A free language-learning program
Duolingo - Learn Languages for Free, or simply Duolingo, is an educational program that allows you to learn and practice various languages. Developed by Duolingo Inc., this is a language-learning software that offers over 100 different language courses—available in 38 languages for both its website, PC, and mobile versions. What’s great about this app is that it encourages learning via game-like mechanics such as leaderboards and a point reward system.
Can you become fluent with Duolingo?
At its core, Duolingo is a language education software that offers basic and advanced digital language courses, as well as language proficiency assessment exams. With it, you can start learning both commonly-spoken and written languages and some not-so-prominent ones from all around the world. It’s completely free to use; you just need an account—although it also offers a premium plan with added features. Anybody can try it, regardless of their proficiency level with other languages.
This is because you can take a test at the start to determine your skill concerning the language you chose to study. This will adjust the lessons and quizzes available to you. Completing lessons will award you points the more you give correct answers—and the questions and exercises vary between sentence construction, translation typing, audio transcriptions, and more. However, you can’t use these points on the PC version as it only offers the lessons and exercises.
It also doesn’t include the community-centric activities available in the mobile app. This doesn’t help this program’s glaring issues when compared to other language-learning apps. Most of the criticism towards it revolves around its ineffectiveness in fully teaching the languages, as it presents the lessons in a straightforward quiz-like manner that focuses more on direct translations rather than conversational speech. This is all the more evident in the language courses that use foreign alphabets.
A free alternative
All in all, Duolingo is a nice alternative for introducing languages in a way that challenges beginners. However, for advanced learners, it’s not as effective due to its limit on conversational speech lessons and fostering such within a community. It's not that this particular version omits that feature, but you can only do the lessons and daily exercises on it. Also, any points you’ve accumulated can’t be used to buy boosters.