Duolingo Review

Duolingo Review
8.2 Total Score
  • Arguably the best free language-learning software on the market
  • Great on both desktop and mobile devices
  • Huge range of different languages to choose from
  • Good for learners across a wide age range
  • The lessons are generally the perfect length

All You Need to Know About Duolingo

Here we are then, it’s time to take a look at the ultimate free language learning app that is, Duolingo. I’m sure that you’ve heard of it by now as it’s coming up to its 7th birthday this year. That’s right, Duolingo was launched back in November 2011 by founders Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker. Over these operating years, they have accumulated a whopping 200 million users! Are you already one of those?

We will cover all of your questions related to both the Duolingo app and desktop version, as well as a whole load more about the language learning platform behind the chirpy green owl. Carry on reading for our full Duolingo review.

Which Languages Does Duolingo Offer?

You’d maybe think that as Duolingo is free, that they wouldn’t have as many on offer as other great language learning apps. This definitely isn’t the case! If you are an English speaker, you can gain access to 28 language courses in total, 2 of them are invented languages.

Languages

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Polish
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Irish
  • Esperanto
  • Norwegian
  • Ukrainian
  • Welsh
  • Hebrew
  • Vietnamese
  • Swahili
  • Romanian
  • Greek
  • Russian
  • Italian
  • Norwegian
  • Chinese
  • Hungarian
  • Swedish
  • Portuguese
  • Dutch
  • Turkish
  • Danish
  • Klingon
  • High Valyrian

This is the complete Duolingo language list for English speakers. English is also available as a language if you are learning in Italian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese and a few other more widely spoken languages. As the product is free it is easy to switch between languages if you want to change at any point.

Duolingo New Languages

There are currently five new language courses being developed which are Hindi, Yiddish, Arabic, Indonesian and Haitian Creole. We’re not sure yet if they will be available in 2018, I guess we will just have to wait and see!

Course Layout and Content

What is packaged up into a Duolingo course? Each language you start, you have to begin right from the basics. On the Duolingo app, you will see a tree-like structure with the different courses. Basics 1 and 2 are the first along with phrases. Then generally for each language, you will learn through subjects that revolve around food, animals, and possessions. After completing all of these subsections within the overall category you will be tested on 5 of the skills that you have learned. This is continued throughout your learning with Duolingo, however, more subsections are included in the more advanced stages.

Duolingo Learning Tree

Can You Learn a Language Using Duolingo

Many people that have never tried it or those that have only used it a few times may question Duolingo’s effectiveness. If you were to use Duolingo every single day for at least 30 minutes then you will definitely get a good vocabulary base. However, when learning languages you need to interact with native speakers to speed up and master your learning. Duolingo is great for learning basic words and phrases, and if you find that you are improving, whilst enjoying it, then definitely continue to the more advanced stages. We believe that this is the same for other free language apps such as Memrise too.

Advantages of Plus

Yes, even though it is a free language learning course there is still a paid version called Duolingo plus. This was created to allow users not to receive the advertisements in between lessons. We don’t really mind the ads as it’s easy to get rid of them with one click. But, if you are easily frustrated by seeing these, then you can go ahead and pay for the premium version.

Access Offline

With the introduction of Duolingo plus, they also added a nice feature that allows you to learn offline. You won’t have access to the whole Duolingo learning tree, but you can save up to the next skill test. After that,  you will need to get internet access for it to update your course. Duolingo offline isn’t available on desktop, I guess that doesn’t really matter as most of the time you have an active internet connection when learning at home. Below you can see the full price structure for Duolingo Plus:

  • £8.99 recurring monthly
  • £7.33 for a 6-month subscription (billed as one)
  • £6.17 for a 12-month subscription (billed as one)

Expanding on Devices

We have already mentioned that you can use Duolingo both at home on your desktop/laptop and whilst on-the-move using your mobile phone. They revealed that the split between Duolingo desktop and the mobile applications is an 80/20 split, in favour of the Duolingo free app. This doesn’t mean that the desktop version isn’t as good as the app, just that more people prefer to use Duolingo whilst they are outside their home.

Customer Service

If you need help from the guys at Duolingo then you can easily get in touch at their contact center. Here you will have a load of FAQs, so if you have a simple question your answer will most likely be here. There is also the possibility of asking the community, this can be helpful as others have probably had the same issues as you before.

Maybe you still need direct Duolingo support, if so you will have to submit a bug report for them to get back to you via email. Their customer service team are usually quite sharp on replies but don’t expect an hour reply.

If, like some of us here at learning languages online, you are a bit clumsy when it comes to remembering passwords and you have forgotten your Duolingo login, just hit the forgot password button! They will then email the address that you used to register your account. Follow the instructions, hey presto, your back using the free language app, simple!

Our Overall Thoughts on Duolingo

Throughout our Duolingo review we mention how easy it is to use, this enables all new language learners to download the app and start straight away, no nonsense! Spaced repetition is the main learning method used, if you aren’t a fan of this type of teaching method then it probably isn’t the right language learning tool for you.

What makes Duolingo really great is that it costs absolutely nothing! Yes, you may see adverts after every second lesson, but that didn’t bother us at all. If you are bothered, then you can pay a small monthly subscription to get rid of these adverts and also enjoy the benefits of Duolingo offline. All in all, Duolingo really is a great language learning product for all demographics. Give it a go yourself and see what you think!

8.2 Total Score
Most Popular Free App

Arguably the best free language-learning software on the market Great on both desktop and mobile devices Huge range of different languages to choose from Good for learners across a wide age range The lessons are generally the perfect length

Language Variety
8.8
Affordability
9.3
Usability
8.6
Teaching Material
7.8
PROS
  • Arguably the best free language-learning software on the market
  • Great on both desktop and mobile devices
  • Huge range of different languages to choose from
  • Good for learners across a wide age range
  • The lessons are generally the perfect length
CONS
  • Unable to start at an intermediate or advanced stage
  • Could be more benefits with Duolingo Plus
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