Duolingo Review - BrokeinLondon.com



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Free Online Language Courses

Duolingo.com is a simple to use, easily accessible and total free website (or mobile app) for learning a new language. Through Duolingo you can learn Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, and English for free. It has great functions and an extremely user-friendly environment which makes a game out of learning– so no more struggling for hours to memorise new words, hating every second of it! Now, you can win points, race against the clock, and gain levels! As of 2014 it has over 25 million users, so give it a try- even if you’re rubbish at new languages, the game aspect of it can get pretty addictive, and you might just find yourself learning as you play! If this wasn’t already enough, it was even nominated for Best Education Startup in 2013 by TechCrunch.

  • Sign Up for free with Facebook or Email
  • User-friendly website and mobile app with great aesthetic and graphics
  • Covers Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch and English (and they aim to add more languages)
  • Allows you to save and track your progress
  • Provides a test at the end of each chapter
  • You earn points, trophies and badges whenever you level up or if you finish the session without making a single mistake
  • Social aspects- interact with and compete against other users
  • Free App for iPhone and Android
  • Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts

Site Pros

  • Easy-to-use, good-looking and fun website, which can be accessed anywhere
  • For those need encouragement, optional emails can be sent to remind you to keep working
  • Makes learning fun, and surprisingly addictive
  • Is comprehensive, and gives you a list of programs to complete, starting from the basics to more complex stuff
  • No time limits to completion, no set schedule- work in your own time, whenever you can

Site Cons

  • Not quite as good or fast a way to learn as simply interacting with native speakers!
  • Some reviewers become frustrated with the very specific answers needed for some translations (though these are improving constantly)
  • Languages are limited, though more are slowly coming along
  • No grammatical explanations offered in their lessons- find out which words are used when, but never why they’re used

Other Tips

  • Lose lives when you get something wrong, making you redo lessons you failed
  • 34 hours on Duolingo are equal to one university semester!
  • No ads or subscription fees
  • Completing translations exercises doubles up as crowd-sourced work for translation companies- you’ll be helping Duolingo stay afloat, and learning at the same time
  • Placement test for those who know a bit of the language already- take the test, and skip the lessons you already know


Because of the technical difficulties of running a site aimed at all levels of learner, Duolingo’s great points are tempered with a few big problems. Lack of grammatical explanations, and problems with a computerised voice on the listening exercises or a program that can’t understand the user on the speaking ones, can be frustrating for some, and confuse learners trying to complete more complicated tasks. For new language learners, however, with no experience, this website is a fantastic way to start out, learning words, phrases and rules, all in a fun and easy way. For those intermediate learners, going to the country in question, meeting its inhabitants, and speaking with them, might be a better step to learning it perfectly.

Go back to Free Online Courses  category to find more websites and organisations offering Free online courses.