You may be a bit puzzled as to why I am reviewing Duolingo, which isn’t really a game, on a mobile gaming website. But I promise, I have a very good reason to do so! And even if I didn’t, you’d appreciate it anyway.
Duolingo is a marvelous free app that is available in both the App Store and Play Store. After you make an account, you select the language that you would like to learn. As of today, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and English are all included in the app. Essentially, a “language tree” is built for you and you start from the top with the basics. As you complete each skill, you will unlock new skills that usually also increase in difficulty. You may be asked to choose the correct word from a series of pictures, translate a sentence from one language to another or even pronounce a sentence correctly.
The reason I decided to review Duolingo on here is because it is set-up like a game. You must “beat” one level to advance to the next. Each level consists of a varying number of lessons. You are required to answer most of the items in each lesson correctly. Every time you get something wrong, you lose a heart—lose three hearts and you essentially “lost” that level and have to start over again. The more you answer correctly, the more coins you get. In a way, it feeds into that addiction that many gamers feel when they can’t stop trying to get to the next level. Additionally, you can connect with your friends and there is a leaderboard that displays the most recent stats amongst your friends, driving even more competition.
Duolingo is probably one of the best free apps out there for language learners, especially because it doesn’t have ads that interfere with gameplay. There are still some things that I’m sure Duolingo will address over time. For one, the languages offered at this present time are fairly limited. Secondly, people who have any type of fluency will have to test out of lessons in order to get ahead rather than being able to skip ahead.
My biggest issue is that my app seems to have no explanation for anything while I’m learning. For example, as I am trying to make my way through the lovely German language, I realize there is nothing there for me to learn about the basic rules of grammar. It appears that this is discussed on the website version of the application but nonetheless, I find it frustrating when I am trying to learn on the go. I’m not sure if this exclusive to the Android application or the German in the Play Store because when I used the German lessons from Duolingo for iPhone, there were explanations included. Not only that but the iOS version includes the verbal pronunciation feature, whereas the Android version does not.
Overall, Duolingo is a fun way to learn a language. Its game-like feel and easy-to-use interface makes it a great app to play on the go. Hopefully, the developers will make the small improvements needed to make this app perfect.