Duolingo review: Free, fun, easy language learning practice


  • Desktop and mobile apps are user-friendly
  • Range of questions for 19 distinct languages
  • Variety of platforms
  • Bite-sized lessons


  • Can feel overly gamified
  • Not for someone who needs to learn a language quickly
  • Requires external practice to master a language

My teenage brother isn’t allowed to play online games. So he plays Duolingo.

The popular language-learning app gamifies learning with bright colors, shiny medals, and sound effects (ping, whoosh, ta-da). It’s free, and it gives constant positive reinforcement. There’s an audible back and forth. Some prompts require you to speak in order to make it to the next question. You read, you actively recall what you’ve learned through in-app quizzes, and you learn.

Still, Duolingo’s gamification is not for everyone. Serious learners may find the program to be overly quizzical, vexed by the idea of levels and a progress system. In this review, I’ll approach it as a complete

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