No Croatian On Duolingo? We Have 2 Helpful Alternatives

January 6, 2021

I know a lot of people who want to learn the Croatian language. Having that in mind, I am very disappointed because there is no Croatian on Duolingo. So I decided to look into this a bit more and find out the real reason for that situation. 

Why Is There No Croatian On Duolingo?

Croatian seems to not have enough recognition for it to be a language on Duolingo. On the one hand, there are many people that are from mixed families and the Croatian side of the family don’t speak their native language. On the other hand, I have many friends that have Croatian origin and are highly motivated to preserve their culture and want to learn the Croatian language.

To be honest, that's a big mystery to me and to many people that are writing to Dualogo's staff on forums. If you ask me, there's a serious problem with Duolingo not respecting its own users enough to reply to their questions. That's a big problem. I really don't know what is the criteria while chooses which course it wants to let come into life. 

I mean, if there's a valid reason why Duolingo won't even start a Croatian incubator I'd like to at least know the real reason for that.


The number of people who speak the language clearly isn’t the crucial thing here. I mean, we have Irish and Klingon on Duo. There are about 1.2 million native speakers of Irish, and Klingon is a fictional language from Star Trek. 

There are millions of people who speak Croatian, and many in the Balkans can understand it. Throughout Eastern and Western European Slavic nations, natives can understand the idea of Croatian when spoken to by Croats. It is similar to the other Slavic languages on Duolingo such as Czech, Russian, and Ukrainian.

How Can We Really Fight To Have Croatian On Duolingo?

I am calling all Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians who can speak English well to make your language course to Duolingo. There are lots of less popular languages in Duolingo but Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian are absent. I know that these languages are almost the same but I'm sure there are many people waiting for those language courses to be opened.

While going through different forums, I could figure out that Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are already on the list of requested languages here. I fully support people learning their heritage languages, as that's why I learned Hungarian. My message to people who fight to get their native language on Duolingo is that I support you in your own journey to learn your own heritage languages. However, I suggest that you respect others' heritage languages as well and not dismiss them because the current speaker population is small by comparison. That's particularly disrespectful towards a language that survived a couple of centuries of colonialism trying to wipe it out completely.

As I already mentioned, there is the option for people to learn Klingon on Duo and I totally support that. In my opinion, Duolingo has every right to engage any and all language learners. Having in mind how small the Klingon team really is, I am amazed at how they managed to get a course completed so quickly. That is a great example of people being passionate about the language. Hats off to them.

Again, it's great you want to learn your heritage languages, but understand other people want to learn other languages for their own reasons and it's better to support each other rather than make this into a competition over who deserves to learn a language more.

What Are The Alternatives To Duolingo?

Ling

No Urdu On DuolingoI am glad you asked. There is one very obvious recommendation that can be made here, and that is the Croatian Ling app. Ling uses native Croatian speakers to help you learn Croatian, just like it will sound in the country. 

Through the gamification of learning, also makes the whole process much more engaging. You can see yourself progress as you make your way through the different topics and tests that come along with it.

Then there is the chatbot feature that simulates conversations and makes for great practicing of your Croatian language skills. For an introvert like me, it helps to build up my courage to eventually feel confident enough to use it when out and about.

While these mobile apps do share a common goal of making language learning fun and accessible, what sets Ling apart is the focus on practical vocabulary, sentences, and phrases that you will use in everyday speech. 

Simply Learn

No Urdu On DuolingoThis one is actually a part of the same family as Ling. Simply Learn Croatian is a phrasebook in app form, giving you all the benefits that come with that. You can listen to the words and phrases being spoken by native Croatian speakers, along with the Croatian and phonetic spellings of the words.

It makes for a great companion both when practicing and when you are in Croatian. It makes use of flashcards and the spaced repetition learning technique that is said to really improve language learning.

It may not be the top choice if you want a deep understanding of the language but helps you start out with pronunciation and basic grammar like word order.

Other Resources 

There are quite a few different apps and websites that work great with helping you to learn Croatian. Each one goes about its own way to replace the hole made by the lack of Croatian in Duolingo. Ultimately, it is a case of finding which option works best for your case.

Like we said before, it is good to make a language learning plan and mix things up if you are serious about learning Croatian. If you are just looking for a more casual experience to learn a few phrases before traveling, then apps like the Ling Croatian app might be the best option for you.

What Are The Chances Of Croatian Appearing In Duolingo?

It's a fact that many people would like to see Croatian on Duolingo. However, I would advise them not to get their hopes high. I doubt that an English/Croatian course will ever happen on Duolingo. It seems that many less-spoken languages such as Urdu, Lithuanian or Thai are also on their waiting list. 

Like in any other international service, Croatian is totally unpopular and overlooked country...just like other languages from the Balcans Peninsula.

Since Serbian is my native language, I thought about applying for an incubator for Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian languages on Duo. However, searching through some old discussions I found posts from people who had applied about a few years ago (when the Incubator was first launched), I figured out (by looking through their later posts) that after all these years they never received any kind of reply. Not even a "No, thanks." from the Duolingo team. That was very discouraging to me. 

Duolingo has proven to be pretty a disappointment in this regard. So, maybe you should consider using Ling App for learning the Croatian language.

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