Duolingo is a very popular app that you’ve most certainly heard of, and maybe even used. We decided to write this article comparing Duolingo and MosaLingua because we recently found out that many of our users have also tried Duolingo. Many of you use MosaLingua and Duolingo at the same time or switched over to MosaLingua after beginning to learn a language with the Duolingo app. They’re both language learning apps, but just how similar are they? Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two approaches! We tried to be as unbiased as possible when comparing Duolingo and Mosalingua.


Comparing Duolingo and Mosalingua: What Are the Differences?

It would be easy to speak ill of one of our competitors. (Although, we don’t really consider Duolingo as such, since we have a totally different approach.) The idea of this article, and our reason for comparing Duolingo and MosaLingua, is not to try and hurt Duolingo or dissuade you from using their app. Instead, we want to explain the different approaches by MosaLingua and Duolingo, and above all, show you the pros and cons of both apps. We have made sure to stay objective so that our comparison is as useful as possible.

Duolingo: The Fun App


Duolingo is a fun app for casual language learners. It lets you learn vocabulary through different games. The progression of the lessons is fluid, and the app is undeniably intuitive. Duolingo is a nice way to start playing around with a language that might interest you. The graphics are well done, playful, and visually interesting. It’s a good way to take your first steps in a foreign language. It is accessible and suitable for beginners.

Duolingo’s approach is to teach language in an educational but primarily playful way. The creators put a lot of emphasis on the gamification of the learning process: competition between users, bonuses you can unlock with points, and the integration of addictive elements that you’d find in other video games. And we admit that from this point of view, it is a success. The app, centered around gaming, is fun and gives users the impression that they are making good progress in a foreign language.



The negative point here is that the app gives you the impression that you’re making progress… But is it really the case? The exercises are relatively simple, to give the sense that you are improving rapidly, but the actual pace of learning is quite slow. Research by A. Bjork of the University of California showed that the more difficult an exercise is, the more concentration it requires, and the more it aids memorization. In other words, we remember things better when we have to make a mental effort. So this same idea can be applied in reverse: an easy exercise is good for confidence, but it isn’t a very effective way to memorize a word.

Although the app does have some educational elements, it’s mostly just entertainment. These distractions do not allow your brain to focus on memorization and learning. On the contrary, they disrupt the memorization process. When you play, your brain is more focused on playing and less focused on memorizing and learning. Polyglot Kerstin Cable, from Fluent Language, is fairly critical of (among other things) the gamification of the Duolingo app and the fact that it does not necessarily help language learners.

Another unfortunate element to emphasize in this comparison between Duolingo and MosaLingua is that you cannot choose the words and phrases you want to learn. You may therefore learn words that will not be useful to you or may not be appropriate for your learning goals. Also, the learning path is predefined and does not change much based on your personal needs.

MosaLingua: The Efficient App


To complete our comparison of Duolingo and MosaLingua, let’s talk about MosaLingua now. This app to learn languages was not created to be a game. Because of that, the interface is a bit less playful and more “studious,” but you definitely won’t be distracted. You can see by the graphics that the idea is to get right to the essentials. The MosaLingua approach to language learning is efficiency. Comparing Duolingo and Mosalingua, MosaLingua is the more serious of the two.

The goal is not to suck you in and keep you inside the app for as long as possible (like some other apps, especially those that rely on ads for revenue). Instead, it’s to help you spend as little time as possible studying, so that you can spend more time practicing what you’ve learned in real life and actually enjoying using the language.

1. Learn the most useful words and phrases

Firstly, with MosaLingua you learn based on your personal goals. You set your goal from the very beginning. For example, if you want to learn or brush up on a language before a trip, you will not learn the same things as you would if you wanted to use the app to learn a language for work.

But that’s not all! You can always choose the vocabulary words and phrases you want to learn. Explore the lists we’ve created, which include categories like food, housing, tourism, language exchange, etc.

We didn’t include any words and phrases at random. Instead, we used frequency lists to choose only the most useful and most commonly used words. That means that you won’t waste your time learning things that you may never use! You focus on the essentials at first, but with more than 3,500 words and phrases, there’s more than enough to keep advanced learners busy, too.

2. A personalized program based on your level, preferences, and needs

With MosaLingua you always have the option to skip an exercise or content that you don’t think you need. Imagine, for example, that you learn tourism vocab, but you do not plan to sleep in a youth hostel. Well, you can choose not to learn vocabulary related to youth hostels, so you do not waste any time.

Same goes for the exercises. While in many apps the course is set in stone, MosaLingua lets users skip exercises that they don’t need. If, for example, your priority is speaking, you may not care about learning to spell the words you learn. There’s also a short test to evaluate your level and suggest the most suitable content since we know that your time is precious.

We asked some of our users about their opinion… so we’ll give them the floor! Here’s what they had to say about MosaLingua:

omnisteve  ★★★★★

I love traveling to France, and I like studying French. I like small group classes and I think Rosetta Stone is terrific. But what I really like about [the MosaLingua] app is that it keeps reminding you to review the flashcards and to learn new ones. It’s a great way to keep on track and improve EVERY day. There’s a lot of depth here. Not the only way I would try to learn a language, but a fantastic companion along the way.

Comparing Duolingo and Mosalingua: Cost

We know that price point is also important when choosing apps to learn languages. There are two main ways that companies can make money (or at least break even) with their apps: by offering a free app with ads or a paid app without ads.

At MosaLingua, we always choose not to advertise (and instead to offer a paid version of our app). For us, ads seem to be counterproductive to an educational app where concentration is very important. So, there is a free version of our app for anyone who wants to see how it works, and a paid version with more content and features (a subscription that you can renew monthly or annually).

Duolingo was one of the last language apps to switch to paid content. They offer a 100% free app (rather tempting… which is perhaps part of its popularity) with ads and other paid features. Duolingo recently launched a subscription plan for $10/month – more expensive than MosaLingua – which gives users access to content offline and hides ads. So now you can choose between the basic free app and a paid monthly subscription.

2021 cost comparison

To give you a better idea of the language learning market, here’s a cost comparison that includes another competitor, Babbel:

Free optionLimited content, no adsLimited content, with adsFirst lesson of each course
1-month subscription$7.49/month after free trial$12.99/month
3-month subscription$29.99 ($10.00/month)
6-month subscription$49.99 ($8.33/month)
1-year subscription$43.99 ($3.67/month) after free trial$79.99 ($6.67/month)$84.99 ($7.08/month)

Comparing Duolingo and MosaLingua: Features

Take a look at some of the features of these two apps, and decide which one best matches your needs.


What if I don’t want to choose?

Some of our users have decided not to choose between the two. They choose to use the two apps simultaneously to learn languages. And why not?

If you are planning to go this route, we recommend that you do your “hard” studying with MosaLingua first. Then, you can use Duolingo to relax and get more exposure to the language. We would even go so far as to suggest that you let yourself get distracted in the language you are learning. Whether it’s in front of a good foreign-language film or TV show – with or without subtitles – or in a great book.

Don’t forget: language learning has to be fun! A good movie or TV series, or a conversation with a native-speaking friend will help you make progress while having a great time.

I hope that this comparison between Duolingo and MosaLingua has been helpful! Happy learning and feel free to share your experience in the comments!