Best Spanish learning app Rosetta Stone, Duolingo or Busuu

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Looking for the best Spanish learning app? With your current Spanish vocabulary you can just about order a drink in a Spanish bar. You want to improve your grammar and vocabulary in a second language but don't want to use flashcards? Having an app on your mobile phone or on your tablet will greatly increase your chances of learning Spanish. Despite there being plenty of language schools in the UK and in Spain, having an app makes the threshold low. Furthermore, using an app can be cheaper. 

Which Spanish learning apps are we going to talk about?

The Google playstore, the Apple App Store and the web have many options but I would like to focus on the following three platforms:

  • Rosetta Stone
  • Duolingo 
  • Busuu


Rosetta Stone

Does it work well? Yes and no is the short answer. It will depend on your expectations. Yes you can learn some Spanish and no it will not make you fantastic. If you are an enthousiast, you could push yourself to learn a good amount of Spanish in about 3-6 months. If you take it easy, you could learn a decent amount of Spanish in about 6-12 months. So basically 12 months is very doable. 

Rosetta Stone offers a tiered pricing: 3 months, 12 months, 24 months and lifetime. At the time of writing this article the 3 months package was EUR 11,99/month, the 12 months package was EUR 9,99/month, 24 months package was EUR 6,99/month and lifetime package was EUR 199.

The complete package is in Spanish and some people that were hoping on a little guidance in English will be disappointed. Complete immersion into Spanish can advance you. Nonetheless it could seem a bit daunting at first. 



If you like games then Duolingo might be for you. The program is little bit more playful. The program is built up out of modules and the modules form a tree. The software uses a an algorithm to track your learning progress and it tracks words you are weak in. The package is built with graphics instead of quality photos (Rosetta Stone). Also some people have reported that the sound quality in Duolingo is not a good as in Rosetta Stone. If you are stuck with a Spanish word in Duolingo, you can click on it and the software will give you a translation.

Duolingo is free to use online. If you want to download all your lessons and access them without being online, you will need a paid subscription. The subscription is at the time of writing this article EUR 6,99/month. The added features of the premium version (no adds and supporting their mission) are not that compelling compared to say a Busuu. 



The Busuu platform is a little bit more serious than Duolingo. The platform enjoys a real high trust by the general language learning public. Their Trustpilot score is 4.2 out of 5 with almost 8.000 reviews. Pretty significant by any standards. 

There is a free version like Duolingo and there is a paid version. Importantly you can learn a language with the free version. On the other hand, the paid version will offer more and better premium content. For example, advanced grammer units, download and use courses offline (handy while traveling) and take tests and earn actual certifications. 

Advanced learners might feel limited by Busuu because the highest level is B2 (upper intermediate Spanish level). As you progress through the levels, A1, A2, B1 and B2 the number of lessons decreases. Instinctively you would expect that as your level increases you would want the same number or more lessons to test yourself. 

Finally, a great point of Busuu is that you can receive feedback from native speakers. Unquestionably, feedback can be negative, but don’t get discouraged as it will help your pronunciation and the progress in your journey.


Alternatives to online learning 

If you think an online learning approach is not for you or maybe you prefer or need the motivation of a tutor then a language course in a school might be better suited. Learn Spanish in Spain and get the complete Spanish immersion. Spain has many language schools. For example Inhispania in Madrid has an intensive course that offers 20 lessons in 1 week. Additionally they have and super intensive course that has 30 lessons in 1 week. They also offer a variety of crash courses and accommodation. Definitely useful if you want a short stay in Madrid just to learn the language and culture.



If you are a beginner and you have the motivation to push yourself with an online course, then Busuu seems a sound contenter. If you like a more laid back and gamified approach then Duolingo might be more suited.

Undoubtedly it is a lot of work to learn how to speak fluent in another language. Actually research indicates it take approximately 450-500 hours to reach a basic fluency or a foreign language. Put simple: if you manage to invest 10 hours a day, you can learn an easy language in 50 days. 

No matter which app or platform you choose, or the level of your language skills, it is never going to be a walk in the park learning a laguage. You have to put in the work and commit to repetition to get the results. Nonetheless, you just might be a latent ‘ polyglot’ - a person who speaks multiple languages. Learning a new language gives people a challenge and a purpose and it can be exciting. 

Polyglot and linguist Matthew Youlden (speaks 9 languages) explains easy steps to learning a new language and debunks popular myths about language learning:

Start learning the Spanish language today. As you can read above there are many ways to learn Spanish. Start off with some free lessons on Duolingo, pick up your first Spanish words and Spanish grammar. Simple words and phrases are easy to memorize. You don't have to be native speaker or speak fluently to make yourself understood. If you study Spanish (basic Spanish) you will also have the advantage that you will be understood in other Spanish speaking countries.  There are many latin American coutries.

And finally, if everything else fails, there is always Google translate.




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