Duolingo Review 2023 Write a review about this language tool.

4.7 out of 5 based on 12 user ratings.

Tool description

  • Category: Mobile App
  • LANGUAGES: mul Multiple languages


Duolingo is currently the most popular free language learning app in the world. It has a total of 81 different courses allowing you to learn 37 different languages. Duolingo reportedly has 0.5 billion users worldwide! Because, if free is good, you also have to know what you can expect from it so as not to waste time and make the most of it. Here is our full review of the app as well as our opinion on the features and effectiveness of Duolingo.

I like...

✅ A free basic version

✅ Short interactive courses

✅ A playful mode of operation

✅ Different features (user clubs, contests between friends, gems ...)

✅ A daily practice of a target language,

✅ Pleasant visuals.

✅ You can learn multiple languages simultaneously

I don’t like...

❌ It focuses more on English speakers: The app centers mainly on English speakers who want to learn another language than speakers of other languages who wish to study something other than English

❌ It is only for beginners and not meant for Advanced learners

❌ The software does not offer explanations of the lessons (in the form of series of exercises)

❌ Some sentences may be mistranslated

❌ Paid additional features.

❌ The application requires an internet connection. So you can't use it everywhere.

❌ You can only learn some vocabulary and phrases

Detailed description

What is certain is that Duolingo has quickly become the most popular application for learning a language. The reason is due to its objective since its creation: to offer fun and personalized learning while remaining accessible to all, financially speaking. That is to say that the free version already contains a good number of lessons, and that you can therefore do without the premium version. The application having evolved over the years, we invite you to discover today our Duolingo test (Year 2023).
Duolingo was the first free language learning app to rival expensive paid programs. It offers numerous exercises to be carried out at your own pace to help you acquire basic knowledge in dozens of languages ​​or revise those you already know. This is hands down the best free language learning app you can find. Even compared to paid programs, the content is so good that Duolingo still ranks among the best software for learning a language.
While Duolingo offers courses for dozens of languages, some are stronger than others. For example, if you're learning Spanish as an English speaker, you'll find a podcast, interactive short stories. Less common languages ​​don't have as much content, however. Despite this, Duolingo is one of the best language learning apps for getting to grips with a new language or improving existing skills. It has wonderful exercises and a clean interface, and it works well on both desktop and mobile devices.

The Duolingo business model

Designed by engineer Luis von Ahn, Duolingo works similarly to the reCAPTCHA project he developed himself. The application uses the principle of "human calculation". Specifically, it offers you sentences to translate, which come from content sent by different companies, such as BuzzFeed and CNN. Duolingo is then remunerated for the translation of this content. A registration on the platform is therefore equivalent to working for its publishing company.

Languages ​​Duolingo

Duolingo offers courses in around 37 languages, counting only those that use English as the language of instruction. There are many more if you add all the courses that use another base language, such as Catalan for Spanish speakers. The 37 languages ​​for English speakers – excluding fictional languages ​​– are: Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, French, German, Greek, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian (in beta) , Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Navajo (in beta), Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese and Welsh.

If you know someone looking to learn English, Duolingo has programs for speakers of many languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

Price of Duolingo

Duolingo started out as a free app with a promise to stay that way forever. The company delivered on that promise by becoming ad-supported and offering a paid membership called Duolingo Plus. Duolingo Plus costs 12.99 USD per month, with a discount if you prepay for a year (79.99 USD) or semester (47.99 USD).
The Duolingo Plus subscription removes ads, lets you download lessons to take offline in the mobile app, and gives you unlimited mobile app usage. It also entitles you to one free "gap repair" per month, which means that if you skip a practice day, your stats in Duolingo won't be affected. The price of 12.99 USD per month is correct, although it is higher than before. Annual access to similar programs usually costs between 100 and 200 euros, with more traditional software (those you keep forever) being in the same range.

How does Duolingo work?

Whatever the language, Duolingo allows you to learn vocabulary and a little grammar through quick exercises, sequenced in series, on a fairly fun and easy-to-use interface. We tested the application for English and for Spanish, in order to form an opinion on languages ​​that we mastered differently, and to see if the positive or negative points were proven in several languages.

Customization according to your objectives and your level

Before you start learning the language of your choice on Duolingo, the app will ask you a question: Why are you learning this language?

You will be offered different choices of answers depending on the language in order to adapt the content. You then choose the time you will devote to it each day (from 5 minutes), and whether you are a beginner or not. In the latter case, a test is proposed. It's not as well put together as other apps or language courses because you can guess quite a few answers (often the wrong answer suggestions really don't have anything to do with the correct answer). But that takes you roughly to an intermediate level in the app, having automatically unlocked more or fewer lessons.

Different learning themes

Example of Themes:

Learning on Duolingo is divided into several levels and different categories. Each level is identifiable by its icon. At first the application offers you quite a few, then you unlock them as you go. So you do not have the impression that you will never reach the end, but on the other hand you do not really know where you are compared to the last level.
In our opinion, Duolingo is intended primarily for beginners. For others, it can be useful for re-immersing yourself in a language you haven't practiced for a long time, but it's clearly not the most appropriate application for intermediate or advanced levels. The lessons can relate to a theme (food, family, sensations, etc.) or a linguistic area (basics, expressions, grammar, conjugation, etc.). They are based on your reason for learning. Thus, someone who chooses “professional opportunity” will not have the same exercises offered as a child who chooses “school”.
It should be noted that Duolingo has not used the same business model as the majority of language apps that use teachers or translators and therefore have a paid model to finance their development. By remaining free, Duolingo took the risk of relying on bots and users, and thus offering inaccurate translations or odd turns of phrase. So don't be surprised to see in the exercises sentences in French that you would never have pronounced.

Learning aids

Duolingo takes into account the need for spaced repetition over time to actually acquire vocabulary. They have therefore developed a notion of strength for each word learned, to tell you if it is time to review it. Go to the "Words" section, find all the words you have already learned and at a glance see which ones you may be starting to forget.
The downside: the application sometimes considers a little quickly that you have learned a word. If you have guessed it in the context of a sentence, without having had to transcribe it from French, that does not necessarily mean that the word is acquired. Other apps like Mosalingua are more demanding and ask you for the word multiple times, short-term and long-term, before taking it for granted.
You will also have a dictionary. You can consult it for a word in French or in the chosen language. You will then have a complete file giving you the meaning of the word, its pronunciation, its conjugations if it is a verb, and examples of sentences with this word.
Also, at the bottom of the page, you will have a reference to the forum discussions where the word may have been used.
Finally, you will have the opportunity to participate in the Duolingo forum and interact with other users of the application.

Learn while having fun

Sound recognition exercise:

Translation exercise:

Duolingo has chosen to help you in your learning while remaining playful and attractive, a very important element for children or teenagers. Indeed, a school application would probably not meet the same success with children. But Duolingo set out from the start to create a colorful app that makes you want to constantly improve.
To learn while having fun, it must feel like playing and earning points. So to seduce you, Duolingo relies in particular on easy-to-understand exercises, objectives to keep a daily rhythm, crowns and lives, and finally bars and gems.
Here is our opinion on each of these elements.

1. The lessons make you work on the language in its written and oral aspect. Because in addition to translating words or sentences, you will also have to transcribe listened sentences or repeat certain sentences. The exercises are thus quite varied but they do not reach the excellence of the paid application Mosalingua, for example.
They are also not as fun as those of applications dedicated to children to learn a language by playing. Let's say that for free, it's quite interesting but depending on your level and your expectations (especially if you have already practiced other language apps), the exercises may seem repetitive, especially for the basics. For example, one of the exercises in the first lessons is based on the words: woman, man, girl and boy.
Once you have passed the first questions which allow you to review these words, their meaning, their pronunciation and the use in sentences, the following questions are boring because they continue to address the same words and the same concepts. On the other hand, this repetitiveness is an advantage when tackling more difficult topics, such as conjugation for example.
2. Regarding the daily objectives, it is up to you to set them. You have the choice between 4 possibilities: easy (5 minutes per day), normal (10 minutes per day), serious (15 minutes per day) and intensive (20 minutes per day). It is always possible to modify your objectives according to your availability and your needs. You will receive a small notification every day reminding you that it is time to learn. Simple and efficient.
3. Each level up is rewarded with a crown. It's not really motivating for adults, but it's a rewarding detail for children who see their work rewarded. To validate the lessons of a level you have a certain number of lives. It's part of the game to fuel your challenges, but sometimes it's frustrating to have a limited number of lives. First and foremost for children, but also when dealing with more complicated concepts. It then becomes very easy to lose a life by giving the wrong answer. As a result, it may seem difficult to go after your daily objective or the concept discussed.
4. Each notion worked and acquired can earn lingots. These lingots are transformed into gems, the virtual currency of the application. This gives you access to little extras, bringing variety to your daily exercises and a little fun and originality. 23 Duolingo bars are worth 5230 gems. However, let's make a small aside on the application store. What you find there is supposed to motivate you to earn lots of lingots to buy even better learning or even more fun. On this we remain a little on our hunger…
Gems are for buying things in the Duolingo shop.

With your gems you can buy:

➡ boosters to help you finish your series:
– life recharges to be entitled to a greater margin of error during the lessons, and not to have to switch to the premium version (where your lives are unlimited)
– streak freeze to keep a streak of workouts (uninterrupted learning) even if there is a day when you cannot log into Duolingo
– quits or doubles: bet 5 lingots and win 10 if you succeed in making a series of 7 days
– timed workout to train for a set time on previously worked units

➡ bonus units: for example you will offer yourself the lesson to flirt in English, or even Spanish expressions and proverbs

➡ outfits to personalize your “Duo” owl.
The store provides important elements to maintain motivation over the long term, but according to some discussions on the forum, several users would appreciate having other boosters than those currently offered. It is true that the choices are limited, but since Duolingo seems to be listening to feedback from its users, we can hope that updates will improve this point. Because indeed, a forum is open to all Duolingo users. Although visually quite basic, it will allow you to exchange with all the subscribers of the platform in case of doubt about a translation, problem on the site or on the application, etc.

So why does Duolingo attract so many users?

Because if you weigh the pros and cons, a lot of people find themselves there, at least for a while. Here is our recap of the major pros and cons of Duolingo, it will help you know if this app is for you or if other apps would suit your needs better:

Conclusion: The best free language learning app!

Duolingo will be useful for users looking for free or something to have fun as a beginner or to refresh their memory. For those who want a method or a tool to progress over the long term and acquire a good level, you will have to look elsewhere, or in any case not limit yourself to Duolingo. So far, we confirm that Duolingo is the best free language learning app you can find. It's unlikely to take you from beginner to advanced, or even to being able to converse, but it offers exercises that allow you to learn a lot about a new language and practice it daily. Using Duolingo is a great way to complement other learning, whether in class or self-taught.

How to start using Duolingo

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3ND3RM4N profile picture 3ND3RM4NFebruary 2023

It is helpful however it does repeat a lot. Also, some sentences are straight-up weird 😭. I would recommend using it but maybe not as a primary source/app.

Antuka profile picture AntukaMay 2022
Very Good
Duolingo is very helpful. I use Duolingo for four years.
SwissalpS profile picture SwissalpSFebruary 2022
Very Good
Free users have the same amount of lessons as those who pay. Paying mainly removes the third party advertisments. It also allows users to jump around the tree more freely i.e. skip parts.
Furthermore the paid version has some more features to repeat the lessons where you made mistakes. Which you can do manually too. There is no ’real’ reason to get the pro version, the content is the same.

If you want to learn quickly, use this to augment your personalized lessons you take with an in-person teacher.

The best part IMO are the stories. Now these are not available for all language courses and each course has it’s own quality.

Naturally the most used courses are those that work the smoothest and accept most variations.
e.g. en->es, fr->es, es->fr are really well worked out compared to the hebrew and hindi courses.
vincent profile picture vincentJanuary 2022
Very Good
It’s like learning while playing, that’s why it’s working so well