Duolingo is a free language learning app for smart phones, but you can actually access it on a computer too by logging onto their website. You can create and account using an email or through Facebook, and you can follow and challenge your friends or just learn on your own. Either way, there is an adorable little green owl to send encouraging email reminders to you (unless you tell him not to) to keep practicing.
Photo via mevvy
There isn’t an enormous language selection right now, but the most common are definitely covered, and Duolingo gives people the opportunity to suggest or start a new language, and if there is enough requests it could be added. Something cool about the languages they do offer though, is that you can learn more than one at a time. You know, because you’re that talented.
You follow along with the lesson program, learning words and phrases, written, spoken and understood, from different categories. After a certain number of categories you reach a check point and move to the next level, but you can always go back and re-practice previous sections if you feel the need. If you aren’t a beginner you can test out to the level that is appropriate for you. However, if you don’t practice every day then you can lose skills and get sent backwards. As you can see below, I’m starting to slide and need to start practicing more. Those bars should be all gold not gray!
As you go along you earn points that can get you rewards like more hearts (essentially more room for mistakes) or an adorable outfit to put on your owl and unlock a new category to find out what he is dressed for. Your profile also will display your progress to you and, if you want, your friends and followers can see it too. Again we see that I need to get back to practicing regularly.
If nothing else, this app is easy and fun to use. Especially for those who struggle in language class for school, or if you’re living in a new place, it feels like a game and doesn’t have the stresses or boring scenarios of a textbook.
- It’s free!
- Use it on your phone or your computer, with the same account
- Learn with or without friends, your choice
- An adorable owl gives you encouragement if you want it
- Organized categories and levels make it easy to use
- Learn multiple languages at once
- Game-like feel makes language learning more fun
- Limited selection of languages to choose from
- If you don’t practice at least semi regularly you’ll lose progress and get sent backwards
- You might be afraid of owls, I don’t know
This is a great learning tool for anyone who is currently looking to learn a popular world language who may need something more fun, hands on, and creative than a standard textbook lesson.
Which language do you plan on learning with Duolingo?