Duolingo is the world's most downloaded education app, so naturally people are curious about how we do things here! There's a lot of work that goes into making learning free, fun, and effective for learners around the globe. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about our app and courses. Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how we think about learning and language teaching!
The most common questions we hear at Duolingo:
- Can Duolingo make me fluent?
- Are Duolingo courses developed by real people?
- Why does Duolingo have such weird sentences?
- When will Duolingo add the language I want to study?
- Why does Duolingo teach made-up languages?
- Is Duolingo free?
Can Duolingo make me fluent?
Research shows that Duolingo is an effective way to learn a language! But the truth is that no single course, app, method, or book can help you reach all your language goals. Instead of measuring "fluency"—a vague goal that language experts and educators shy away from—we assess learners across four domains: speaking, writing, reading, and listening. Learners who completed the beginner content in our Spanish and French courses had reading and listening scores comparable to four semesters of university study! Our learners are also successfully acquiring speaking skills, with about half of learners achieving on-target speaking scores—or better! And we continue to evaluate our teaching methods and effectiveness for learners of all levels.
We also take into account learners' goals and needs at different proficiency levels, using the CEFR, an international language standard, as a guide. We use this combination of language skills and proficiency levels to create a suite of free learning tools; for example, our audio lessons get early learners practicing realistic speaking and listening scenarios, Stories teach learners of all levels reading and listening through conversational dialogues, and our award-winning Duolingo Podcast teaches intermediate learners about culture and spoken language around the world.
Are Duolingo courses developed by real people?
Yes! Our curriculum designers and their teams of content creators include teaching experts, linguists, and native speakers, and many are all three in one! The work of creating a course from scratch includes carefully organizing communication goals for different proficiency levels and then writing thousands of sentences to teach really specific words and grammar in each unit. Our longest courses, like Spanish and French for English speakers, include tens of thousands of phrases and sentences to teach through B2 in the CEFR scale!
We do use artificial intelligence in other ways to improve the learning experience! We pair that classroom expertise with machine learning technology to personalize our lessons. Instead of offering every learner the same course, each Duolingo learner sees exercises in a totally unique order, selected just for them! Our algorithm studies each learner's responses to understand what material they've learned and what is still difficult and then adapts upcoming exercises to maximize effectiveness: the algorithm shows slightly harder exercises for things the learner knows well, and it provides more foundational exercises for topics that are more challenging.
We also use machine learning to help prioritize updates to our courses. This is especially important for managing the 200,000 learner-submitted reports we receive each day—by using technology, we can flag the reports most likely to be translations that we need to add to a course. This is a great way to make the most of our humans' expertise (teaching and language!) with one of machine learning's strengths (processing huge amounts of data).
You can learn more about this process, and how our experts work with AI, here!
Why does Duolingo have such weird sentences?
Did you know? All our sentences are written by real people. So why are the sentences a little goofy sometimes? One reason is simply: why not? Duo himself is known for being a little silly, and that attitude has made its way into our courses as well. The people behind the courses are real speakers of the language, and so each course's quirkiness represents the sense of humor of its creators. Plus, quirky sentences can be good for getting you to remember content, because surprising information makes you pay more attention.
When will Duolingo add the language I want to study?
For years, certain Duolingo courses were made and maintained by volunteer contributors, which allowed us to build up our course offering and include many languages and course directions that we would otherwise have been unable to provide. As we've grown and changed, so has our course creation system! Today, new courses are created by paid contractors who work with our curriculum teams. This change means our contractors work more predictable hours on courses, and they work more closely than ever with our teaching experts, from comprehensive onboarding to linguistic workshops. This refined system means we're spending more time thoughtfully evaluating which courses to add and when, as well as what kinds of resources are needed in terms of external teaching and language experts.
In the short term, this means we haven't created as many new courses recently as our learners might remember being introduced years ago! We're putting more resources into assembling and vetting top-notch teams for new languages and into creating new content and learning tools for our existing courses. That can feel frustrating if you've been waiting to learn one of the thousands of languages Duolingo doesn't teach yet (did you know there are over 7,000 languages in the world today?). But we do offer more than 100 courses in over 40 languages, and our efforts to focus and prioritize mean that we’re improving and growing the languages we already teach.
Why does Duolingo teach made-up languages?
There are a lot of reasons why people study constructed languages. Conlangs, or made-up languages, are often associated with fandoms and franchises of movies and books, and studying their fictional language is a way people connect with the lore and with each other. Other conlangs, like Esperanto, were created for social and linguistic reasons; Esperantists, or people who study Esperanto, are some of the most active and passionate conlangers and even raise their children in the language.
Duolingo teaches three conlangs, Esperanto, High Valyrian from Game of Thrones, and Klingon from Star Trek, primarily for one reason: People want to study them! It also helps that these languages don't have to be aligned to the international language proficiency standard that Duolingo uses, the CEFR, so no Duolingo learning and teaching resources are used to create them. (And when it's the language's own creator making the conlang's course, Duolingo also doesn't have to evaluate and ensure their proficiency in the language!)
Instead, conlang courses and campaigns use a small part of Duolingo's marketing and partnership resources because they bring in a wider range of learners to the app, which in turn creates more interest in the natural languages we offer and more opportunities for paid subscribers. This is really important for the company, and more learners and thus subscribers helps support our mission to make (and keep) all our language courses available to everyone for free.
Speaking of… is Duolingo free?
We see this question a lot and the answer is: yes. Duolingo is a free language-learning platform, and every language and lesson is totally free! No matter how much you study with us, whether you're learning one language or dozens, all the content in our courses is free, from the first lesson to the coveted golden owl at the end. We do have a premium version called Super Duolingo that comes with perks like no ads and unlimited hearts, so you can move through lessons faster. The quality of learning tools and language education that you get on Duolingo's free version is just as effective—and fun!—as with the subscription.
Can Duolingo make you fluent in another language? ›
Can Duolingo make me fluent? Research shows that Duolingo is an effective way to learn a language! But the truth is that no single course, app, method, or book can help you reach all your language goals.How advanced can Duolingo get you? ›
The levels are labeled A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2, and they cover increasingly complex language needs. Most people don't need to master all, or even most, of the levels. It's all about what you want to do with the language.What happens if Duolingo is too easy? ›
If you have previous experience with a language and feel that lessons are too easy, you can scroll to the next locked unit and tap the circle that says “Jump here?”. If you pass the test, you'll unlock that unit! NOTE: This will complete all levels up to that point.Is Duolingo an intelligent tutoring system? ›
Another core feature of the Duolingo app that uses artificial intelligence is known as spaced repetition. This concept delivers personalized language lessons over longer intervals for optimal learning rather than cramming lessons into a short period of time.How long does it take to become fluent with Duolingo? ›
A note from the Fluent in 3 Months team before we get started: You can chat away with a native speaker for at least 15 minutes with the "Fluent in 3 Months" method. All it takes is 90 days. Tap this link to find out more.What is the hardest language to learn on Duolingo? ›
Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn.What happens when you finish all of Duolingo? ›
Once you complete all the levels in a unit, you'll complete a challenge to earn your unit trophy. You'll also have the option to earn the Legendary trophy for each unit.
An informal study estimates that course completion rates fall as low as 0.01% for Spanish learners (second most popular language on Duolingo), and peak at 0.24% for Ukrainian learners.Has anyone learned a language using Duolingo? ›
Tommy has found ample opportunities to practice the Spanish he's learned with Duolingo on a daily basis in communicating with his teammates and coaches.What's the best way to progress through Duolingo? ›
“Hover” around several skills – spreading your time across a handful of nearby skills – and alternate between gaining crowns and doing new lessons. Hovering across multiple skills helps you maximize learning by practicing what you've already studied while continuing to learn new material.
How many Duolingo lessons should I do a day? ›
Casual is one lesson per day, Regular is two, Serious is three, and Insane is five lessons in a day. I have my daily goal set to Serious, which requires completing three lessons daily, but I'll often do more lessons if I have the time, typically around five or six.Does Duolingo teach fluency? ›
So, can Duolingo make you fluent? By itself, no. But when used in the right way, I would say it can — but this will depend entirely on your definition of fluency, the quality of your language course, and whether you actually use the language away from Duolingo.Is Duolingo good for your brain? ›
The purpose of Duolingo courses is to teach you to use and understand a new language—so this improvement in executive functioning is an added bonus! Duolingo learners transferred benefits from one realm (language learning) to another (executive functioning).Is Duolingo as good as college? ›
New data shows that those who use Duolingo — a popular language app — can learn the equivalent of four semesters of university study.What is the longest Duolingo course? ›
As of February 3rd 2023, the longest Duolingo streak is 3676 days, held by user christi3. This means that the longest Duolingo streak is over 10 years old!Is Duolingo a slow way to learn? ›
Learning with Duolingo is slow and inefficient. But as with many other not-very-good methods, you can learn something if you put enough time into it. With Duolingo, you will form low-quality memories that will fade quickly.Which is better Babbel or Duolingo? ›
The biggest difference between Babbel and Duolingo is the approach to language learning. Babbel is a better option if you want traditional language instructions through modules and lessons. By contrast, Duolingo works great if you need a playful, gamified experience.What makes Duolingo bad for learning a language? ›
Duolingo relies too much on translation and indirect learning. Most exercises in Duolingo feel like language learning, but are in fact exercises in “indirect learning” and accumulation of passive knowledge instead of active skill.What is the easiest language to learn on Duolingo? ›
Overall, it's typically easier to study a language more similar to the one you know best. For English speakers, that means many languages from Europe — like Spanish and German — will be easier to learn on average than languages that aren't related to English at all — like Arabic and Chinese. But even this can be murky!What is the quickest language to learn? ›
- Frisian. ...
- Dutch. ...
- Norwegian. ...
- Spanish. ...
- Portuguese. ...
- Italian. ...
- French. ...
Should I complete all levels in Duolingo before moving on? ›
The way Duolingo teaches requires users to finish a skill or set of skills before moving on to the next set. The skills are displayed in a way that makes them look slightly like a "language tree ". Users must complete all the skills on each row of the tree before moving to the next row.What happens if you make too many mistakes in Duolingo? ›
Every day, you get five hearts on Duolingo. If you make a mistake and don't get a question right, you lose a heart. If you lose five hearts, it's game over. You have to wait before you can try again, and it usually takes a pretty long time.What happens if you get top 3 in Duolingo? ›
What happens to the top 3? Congrats! You are promoted to the next league. There is no league higher than Diamond.What is the most popular course in Duolingo? ›
However, in 2022, we saw learners gravitate back towards the largest languages, with English, French, and Spanish holding strong as the most popular languages studied globally.Who uses Duolingo the most? ›
English language users are the majority on Duolingo, according to data from Jakubmarian.How many hours of Duolingo is equal to a college course? ›
According to an independent study conducted by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina, an average of 34 hours of Duolingo are equivalent to a full university semester of language education.How many units of Duolingo do you need to be fluent? ›
According to the Universe of Memory, you need to know 4,000 words to be able to have conversations and 8,000 to be at a native-speaker level.Does Duolingo explain grammar? ›
Duolingo helps you master grammar in a few different ways. First, all our lessons are designed to focus on one grammar topic, and to give you lots of examples of part of the pattern (maybe just two of the many forms). In some Duolingo courses, you can also find specific lessons focusing on particular topics.What is super Duolingo? ›
Super Duolingo is a premium addition to the Duolingo experience. With Super Duolingo, your benefits include: No ads: Learn without interruptions. Unlimited Hearts: Enable unlimited hearts so mistakes won't slow you down. Mistakes Review: Make a mistake?Is Rosetta Stone better than Duolingo? ›
Yes. After thoroughly testing out and reviewing each language learning app, we found Rosetta Stone to be a superior program to Duolingo. While we like Duolingo's gamification of learning, Rosetta Stone is simply more comprehensive and effective.
Is Duolingo accepted in USA? ›
Ans. Yes, Duolingo English tests are accepted for USA student visa applications. There are over 100 universities in USA that accept DET. Even after the pandemic, the universities are still accepting Duolingo as proof of proficiency.Does Duolingo get easier or harder? ›
Duolingo has organized the lessons so that with each crown you earn, the lessons get more difficult.How many hours a day should I do Duolingo? ›
You don't need to spend hours on Duolingo each day. However, you must put a reasonable amount of time into learning. If you log in to complete one lesson and sign out as soon as you've reached 10XP, you won't get very far. To optimize your learning, aim to spend between 15 and 30 minutes on the app each day.Why is Duolingo not giving me speaking exercises? ›
If you are experiencing issues with speaking exercises in the Duolingo Android app, please check for the following settings/permissions: Speaking exercises toggled ON in the Duolingo Android app (Profile tab > Settings > Speaking exercises) Microphone permissions set to ALLOW for Duolingo in your Android settings.Should I learn multiple languages at once on Duolingo? ›
Give yourself a head start in one.
Consider studying just one language to start, until you have a solid foundation. (In Duolingo courses, that might mean getting through the first three units.) Once you have a good command of basic vocabulary, grammar, and building sentences, then try adding another language.
According to FSI research, it takes around 480 hours of practice to reach basic fluency in all Group 1 languages.How long should a Duolingo unit take? ›
Each module is made of up 6 levels, and within each level, there are 3 to 4 lessons. That may sound like a lot, and it is, but know that each lesson is very short, taking only about 5 to 10 minutes to complete.Can you become fluent in a language in a year? ›
They've suggested that a person can become fluent in language for social contexts in six months to two years. However, it can take 5-7 years to become fluent in academic language. So within one year, it's absolutely possible to get fluent in a language for social uses, although probably not for academic purposes.How long does it take to learn to speak English fluently? ›
A beginner can learn English in a year. That's pretty fast, although not as fast as some of the crazy 15-day promises you see online. Specifically, a year is the average amount of time it will take an adult to become fluent enough to work in English if he starts out as a beginner and studies at least 5 hours a day.Can you become fluent in a language at any age? ›
You can become a perfectly fluent speaker of a foreign language at any age, and small imperfections of grammar or accent often just add to the charm.
What is the hardest course on Duolingo? ›
Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn.Why is Duolingo so amazing? ›
Duolingo was the first free language-learning app to rival expensive paid programs. It offers plenty of self-paced exercises to help you build a base understanding of dozens of languages or review one you already know. It's easily the best free language app you can find, and our Editors' Choice winner.How long does it take to become fluent on Duolingo? ›
A note from the Fluent in 3 Months team before we get started: You can chat away with a native speaker for at least 15 minutes with the "Fluent in 3 Months" method. All it takes is 90 days.Does Harvard accept Duolingo? ›
Meeting the Requirement.
|Test||Minimum Approved Score|
|Pearson Test of English Academic (PTEA)||70|
|Duolingo English Test (DET)||125|
The levels are labeled A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2, and they cover increasingly complex language needs. Most people don't need to master all, or even most, of the levels. It's all about what you want to do with the language.Can you become fluent in Japanese with Duolingo? ›
As we have already mentioned, Duolingo takes you through basic study to an advanced beginner level. Yes, you read that correctly. You are not going to become fluent using Duolingo exclusively. For those who already know some Japanese, the beginning might seem extremely rudimentary.What happens if you complete a language on Duolingo? ›
The guidebook can be accessed any time, even when you complete the unit. NOTE: Guidebooks are not available for all languages. Once you complete all the levels in a unit, you'll complete a challenge to earn your unit trophy. You'll also have the option to earn the Legendary trophy for each unit.Is it possible to become fluent in another language? ›
You can become a perfectly fluent speaker of a foreign language at any age, and small imperfections of grammar or accent often just add to the charm. Learn a new language.Is it good to learn two languages at once on Duolingo? ›
There will be pros and cons to studying any pair of languages together. If the new language is similar to one you already know or have been studying, you might get a hang of the basics pretty quickly -- but it could be hard to keep two rather similar languages, like Spanish and Italian, apart.What level of Japanese can Duolingo get you to? ›
As of October 2022, Duolingo's Japanese course has a total of 6 units, broken down into a total of 131 skills. That means there are 655 crown levels in Duolingo's Japanese course — or 786 if you include the legendary levels. The exercises in the Japanese course are basically the same as in all of Duolingo's courses.
How long does it take to finish Duolingo Japanese course? ›
Duolingo will only cover the basics of Japanese. It may take 6 to 8 months to go through the tree once if you spend less than 15 minutes per day of it.What is the easiest language to learn? ›
- Norwegian. This may come as a surprise, but we have ranked Norwegian as the easiest language to learn for English speakers. ...
- Swedish. ...
- Spanish. ...
- Dutch. ...
- Portuguese. ...
- Indonesian. ...
- Italian. ...
When you get to the end, you'll get a cute little trophy wearing a flag that represents the language you're learning. Each node in the tree consists of several lessons.