Memrise is an app for smartphones and tablets that allows you to learn languages quickly, efficiently and above all free of charge. It is a portable version of the content and features already known on memrise.com that have helped millions of people learn and improve their knowledge of foreign languages.
The strength of Memrise: well-tended micro-lessons.
The app is very attractive with a registration or login screen through which you can access and then go to choose the language to learn and the difficulty of the course to take.
Each micro-lesson consists of several steps starting from learning and listening to the word or phrase and then go through the subsequent stages of fixing in memory of what we just learned. Very interesting is the function that allows us to listen to what for some passages we have only read or written ourselves, so the aspect of pronunciation is absolutely taken care of.
Usually a single lesson lasts a few minutes, but you can also continue with the next ones, so the advice in general is to practice with headphones or in a quiet environment at medium-high volume, without being ashamed of the strafalcioni that are said when you are new to a new language. Each course, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, is totally free and at more advanced levels is also reviewed by thousands of users, a symbol that Memrise has a large and very active community. In addition, the app allows us to choose whether the day we do class we want to go ahead with the program or fix in memory the words previously learned, suggesting which is the best choice for a lasting learning. In addition to these interesting tips, there is another that will certainly help many. In fact, for each new word we learn, the app shows us some nice cartoons or phrases chosen with accuracy to make it easier to remember in which context or phrase to use the term. A plus to take into account!
It works very well even without in-app purchases.
Other more intensive features are available through monthly, quarterly and annual payment plans (and given the affordable prices for the quality offered we would advise you to take them into account) but this does not preclude us from arriving at the end of each course as happens in other similar apps. To be honest, even for intermediate and advanced levels of learning it is absolutely not necessary to buy additional features and this is precisely why we like this app. Obviously at each goal reached we will go to accumulate the points that will be needed to get to the final score of the course and a small map that grows accompanies us on the way, enticing us to continue step by step. The app can also remind us with a daily notification that the time has come for some ‘healthy practice, let us add our results to the social and add or follow our friends who use Memrise to compare the progress made.
A system not without limits
After testing it for a long time, I can say that it is an effective system but not without weaknesses. First of all, grammar is almost completely overlooked in favour of fluency and pronunciation. If Memrise’s ultimate goal is to make the user speak, it’s not a huge flaw. However, when learning a language, it is also important to understand why something works the way it works.
Another element not to be underestimated is the monotony of the proposed activities.
They are few and far between and in the long run could bore the less willing. If all the review activities are carried out, the tedium increases even more. Finally, we must mention that Memrise is a site in English and therefore many of the Mems proposed by users refer to that language. For some time now, there are also several Mems in Italian, but there is still a long way to go.
Is it worth it in the end?
Yes, as long as you don’t pretend to learn a foreign language only through this system.
The platform is very valid as a support base for learners, but it cannot replace in any way a good grammar and a good language teacher.