When it comes to learning languages, you no longer have to sign up for a course or go to language classes.
Although those can certainly help. Instead, you can now begin to learn the basics of a language, from the comfort of your own home, and within the time frame of your choosing, such as in short bursts of free time. How? By using a language-learning app!
It is comfortable, convenient, and easy. And there are also plenty of different apps that you can choose from, that will have different formats and different approaches to the learning itself. Two of the most popular apps are Lingvist and Duolingo.
Upon first glance, most people will recommend Duolingo over Lingvist, as Duolingo is ranked first in language apps, while Lingvist is behind as the sixth.
On top of that, Lingvist has 5 different languages that you can learn from English, while Duolingo has an overwhelming number of 106 different languages, available to learn in 38 languages. There’s a pretty big difference.
However, not everything is about the quantity on offer, or the ranking, as that isn’t always 100% trustworthy. Instead, you should choose the app based on how it works, and how it will approach the learning, and whether that is the right format for you.
There are plenty of things that can be compared between Lingvist and Duolingo, giving Lingvist the chance to maybe get ahead on some aspects. Let’s take a look at them more in-depth.
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Lingvist is a language-learning platform, available as a smartphone app. However, it can also be used on a desktop. It was launched in 2014 from Estonia and is available in an international public free beta version.
Currently, Lingvist offers 6 different languages that can be learned through a basic and introductory course. These are available primarily in English, but also in a few other languages.
It’s available for download for both Android and Apple smartphones, claiming that you can learn a new language by spending as little as 30 min per day.
It customizes the courses according to your level, and according to your progress so that the learning material is always relevant to you. And one of the main reasons for which some people recommend Lingvist is that it includes a large amount of vocabulary so that you can learn many words, very fast.
Lingvist offers a free trial for new users, but it then works on a paid subscription, with different plans for monthly, annual, or life-long use.
Duolingo is an American language-learning app for smartphones, also available as a website for desktops. It is also a digital language proficiency assessment exam, which proves its prestige.
It was launched in 2011 for the private beta, and was then made available to the public in 2012, and has been thriving ever since as it is currently ranked as the top language-learning app.
Currently, Duolingo offers courses of different levels for the huge number of 106 different languages, which can be coursed and are available in 38 languages. It is no wonder, therefore, that there are over 300 million registered users, as it caters to a vast amount of needs.
The smartphone app is available for download on both Android and Apple, and one of the main reasons why it’s so popular is that it is completely free to use.
No paid subscription is ever required to use the platform, and the learning isn’t limited. However, there is also a Premium service that does require payment, and that unlocks some of the Pro features to help maximize the use of the app.
|$19.99 per month$79.99 for an annual subscription$174.99 for a lifetime subscription
|Free$6.99 a month for Duolingo Plus which includes pro features
|Flashcard systemVoice input Grammar tipsFocus on different themesCourse wizard customizationAdditional reading materialLeveling up
|Progressive levels and learningImmediate sentence buildingGoal settingGamification of the learningPractice sessionsSmall and accessible lessons
|Simple and easy design, straightforward.
|Fun and vibrant design, appealing and easy to navigate.
|Ideal for expanding your vocabulary in a few select languages.
|Ideal for beginners wanting to learn a language, from the basics up, in an engaging and addictive way.
The price of a learning platform can be the make or break, as you have to be convinced of its worth before you commit to investing money into it.
Especially with the amount of free material available online, paying for something is an indication of its special value. So how much do both of these language-learning apps cost?
Lingvist has a free trial for new users so that you can try out the app before deciding whether or not you’re going to commit to a subscription.
After the free trial, you have to subscribe in order to keep using the app, and there are three different possible plans:
This subscription renews every month, with monthly payments, so it’s easier to unsubscribe when you no longer want to keep paying.
This is a payment that is charged annually, and it covers 12 full months of subscription, making the price for each month slightly cheaper.
This subscription will last for as long as Lingvist is active and available. It’s basically like outright buying permanent access to the app services.
All of the language courses available on the Duolingo app are completely free to all users, with no subscription needed.
However, you can pay a monthly fee of $6.99 to gain access to Duolingo Plus. This includes the pro features, such as no more ads, offline access to the courses, unlimited mistakes during your sessions, and the ability to track your progress for each language course.
If you compare both language-learning apps, Duolingo seems a lot better value overall. Especially because you can use the app with all of the courses on offer, for free.
You only have to pay if you want access to the Pro features, and even then, it’s a considerably lower monthly fee than that of Lingvist.
Lingvist can’t be used without subscribing, and the subscription is a lot more expensive than Duolingo Plus while offering a lot less regarding the number of languages available.
Considering the price of the app is one thing, but you then have to take into account the features that each of them has, to decide which will be better suited to your needs and preferences.
The features can also be a good indicator of the overall quality, and they can give you a general idea of what the language-learning experience will be like.
Lingvist is known for having a fast and simple approach to language-learning, in order to optimize the courses and allow you to learn a language a lot faster than usual.
Here are its main features:
This is the main way in which Lingvist works and approaches the language-learning. Basically, a flashcard will appear on screen with a sentence, but one of the words will be blanked out. You then have to fill that blank by choosing the correct word.
It aims to therefore teach a higher amount of vocabulary, at a higher pace. Through repetition and understanding of where specific words fit within a sentence.
As you enter your word choice answer, a voice will speak the word out loud so that you can get accustomed to the right pronunciation, and eventually learn it yourself.
Different grammar tips and verb tables will appear with different flashcards, to give you a deeper understanding of how the sentences work, and how you should be using the verbs.
That way, it combines rapid learning of vocabulary, with the subtle building up of grammar.
As you make progress within the language course, you will level up. This is a good way of keeping track of your progress, and it’s how the app knows to increase the difficulty level of the course, to keep up with your learning.
You can choose different themes for the course to focus on so that you’re learning the things you consider a priority within the language. Such as specific groups of vocabulary, according to the context they would be used in.
A useful feature that Lingvist includes is some additional material to practice your reading and listening skills in the language. It’s also a great way to read up about the culture of the country, as that is what most material will focus on.
Here are the languages available to learn on Lingvist:
The course wizard is a feature that allows you to further customize your Lingvist experience. With it, you can personalize the language curse to focus on different groups of flashcards, so that you’re learning and practicing the vocabulary that you choose.
One of the best things about Duolingo is that almost all of its features are available for free, along with the language courses. Duolingo Plus then has a few extra features, and overall the app has a lot to offer.
Here are the main features:
As opposed to letting you choose the paths of learning, Duolingo has a very organized structure that will progressively unlock new levels with new lessons as you advance through the learning process.
That way, you’re ensured to slowly build up knowledge from the very basics, leaving out nothing important along the way.
Duolingo is absolutely perfect for busy schedules, as you can dedicate just a few minutes a day in order to complete a section.
This is because it divides the lessons into very small chunks so that you can complete as little or as many as you can, without leaving something half done.
Apart from the actual lessons and assessments, you can choose to practice different lessons, in which you can just put your knowledge to the test without altering the overall progress.
A great feature from Duolingo is that you’re not only learning vocabulary, but you’re also constructing sentences, right from the very basics.
This is the ultimate combination of vocabulary and grammar, all in one, and can really strengthen the learning process.
With Duolingo, you can set goals for yourself to keep up the motivation. You’re also encouraged to accomplish streaks. That way, you’re “forced” to take at least one lesson a day, in order to not break the streak.
Learning is always better when it’s fun, and Duolingo does a great job at making it into a game.
Apart from the streaks that you can achieve by being consistent, there are leaderboards with different leagues of languages, showing which users have gained the most XP each week.
Sort of like a competition that encourages you to learn as much as you can to gain more points!
Just like Lingvist, Duolingo will also speak out the words out loud so that you can learn the correct pronunciation.
The app will also then assess how you pronounce the words yourself, by making you speak them into the microphone until you get them right! Like combining listening with speaking activities.
Both apps have a good amount of features that improve and enhance the overall learning process.
Lingvist focuses a lot more on letting you learn the things you prioritize, choosing from different themes, and using the customization tool.
Duolingo, on the other hand, is a little more rigid with its structure, as you’re forced to make your progress through the different levels and themes in the order they are presented in.
However, Lingvist seems to be a little more limited in what it has to offer, while Duolingo implements many extra features that make the app a lot more interactive and engaging for daily use.
Finally, one of the main factors you have to consider with a language-learning app is its usability. After all, being good isn’t enough, it has to be easy to use and accessible to all users so that you can actually make use of the features and languages available.
Let’s take a look at the usability of both apps.
Lingvist, as a whole, is very easy to use. It implements repetition, and the use of the flashcard system, to build up your vocabulary and help you with sentence construction through the grammar tips.
The app is well-organized and very simple to navigate, so it’s ideal for beginners and intermediates wanting to be introduced to a new language.
However, the grammar tips themselves aren’t always very easy to understand. So although you will get a great vocabulary, you might struggle with actually knowing how to construct the sentences. The additional features, such as the reading materials, are pretty limited, and there isn’t much there.
Duolingo has a very fun and vibrant design, making it very appealing to use right from the start. The screens are all well-organized and easy to navigate, with all the buttons being big and bright so you know what you’re doing at every moment.
The learning can seem a little chaotic at times, despite the highly organized method, as there are many different types of exercises that can be mixed throughout the lesson.
You can select to receive notifications from the app, and it will then remind you to use it, and update you on your progress. However, some users have noted that the duolingo notifications can be quite annoying, as it will not leave you alone until you’re using the app and learning!
Overall, it is very simple and very well-designed to make it as easy as possible. There really is no getting lost within the app. It’s ideal for beginners and intermediate users that are looking to learn the basics of a language.
Both Lingvist and Duolingo have been designed to provide a simple and easy-to-navigate app, so that learning is no struggle at all.
Lingvist opts for a simple and straightforward design, while Duolingo makes everything fun and bright, almost like a game for children.
Both are equally easy to use, although the Lingvist features are more limited, and therefore not as easy to implement within the learning process.
Both Lingvist and Duolingo can be extremely useful for beginners wanting to learn the basics of a language, and they are both very easy to use.
However, Duolingo offers a lot more, with all of its core features being completely free. Linvist, on the other hand, is a lot more limited, and is only accessible through a paid subscription.
Overall, Duolingo would be the first app to be recommended. Lingvist is worth paying for if you want to specifically increase your vocabulary in one of the languages available. But everything else it offers, Duolingo does so too, in a more engaging way.
Jacob has a background in finance and engineering. Outside of his day job, he is a lifelong learner, who enjoys reading, taking online courses, and writing about what he's learned.