Memrise Language Learning Website Review

Learn a new language for free with Memrise

Memrise—a free language learning website—uses its community of users to teach and improve language learning for everyone involved. It uses audio, images, and memory techniques to help you associate words with one another for easier recall, as well as regular tests to ensure you remember the concepts. In addition to using Memrise through a web browser, they also offer one of our favorite language learning apps.

Languages on Memrise

Visit the Courses page at Memrise, where you can begin learning languages, including English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Norwegian, Danish, Japanese, Korean, Icelandic, Slovenian, Arabic, Turkish, German, Swedish, Polish, Italian, Chinese, Russian, and Mongolian.

Screenshot of the courses page on Memrise's website

The Unique Way Memrise Works

Memrise uses elaborate encoding to help you remember different concepts. Instead of having you read through words and translations, and trying to memorize these in raw form, it creates an association between the translation and words you are familiar with. 

One example Memrise gives for this method is using "it's aburrido to eat a burrito with every meal" to associate the Spanish word aburrido with its English translation of boring. This is great because the sentence makes sense to you as an English speaker, but the Spanish translation is easily placed in it to help you build a connection between the two words.

As you use Memrise, you can help others learn by submitting the memory aids and mnemonics that you have. This helps grow the service and keeps the material fresh.

Learn a Language With Memrise

Memrise tests you in different ways. For example, you may get a question and answer problem to solve and then a multiple-choice question later on, though both test you on the same concept. This variation keeps the questions unique but also serves as a quick way to ensure you retain what you learn.

Screenshot showing a language learning question in Memrise

Memrise uses spaced repetition to review you regularly. It does so more often in the beginning with easier tests as you learn new words, and then less often, but with harder tests, as those terms commit to long-term memory. These precisely spaced reviews keep you learning and remembering without overdoing it.

Get Started With Memrise

To start using Memrise, visit the Courses page, select the language you speak, then choose the language you want to learn. Listed are the courses you can take in that language, with the number of other users learning it, the average time it takes to finish, and the user who put it together.

As you finish courses and learn new words, you collect points that transition you into different ranks as an incentive to keep moving forward.

Screenshot of the Memrise point system

You can log in to Memrise with your email, Facebook, or Google account.

Memrise's Pro Option

Everything you've read about Memrise so far is free. The company offers a Memrise Pro subscription for as inexpensive as $5 per month if paid annually. If you plan to use it for more than a few years, you might be better off getting the lifetime membership.

Included in a subscription are grammabots, pro chats, difficult-words mode, speed review, listening-skills mode, video mode, and learning stats.

Our Thoughts on Memrise

We love the techniques Memrise uses to teach new language concepts. Using the website and app is visually appealing and seems to work well because of the mnemonic techniques added by users.

One thing we don't like about the website is that it's difficult to follow what you're doing. Thousands of courses span the entire website, and though several popular languages are categorized into common sections like Beginner and Advanced, you must search the site to find other languages, most of which don't offer the material as the more popular ones.

Also, though there are many free resources available, there are some features that require a paid, premium membership. However, this limitation didn't hamper our ability to use the site nor stop us from accessing useful material.