Best Language Learning Software: Fluenz vs Pimsleur vs Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo & More!

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Best for In Person Learning
Fluenz logo

Best for Audio LearningPimsleur logo

Widest Range of Languages
Instant Immersion logo
Best Free

So, you want to learn Spanish but the options are muy confuso. Or, maybe you’re visiting Paris and want to speak the native language to fit in with the French? What are the best ways to learn a language without living immersed in the country’s language and culture? Language learning software! It has increased in popularity because it allows you to learn at your own pace and on the go. And their lessons are fun, engaging and motivate you to keep growing and improving your skills. We’ll help you decide which language learning software is right for you based on your goals and preferences. So vamos (let’s go)!

Why Consider Language Learning Software?

First off, why should you choose language learning software over other more traditional learning options like taking a college course?

  • College courses are large and impersonal. Software is individualized to you and your specific learning style and needs.
  • College courses can drag on or go too fast. With software you have control over the speed of the course – if you need more time to re-review or skip through a lesson.
  • College courses tend to focus more on grades rather than whether you’re actually learning the language.
  • College courses and textbooks are expensive whereas software is much more affordable.
  • Classes take time to travel to and are during a set schedule. Software allows you to control when and where you learn.

What Is The Best Language Learning Software?

Now that you’ve probably convinced why software is a superior option it’s time to pick a company. But deciding which is the best language learning software for you can be a little more challenging. The marketplace is filled with different techniques, formats and price points, so we dissected several leading programs to help you choose the best software. Note our review is geared towards learners who speak English as a first language.

Best For In Person Learning: Fluenz Review

Fluenz boxView on Amazon

Fluenz is best known for its Spanish learning program for English speakers, although they do offer 6 other languages. Many users prefer Fluenz over other software programs because it makes them feel like they are taking an actual class with a teacher, but in their own time and home. This also awards it our #1 choice along with their excellent customer service available via phone, email and live chat. If you contact them via email they try to respond within a few hours (24 hours max is their promise). With Fluenz you’ll learn grammar, writing, speaking, listening and reading for the desired language.

Pros

Cons

  • All packages are inclusive of ALL media platforms available
  • Lessons will sync with the online site and mobile so you never lose your place
  • Great customer service
  • Only 7 languages available

Pricing

  • Learn Spanish 1 (30 sessions of up to 2.5 hours each): $177.00
  • Learn Spanish 1+2+3+4+5 (1500 sessions of up to 2.5 hours each): $348.00

Best For Audio Learners: Pimsleur Review

Pimsleur boxVisit Website
Pimsleur’s method is solely based on audio learning replicating the way you learn a language as a child. No other language learning program uses this method. They are so confident in their program, Pimsleur guarantees spoken proficiency if you complete the first 30 lessons of one of their programs. I received access to their Unlimited online software in exchange for an honest review. Although I’m only a few lessons in, I am loving it so far. The lessons are around 30 minutes long and with one a day and 30 lessons total you could do one level per month. The Unlimited plan also comes with an iPhone or Google Android app. You can use the app to track your progress and do other interactive reviews and engaging exercises to reinforce what you’re learning via audio. Pimsleuer works well for people like me who are audio learners (or have long commutes and can practice in the car).

Pros

Cons

  • Simple system using the ‘Listen and Learn’ technique
  • Unlimited plan comes with app for you to connect up to 5 devices and learn on the go
  • More than 50 languages offered
  • Covers a range of topics in audio format including pronunciation, conversation skills and listening comprehension
  • Teaches conversational phrases not tourist phrases
  • You may get bored easily and “tune out” if audio learning isn’t your preferred method of learning

Pricing

  • Spanish Level 1: $150
  • Spanish Level’s 1-5: $575

Read our in depth Pimsleur Review

Widest Range of Languages: Instant Immersion Review

Instant Immersion boxView on Amazon

What’s appealing about Instant Immersion is its large section of languages to choose from at a low price. Instant Immersion’s software works on older computers, which is handy if you don’t upgrade systems often. The interface isn’t “snazzy” but it gets the job done…that is if you don’t have issues with the software. In our research we read that many users have gone back and purchased Rosetta Stone to make up for what Instant Immersion lacks.

Pros

Cons

  • Good for learning the basics of a language
  • 126 languages to choose from
  • Inexpensive
  • May not be compatible with all smartphones and tablets
  • Issues with software
  • Not all formats are available for all languages

Pricing

  • Spanish Levels 1, 2, & 3: $59.99

Best Free: Duolingo Review

Duolingo screenshotVisit Website

Duolingo is a completely free website and is also available as an app, making it easy to use on the go. You learn by playing a series of short games which makes it fun and easy to squeeze in to downtime – like when you’re commuting or eating breakfast. Duolingo focuses more on phrases than words, which you may find to be a positive or a negative depending on your end goal and learning style. Duolingo is great for those of you who live busy lives and want to test out learning a new language before taking it seriously and committing more money towards it. This is why we’ve chosen it as our #3 pick.

Pros

Cons

  • Free
  • Mobile app or web-based
  • Progress reminders
  • You can compete against your friends to hold you accountable
  • Test your skills to be placed at a level
  • More for basic learning

Pricing

  • Free

Language Learning Comparison Table

 FluenzPimsleurRosetta StoneInstant ImmersionDuolingoMangoLivemocha
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review
Visit WebsiteView on AmazonVisit WebsiteView on AmazonView on AmazonVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website
Money Back Guarantee30 Day30 Day3 Month Trial90 DayN/AN/AN/A
FormatDVD, CD, MP3, Online, Mobile, TabletCDsPC, Mac, Mobile, Tablet Apps, CDSoftware, Audio Download, Workbook, Online TutorialApp, OnlineOnline, Mobile, Tablet appsOnline
Number of Languages750+30+125+27 (some still in Beta)70+ including pirate and sign35

What Other Language Learning Software Is There?

We review four other popular language learning software options, and give you our pros and cons for each:

Livemocha |Mango Languages| Rosetta Stone

Livemocha Review

Livemocha logo

The Livemocha community has been bought by Rosetta Stone and will be closed April 22, 2016.

Mango Languages Review

Mango Languages logoVisit Website

Mango Languages is no longer available online but their web-based program is available at many public libraries. So check your library or visit their website to find a library near you that has Mango in the language you are interested in. The interface is fairly easy to use and they have a colorful layout to make it more interesting.

Rosetta Stone Review

Rosetta Stone logoView on Amazon

Rosetta Stone is probably the most well-known language learning software. It teachs via “Dynamic Immersion” which means they try to teach you the language similar to the way you learned your native language as a child. The biggest negative is that Rosetta Stone is extremely expensive. So you may not want to spend $100-$500 on language learning software that you may not stick with. They do offer a brief demo via free trial on their website of each language in case you want to test it out before committing. Although you must pay a pretty penny for this software it has a history of being successful making it our #2 choice.

Pros

Cons

  • Offers an online only option with a subscription program
  • Learning through sensory association, words, pictures, speaking and listening
  • Good interface
  • Children’s version available
  • Only starts at a beginner level
  • Expensive

Pricing

  • Level 1 Spanish (0-50 hours): $99.00
  • Level 1-5 Spanish (201-250 hours): $179.00

Video: Your Language Learning Software Questions Answered

Check out this video of Fluenz founder, Sonia Gil, answering questions from fans about some of the challenges you might face when learning a language.

What’s The Best Language Learning Software For Me?

Learning a foreign language can make you smarter, more decisive, and even stave off Alzheimer’s. Anne Merritt, international writer and EFL lecturer, elaborates on this in her article on the benefits of bilingualism. Whether your goal is to become smarter, learn for business, for international travel, to talk to your grandmother, or simply for fun, it’s important to know how you learn best and how fluent you wish to become in the language. If you’re looking for the basics and want to learn a new language for fun, then Duolingo may be a great fit. If you’re serious about learning a new language, then Fluenz will likely suit you better.

What language do you want to learn and why?

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Sadie has been exploring the world since she was young - her first international adventure when she was 16 to Japan. She's traveled Europe and throughout the U.S. and loves to experience new places and things. When not writing, she can be found cooking vegetarian food, practicing yoga or enjoying museums and various cultures around DC.

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1 Comment on "Best Language Learning Software: Fluenz vs Pimsleur vs Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo & More!"

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Lizzy B
Lizzy B

My job requires speaking to a lot to the Hispanic population and it can be so frustrating not to be able to communicate with them. I’ve always wanted to learn a second language and think that this would be the perfect opportunity to really immerse myself in a Spanish course so I can do a better job at work. And I was thinking perhaps if I can justify this to my company they can help offset some of the costs since it’s a training program that will make me better at what I do too! Will look into Fluenz since they are your top pick and specialize in Spanish, gracias!

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