Wednesday 31 May 2023

Learning a language with Duolingo!

Do you use Duolingo? It seems everyone does and I am late to the party. I always thought that the language learning app was something you had to pay for until I noticed it on Ellie's phone. She informed me that it's free but with adverts. She has been learning German. As soon as I realised that it was free I downloaded it.


Duolingo is the most popular language learning platform and the most downloaded education app in the world with more than 500 million users. It offers around 40 different languages to learn including the top 5 most spoken languages to smaller, endangered languages such as Hawaiian, Navajo and Scottish Gaelic. In the case of languages such as Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Hawaiian, there are more people learning the languages on Duolingo than there are native speakers of each language.

The real world languages for English speakers are Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Navajo, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish, and Zulu. 

It also includes language courses for speakers of other languages. These include French for Portuguese speakers, English for Czech speakers, Chinese for Japanese speakers, and so on. If you want to really push yourself you can learn Klingon or high valyrian from Game of Thrones.

Some of Duolingo languages

You can use Duolingo as an app on your phone or tablet or on a laptop or PC on a web browser. You simply set up a profile, choose your language, set your weekly goals and off you go! I decided to learn French as I remember the basics from school and helping Ellie when she was home learning.

You work your way through each lesson. At the beginning, most of the exercises are simple with multiple choice questions, sentence building exercises where you’ll be given a sentence to translate along with all the words you need. All you have to do is place the words in the right order. Further on there is translation, dictation and speaking exercises. You will sometimes be asked to type out the translations instead of being given the words. The dictation exercises are a great help in improving your listening and spelling skills and there are speaking exercises too where you have to repeat what is said.

Duolingo question
Another Duolingo question

I have been using Duolingo for just over a month and I am hooked. It is fun and I am actually learning something. One thing I could never understand in French was the masculine and feminine words but I've cracked them now and I will go as far to say in one week I have learned more than I did in my whole time at school.

What makes Duolingo fun is that it is built to feel like a game where users compete with each other via Leader boards. I am up to the Emerald League. You maintain streaks, earn points, level up and get virtual currency as you learn. There are cute animations and little things to keep me motivated.

I have realised that using the app on my phone if you get an answer wrong you lose a heart and then you have to practice to get more hearts to continue, on my laptop on a web browser the hearts aren't there and you are free to make mistakes. At the end of each lesson you go over the mistakes and correct them which seems to be really helping me learn. If I have 5 spare minutes I will use my phone but if I want to learn for a bit longer I will use my laptop.

Duolingo is free with the odd advert but you can pay for Super Duolingo which removes the ads, removes the hearts on the app and lets you make unlimited mistakes and there is extra levels and challenges to do. I had three free days of trying out the Super Duolingo when I first signed up and realised that I am getting enough from Duolingo without paying. The only really boost I had was not having to use diamonds or Lingots to do the special challenges and it got me to the top of the league that I was in. 

Do you use Duolingo? What language are you learning?


  1. I'll have to check out the app. I studied several foreign languages in school decades ago. Maybe I could re-start them again.

  2. I have been very tempted to download Duolingo, I studied German to a high level but over the years I have become very rusty, I'd love to pick it up again or maybe try a new language! It sounds like a great way to make use of odd moments here and there through the day.

  3. I plan to start studying Ukrainian this month or next month, so I will use Duolingo and some courses on youtube. It should be fun. Also, it's nice to see that you are enjoying using the app. Learning a new language should be entertaining.

  4. I used Duolingo a while ago to try and learn Dutch. My husbands family are from Holland and his relatives were visiting so I tried to impress them. I didn't get very far and gave up LOL!