App Review: Duolingo

Learning new languages has never been simpler than with Duolingo, a great app that helps you learn a new language. 

Duolingo currently teaches: 

Spanish

French

German

Portugese

Italian

English

Unlike other language apps that rely on boring rounds of vocabulary tests, Duolingo uses a simple touch interface with pictures and sounds.  As you learn the words, a voiceover pronounces them to you - and Duolingo can even check your pronunciation using the microphones built into iOS devices! 

The languages are divided into section by word type and each section is designated with pictures that indicate which words you'll be learning.   

The skill tree online

Each section has three lessons.  The lessons all have four hearts- if you make a mistake, you lose a heart.  When you lose all four, you have to start the lesson over.  Once all three lessons are complete, you earn a trophy.  A gold trophy.  All of the lessons earn you coins as well, and you get bonus coins for each heart still full at the end of the lesson.   I'm sure you're wondering why there are trophies and coins.  For what other reason, Facebook!  You can compare your progress with your friends and beat them with your own scores.  Competitive learning!  If this isn't appealing, don't worry about the social aspects, you aren't required to add friends or connect to Facebook.

Duolingo has made it as simple as possible to learn a new language wherever you are- there's a great website as well as an iOS and Android app.  The online interface is very similar to the app, with some great options: Immersion, Discussion, and Vocabulary.

Immersion has a directory of literature and articles that are translated for you to read and translate for yourself.  You can even check other's translations and upload your own. 

Discussion is a space for giving feedback to Duolingo, whether it be good or "needs improvement."  If you have an issue with the app, this is the place to go for direction.

Vocabulary lets you check how well you know the words you've learned.  Duolingo had a great method for helping you remember the words- after so long, you lose some of the strength rating for a word.  You can even see how long ago you practiced it, and you can always choose the "Practice weakest words" button to brush up on them. 

So many great things for one App, with its multiple languages, friendly competition, simple interface, but I still haven't reached the best part: Duolingo is free!

-Stephanie