As long as I can remember, I have loved languages. I have been taking Spanish classes since I was in the third grade and can now understand the language fluently. Even though I take Spanish courses every semester, when summer or winter break comes along, my skills usually dip and I am forced to review basic material to build myself back up. So the question is, how does one keep their skills sharp when it’s not necessary to speak 24/7? My answer is Duolingo.
This app and website turns learning a language a challenging game. With everything from translations to speaking exercises, Duolingo instills vocabulary, structure, and proper pronunciation into the user. If you are brand new to a language and want to become fluent, or if you simply want to hone your skills there is a way Duolingo can help. For example, let’s say you haven’t spoken Spanish in ages, but suddenly you’re off to Mexico for your best friends wedding: How do you impress your fellow bridesmaids? Duolingo has an option for more advanced users to “Test Out” of certain lessons. This way you can streamline refreshing your household vocabulary and head straight into the lesson where you learn restaurant words and how to say, “I’m so happy for you!”
However if you just decide you want to expand your horizons, going step by step through each lesson is just as effective. Learn and practice languages including Portuguese, German, Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish.
Throughout your language journey, you are guided by an owl mascot named, Duo. Duo tells you how to earn points and stay on track to learning your language in the amount of time you choose. Choose either to be a Casual learner for beginners or you can also choose to be an Insane learner if you really want to kick your brain into gear.
The best part about this software is that it is free! Once downloaded, you will have the tools to practice any language the app offers. I know personally, I plan on going through the French language next!
Although this language app can help with the learning process, it is missing an integral part of the educational experience. Duolingo has a few speaking exercises, yet they don’t promote the reality of having conversations. Learning how to speak the language involves entirely different types of practice.. Translations and vocabulary are necessary, but in order to fully say you are fluent in a language, you will have to leave your phone or computer for that.
Whether you are a lackadaisical learner or a bilingual hero, Duolingo is a fun and educational app that you can use anywhere. Instead of playing Candy Crush or Solitaire on your phone, using Duolingo can teach you without you even realizing it!