Every now and then, it’s time for a change.
When you graduate from high school, you move on to college, a job or a gap year. You don’t just keep hanging around the cafeteria hoping no one notices.
When your favorite jeans develop gaping holes, you probably buy a new pair even though you long for your fallen comrade.
When you realize your growing pie addiction is probably the cause of your weight gain, you switch to diet pie instead. (That’s a thing, right?)
The same is true in language education. Sometimes, you need a change. Whether you’re using online courses, apps or conventional courses, even if you love what you’ve been using, you might just need a change of pace.
That means that even if top programs like busuu appeal to you, you might be looking for an alternative.
But busuu has a lot to offer. It covers 12 different languages. It promises to teach you a language in just 10 minutes per day. And it has tons of other great features, such as practice with native speakers, grammar units, vocabulary training and even official certificates of completion. How can anything possibly compete with that?
Thankfully, just as there are several apps like Duolingo and plenty of programs like Pimsleur, you can also find some great busuu alternatives if you know where to look. While they may not have all the same features as busuu, they do offer their own unique variations of some of busuu’s most popular options.
Here’s the lowdown on all you need to know about busuu alternatives.
Why Use a Busuu Alternative?
One reason you might use a busuu alternative is to supplement your busuu learning. If you’re enjoying busuu, you don’t need to give it up entirely. In fact, busuu can pair perfectly well with other tools, including innovative apps, such as the FluentU Android app.
You might also use an alternative for a new perspective on your target language. Each language learning app and product on the market approaches a language from a slightly different angle, so trying an alternative to busuu could give you a new perspective that broadens your language horizons.
Or maybe busuu isn’t quite right for your needs and goals. Maybe busuu just isn’t doing what you want it to. Maybe the cost is prohibitive. Whatever reason it’s not your perfect match, you might be looking for something similar that better meets your needs.
Finally, variety is the spice of life. Using busuu everyday could start to feel stale, so you may be ready to change it up. Adding some variety to your learning routine can reinvigorate your passion for learning. Plus, if you want to go back to busuu after having used an alternative, you might find that it seems fresh and exciting again.
How to Select the Right Busuu Alternative
Consider which busuu feature you most want to replicate.
Busuu offers a variety of features, including flexibility, a short time commitment, interactions with native speakers and speech recognition.
While most other options won’t have all these features, it’s easy to find tools that have at least one of these qualities. If you select which feature you want to replicate, you can easily find a tool with a similar option.
Determine what area you’re struggling with most.
What do you need to work on? Do you need speech practice? Do you need to build your vocabulary? What’s your weakest point?
Identifying the areas of language learning you need to work on can help you select resources that target those specific skills. This helps you balance out your abilities and ensures you have no main weak points.
Try out multiple alternatives.
You won’t know what you like until you try it, so go ahead and see how you like a number of different alternatives. Experimenting can help you find which option you like the best or determine which combination of options can meet all your needs.
What the criteria you base your choices on are up to you—you can consider the usability, interface, price, level and/or features.
Spice up Your Language Learning with These 13 Busuu Alternatives
One of busuu’s popular features is its flexibility. It offers an array of learning options that you can use whenever and wherever it’s convenient. If you love the flexibility of busuu, you might also love these alternatives.
Want flexible language learning that grows with you? Try FluentU!
With FluentU, you hear languages in real-world contexts—the way that native speakers actually use them. Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of FluentU videos on offer:
FluentU really takes the grunt work out of learning languages, leaving you with nothing but engaging, effective and efficient learning. It’s already hand-picked the best videos for you and organized them by level and topic. All you have to do is choose any video that strikes your fancy to get started!
Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.
You can use FluentU’s unique adaptive quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions and exercises. Just swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're studying.
The program even keeps track of what you’re learning and tells you exactly when it’s time for review, giving you a 100% personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store or Google Play store.
Living Language has a ton of flexible learning options to fit whatever your language learning needs may be.
First of all, Living Language offers two different delivery methods. You can take an online course or purchase their products, including books, CDs and downloadable audio files.
You can also choose your pace. Online courses offer subscription options, so if you breeze through the course quickly, you can save money. But you can also just study for few minutes per day if that works for your schedule.
The materials themselves are also flexible. They include flashcards, games, grammar notes and dialogues, giving you plenty of variety.
Finally, one unique feature of Living Language is that it also offers some specialty courses to better meet your needs. For instance, there are programs for specific professions, including librarians, law enforcement and healthcare workers. There are also business courses if you plan on going into international business.
Going on a trip? A passport course might be just what you’re looking for.
Memrise provides flexible features, language settings and accessibility, making it a great choice for any language learner who needs options.
Features include videos with native speakers, a pronunciation guide and interactive games and activities.
Memrise also offers language flexibility. For example, some of the programs on this list may teach you Spanish, but the explanations are automatically in English.
With Memrise, you can change the language you’re learning in within the “Settings” menu, so if you’re more comfortable reading another language, like Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish, you have that option. Now you can study your target language without having to read in English to do so.
Plus, because you can use Memrise online or download its apps, you have plenty of options for how to use it. The apps even have an offline mode, allowing you to keep learning even without internet access.
Apps with a Short Time Commitment
Wish you didn’t have to study for hours on end? A lot of busuu users love that the program aims to teach languages in just 10 minutes per day.
However, there are busuu alternatives that also offer a short time commitment. If you only have a few minutes to spare, check out these options.
If busuu’s 10-minutes-per-day guideline is too much for you, consider trying Duolingo, which offers bite-sized lessons that you can complete in just five minutes per day. That being said, there’s nothing limiting you to the five-minute guideline… you can keep on going for hours if you have the time!
But the program is built around short lesson blocks, allowing you to study whenever you have time. Duolingo is gamified, though, so you might find it too addicting to stop at just one lesson.
Not only does Duolingo offer lessons, it also features activities to help you practice reading, writing, speaking and listening. That’s a lot to pack into just a few minutes per day!
WordBrewery is another great option for any learner who’s crunched for time.
WordBrewery works by presenting you with real-world sentences in your target language. You can listen to them, translate them, save them, save individual words or even read the sentences in their original context.
WordBrewery aims to make learning as fast and efficient as possible by focusing on the most common words. To make it even more efficient, you can set the skill level and/or topic. From there, WordBrewery will track your progress to present you with sentences that are challenging but appropriate for your level.
Plus, WordBrewery is designed to be used in short bursts, so no need to set aside hours for studying.
Lingvist is another busuu alternative designed for learners who have a need for speed.
Lingvist aims to have you skip over material you already know or just don’t need, allowing you to move at a faster pace. To do this, Lingvist maps your knowledge so that it can personalize the course for your needs.
Lingvist’s main focus is teaching relevant vocabulary in realistic contexts. But don’t worry! You’ll also get a hearty dose of grammar tips along the way.
Too busy to take the time to hold your phone? The Lingvist app also offers a “speak to answer” feature that allows you to study hands-free.
Just like busuu, Bliu Bliu promises to teach you a language in just 10 minutes per day. In fact, if you have a free subscription, you’ll be limited to just five minutes per session anyway, making it easy to avoid letting language learning consume all your time.
To gauge your level, Bliu Bliu will give you a quick quiz. From there, you’ll be presented with level-appropriate material, including videos, audio and text. All the material also comes with printed text. You can highlight a word to learn its meaning or save it to your favorites.
The one caveat is that Bliu Bliu isn’t designed for total beginners, so if you’re just starting out, you might be in over your head with this one.
Apps That Provide Interactions with Native Speakers
It’s no secret that interacting with native speakers is one of the best ways to improve your language skills. That’s why busuu connects you with native speakers to help you get the practice you need.
These alternatives also aim to help you practice your skills with a native speaker.
With HelloTalk, you can find native speakers and start interacting right away.
Not only can HelloTalk help you find your perfect language exchange partner, it also allows you to do voice calls, voice messaging, video calls and text messaging. You can also post questions to the community for native speakers to answer.
Worried that your skills aren’t advanced enough to carry on a conversation just yet? Luckily, HelloTalk has you covered with plenty of useful tools, including pronunciation guides, corrections, translations and more, so there’s no reason you can’t start chatting on day one of your language-learning journey.
If you wish you had a friend to answer all your language questions, HiNative could just be the busuu alternative of your dreams.
HiNative is a platform that allows you to ask native speakers all your most pressing language questions. You can ask questions in any language you like.
You can ask your questions through text, but HiNative offers some other intriguing options, too. For instance, you can ask verbal questions, so you can even get answers about whether or not you’re pronouncing something correctly. You can also post pictures if you need some help with how you’re writing a character or want someone to decipher written material you encounter.
Whether you want to just chat with a native speaker as a language exchange or you’d rather hire a native tutor, italki can help you find what you’re looking for.
Not only can you schedule a customized, one-on-one tutoring session through italki, you can also read articles by teachers and tutors.
Prefer to interact with native speakers on a less formal basis? You can connect with a partner for conversation exchange to get a little extra practice. Plus, you can ask open questions on the site, so you can ask the community to check your writing or give you language learning advice.
Apps with Speech Recognition
Getting speaking practice can be hard, especially if you’re too nervous to start interacting with native speakers.
To help users build their confidence and perfect their pronunciation, busuu offers speech recognition technology. The following alternatives to busuu also provide speech recognition options.
It can be hard to tell if you’re pronouncing a word correctly in your target language. Are you getting all the letters right? How’s your inflection?
With Mango Languages, you don’t have to stress over pronunciation because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to compare your pronunciation to that of a native speaker. Mango Languages features audio by native speakers that you can play to hear the pronunciation of a word.
Once you think you have it down, record yourself saying the same word. Then, you can compare your pronunciation directly against that of a native speaker. If your pronunciation isn’t as flawless as you’d like, just keep trying until you get it down.
Plus, Mango Languages focuses on practical conversational skills, so the words and phrases you work on are ones you’re likely to actually use.
Rocket Languages offers voice recognition that can help you nail down your pronunciation of thousands of phrases. That should be enough to put a smile on any learner’s face.
Courses feature conversations. You can read these conversations, play audio of the discussion and record yourself saying key phrases. If you want to simulate a real conversation, consider only playing one character’s dialogue and then recording your own responses.
Each course offers plenty of interactive audio lessons—over 60 hours—so that should be enough to satiate anyone looking to use a voice recognition program alternative to busuu.
Babbel’s main aim is to teach learners conversation skills so that they’re ready to roll when it’s time to interact in real life.
To do this, Babbel features audio by native speakers along with awesome dialogues, which are… wait for it… interactive! That’s right, you get to record yourself responding to a realistic dialogue. Not only can this help you perfect your pronunciation, it could also increase your confidence and give you the extra boost you need to talk to native speakers more often.
Want some more speaking practice? You can also record yourself speaking in the “Review Manager” section, thereby reinforcing key words and phrases you’re studying.
Not only that, Babbel offers activities that are just 10-15 minutes long, so it has more in common with busuu than speech recognition alone.
So go ahead and change it up. These 13 busuu alternatives might be just what you’re looking for to reinvigorate your learning.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.