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If you’re unsure whether Duolingo will help you learn a language, this Duolingo Review is for you!
Duolingo is a free online language learning program that offers courses in 40 different languages. The application uses various methods to teach users a new language, including gamification, which encourages users to keep coming back by awarding them points for completing lessons and activities.
Can I Learn a Language With Duolingo?
As a teacher, my answer to that question is: You can learn a language… to a certain degree. Duolingo can certainly help you learn a new language, but it’s not going to be a replacement for traditional methods like taking a language class or immersion programs.
That being said, I do think Duolingo is an appropriate tool for language learning at lower levels. It’s a great way to practice what you’re learning, and it can be very helpful in keeping your motivation up.
You will learn some words that can supplement your learning and may be suitable for an overall strategy for language learning. In addition to Duolingo, I highly recommend taking language classes that follow the CEFR standards, so you can actively practice the language.
You may also be interested in Lingoda: take live online classes & learn a new language.
What Are the Main Features of Duolingo?
Duolingo offers a variety of features that make it an effective language learning tool. Here are some of the most important ones:
1. Duolingo Uses Gamification to Encourage Engagement
One of the main reasons Duolingo is effective is because it uses gamification to encourage users to keep coming back. The app awards users points for completing lessons and activities, and it also tracks their progress over time. This makes Duolingo a very motivating way to learn a new language.
2. Duolingo Covers the Basics
Duolingo offers a variety of topics that cover the basics of a language. This includes grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The courses are also designed to be progressively more difficult, so you can always challenge yourself as you learn more. Learn about everyday topics such as travel, culture, food, and more.
Duolingo also offers affordable language classes. The online lessons cover general and specific topics, such as verb tenses, culture and conversation. They can be one-on-one or group based.
3. Duolingo Is Free to Use
4. Duolingo Is Available on a Variety of Platforms
Duolingo is available on various devices, including iOS, Android, and the web. This makes it very accessible and easy to use.
5. Duolingo Offers a Variety of Languages
Duolingo offers a variety of languages, including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and many others. It’s perfectly acceptable to learn more than one language on the app!
I was very impressed to see that Duolingo offers Irish (a rare language from my country) as one of their languages. They offer other languages that are not as commonly taught, such as Finnish, Danish, and Yiddish. This makes Duolingo a great option for people who want to learn a less common language.
Duolingo Free Vs Duolingo Super
Duolingo offers a free and premium version of their app known as Duolingo Super. Duolingo Super offers everything that the free version offers but with a few extras.
Duolingo Super offers:
- Ad-free experience
- List of mistakes to review
- Unlimited hearts (you won’t lose hearts in the game for an incorrect answer)
- Monthly streak repair (if you miss a day and lose your streak)
- Take a placement test and skip the basics
- Test your skills to jump to the next level of any skill
- Unlimited attempts at the Legendary Skill level 6
Of course, if you are already familiar with a language, you might not appreciate starting from the very beginning. The advantage Duolingo Super offers over the free version is the placement and skills test that enable you to jump ahead.
Pros and Cons of Duolingo
- Earn points (known as XP) when you complete activities
- Track your progress and review your words learned, mistakes, etc.
- Read stories when you unlock enough ‘crowns.’
- Attend live classes at a low or free rate
- Gamified to keep your interest
- Images, audio, and written word to help you learn
- Available in many languages
- Accessible on multiple devices
- You can’t practice writing.
- Limited speaking practice
- It won’t help you attain fluency in a language.
- The app can be glitchy and slow at times.
- It is not specialized and may not cover the vocabulary you need for your work or expertise.
- Doesn’t explain the finer points of grammar
- No human support or assistance to follow along with your learning
Duolingo Super starts from €7.34 per month, although the pricing may vary according to location. Alternatively, use the free version to access the basics of the language.
How to Get Started with Duolingo?
To start with Duolingo, simply create an account and choose which language you want to learn. From there, you’ll be able to start taking lessons and progressing through the program.
Duolingo Review by Student
I wanted to get an outsider’s opinion of Duolingo Super. I interviewed Andrea Delher, an intermediate English language learner from Latin America, to tell me about her experience with Duolingo. Admittedly, Andrea Delher did not spend much time on the app, but here are her impressions after a few hours of use.
Here is what she had to say:
Summarize your experience with Duolingo in 2-3 sentences.
Duolingo is a playful application. It allows you to learn vocabulary through different games.
The lessons have a fluid development, and the application is intuitive; the application is really good for starting to learn a new language. It is accessible and adapted for beginners.
What you liked about the platform:
- The graphic design is well done, playful, and very visual.
- You learn not only English but also French, German, and Portuguese, and it helps you learn to pronounce.
- The application is easy to navigate, and I found several exercises fun to do.
- With this application, I feel particularly able to learn vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation because it has short lessons that I can do in minutes, and I think that’s great.
What features did you like the most and why?
- I found it super didactic to be able to practice pronunciation by reading sentences aloud.
- I liked hearing the correct pronunciation and comparing it instantly with my own, and making the correction.
- The ease of studying on my cell phone or computer wherever I am and at any time.
- Duolingo has addictive elements to video games, and this makes it a success. The application, focused on the game, is fun and gives the user the impression of progressing in English, which I find interesting and, at the same time, makes the application unique.
Were any of the features not useful, and why?
I consider each tool on the site useful; I did not see any specific one that I considered not useful to achieve learning.
Your experience in using the lesson materials on mobile:
I consider the experience of the lessons on mobile, in general, to be good because it is easy to navigate between pages, and it is very user-friendly.
Does the Duolingo app adapt to your needs?
It is not totally adapted to my needs because, in particular, I reached a very basic level, where I studied words or sentences that I already knew, but also, in the time I used it, I was able to use it and learn new words.
What was missing in the lesson material (if anything)?
It lacks an online dictionary. The application should have a dictionary with all the words and examples of how they should be pronounced.
It is also necessary to have more real contact with someone about any subject, and in this way, to be able to practice the pronunciation.
Was the platform easy to use?
In general, it is easy to handle. When you open the application for the first time, you visualize everything, and it is very intuitive to follow the steps to start the first lesson you have to do.
Pros of Duolingo
- It is very simple and straightforward. It uses simple selection methods, fill-in sentences, and sentence formation with audio.
- It is easy to follow our progress, which motivates us to keep practicing the lessons.
- New words are presented through images or drawings, so learning is visual.
Cons of Duolingo
- The exercises are relatively simple to give the feeling that you are progressing quickly. But, on the contrary, the pace of learning is relatively slow.
- You can’t pick and choose the phrases and vocabulary words you want to learn. So it can make you learn words that will not be useful to you or may not suit your learning objectives.
- The whole learning process is predefined and does not really depend on the personal needs of each user.
- Like the other learning systems, this method is repetitive and can generate user fatigue.
Would you recommend Duolingo to your friends?
Yes, I would recommend this app to learn English, especially if the person’s interest is to learn grammar since this is the main virtue of the application. At a basic level of English, it would be very useful.
Any other comments?
If you are interested in learning and improving your English grammar and moving from a basic to an intermediate level, then Duolingo is a recommended tool to achieve this.
An alternative app to Duolingo is Elsa Speak. This app is designed to help users improve their pronunciation and understanding of the English language. Elsa Speak uses a unique speech recognition technology that allows users to get real-time feedback on their pronunciation. The app also includes fun games and challenges to help users learn new words and grammar rules.
Check out our review: Elsa Speak vs. Duolingo.
The Bottom Line
Duolingo is an appropriate platform for curious language learners who want to explore a new language. The platform is easy to use, and the exercises are straightforward. It could be used as supplemental learning.
If you are looking for a more comprehensive and customizable language learning system, then Duolingo might not be the best platform. It will not take you from beginner to fluent but can help you learn some useful words and phrases, grammar and pronunciation skills.
What are your thoughts on Duolingo? Have you tried it? Let us know in the comments below!
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.