whately and Greg Detre. Like Duolingo and Busuu, Memrise makes language studying a game through plenty of fun activities.
As you’d expect, Memrise has been available on Android and iOS since 2013, and there is also a browser version.
After a decade of presence, the British language platform claims to have grown to over 40 million user bases in 189 countries.
It’s important to note that these are all-time total registered users since inception.
Regardless of whether the number is exaggerated or fact, the current monthly active users (MAU) would be significantly low.
I tried to practice some vocabulary on Memrise a few years back. I had the impression that one day it would become a surpassing platform for language enthusiasts.
They had the head start, funding, and all the elements to make that happen.
To my surprise, it hasn’t changed enough today. The critical updates are still missing. The user interference design and features all look the same.
It is Déjà vu all over again.
The expected improvement and innovations haven’t happened yet, which is an enormous disappointment.
What is Memrise?
In its essence, Memrise is a flash-card app. In its oldest classical form, this is a piece of paper with a word or phrase in your target language written on one side and the translation written on the other.
It’s mainly focused on studying languages online. Still, you can also use the app to memorize and practice words from other subjects and fields.
To sum up, this is a vocabulary-learning tool, and Memrise perfects it with modern technology.
Memrise ingrains unfamiliar words and phrases into your brain using mnemonics and spaced repetition, which they show through planting flowers.
You will see unlearned vocabulary as seeds. Then, you plant them (i.e., learn) and turn them into a flower.
Suppose you desire to hone in on vocabulary and expand it further in the language of your choice. In that case, you can use ten-minute engaging exercises to drill new terms.
It helps you gain a basic knowledge of a foreign language.
How it works
Let us take a closer look at what using Memrise is like.
The interface of both the website and the app is relatively intuitive. It is easy to see what you need to do, and you will get the hang of using the app after just a few minutes of clicking around.
You can check out the comprehensive FAQ section if you need any assistance.
Similar to other popular language apps, signing up is free.
You can do it using your email or your Facebook or Google account.
On the ‘Courses’ page, you can select the language you speak and the language you wish to study. Then, you will see all the courses available for this combination.
Other categories are available, such as Maths and Science or Trivia, but Memrise is primarily useful for language learning.
Courses Available on Memrise
There are two kinds of courses on Memrise — the official curated programs created by the Memrise staff and the user-created content developed by the Memrise community members worldwide.
The topics vary: some courses feature basic vocabulary for this or that level.
In contrast, others have a more focused approach, like ‘500 most common Portuguese words’, learning German conversation skills, or grammar from a particular Italian textbook.
Earlier, it was a member-driven-only platform where language lovers, linguists, and teachers from far and wide used to make content for learners.
They eventually produced tons of great content for learners with a diverse combination of native and target languages.
As per the design, not all community courses are visible from the “Search” function within the Memrise mobile app.
You need to use the browser version to see the full range of available programs and modules. It will be accessible in the app once you start practicing through the website.
Later, the Memrise team cultivated a variety of language-learning products and kept user-designed content untouched.
They divided the entire official course into many levels, and each has several small-size lessons based on various topics.
You can create your own program if it does not satisfy you with any of the courses offered. This feature is available in the browser version only.
You can also copy a deck to make your own with some modifications as per your requirement.
Memrise can come in handy when you want to concentrate on learning the meanings of a particular set of words and phrases. For instance, vocabulary from a book you are reading or your favorite TV show and Movies.
Languages offered by Memrise
Memrise features an immense option for learners.
From popular foreign languages like French and Arabic to rarely taught tongues like Polish and Mongolian to some challenging languages, such as Cantonese and Persian, you have all the choices at your fingertips.
You can also learn Spanish dialects, for example, Mexican or the one from Spain, or learn Russian Cyrillic or one of the artificial and sign languages.
If we merge official and community-driven courses, it will be more than 200 language courses in dozens of different tongues.
Memrise offers lessons in Bahasa, Dutch, English, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Finnish, Japanese, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Nordic languages, among many others.
The list is endless, and many are in development, too. Whatever you need, the chances are you will find one on Memrise.
Types of activities
When you start a program on Memrise, you get introduced to new words: their spelling, definition, pronunciation, and/or translation into your native language.
The practice of new vocabulary includes the following types of exercises: match the word to the correct translation and interpretation or vice versa; spell the words (you can use the keyboard or a smaller set of letters provided by the app); match the terms to the correct pronunciation.
There is an activity for learning new vocabulary and revising what you’ve acquired.
Memrise uses spaced repetition for language learning through daily lessons and quizzes. It means that the app regularly brings words up for revision.
If you keep making mistakes on a word or phrase, it will keep coming up for revision again and again.
But if you make it all correct, you will see it less often. It allows you to concentrate more on the trickier words.
Other activities include speed review, challenging words, pronunciation practice, listening skills through audio and video, learning with the locals, voice-enabled speaking practice, and grammar.
Apart from the speed review, these are available in the paid version. Not all the activities are available on all courses.
You can choose how many words you want to learn or revise in one go.
It tracks your progress and gathers some learning statistics (although most are only available in the pro version). You can also set daily goals and reminders to track your progress.
Pros and cons of Memrise
Like any language learning resource or method, Memrise as a language app has advantages and disadvantages.
Some of them may be subjective, depending on what your goals are.
For example, Memrise primarily focuses on vocabulary and is beneficial for someone who needs to add to their vocabulary practice or brush up on some words and phrases.
However, it is a negative for someone who needs a more comprehensive plan.
Here are some of the known benefits.
1. The free version offers everything
Many apps are free to download but have a paid subscription and a limited free version, which is more like a trial version.
On the other hand, the free version of the Memrise is not too limited: you get full access to all the courses, just not all the activities.
You can only do the first few exercises in a course and need to pay to go on.
If it is flash-card software, only a couple of initial sets of cards are available for free.
With Memrise, you can explore everything as a free member.
Can you learn a language by watching videos? Sure thing! How? Read → Review of Lingopie
2. It uses a spaced repetition system
The strength of Memrise lies in two things: Spaced repetition system and mnemonics. It enables you to memorize language material more effectively.
That is how our brains work: we must repeat words a few times before remembering them well. Memrise provides it.
It helps you focus more on the complicated words that need more repetition and move the terms you have learned well ‘out of the way.’
It relies on plenty of activities that encourage connecting words with their meaning through associations.
3. Plenty of programs, languages, levels
Although Memrise is generally vocabulary-focused, it still has a lot to offer. This app allows you to learn several languages concurrently for different levels and on diverse topics.
The interface is appealing, and the program is also a game-based system that makes learning enjoyable.
You can move from beginner to intermediate to advanced without changing to another app.
You can find courses on specific subjects that may interest you, like travel or business vocabulary.
The app supports offline learning, as well.
As with everything, nothing is quintessential. Here are five pitfalls of Memrise.
1. Quality of user-created content varies a lot
Memrise offers courses curated by the staff. But also, any user can create their own program. And that results in too much content – you can quickly lose yourself in the sea of courses.
While it creates a welcome variety, these lessons differ in quality, sometimes a lot. There is no authenticity or quality check.
While it depends on the language, the audio quality of the words’ pronunciation can vary with strange voices, which can be unclear for many.
Some can have brilliant examples and detailed explanations, while others have barely anything – and even, occasionally, mistakes.
Plus, it covers only a small language section and leaves a lot to be desired.
2. The exercises can get repetitive
For any course, word or phrase, the exercises are the same (see ‘Types of activities’ for more detail).
They expand it a little in the premium version. But anyway, after a few repetitions, it may get boring and annoying.
It is one area Memrise failed to improve. You will get exhausted by doing the same thing again and again.
Despite being a big team, they didn’t care to optimize their lessons. And that is the one reason I had to quit midway.
3. Memrise is only vocabulary focused
As mentioned above, it is not necessarily a con if you all need to brush up on some vocabulary.
But it is worth mentioning that the Memrise format is not suitable for much else.
You can find the courses with ‘grammar’ in their title. But it is not proper grammar training – just the same flash cards, but with grammatical constructions instead of vocabulary.
There is also no speaking or listening and seldom any reading and writing.
4. It is not user-friendly
One thing I don’t like about Memrise because it’s confusing to follow what you’re doing. Website navigation is clunky and poorly designed.
Moreover, you will shuffle between the app and the web to get access to everything, and you’ll still be baffled separating the curated material from user decks.
The search feature is undoubtedly horrible and doesn’t give the correct result.
Sometimes, it makes no sense. There is no undo or cancel button, either. So. be careful what you do with the Memrise app.
Tones are essential when learning one of the East Asia languages.
Adding characters with translation without explaining the meaning and homonyms isn’t the right strategy.
You won’t be happy if you wish to learn Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin.
5. Not meant for Advanced level learners
Not specifically with Memrise, but one of the notable limitations of online language learning is the lack of human interaction.
Languages are about people.
The apps like Memrise won’t get you anywhere close to fluency.
You’ll need to communicate with real people to conquer a language — for example, face-to-face interactive sessions with a teacher.
While Memrise has a vast selection of courses, its modules and resources may not be varied enough to propel students toward upper-intermediate or near-native proficiency.
While it’s possible to reinforce what you’ve already covered, forward advancement is much more restricted.
Free Vs. Paid — The Pro Version is not worth it
The app is absolutely free to download and sign-up. Thus, the entire languages it supports are available for no cost from beginning to end.
But Memrise also has a pro version.
You can choose a monthly, quarterly, or yearly plan. There is also an option of a one-time payment for lifetime access to the paid subscription perks.
The price ranges from a few dollars to over a hundred dollars.
As per their sale page, once you take the premium subscription, you get to try a few more distinct types of activities like:
- Learn as fast as humanly possible,
- Get a personalized learning experience, and
- Learn from real locals.
The pronunciation practice and studying with natives are pretty much vague.
I’m sure you get most of these add-ons for free, or not?
I wasted ample time finding the benefits of a paid subscription, but it was a futile effort.
The offline mode and some stats might be beneficial, but not compelling reasons. I refuse to believe that the Memrise Premium version adds more value than the free version.
It doesn’t do it for me.
If it is terrible, why is it so popular?
For three reasons:
- Memrise began very early, nearly a decade back. It had the head start to gain most of the learners on the fence looking to learn a language online.
- It provides a wide variety of materials for many languages. It is simple to help people expand their vocabulary, which is one of the essential aspects of learning a foreign language.
- It is free, and everyone loves free stuff. Plus, the website is beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. The big button forces you to click and initiate the journey without spending a single penny. In the end, it’s a waste of precious time.
My Memrise Review: Below-Average – 2/5
At the moment, Memrise is one of the most popular apps for language learning, and it has been for quite a while.
It is instead natural, as the app offers some good perks.
Of course, Memrise is far from perfect. And like other language learning apps and resources, it has its own shortcomings. However, some of them are subjective.
The best thing to do for you would be to check out memrise.com for yourself.
It is free and will take only a short amount of time. Still, you will see if you like the interface, if it has any courses that interest you, and find the activities offered quite helpful.
If you like Memrise, it can become a great language-learning instrument in your toolbox. And if you use it to its power, you will learn your target language more efficiently and progress faster.
But don’t expect to be fluent with Memrise. That would be a pipe dream. Here is my rating.
The efficiency of Memrise teaching techniques is not good. The best you can learn is some basic skills. Don’t expect anything meaningful to fluency with Memrise. By taking everything into consideration, I’m giving a rating of 2/5, i.e., “Below Average.”
Let me know if you have questions about my Memrise review.
Thanks for the review. Helps me realize its not much of an app. I installed it due to following David Black’s book. But its too ordinary and confusing. And I honestly don’t understand why developers don’t record the voice of someone saying all the words. Are there any apps set up with audio for every word? And not user created?
I’m surprised the review hasn’t mentioned the AI chat feature – that’s SUPER useful for learning in a very practical way!!!
A lot of what you have said is true, however, there are 2 key points I believe you have not delved into enough. Whilst the Pro version only gives a few things extra and isn’t worth it on the surface, the Fast / Speed review function is 2nd to none in the industry for reviewing words at a pace. I’ve tried a lot of apps but this one feature keeps me subscribed because it actually feels bad to lose and makes you remember with emotional pain when you lose those hearts.
The second point worth mentioning is the fact that it is sort of the next level for learning vocabulary from intermediate to advanced, as the courses have a plethora of difficulties to them, you need to find them. If we compare it to Duolingo, it loses in grammar education for sure, but it tops in late-game vocabulary which is what advanced learners crave amongst other things such as creative language.
I loved your review and I hope it helps people get a better idea about what the app is for and how people can make the most out of it <3
I went ahead and spent $119 or so for lifetime and it works pretty well for me. I like that I can go to new words and it wouldn’t let me do that before I paid some money. I like that there are a lot of videos of native speakers speaking the same sentence (short sentence) so you see how different people pronounce the same thing. It is worth it to me I think. Especially since I’m studying European Portuguese and duolingo only has Brazilian Portuguese. I spent over $200 for a lifetime entrance to state parks in my state and that worked out also real well. I’ve only used memrise for like 3 days now but so far I’m pretty happy with my purchase. Don’t tell my wife though, money is a bit tight right now.
Currently, I use Memrise for Afrikaans. I’m interested in reading. Written intelligibility between Afrikaans and Dutch is high, thus hoping to achieve reading in two languages. Time will tell. The first vocabulary course was 33 hours (beginner to intermediate). Many more hours invested were needed to learn. Not bad but limited. Next, I choose 50 languages at 62 hours. Sentence building is a part of the course. I use a couple of translation apps to practice writing words as well as helping in sentence writing. It helps my memory. Beyond these two courses, 78 more hours of increased vocabulary and sentence building rising to advanced (according to the Memrise course – we shall see) is my goal. Then, I have a newspaper link at ABYZ newspapers to explore different languages. When I invest the hours, I’ll evaluate my ability.
I’m retired and I invest about 4 to 6 hours daily. I should be complete in 2.5 to 3 months to test my skills (~350-370). Detailed goals related to time and effort is key. Without it, I’d quit.
By the way, I have a 3 language goal to achieve written intelligibility. I live in an area with a large Hispanic population. I started an Hispanic course offered online by MIT last year. Then, I moved on completing many other courses of interest. I put the goal off. My understanding is that learning other languages aids in developing skills in another language. Since oral fluency is key in Spanish, my hope is expert testimonial findings by teachers will help me too.
For oral fluency in Spanish, I can highly recommend the Memrise course ‘Advanced Grammar in full sentences’ by Ernie66. It has helped me improve lots.
Frankly, I consider Memrise a treasure. I use the hell out of user content, and it has improved my vocabulary a lot. I don’t use too much of the Memrise created content because I finished the lessons. Memrise does contain tons of vocabulary, but it’s increasingly adding sentences over time, and it has also added video content. I love user created ones. Many of those actually contain phrases and sentences, and that can be helpful. If you’re often on the go and your phone, I find it great. I learned a ton from Memrise. Yes, it needs to add more grammar, more sentences. You need sentences.
There are some really great user courses created by teachers, good audio, challenging sentences, and good grammar and spelling tips. The original official Memrise courses in German, Spanish, and French are also still available, and they include audio and grammar hints. You can’t find them in the search, but I got the links from previous users by looking around in the forum.
I agree that generally, Memrise is only for beginners wanting to learn vocabulary. However, there is a course called ‘Advanced grammar practice – no typing’, which has hundreds of full sentences practising grammar. It is organised in chapters, such as ‘Present subjunctive’ and I found it very helpful, as it also sometimes has explanations. Because it is a user-created course, you will only see it on your app if you have done it once on the website.
Hello, I found your review interesting although I just started today to use Memrise (somehow I must have tried it in the past as when I tried to sign up to it, it had already my email!). I bumped into it today searching for a way to have a nice comprehensive Spanish conjugation layout, and Memrise showed up! I did not find any such verbs chart or otherwise conjugation tool with memrise but the little I did with it was quite nice and I was wondering what value it had for me to get their life deal. So, I found your review.
I have used Duolingo for some time now but this last year used the paid Busuu (premium) for a year. I’m surprised not to see any mention of it in these comments.
I really like Busuu, however as you mentioned there are no perfect apps to learn a language, and regarding this one, my worst appreciation of it is their communication availability. Hardly helpful as is their guide to using it. But I loved their interface. I won’t say any more about it since here is about Memrise. Although I’ll add a word for Duolingo which had amazing communication between users with tones of help and info.
I’m not too sure what and where I’ll go next with my Spanish which is essentially for fun as my traveling days are over and I have little opportunity to interact with Spanish-speaking people. I simply love Spanish, really for no specific other reasons!
Of course, one app like this won’t make you anywhere near fluent! I did enjoy using it as part of my learning journey though. I also used online verb drills, netflix, audiobooks, reading the news, youtube, journaling in Spanish, and one on one chats with Spanish speakers using italki (very inexpensive).
I used Memrise for learning Spanish for a while, but I started to get fed up with it constantly trying to teach me phrases that seemed to be aimed at the 20-something “let’s get drunk in Spain” crowd. Do I really need to know how to say “What a lousy excuse!”, “To get wasted”, “You really got wasted last night”, I have a bad hangover”.
True enough, memrise focuses mainly on glossary. That is why I have been very satisfied using it. I needed to learn European Portuguese, only for reading, not for speaking, so I dont care too much about pronunciation or grammar. In less than one year I took all memrise’s Portuguese courses, and can now easily read , understand and translate Diario de Notizias and other Portuguese news media. I agree with the review though, if you need to speak the language, you’ll need a teacher.
I have to disagree. I’ve been using Memrise for around 6 years and it’s proven to be very effective. I use it to learn various languages, including French, Spanish, German, and Japanese. Take French as an example, I was able to skip 4 levels of the French curriculum at my university after using principally Memrise to learn the language (one level is one semester of work). Yes, using only Memrise wouldn’t get you fluent (neither would solely using any other app), but it’s a nice tool in getting you started to learn a new language and an extremely helpful supplement to help you build up your vocabulary. I agree that Memrise isn’t great in explaining grammar. You need a book or a teacher for that, but the mechanism of spaced repetition in Memrise is great for memorising words, which is the most time-consuming part in language learning.
I absolutely agree with you. I support it.
I agree with the reviewer. Memrise isn’t good to learn any language. 2/5 is itself generous. One can only learn some basic random kinds of stuff. If that is what you looking for, ok…, Otherwise don’t waste your precious time with this useless app.
Sir, I want to learn Spanish, I tried Memrise and Duolingo but they seem just like a game. I don’t think anyone will remember much after spending a lot of time completing that Duolingo tree or Memrise courses. I agree with you Memrise is just random sentences/phrases for one to cram without understanding anything. Sir, I am really passionate about learning Spanish, May you please recommend something like any app/YouTube channel or anything that can help me to learn Spanish at least till B2. Thank you very much.
The best way would be to find a Spanish teacher or take a formal course. There are also some good books and YouTube channels to check out, as well as audio lessons. The majority of apps are only designed for beginners, such as A1/A2.
Thanks for the review. It is on point. Memrise is useless. The gamification part is an ineffective gimmick and other than getting involved in using the app, it doesn’t help anyone. They are not organized in a systematic way but rather are random stuff from here and there. I spend too much time trying to learn Italian i ended with no result. A serious learner should steer clear of such apps. Duolingo and Bussu are better than this.
I love this program, used for improving my Italian vocabulary. There are enough options and chapters by others within the platform to keep it interesting, and I enjoy the wide range of types and styles of learning by the international community: For example, A2, words from newspaper articles, words from detective novels, general Italian course. I like this better than Duolingo since it does not weigh you down with grammar.
Agree with the review almost completely. I have used this app for a long time and feel really let down by the company. Initially, it seemed like a good app that was on its way to becoming a great app and website – both were good to use. Features were being added regularly and the app/website was improving. As a result, I paid for the lifetime subscription to support the developers because I was learning a lot from it. I probably would have been fine with free service, but was anticipating ongoing development that would help me, so decided to support them.
Then it just stopped. Limited new features (none of which were especially useful) and actually a big step back in many areas. Features cut and other really bad decisions, including basically ignoring their customer base and the feedback customers provided on their forums.
Based on my use, it seems the developers got enough subscribers to pad their wallets and then just threw in the towel. Really disappointed in how this app/website is today compared to how it was years ago and wish it had been run by someone who cared or even bought out by a company that cared. At this point, they are simply coasting. Some apps are amazing bargains that make you want to support the development efforts – this, unfortunately, stopped being one of those a long time ago.
I appreciate your honest view. I agree with your points. The app doesn’t offer anything helpful or worthy in the pro version.
I agree 100%
A while back I tried memrise for learning japanese and i did not like. This app is not good. Just some random words here and there and that’s it. bad. The rating seems true. now i am taking online classes and reading books like Nihongo active talk.
Hi, I value your review. I’ve been using Memrise for French but am looking for a next-level app. What would you recommend?
Rather than focusing on only one app, I’d suggest trying a few. Pimsleur is suitable for listening practice. Anki and Clozemaster (both are free) are ideal for increasing the vocabulary. You can also consider some grammar books and YouTube channels to enhance your verbal communication.
I think it is a great app, especially because it is free, and it is much better than for example rocket and rosetta (which are not free). It is by far the best vocabulary learning app I have found for Hindi. Together with the Hindi course on DUOLINGO (also free), it is a perfect combination. of course a live teacher or class is always better. I have not tried the paid version, because I don’t see any need. I didn’t try any other languages besides Hindi, but Hindi is pretty complex because of the script and very complicated grammar. Sometimes I wonder how these people (Duolingo & Memrise) are able to provide such a good service for free. AND, VERY IMPORTANT, Both Memrise and Duolingo work far better on the PC (via website) than on the smartphone app !!!
I loved your review. It was very honest, grounded, balanced with good critical analysis. Please do review other language apps and let me know which you think are good in several areas like;
(1) vocabulary expansion
(2) grammar and sentence construction
(3) practising pronunciation
(4) practising sentence phrases.
I am currently learning Spanish. I went to elementary Spanish language classes, but I found Memrise even too basic compared to that. And I have only used Memrise for 2 days – and I’m already bored. The exercises are so boring and mundane in my honest opinion. And the typing – simply painful.
I’m so glad you liked my review, Ramesh. Thanks. Sure, I’ll cover more apps soon. And, Buena Suerte for your Spanish journey.
This is a very well written blog. You have covered everything in a good way. Vikash do you have any reco for a flash-card web app for exercising French? my vocab is not good.
Felix de Vancouver
I’m glad you liked it. You can try ANKI. It is a great flashcard app to practice vocabulary in a variety of languages. You can check – ankiweb.net/shared/decks/french. Bonne Chance!
Memrise is really an inferior tool compared to others. I tried few times, but every time I end uninstalling within a week. Some of own courses are useless. Hope they focus on the quality of accents and add more useful material other than random visual images.
I completely buy this low rating. Memrise is awful. Their team is terrible, and they never listen to the users. Just check some of their comments on Reddit, Trustpilot and their forum post. Some of the courses are impracticable, like Arabic, Japanese and Russian. Even google translates better. Thankfully I cancelled their so-called premium service.
The app is pretty user-friendly, and the paid version vs. the free version seems to be night and day. Yes, it’s a flash card-based. However, flashcards are a useful study technique. When looking for some harder to find languages, Yoruba, for example, Memrise seems to be one of the few apps with a more current curriculum.
Thank you for the helpful review! Do you have any recommendations or tips for specifically learning Japanese (as an English-speaker)?
Sorry, Mary. I didn’t get the time to check, analyze, compare, and pen down a complete article on the Japanese learning resources. But, soon on JLPTexam.com. Till then, you can cover the elementary level on some popular apps.
Hi Mary, I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for over a year and tried basically every possible app out there. In my humble opinion, Memrise was everything I was looking for!! I would NOT recommend it to use it alone to learn Japanese but I started using the Genki textbook and it’s the only app I found that has a Genki specific course to learn the same vocabulary presented in the textbook *lesson by lesson* which made them the perfect combo for me (I learnt about this Genki Memrise course thanks to a random guy who commented it on Reddit, kudos to him.. so I’m trying to do the same). Good luck!
For many parts, I agree with your review.
The quality of the courses was poor and there was little ability to judge the quality of a course before wasting time trying it out. There is no way to be able to save useful bits of courses that you want to be in one place and so build up a vocabulary and associated sounds and so really test your understanding as well as your ability to recall.
I would dearly wish for such a course which begins with the sounded words, phrase, sentence or paragraph and the listener gradually builds their understanding.
I’m glad you concur with my review. 🙂
No speaking and listening? Are we using the same app? I find that it’s almost all speaking and listening. Also surprised by the low rating. As both a linguist and polyglot, I have a bit of language learning under my belt, and I would rank this up among the best for free apps. I’d encourage those reading to not be too dissuaded by this review and give it a go.
I’m not sure where you’ve read that I mentioned there is no listening and speaking in this article. Memrise, indeed, covers that though it lacks on several aspects. If you prefer using this app, you should, by all means. Good luck 🙂
You wrote “There is also no speaking or listening, and seldom any reading and writing” under “3. Memrise is the only vocabulary focused”. Did you mean in the community-made courses?
In the pro version, “Learn with Locals” uses videos of native speakers for listening exercises and there are grammar sections (only in-app) with explanations and exercises. In the app (not sure if free or pro only), there’s also “Immerse” with native speakers giving short lessons on practical usage in their native language (subtitles are available translated and untranslated) and “Explore” which uses augmented reality to learn the names of things on-camera in your target language (a bit buggy, but it’s interesting). I think these are only available for official courses.
As a user, I definitely agree that grammar is the weakest area, but the “Learn with Locals” and “Immerse” videos offer plenty of listening with native accents. It’s a little frustrating to only be able to access certain features in-app, but for the most part, I find Memrise pro one of the more interesting among language learning services.
Memrise is essentially a flashcard based app that focuses mainly on the vocabulary part. Of course, there are some other elements, but not adequate to enhance the learning experience and help anyone accomplish any meaningful fluency in any language.
The “learn with the locals” doesn’t have any consistency, authenticity, and verification. One can get an abundance of such free material on YouTube and other language learning platforms. So, this isn’t something I found incredible. It is also hard to access community-driven modules on Mobile and find the right one to be propitious to an individual as per their current level without wasting enough time.
Edited: Learn with the locals is a pro feature and not community-based content. But that isn’t a notable and unique value-add for the learners!
No, the “Learn with Locals” feature is only available for subscription accounts in official Memrise courses. They look to be a mix of local people hired by the company (who also make the brief lessons in “Immerse”) and random locals who have agreed to record a phrase in their native language. Of course, Memrise won’t get anyone fluent (I don’t think they ever claimed to be able to do that), but your descriptions of the features are inaccurate.
As I said earlier, “Learn with locals” isn’t a great addition. It is just a feature where one can watch videos of native speakers speaking about their daily activity. You can find tons of such free videos on YouTube and other similar platforms. So, why bother paying for Memrise pro? It’s a waste of time and doesn’t add any meaningful value! Of course, this is my opinion, and you don’t need to agree with me. 🙂
I don’t think any app can help achieve fluency in any language. However, Memrise is not an ideal platform to learn a language. It can best be a small supplement.
How are you getting it all for free? I downloaded the app and signed up, did two lessons, and then it said I have to upgrade and pay if I want to continue.
The free account offers an abundance of language learning content. But to get access to extra content and features, you need a pro version.
The free account is most useful on the website. Go to the website to pick out your free courses, and they will show up on the app. If you’re adding courses in the app, I think they only offer the official Memrise courses with premium content. I think you can still take the official courses in the app for free (without premium content), but I don’t actually know because I have a pro account. Anyway, good luck.
There is one easier way if you don’t have access to the website version. You can google the book/ course you desire like this: 1100 essential words Memrise. Google finds the course and when you click on the link, you can choose to open it via the app. Hope this helps.
Thanks for your suggestion, Fatima.
The app is reviewed fairly low. So which one would be considered good? Duolingo is much worse than memrise.
I haven’t reviewed many but surely do more soon. I agree about Duolingo. It only covers the elementary level of various languages and not enough to achieve a meaningful skill in any language. But since it uses the gamification technique thus, many like trying it.
That was a very useful review. I am–however–surprised by your low rating. I have really benefited from Memrise and prefer it to Mosalingua. If you prefer other apps, could you let us know?
Well, this review is based on my own experience over the past few years. You can try any app that suits you. It also depends on the focus area, methodology, and your target language. I’ll surely write many reviews with all details going forward.