Today we will take a closer look at memrise – on-line website and application for learning foreign languages. I highly recommend this website if you’re looking for a crash course. However, if you know the target language at an intermediate level (A2 / B1), the learning methods proposed by memrise will probably not meet your expectations in the long-term.
Price and availability
So what are the strengths of the application? First of all, it’s free. There is the possibility of extending to a premium account, but it is not necessary. The premium account gives you access to the whole new range of exercises and allows us to focus more on the words that you struggle with. I use the free version myself and I do not plan to expand in the near future. I am just completely satisfied with the effects of learning. The application is also available in the mobile version – also free of charge.
Languages – choose whichever you want
The second advantage is the wide range of languages. Assuming that our starting language is Polish, we can learn English, German, Spanish, French and Russian. If we already know English, then completely new horizons open up for us. With English as our starting language, we have everything our heart desires – from Chinese, through Arabic, to sign and artificial languages. In addition, there is a wide range of courses added by users, so it is possible to learn other languages than those mentioned by me. In this post, however, I focus only on official courses designed by the authors of the portal.
„Have fun while learning a language with Memrise!”
Another feature of the memrise is a system of intelligent repetitions, which ensures that the words learned become fixed in our long-term memory. If we learn regularly, we can be sure that we will repeat the word right before we forget it (the algorithm is based on the forgetting curve). If we want to preplan our language sessions, there is also the possibility to set daily goals (e.g. 15 minutes each day). In this case, the application sends us notifications on the phone. The points gained during each session and rankings, which allow you to compare with other users, are both an additional incentive to learn. The courses are usually divided into seven levels, and getting each one provides new energy and makes us feel more motivated. However, the key is, as in almost every method, regularity (better less and more often than more and less frequently). Even a few days of delay may lead to an unpleasant situation of accumulation of a large number of words to be revised. It is easy to lose the momentum when, after three days of absence, we end up having to revise 300 words.
Rating from the user’s perspective
I use memrise mainly when learning Turkish (I know, quite exotic). This is the first non-Indo-European language with which I have contact. I must admit that the application really works well in the initial stages of learning – when absorbing a mass of words and phrases that are in common use, such as: good morning, thank you, I’m tired, can I ask the menu? etc. Unfortunately, from time to time we will encounter some weird expressions who are barely used by native speakers, but sometimes the creators were simply guided by other criteria (eg illustrating a certain grammatical issue). However, it should be praised that the next modules are based on the knowledge gained on previous levels. For example, the words customer and right for a better fixation appear after a while again under the phrase customer is always right or the words free and bird in the expression as free as a bird.
I was not convinced by any of the seven courses suggested for Spanish. I think that this is due to the fact that memrise courses are best suited for people just starting their adventure with a given language.
That would be enough when it comes to my evaluation of the memrise learning page. I really recommend it to anyone who thinks about starting to learn any language from scratch or for those willing to revise the basics. However, you should not have excessive expectations when it comes to the development of language skills (especially productive, eg writing or speaking). Other websites that I will review in subsequent posts are more suitable for this purpose.
And what are your experiences with this language learning app?
I am looking forward to your comments.