Duolingo – A Review

Duolingo is a language app which is completely free, with no advertisements or hidden charges.

Duolingo maintains itself by letting its users translate articles while they’re learning languages from third parties that need their websites translated.
Duolingo can be downloaded on your phone or used on your computer

It is simple to use:

  • Set up your profile
  • Choose your target language
  • Set your weekly goals
  • Begin!

There are 4 types of exercises:

Translation – Here you translate single words or simple sentences.

Listening – You need to type what you hear

Matching – match words to their foreign language equivalents

Speaking – You say what you hear

These lessons are given in a specific order determined by Duolingo. However, you may advance by testing out of them. Each lesson takes anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes. New vocabulary is introduced by the use of pictures. Grammar is briefly described in speech bubbles and in the web version you discuss grammar in the forum.

Good points:

  1. Sense of achievement through tracking system
  2. Can use on phone or computer
  3. Interface is easy to use
  4. Can repeat all lessons,
  5. Tracks the number of days in a row you completed your lessons
  6. You can earn lingots (a Duolingo currency) to purchase items
  7. You start using simple sentences from day one
  8. Uses ‘Spaced repetition’ which is a method whereby you revise specific words, and gradually increase the time between each revision
  9. A turtle button allows you to listen to ‘slow’ versions of languages

Bad points:

  1. No control over vocabulary
  2. Sentences are unnatural
  3. Computerized voice is dry non-rhythmical
  4. Little explanation of grammar rules
  5. DuoLingo penalizes you for making mistakes in spelling or pronunciation
  6. The vocabulary is determined primarily by Duolingo and does not allow much control by the user

Duolingo has an option to translate texts. Here the user can translate an entire article or a portion of the article on various topics. Other users then verify or correct the translation. If someone changes the translation a message is sent to the original translator. For advanced language learners this is a great opportunity.

Duolingo is not a stand-alone language course, but as part of a language strategy it can be quite useful.



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