Language learning is a long journey, and you definitely need some companions on this exciting journey. Most of the time, language learning apps are the perfect fit.
In today's blog, we will compare two apps, Pimsleur vs Duolingo, and determine which is the best app for teaching you language content. However, they are both very different in terms of teaching methodology. That's why we have a Pimsleur review and a Duolingo review for you here! Of course, if you want a more comprehensive Pimsleur review or Duolingo review, then be sure to check out the reviews on our language blog!
Pimsleur is an audio-based language learning platform, accessible online through either its website or mobile app. The app uses a language learning program developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur. Pimsleur consists of 30-minute lessons, and you are supposed to finish one lesson per day. There are five levels of Pimsleur language programs and each level has thirty lessons.
However, most of these are audio lessons. If you've ever tried learning a new language with language tapes or podcasts, this app will probably feel familiar to you. Pimsleur focuses on communication skills while touching upon a few grammar points.
The Pimsleur Method is a trademarked language learning method based on the research and findings made by Dr. Paul Pimsleur. This method suggests that the most efficient language learning method is actually speaking the target language. It is inspired by the way we acquire our native language as babies. So, basically, this method is just about listening to the language first and then repeating it out loud.
As soon as you sign up for the Pimsleur app, you will encounter "Dr. Pimsleur’s Golden Rules" which are:
As long as you abide by these rules, Pimsleur claims that you will be able to speak the language fluently with the help of the conversations in the app.
As a reminder, Pimsleur’s language courses are made of five levels, each level consists of 30 lessons, and one lesson takes 30 minutes.
Compared to other language learning courses, Pimsleur’s lessons are much more focused on practicing language through speaking, instead of focusing on grammar.
Pimsleur's lessons are communicative and use a narrator to help you imagine yourself in a certain situation. Then, you are supposed to say the appropriate phrases or sentences.
For example, the narrator asks things like "How do you say...?" After that, there is a pause for you to type or utter your answer. In the end, the narrator will tell you the correct answer.
The narrator is not the only source of audio input, you’ll also hear native speakers having a conversation. This is great because you get the chance to understand different speakers and accents.
You can experience more engaging, yet less academic language lessons on Duolingo. Here, the lessons are practical and short since they use a gamified approach to teaching a language. In other words, courses progress like games. As you complete more lessons you are able to achieve various rewards and badges to show off!
Each language course on Duolingo consists of a skill tree. You have to pass every checkpoint to complete the course successfully. But, don't worry, the exercises are straightforward to complete. Lessons mostly focus on teaching vocabulary, reading, and listening.
Above is a simple exercise on Duolingo. Unfortunately, some of the audio on the app isn’t of the best quality. Duolingo also uses text-to-speech technology, but it is nothing like listening to a native speaker.
Some other features of Duolingo include the Duolingo forum, dictionary, short stories, and podcasts for specific languages.
Pimsleur offers 51 language courses with English instruction, whereas Duolingo only offers 35 courses with English instruction.
You can learn not only popular languages on Pimsleur, but more unique languages like Ojibwe, Pashto, Haitian Creole, and Dari Persian. On Duolingo, you can learn some made-up languages like High Valyrian and Klingon besides other popular languages!
Duolingo’s language courses are completely free. If you like, you can purchase Duolingo Plus, which will give you some special features like an ad-free version, access to lessons offline, and unlimited hearts.
A monthly plan for Duolingo Plus costs $9.99 a month. Alternatively, you can pay only $6.99 a month if you purchase a 12-month subscription.
A subscription to Pimsleur’s regular plan costs $14.95 per month whereas a premium subscription costs $19.95 per month. Additionally, Pimsleur offers a free 7-day trial for new users to try out the app.
+ Competitive atmosphere and being able to see other learners' scores increase your motivation
+ Gamification method makes language learning fun and engaging
+ Lessons are short and practical
- Not enough speaking exercises
- Lessons don’t explain important grammatical rules
- Sometimes teaches unuseful phrases
+ Lessons focus mainly on speaking
+ Lessons are interactive
+ Good balance in difficulty among different lessons
- Not enough emphasis on the written language
- Grammar is almost totally ignored
- Lessons may get repetitive and monotonous as you spend more time using the app
If you are looking for another online language learning platform, the Ling App is the best alternative for you! Also, if you want to learn about different countries and cultures, don't forget to check out Ling's free language blog!
Ling is a language learning app that has been used and loved by millions of language learners all over the world. The app offers more than 60 language courses, including Ukrainian, English, German, and so much more! You can learn any language by using Ling for just 15 minutes a day.