VersusPimsleur vs Duolingo: a comparison for language learning

Pimsleur vs Duolingo: a comparison for language learning

Dr. Paul Pimsleur made Pimsleur, which is a way to learn a language. It is known for teaching listening and speaking skills through audio. Pimsleur courses are built around recorded conversations and questions that encourage students to take part in the process of learning a language. Spaced repetition is used, which is when you look over words and phrases at gradually longer intervals to help you remember them longer. There are Pimsleur courses for a lot of different languages, and they are often praised for how well they help people improve their conversational skills.

Duolingo, on the other hand, is a popular platform for learning languages that makes learning languages like a game. It has a lot of interactive exercises and lessons that help you improve your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The interface of Duolingo is easy to use, and it encourages users to move up levels, earn points, and keep their streaks going to stay motivated. The platform has courses in both widely spoken and less common languages. It also puts a lot of emphasis on being easy to use, so anyone can learn a new language.

Pimsleur vs Duolingo Pricing

The main courses on Duolingo are all free to use. You can pay for Duolingo Plus if you want to get some extra features, like not seeing ads, being able to download lessons to use offline, getting unlimited hearts, and having your streak fixed every month. Since none of these features will really help you learn a language, you don’t need Duolingo Plus. A subscription to Duolingo Plus for one month costs $9.99. You can also pay $7.99 per month for a six-month subscription or $6.99 per month for a year-long one.

Pimsleur has added a new app and changed the price of its subscription plan. Prices for subscriptions have changed a lot since the old prices, which were as high as $550 for five levels. The basic plan of Pimsleur costs $14.95 a month, and the premium plan costs $19.95 a month. Pimsleur also lets users try out a course on the platform for free for 7 days.

Pimsleur vs Duolingo Comparison Table

Language OptionsWide range of languages availableVariety of languages available
Teaching MethodAudio-based lessons with emphasis on listening and speakingGamified lessons with a mix of listening, speaking, reading, and writing exercises
Lesson StructureStructured lessons following a linear progressionBite-sized lessons with a modular structure
FocusEmphasizes pronunciation, listening comprehension, and speaking skillsCovers multiple aspects of language learning including vocabulary, grammar, and reading
User InteractionLimited user interaction, primarily focused on repetition and responseInteractive exercises and user engagement through quizzes, challenges, and discussion forums
Offline AccessYesYes
Free VersionNoYes
Premium PricingSubscription-based model with pricing tiersOffers a freemium model with optional ad-free subscription and additional features
Mobile AppsAvailable on iOS and Android devicesAvailable on iOS and Android devices
Supplementary ResourcesAdditional reading materials and vocabulary flashcards availableDiscussion forums and language communities for practice and support
Target AudienceIndividuals who prefer audio-based learning and focus on speaking skillsIndividuals who prefer gamified learning experience and a mix of different language skills

Pimsleur vs Duolingo User interface

Pimsleur vs Duolingo

Both Pimsleur and Duolingo have different ways for users to interact with the programs. The interface of Pimsleur is mostly based on audio lessons. Users listen to recorded conversations and repeat phrases to improve their pronunciation and ability to understand what they hear. The interface is easy to use and is based on a linear progression of lessons. Users move through the course in a planned way.

Duolingo, on the other hand, makes learning a language more like playing a game. Its interface is made with colorful pictures and exercises that you can do. Users take small lessons that help them improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The interface has things like quizzes, challenges, and keeping track of your progress, which makes learning feel more like a game.

The interface of Pimsleur makes it easy for users to focus on their listening skills, since they only have to respond to prompts. On the other hand, Duolingo uses exercises that require input and interaction to get people to use the language actively. It lets you learn in a way that is more interactive and immersive.

Pimsleur vs Duolingo Language

Both Pimsleur and Duolingo give you a lot of choices when it comes to languages. Pimsleur offers a large number of languages to learn, such as Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, and many more. They have made complete courses for each language, with a focus on speaking and having conversations.

Duolingo also lets you choose from a wide range of languages, including both widely spoken and less common ones. The platform includes popular languages like Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Japanese, as well as less common languages like Welsh, Irish, and Swahili, and even made-up languages like High Valyrian from Game of Thrones. Duolingo’s language library keeps growing as new languages are added based on what users want and are interested in.

In terms of the languages they offer, both platforms are good places to start learning a language. Pimsleur focuses on audio-based learning, which can help improve listening and speaking skills. Duolingo, on the other hand, covers a wider range of language skills, including reading and writing. Both Pimsleur and Duolingo give you the chance to learn and practice different languages, whether you want to learn a widely spoken language or a less common one.

Pimsleur vs Duolingo Performance

Pimsleur vs Duolingo

Pimsleur is well-known for its audio-based method of learning a language. This method focuses on pronunciation, understanding what you hear, and speaking skills. Pimsleur’s carefully planned lessons and emphasis on repetition help people build a strong foundation in spoken language. People who want to improve their ability to understand and speak a language in real-world conversations can benefit most from lessons that focus on hearing. The Pimsleur method has been improved over the years, and it is often praised for how well it helps people learn languages.

On the other hand, Duolingo makes learning a language more fun and interactive. It works well because it has short, interesting lessons that cover many parts of learning a language, such as vocabulary, grammar, listening, and understanding what you read. Duolingo’s leveling system, streaks, and achievements can be motivating for learners and help them practice more often. But because it’s set up like a game, some people say that it might put fun over learning the language well.

Pimsleur: Pros and Cons


  • Strong focus on listening and speaking skills.
  • Structured approach with well-designed lessons.
  • Effective for building conversational proficiency.
  • Audio-based learning helps improve pronunciation.


  • Limited interactivity and practice in other language skills like reading and writing.
  • Expensive compared to some other language learning options.
  • Less flexibility in choosing specific topics or vocabulary to learn.

Duolingo: Pros and Cons


  • Gamified approach makes learning fun and engaging.
  • Covers multiple language skills including listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Wide range of languages available.
  • Free version with the option to upgrade to a premium subscription.


  • Gamification may prioritize entertainment over deep language acquisition.
  • Less emphasis on pronunciation and spoken proficiency.
  • Limited explanations of grammar and linguistic concepts.
  • User-generated content may vary in quality and consistency.

Which one should you consider?

With its audio-based approach, Pimsleur is a good choice for people who want to improve their listening and speaking skills. It has structured lessons and good ways to learn by repeating. On the other hand, Duolingo makes learning a language fun and interactive. It covers a wide range of skills and offers a lot of languages. It is more well-rounded, but it may put fun over learning the language deeply. In the end, the choice depends on what each person wants and what they want to learn.


Is there a better app than Duolingo?

Reviewers chose Rosetta Stone, Busuu, Lingvist, and Mango Languages as the best overall alternatives and competitors to Duolingo. We have put together a list of these solutions.

What is better than Pimsleur?

Pimsleur mostly skips over grammar and writing exercises, but Babbel teaches more of the language as a whole. Learners who used Babbel would know more about the language as a whole, but their speaking and listening skills would be worse than those who used Pimsleur.

Amy Hinckley
Amy Hinckley
The Dell Inspiron 15 that her father purchased from QVC sparked the beginning of her interest in technology. At Bollyinside, Amy Hinckley is in charge of content editing and reviewing products. Amy's interests outside of working include going for bike rides, playing video games, and watching football when she's not at her laptop.
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