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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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Busuu Vs Duolingo: Honest Review 2023

Thanks to technology, gives us the ability to download an app for almost anything. This includes language learning apps. 

However, this also means that there are many different language learning apps on the market that you can easily download either for a fee or for free in just a few moments. 

With this big choice, comes some difficulty to choose the right app for you. Among the most popular language apps are Busuu and Duolingo, which we will put head-to-head and see which one you should download from Busuu Vs Duolingo!

What Is Busuu?

Busuu is a language learning app created in 2008 by McGraw-Hill Education. Although it does not provide language learning instruction, the app’s name is derived from the Busuu language of Cameroon.

English, Polish, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and Turkish are among the 12 language learning courses offered by Busuu.

Every language learning course has multiple language skill levels that follow CEFR guidelines. Unlike other language learning platforms, Busuu provides an official certificate if you successfully finish the language learning course.

How Does Busuu Work?

To begin, you must select your desired language and either declare your level or take a placement exam in that target language.

Following that, you select your aim for learning that target language, such as education, daily communication, business, and so on.

This is a critical step since you will receive lessons that are personalized to your individual target language goal.

When you begin the native language learning process, you will be exposed to flashcard activities.

New words will be printed down with accompanying audio, and an example phrase will be provided to assist you in practice.

As you move through the course, you will be able to match the audio clip to the proper picture, match words to meanings, fill in speech gaps, and more.

  • Duolingo is a language learning app with over 40 languages.
  • It offers a fun and gamified learning experience with bite-sized lessons.
  • Duolingo is cost-effective, with a free version and a paid version with additional features.
Try Now

What Is Duolingo?

Duolingo is an online game-style language learning program. It provides a digital platform for students of all ages and abilities to study a variety of new languages.

This can even be modified to support individual pupils in areas where they need it, thanks to sophisticated algorithms, but more on that is below.

It is accessible as a language learning app as well as on the Duolingo website. This makes it extremely accessible, and students may download it onto their own devices.

This level of access, along with the capacity to create game avatar characters, provides pupils with a strong sense of ownership.

All of this contributes to this being a more engaging experience and a tool that students return to.

All of this being said, there are controls that enable particular learning goals such as language, grammar, or speaking and writing skills.

More features are available in the Duolingo for Schools edition, which is discussed further below. By paying for this, the advertisements are removed, but there are also offline language courses and other features.

How Does Duolingo Work?

Duolingo begins by providing you with more than 36 languages to choose from. Simple language courses are available to get you started straight away for complete novices.

A placement exam can be used to establish the appropriate beginning point for people with a degree of comprehension.

Students design their own cartoon avatars and then play learning activities to win prizes. There is a streak count for the number of days spent learning using the tool in a row.

You can gain XP (experience) points by using the language learning app and completing the tasks. Badges can be placed on the avatar profile, and flag symbols indicate the languages they are studying.

Finally, jewels may be acquired and spent to change avatars and purchase aesthetic enhancements. An overall mastery quiz level indicates how many words they’ve learned.

Comparing Busuu And Duolingo

Now that you have a better idea of what Busuu and Duolingo are and how they work, we can have a closer look at how they compare to one another.

Teaching Method

Busuu allows new users to complete a language placement exam, which determines the level at which they should begin studying.

If you believe you have been placed improperly, you are not compelled to remain at this level.

The lessons are divided into CEFR levels, and the transition from one topic to the next makes sense.

Lessons begin by teaching you a new language. This is displayed on-screen, along with translations. You will be required to listen to and memorize an audio recording of this vocabulary.

This workout is effective, and the audio is often of great quality. There were occasions, though, when we were forced to memorize too many terms at once, which rapidly became taxing.

Following the introductory activity, you will go too easy exercises designed to acquaint you with a language.

Fill-in-the-gap tasks, unscramble-the-sentence puzzles, matching exercises, and fundamental listening activities are among them.

Duolingo, like Busuu, allows you to take a placement exam after you’ve picked a language. Alternatively, you can begin as a beginner.

After you finish the test, you’ll be directed back to the main Duolingo screen. The levels you’ll finish are listed here. You may level up by completing activities and gaining enough “writing skills.”

A series of brief, uncomplicated activities allow you to put your talents to the test. Overall, these workouts are enjoyable, simple, and quick to do.

You will be expected to input or pick what you hear after hearing a word or phrase spoken aloud.

Many of Duolingo’s language courses employ text-to-speech technology, which means you miss the natural experience of speaking with a native speaker.

Language Options

Duolingo presently provides 43 languages, 39 of which are available to English speakers. Some of them are more popular than others, and this is determined by the popularity of the language.

You’ll also note that some of the languages are designated as ‘beta’. This signifies that they are still in development but are usable.

Haitian Creole, Hungarian, Klingon, Yiddish, Navajo, and Zulu are the Duolingo language courses that are presently in beta.

Busuu only supports 13 languages. Users commend Duolingo for including non-popular languages in its representation and teaching them alongside popular ones.

CEFR Certificate

If you are learning a new language because you need it to get by in a new job overseas, you should consider utilizing a language learning program that adheres to the CEFR framework’s curriculum.

If you’re wondering what CEFR stands for, it stands for Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

The CEFR is a set of guidelines that language teaching instruments should adhere to in order to be successful and legitimate. This guarantees that your abilities are recognized throughout Europe.

It’s critical since most employment or visa applications will need you to provide an official language certificate.

Furthermore, if you ever want to go offline and join an actual language school. If your online language course was taught using CEFR levels, it will be easy to determine your level.

If you desire or need a formal language certificate to demonstrate your language competency, try learning the language on Busuu.

The majority of Busuu’s online language courses are not simply taught and arranged according to CEFR levels.

They do, however, give an official language certificate to certify that you have reached that specific CEFR language level.

To obtain the certificate, you must first subscribe to the Busuu Premium Plus plan and complete the final level online test.

Language lessons on Duolingo, on the other hand, are not organized according to CEFR levels. As a result, even if you finish a whole language course on Duolingo, you will not be able to obtain an official certificate.

If you’re just learning a new language for fun, you don’t need to worry about the CEFR certificate, thus Duolingo is a viable alternative.

Busuu Vs Duolingo


If you want to acquire as much vocabulary as possible, Duolingo is certainly a better option than Busuu.

In comparison to Busuu, Duolingo places a lot more emphasis on repetition. This aids in the retention of new vocabulary. Especially if you need to remember the gender of different nouns, as you do in German.

But what Duolingo lacks in numbers, it makes up for in quality. You usually won’t notice this disadvantage until you have to employ the new language talent.

However, if you acquire a lot of new phrases and terminology without any real-life context, you could wind up sounding like you’ve time-traveled to the previous century.

So, while Duolingo may teach you a lot of vocabulary, you won’t know which terms are used in particular contexts.

Busuu, on the other hand, will make you feel as though you’re acquiring less vocabulary in the same period of time. However, you will have a better knowledge of how that word fits in a phrase.

As previously stated, Busuu adheres to the CEFR levels language curriculum. This implies that Busuu’s language classes are far more organized than Duolingo’s.

Each lesson on Busuu is divided into numerous steps. They begin by teaching you new terminology.

Then they’ll teach you how the word fits into a conversation or a phrase, and they’ll give you reading, listening, or writing assignments to help you remember it.

The most significant distinction between Busuu and Duolingo is that Busuu’s language learning content is applicable to real-life circumstances, whereas Duolingo’s is not.

Grammar Rules

If you’re seeking the greatest language apps for learning grammatical principles, Busuu is the way to go.

Busuu features some of the greatest grammatical explanations, even when compared to a larger pool of language learning apps. They are accurate, simple to grasp, and concise.

They’ve even simplified the explanation of several hard grammatical principles, such as the use of prepositions, dative, perfect, and past tense while learning a new language.

Duolingo also offers grammatical explanations. However, you can only access them through Duolingo’s desktop edition.

However, the grammatical explanations on Duolingo might be unclear and difficult to follow at times.

It also doesn’t help that Duolingo only provides five-to-six-word phrase samples to illustrate it since you can’t understand how the rule applies in real-life scenarios.

In comparison to Duolingo, the Busuu language app employs more complicated, lengthier phrases.

This is extremely helpful in learning how to combine two sentences with conjunctions and in articulating better-constructed phrases for both writing and speaking.

Writing And Sentence Construction

For sentence construction and writing, vocabulary and grammatical rules work hand in hand. This is why Busuu is deemed to be the superior language learning software over Duolingo in this case.

Busuu differs from Duolingo in that it places more emphasis on clarifying the context in which specific vocabulary or grammar rules are utilized.

This teaches you when to use formal vs colloquial language in regular conversation and writing. Furthermore, Busuu illustrates how they are used in spoken vs written language.

Also, if you’re learning a new language to study or relocating overseas.

You’ll be pleased to learn that Busuu employs linguistic examples that also teach you about the cultural aspects and subtleties of the language in question.

Reading And Listening Comprehension

If you want to enhance your reading and listening comprehension abilities, you’ll be glad to hear that Duolingo and Busuu are both excellent possibilities.

One of the app’s coolest features is certainly Duolingo Stories. You simply listen to a series of short narrative narrations.

At the end of each narrative, you’ll be asked a few questions to assess your comprehension skills.

You may also quickly check the English equivalent for terms you haven’t learned yet by hovering your mouse over the word.

Busuu also includes excellent challenges for reading skills and listening comprehension to improve listening skills. The key distinction between Busuu and Duolingo is that Busuu’s activities are based on real-life scenarios.

Speaking Skills

Speaking a new language is the most difficult aspect of learning it.

Language study programs such as Duolingo and Busuu do their best to assist you in improving your speaking skills.

To be honest, there is no simple method to learn a language other than to practice and speak it as often as possible.

Duolingo uses activities to help you improve your speaking and pronunciation skills. Unfortunately, they are not always correct.

You may mispronounce a term and the language app will correct you. Sometimes you can utter the word correctly, but Duolingo says it’s incorrect.

Duolingo’s speech prompt is also a little artificial and not as natural sounding as Busuu’s.

Busuu, on the other hand, lacks pronunciation drills. They do, however, provide you with access to native speakers to help you improve your speaking and writing abilities.

This works by giving you the opportunity at the end of each session to either write a brief text or record an audio of yourself talking about a certain topic, such as what your favorite food is and why.

The native speaker would next provide feedback on your oral or written activity.

It’s a very novel technique. However, there are some drawbacks to this.

There are a lot of individuals who would be too self-conscious to record themselves talking in a foreign language and send it to a complete stranger.

The second is that the pronunciation feedback you receive is extremely reliant on the native speakers with whom you are partnered.

  • Duolingo is a language learning app with over 40 languages.
  • It offers a fun and gamified learning experience with bite-sized lessons.
  • Duolingo is cost-effective, with a free version and a paid version with additional features.
Try Now


Busuu subscribers can choose between two monthly membership plans: Premium and Premium Plus.

Premium customers get access to one language, while Premium Plus users have access to all languages.

As a Premium member, you may pay $9.99 for a one-month subscription to Busuu, $8.33 for a three-month subscription, $5.82 for a six-month subscription, or $5.41 for an annual subscription.

A Premium Plus subscription is significantly more expensive, costing $13.99 for a single month, $9.66 per month for three months, $6.66 per month for six months, and $5.74 per month for a year.

The majority of Duolingo’s content is free, so you won’t be losing out if you don’t pay for the program.

However, if you’re a die-hard Duolingo fan, you might be interested in some paid extra features.

Duolingo Plus is a monthly membership service that costs $9.99 per month, $7.99 per month for a six-month subscription, and $6.99 per month for a 12-month subscription.

Duolingo Plus features no advertisements, monthly streak restoration, the option to view courses offline, and a personalized Progress Quiz.


After looking through the strengths and weaknesses of both Bussuu and Duolingo, it is evident that Duolingo offers a lot more languages and has a more consistent and immediate feedback method when it comes to pronunciation compared to Busuu. 

On the other hand, the lessons that Busuu provides are a lot more diverse and comprehensive in regard to the exercises that you are asked to complete.

The way in which grammar is integrated is also more effective than Duolingo. 

Overall, when these two popular language learning apps are put head-to-head, you can see that they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

When coming to a conclusion as to which one is superior, it comes down to what your preferences are as an individual and how you learn best. 

Either way, as they are initially free, there is nothing stopping you from these two language learning apps and trying both of them to see for yourself. 

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