Hello, Let‘s Compare Duolingo vs Busuu for Your Language Learning Goals

As your friend and resident technology expert, you‘ve come to the right place to learn about the most popular and proven language learning apps! In this comprehensive feature comparison, we‘ll be diving deep on Duolingo vs Busuu – from how they work to how much they cost and who they might be best suited for.

I‘ll equip you with the insights you need to determine which app aligns closest with your own language acquisition goals and preferred learning style. Does some friendly competition or pure academic rigor sound more up your alley? Read on for the full breakdown!

How Did These Apps Originate?

Before analyzing the learning approaches, let‘s quickly cover the backstory of how Busuu and Duolingo came to be:

Busuu‘s Beginnings

Busuu gets its unusual (and cute) name from the endangered Busuu language in Cameroon. It was originally founded in 2008 by linguistics scholars and educators Bernhard Nissen and Adrian Hilti in Madrid, Spain.

The platform began as a free supplementary tool for independent language learners. Premium subscription tiers offering enhanced features and personalized review sessions were introduced in 2009.

Over 140 million people now use Busuu across the web and mobile apps. There are also Busuu plans tailored for university language programs and global corporations.

Duolingo‘s Start in Academia

Duolingo emerged on the scene shortly after in 2009, created by Carnegie Mellon professor Luis von Ahn and graduate student Severin Hacker. They named the app "Duolingo" as a play on the Spanish phrase for "dual language."

The app remained invitation-only until its public launch in 2012. Early on, creative marketing campaigns drove viral adoption. Today, Duolingo engages over 500 million learners worldwide. Like Busuu, Duolingo now provides specialized products for classrooms and companies while maintaining the popular consumer app.

Getting Started With the Apps

I‘ve personally used both apps, and the onboarding process is quick and intuitive across platforms:

  • Select your native language
  • Choose a language to learn
  • Take a short placement quiz
  • Begin interactive lessons!

Both Busuu and Duolingo are available on web, iOS and Android so you can switch devices conveniently. Duolingo also supports Windows and wearables like smart watches.

Now let‘s break things down across some key categories…

Language Selection

Duolingo definitely takes the cake when it comes to number of languages available:

AppLanguages Offered

Duolingo has popular tongues like Spanish, Japanese and German. But they also offer Navajo, Latin, Hawaiian, High Valyrian from Game of Thrones, and the made-up Duolingo language!

Busuu covers the most widely spoken languages across Europe and Asia. But Duolingo can‘t be beat for obscure pickings.

Instructional Approach Differs Greatly

Now this is where things get really interesting! The actual structure and teaching methodologies used by Busuu vs Duolingo differ quite profoundly:

Busuu‘s Formal Curriculum Model

As an application designed by academics, Busuu relies on a structured curriculum framework akin to university language courses.

It draws upon the Common European Framework of Reference (CERF) scale to assess your abilities in reading, writing, listening and speaking from beginner (A1) to advanced (C2) based on an initial quick placement quiz.

Lessons then build skills in a progressive manner with clearly defined objectives focused on grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation.

Key features include:

  • Interactive writing, listening and speech exercises
  • Detailed grammar explanations and tips
  • Pronunciation evaluation tools assessing accuracy
  • Dialogue with native speakers to practice conversational abilities

In short – Busuu provides a formal, textbook-quality language learning curriculum quantified into milestones leading to fluency.

Duolingo‘s Playful Gamified Appraoch

Meanwhile, Duolingo takes an entirely opposite approach framing lessons as entertaining, arcade-style games where you earn points, advance levels, and collect badges by completing vocabulary, phrase translation, speaking and listening challenges.

The friendly owl mascot named Duo guides you along as you practice and repeat without strict order. Explanations of grammtical concepts are limited in favor of pure vocabulary comprehension through engagement.

Some personality types may find memorization easier when it feels like a recreational game rather than academic homework. But the loose structure means you miss out on deeper instruction.

Key aspects are:

  • Game-like skill challenges to stay motivated
  • Rewards and tracking for milestones with achievements
  • Bite-sized activities lasting just 5-20 minutes
  • Relies on repetition over formal curriculum

The choice comes down to your learning preferences and objectives…

Do you want a rigorous education leading to well-rounded comprehension equivalent to advanced university-level language credits?

Or does a more casual, entertainment-focused vocabulary builder align better with keeping your inner child engaged while still picking up some conversational fundamentals through practice?

Neither approach is inherently "better" universally – plenty comes down to personal learning style!

Getting Feedback From Real Humans

Now you might be wondering if you can get any real conversational practice with these apps, or if you‘re just stuck taking quizzes alone without any human interaction?

Great question! And this is an area where Busuu has a BIG edge over rival Duolingo…

Busuu‘s Two-Way Community Dialogue

A standout advantage only Busuu provides is the ability to submit writing samples and recorded speech exercises to the global community.

You‘ll receive direct feedback, tips and error corrections from real native speakers through the app!

This allows you to build confidence, get assistance improving pronunciation or grammar issues, and make international connections. I loved getting writeup from native French speakers pointing out subtle ways to improve my informal email salutations, for example.

DuolingoRemoved Community Feature

Duolingo originally had forums where learners could ask questions and discuss lesson content. But unfortunately, they made the controversial decisions to shut down forums and commenting in 2022.

All previous threads remain searchable as an FAQ knowledge base. However, the two-way interaction relied upon by many users is gone.

For actual conversational ability practice and making global friends, Busuu is now the clear winner in the social category after Duolingo‘s forums closure.

Premium Memberships: Pricing and Perks

You‘re likely wondering what premium or paid subscriptions unlock beyond the free apps, right?

Both Busuu and Duolingo offer entirely free access to ALL core lesson content across every language. No paying required whatsoever initially.

However paid memberships provide some nice supplemental perks:

Busuu Premium Subscription

A Busuu Premium subscription ranges from $7-14 per month depending on commitment length (annual is cheapest).

The major benefits unlocked are:

  • 🗸 Full offline lesson access for when wifi is spotty
  • 🗸 Personalized study plans to address weak spots
  • 🗸 Official McGraw Hill certification exams
  • 🗸 Faster community feedback response times
  • 🗸 Bonus vocabulary building activities and games

So overall some nice upgrades focused on taking your skills to the next level through advanced progression tracking and credentialing.

Duolingo Super and Duolingo Max

In early 2023, Duolingo introduced a two tier premium offering:

Duolingo Super at $7-10 per month provides:

  • 🗸 No ads interrupting flow
  • 🗸 Unlimited hearts (mistakes no longer have consequences)
  • 🗸 More challenge access

Duolingo Max at $15 per month utilizes AI for:

  • 🗸 Advanced vocabulary personalization
  • 🗸 Writing assistance and error analytics
  • 🗸 Audio lessons targetting pronunciation

So Duolingo focuses premium on enhancing the core gamified experience with bonus challenges, no penalties, and AI-enabled assessment for seasoned learners.

No official certification or exams are available through Duolingo currently however.

Which App Is Best For You?

Let‘s summarize the primary strengths of each app:

Choose Busuu If…

Checkmark icon You want structured curriculum leading to fluency

Checkmark icon Conversation practice with native speakers is a priority

Checkmark icon You learn best with clear objectives and milestones

Choose Duolingo If…

Checkmark icon You want to casually build vocabulary across many languages

Checkmark icon Gamification and friendly competition will motivate you most

Checkmark icon Frequent repetition aids your retention abilities

As you can see, both apps are excellent choices with compelling yet differing approaches. Identify whether an academic or recreational style suits you better when getting started. And there‘s nothing stopping you from mixing it up with BOTH!

I hope this detailed head-to-head comparison of Duolingo vs Busuu gives you clarity on which app might be the best fit for your language learning adventure based on your goals and preferences! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Stay motivated and remember language skills open up worlds of amazing opportunities and relationships! Now get learning! 👋

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