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Why You Should Learn Languages on Memrise

Paul has been learning and reviewing languages on Memrise since 2016. Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and German are some of the languages.


Why You Should Learn Languages on Memrise

Memrise is one of the best online sites I have used for learning and reviewing languages. Since 2016, I have been using Memrise to learn Japanese and to review Chinese Mandarin, Taiwanese, German, and Thai that I learned many years ago.

I fell in love with Memrise because it has several video examples of language used in real life and for its gamified tests that train language skills.

In this article, I first introduce the Memrise site and some of the interesting languages that are being learned by millions of online users. Next, from personal experience, I explain how languages are learned and reviewed on Memrise. Finally, I make the argument why you should learn languages on this popular website.

What Is Memrise?

Memrise is a British language platform founded in 2010 by Ed Cooke, Ben Whately, and Greg Detre. Based in London, it offers user-generated content on a wide range of subjects. Online Memrise users like me can learn or create courses on any subject.

Memrise uses spaced repetition of flash cards to increase language learning retention. Practical phrase-taught courses are designed by native speakers.

The language learning experience resembles immersive training when viewing videos of native speakers using real-life language.

When learning or reviewing languages, the user is given points for correct answers. To resemble competition in a classroom, the user's accumulated points for a day, week, or month are listed and ranked with other users. In this way, the user can see how he is doing in relation to other users. On Memrise, the user also has the option to follow other users.

There is a lot of free language content on Memrise. The site, however, makes money by charging users for unlimited access to language resources.

Languages Learned on Memrise

Memrise offers a myriad of world languages for the serious learner. They include European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and African languages.

Some of the popular European languages are

  1. English
  2. French
  3. German
  4. Italian
  5. Russian
  6. Turkish

Middle Eastern languages include:

  1. Hebrew
  2. Arabic
  3. Persian Farsi

If you like Asian languages, these are some you can choose from:

  1. Japanese
  2. Korean
  3. Chinese
  4. Thai
  5. Burmese
  6. Vietnamese
  7. Tagalog
  8. Indonesian
  9. Hindi
  10. Urdu
  11. Uyghur

Some of the Chinese dialects being learned include:

  1. Taiwanese
  2. Cantonese
  3. Hakka
  4. Wu

Swahili is an African language you can also learn.

Some Memrise language courses

Some Memrise language courses

How Languages Are Learned on Memrise

After you have selected a language to learn, you proceed in this manner.

  • Choose between a suggested activity or your preferred activities
  • Follow instructions for the chosen activity

Choose Between a Suggested Activity or Your Preferred Activity

Memrise has six learning sessions to choose from. They include

  1. Learn new words
  2. Classic review
  3. Speed review
  4. Difficult words
  5. Listening skills
  6. Learning with locals
Different Memrise learning sessions

Different Memrise learning sessions

1. Learn New Words

This is the most important session. Here you are introduced to new vocabulary and phrases of the target language you select. New words are given in written and spoken forms with a translation in your native language. Some vocabulary is introduced through native-speaker videos. You are tested on all new words and given points for correct answers.

2. Classic Review

All new words learned are reviewed through questions. If you have forgotten the meaning of a word, you are given the correct meaning and the word is further reviewed. Points are awarded for correct answers.

3. Speed Review

I enjoy this session the most because I can accumulate a lot of points by answering correctly the meaning of words I have already learned.

In this session, you are given a maximum of five seconds to answer a question about the meaning of a new word you have learned before another question appears. If you answer three questions incorrectly, the session ends and your points earned from answering questions correctly are tabulated.

I have answered a maximum of 100 questions in one session with only one mistake and earned almost 20,000 points.

4. Difficult Words

This session is usually locked and only made available if your learning progress is good. Memrise identifies the words you have had difficulty learning and helps you review them. If you are a paid subscriber, this session is free.

5. Listening Skills

This session is usually reserved only for paid subscribers.

In some languages, like Japanese, you are given a free listening session if you have good learning progress.

In this session, there are videos of native speakers saying a word or phrase in their native language. You must select the correct translation in your language and are given points for correct answers.

6. Learning With Locals

This session is also usually reserved only for paid subscribers and sometimes given as a free session for making good progress.

In this session, native speakers introduce all new vocabulary and phrases through videos. Once again, points are awarded for correct answers.

Follow Instructions for Chosen Activity

New words are learned in the following way.

  1. Target word or phrase is introduced
  2. Meaning of written target word or phrase is tested
  3. Meaning of spoken word or phrase is tested

1. Target Word or Phrase Is Introduced

In this session, Memrise introduces a new target word or phrase in both written and spoken forms.

For some languages like Japanese, a target expression in the native language is introduced by a video of a native language speaker. The written forms in the target language script, Romanization, and English are also given.

Introducing words and phrases on Memrise

Introducing words and phrases on Memrise

2. Meaning of Written Target Word or Phrase Is Tested

After being introduced to a target word or phrase, its written form is first tested in another session.

In Japanese, for example, you will be given the English translation and have to choose the correct Japanese from four possible answers. You could also be given the Japanese word or phrase and be required to choose the correct English translation from four possible answers.

If you answer the question correctly, you will be awarded points. By answering incorrectly, the target word or phrase will be reintroduced in another session.

Testing meaning of written target word or phrase

Testing meaning of written target word or phrase

3. Meaning of Spoken Word or Phrase Is Tested

Aural comprehension of the spoken target language word or phrase is tested by a video or audio recording of a native speaker.

In Japanese, for example, you will view a video of a native speaker saying the word or phrase previously introduced. The learner must choose the correct English translation from four possible answers or write the correct Japanese by choosing from the given script elements.

If you answer the question correctly, you are given points. If your answer is incorrect, the target word or phrase is reintroduced.

Testing meaning of spoken target word or phrase

Testing meaning of spoken target word or phrase

Four Reasons to Learn Languages on Memrise

I strongly suggest learning languages on Memrise for the following four reasons.

  1. A multitude of languages to choose from
  2. It is fun and highly motivating
  3. A sense of immersion learning
  4. User friendly

1. A Multitude of Languages to Choose From

I was surprised to discover the vast number of languages that can be learned on Memrise. Some are developed by Memrise and many others are put together by Memrise users.

Chinese dialects are one of my special interests. I was pleasantly surprised to see courses in Taiwanese, Cantonese, Hakka, Wu (Shanghainese,) and the Wuhan dialect available on Memrise.

In addition to almost every European language, Memrise has courses in such languages as Burmese (Myanmar,) Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hindi, Indonesian, and Hebrew.

2. It Is Fun and Highly Motivating

Memrise is fun and highly motivating to use because in a game-like manner you are competing against other users.

For example, in a Thai course I am learning, I am awarded points for each correct language question I answer. Every day, the points that I earn are totaled and compared with other users who are learning my same course. The top ten point users are listed after every session I complete. Being a competitive person, I am highly motivated to learn the most and faster than other users. This is reflected by my being listed as number one.