There are a number of apps that will help you learn a foreign language. Roughly all of them have the learning content down across apps, but it’s the execution and delivery that can be the problem. Duolingo is a well known app that follows the popular lessons-points-progression formula, but keeps things simple.
Duolingo works with you by trying to encourage you to continue your practice the next day. This helped for several weeks in my case. The interface is nothing to write home about. It’s nothing complex or fancy, but it works perfectly for the goal of the app—education and language learning.
The selection of languages to learn are fairly plentiful for English speakers and fewer as you go down the list of primary languages to the point of just learning primary language to English.
The lessons go about in standard match-the-word-to-the-picture and match-the-translated-word format to start and gradually in complexity to speak-the-word-in-X-language. Phrases follow this same progression and the lessons make sure you learn how to say different verbs based on the pronoun if that is how the language is structured.
Progress is measured by pictures depicting the specific lesson and you will continue down—by the UI you’re heading downward in the learning tree—as you advance to more complex parts of the language you’re studying. Grayed out pictures are lessons yet to be unlocked by ones that have color are ones you’ve already done. Underneath those pictures are the bars that show your proficiency and XP gained that day. It’s also a good indication of how rusty you are in certain lessons.
Duolingo is definitely worth getting if you’d like to brush up or learn a language. The tools for a good app for education are there, but there should be more languages. While there are a great deal available, languages native to Asian or African regions are largely absent outside of coming from some of those languages and learning English. In that case it would be best to pick up an app that covers those (which will be reviewed this year).
While learning a language from sources such a TV programs, news, menus, conversation, and film are great ways to pick up it up, Duolingo is a great app if you’re looking to learn with some structure. It can also be used a supplemental learning tool and is even great to teach children. It’s free and available on just about everything—iOS, Android, Windows Phone, your browser. RATING: 4/5