Duolingo is an excellent app for those wanting to begin to learn a language. Although it doesn’t give you all the proper tools needed to learn a language – as I will mention later on – it’s still a great language tool to get you started.
Duolingo is not only a free app (yes!) but, it’s also very simple to use. It takes you through the app and gives you step by step instructions that are very easy to understand. Throughout each lesson, you are given a category to learn about – animals, food, phrases, colours, time, etc. You will then go through a variety of activities, including:
- Translating spoken and written text into English
- Identify the English meaning of a vocabulary word
- Identify new vocabulary words
- Practice pronunciation
- Identify all the correct translations of a phrase
The app gets progressively harder as you go on. You can also go back to certain levels and test your memory and understanding. The app encourages you to keep your ‘strength’ up so you don’t forget everything you learned.
Duolingo does a great job in keeping your attention while you go through the level, and actually motivates you to improve your language skills. You get excited every time you get the right answer, translate a phrase properly, or pronounce a sentence perfectly… er… close to perfect.
So could you learn English through Duolingo alone? Probably not…
The fact is that Duolingo teaches vocabulary and simple sentences. It doesn’t teach you the core of the language or conversation skills. I’ve personally used Duolingo to learn Spanish. It was a great way for me to start learning Spanish and not feel totally overwhelmed. Because I felt like I had a basic understanding of Spanish, I felt more comfortable and confident as I went into other methods of learning – textbooks, reading, movies, music, etc. But, you won’t become fluent.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using Duolingo along with your other language tools. It’s such a great app that can keep you motivated, and refresh your memory on those terms you learned so long ago. As I mentioned before, I’ve personally used Duolingo, and I still use the app to refresh my memory.
If you plan on using Duolingo, there are a few things you need to remember:
1. Pay Close Attention
While using this app, it’s quite easy to go through the motions, but not really concentrate on what you’re learning. I’ve done this a few times myself! Sometimes I’d go through a lesson and find myself not remembering anything. It could just be that I get distracted easily. But, it’s important to really pay attention to the lesson and focus on what you’re learning.
2. Review Old Lessons Often
It’s easy to forget old information unless you review it often. So remember to go through your old lessons frequently. If you don’t study the old lessons in awhile, you start to lose ‘strength’. So the best way to “beat” the game of Duolingo is to keep your strength up. Plus, practice makes perfect!
3. Don’t Rely On This App Alone
As I mentioned before, you probably won’t be able to become completely fluent using Duolingo alone. That’s why you need to use other methods of language learning in addition to Duolingo. This app is a wonderful addition to whatever methods of learning you’re already learning. It’s another tool in your language learning box.
So, have you used Duolingo? What are your thoughts?