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Duolingo Review: Is It Really That Awesome?

December 16, 2020

I will start this Duolingo review by saying that it is a very old friend of mine when we are talking about language learning platforms. From the very beginning, I could figure out that this language apps is basically built for people who have never seen the language they want to learn.

There are many people who are using apps and software for learning a new language. Duolingo is probably one of the well-known language learning resources you can find online nowadays. It has vocabulary practice in a wide range of languages. Duolingo is an accessible and affordable platform for language learning. 


Is It A Good Option For You? 

Well, it depends on what you need. Like any other similar program, Duolingo has its strengths and weaknesses. In this Duolingo review, I will talk about my experience with this language learning app and its pros and cons. 

I hope that this Duolingo review will help you figure out if this platform the best for you and suitable for your learning style. So, let’s get started.


Duolingo Review: Which Languages You Can Learn

Spanish Turkish Hawaiian
French Chinese Hebrew
German Japanese Hindi
Italian Korean Irish
Portuguese Vietnamese Latin
Russian Polish Romanian
Danish Swedish Scottish Gaelic
Dutch Arabic Swahili
Indonesian Czech Ukrainian
Norwegian Greek Welsh


Technically not languages but you can learn them on Duolingo:



High Valyrian 


Currently being developed: 




Languages that are not available on Duolingo: 










and many other less-spoken languages.

How Duolingo Actually Works?

If you're into language learning apps, you probably know that Duolingo is a program that works on the principle of so-called “trees”. Trees are collections of mini-lessons, aligned from beginner vocabulary to intermediate-beginner concepts.

Duolingo says that its users can learn a language in just 5 minutes a day using their mobile app or desktop version. Yes, Duolingo lessons are really about 5 minutes long, but that’s obviously a ridiculous statement to advertise. And you should go through each one of these little lessons until you get to the end of the tree. When you get to that point, there are no more mini-lessons for you to learn. And that's it.

Duolingo combines memorization and constructing sentences in their lessons. There are sentences that don’t make any sense and you’ll never actually use them. However, the idea is to use the vocabulary you’re learning in grammatically appropriate ways. So, don't expect to learn things like “where is the bathroom” using Duolingo. In other words, you’ll learn how to piece the sentence together in a technically correct way.

duolingo review

If you’re not a beginner when starting your Duolingo tree, you can just take quizzes at “checkpoints”. You don’t have to waste your time learning words and phrases you already feel comfortable with and just go right to lessons that are actually worth your time. Each lesson in the tree is named with its content, so you very easy to figure out where to begin from.

When you finish your tree, Duolingo uses an algorithm to tell you which lessons to review, so you do see these lessons consistently...until you don't master them.


Duolingo: Free Or Paid Options?

There is no surprise in this department since Duo has both free and paid versions.  They say that it's a free platform, which is true. It makes a profit from ads. As I already talked about in my Babble vs Duolingo review, the second one gives access to everybody free of charge. But, it recently introduced a $10/month subscription service, Duolingo Plus. So, it allows paid users an ad-free experience as well as offline access. However, other than that, paid members don't get any other features and Duolingo remains 100% accessible to everyone. 


Duolingo Review: Language skill development

Now we will talk about how Duolingo nurtures the basic language skills of its users. They recently started with challenging their learners' reading and listening skills by publishing “stories” they walk them through. Basically, you are presented with the text followed by audio, and as the story continues on you should fill in the blanks and complete it. That way you’re practicing reading, listening, and writing.

As for speaking, you can practice it if you keep the speaking lessons enabled. So, technically, you can satisfy the 4 most important language skills for free. It’s pretty shallow practice, though.

Also, you should have in mind that Duolingo gives you very minimal chances to practice conversation.  


Responsiveness To Users Complains

As I already said in my Lingvist Vs Duolingo Review, I really don't like the fact that Duolingo is trying to do too much to give all the options in the world to its students. I know, it’s nice to have both, a smartphone app and the web app. But, I think that is the main reason Duolingo doesn’t try harder to fix bugs based on users' complaints. I have sent many reports about the bug on the app and the desktop version in the past year but never received any response from their side... Bay the way, the bugs I reported back then are still there. I also experienced Duolingo app breaks (sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently).


Pros And Cons

Pros Cons
All courses are free There is no information in the beginning about how the whole course works
Allows tracking of your study time They don't seem to fix bugs
Gamified lesson serves as a motivation for learners Tests you on words that have not been covered/introduced in the lesson
Allows you to take different language lessons simultaneously  free of charge The app breaks, sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently
Offers 95 different language courses in 38 languages If you want to learn a certain topic, you haven`t got any access to it unless you go through all the previous tasks
The operation is very easy and you have a clear overview of the content and different options
Phrases or vocabulary you learn is always spoken out loudly. There are also recording exercises to improve your speaking skills
If you are unsure about a word in a translation task you can retrieve its meaning/translation.  Grammar rules are explained in almost every task.
You are able to redo certain exercises or to strengthen the skills you already learned -> this helps to reinforce what you have learned


DuoLingo Review: Final Thoughts

Duolingo is probably the most famous language learning application on the market.

One of its biggest advantages is the fact that it is completely free, while the disadvantage may be that the lessons are relatively random. They have no additional explanations, which are sometimes key to understanding segments of a particular language.

The lessons are based on text, sound, or images, and through a series of questions and offered answers the application helps you to master one of the large numbers of languages that you can find on Duolingo.

If you love to learn a new language in an interesting and fun way, you can also consider using Ling App



Say goodbye to school books

Fun mini-games and quizzes help you mastering a new language quickly.
Practice hundreds of dialogues on the go. Talk to our chatbot about daily life topics.
Master the language with extensive grammar tips and instructions.
Stanislava Zivojinov

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