App of the Day: Duolingo for Android

duolingo french flag

Learn a new language by appealing to your gamer side. Duolingo lets you level up and learn that new language on the go.

aNewDomain — Hallo! Mein Name ist Cassandra! Klaar om een andere taal te leren? Ahora usted puede con esta aplicación.

Duolingo is a free mobile app designed to help you learn a variety of languages. Honestly, it’s been a long time since I had so much fun learning a new language. I know that some people can roll their tongues, enunciate properly and add sharp consonants to a word, but I really struggle. Even trying to imitate accents is tough for me. Duolingo makes the whole process a lot easier.

Interested in learning to speak Portuguese, Spanish, German, English or French? Each of these languages (and many others) are presented in a fun and engaging way. The app was Google Play’s Editor’s Choice and “Best of the Best” in 2013 and 2014, and I can totally understand why.

duolingo i want to learn language selectionMy childhood included mandatory French classes — I’m a graduate of the Canadian education system — and while they were engaging and (mostly) fun, languages have always been something I easily forget if I don’t keep practicing on a daily basis. It definitely takes time and practice to remain fluent in a foreign language for me.

Level Up and Learn

With Duolingo, they take the somewhat tedious practice of learning a new language and turn it into a game where you lose hearts for answering incorrectly — gamification at its finest — and you advance when you complete the short lessons. The app will track your progress, including your achievements and progress through levels.

duolingo french skillsAs you progress, the difficulty gradually increases with new words, tenses and terminology. After all, everyone loves to receive badges and points for succeeding. The sense of achievement certainly helped bolster my interest in proceeding to the next level. It becomes addictive in a way, and that mentality is perfect for learning a language.

Full disclosure: I have yet to “complete” a full language session in Duolingo, so I don’t know how involved the discussions and conversational phrases become. That said, the app itself switches from verbal to written formats, and definitely tests your listening skills with words and phrases. Between le, la, un and une, masculine versus feminine, and tense, Duolingo covers it all. Of course, these aspects change depending on the language you choose to learn.

Duolingo is great because there are pop-up boxes everywhere with little tips and pointers on why you are correct or incorrect, or, as is the case when learning a new language and its grammar, “almost correct.” The “almost correct” indicates where you went wrong and what the correct response would be in reference to the question.

duolingo translateAside from the fact that it’s free, the app makes it easy to learn and practice anywhere, as opposed to programs like Rosetta Stone. There are daily, weekly and monthly charts to show your progression, and it’s easy to communicate with other users in the app’s Discussions forum.

For Chrome users, which I presume many people are, you can add Duolingo directly to your home page for easy access. If any of you out there are competitive, like me, you can also invite your friends via Facebook and challenge them to learn a language alongside you.

Once you’ve completed one language, or feel up to the challenge of learning another, you can always change the settings to another language. Duolingo is available free for Android and Apple iOS, in addition to the web browser version.

Ready to learn? Listo?

Well, Allons-y!

For aNewDomain, I’m .

Ed: The original version of this review ran on aNewDomain’s BreakingModern. Read it here

All screenshots: Cassandra Chin

Featured image: French Flag by francois schnell via Flickr

About the author

Cassandra Chin

Based in Toronto, Cassandra Chin is an investigative journalist and editor at aNewDomain.