Young_man_thinking_in_Duolingo

You may have a bunch of questions in mind. Can you really learn a language with Duolingo? Accordingly, can you become fluent with Duolingo? Can you rely only on Duolingo?

Anyone who wants to learn a language should immediately go to Duolingo. They should check if the platform supports the language they want to learn. And if it is, they should enroll in Duolingo’s course.

To check which languages are available on Duolingo, please click here. They have quite a variety of European and Asian languages. Duolingo even has fictional languages such as Klingon and High Valyrian. So chances are that the language you’re looking for is there.

In case you don’t know, you can complete all Duolingo courses in any language, completely free. And especially beginners will greatly gain from this platform.

Simple answer: Don’t rely only on Duolingo. Why?

Despite all the pros Duolingo has, it can only take you so far. I say this based on my own experience using the platform. There are aspects of learning a language that you’ll never learn with Duolingo.

Duolingo has a gamified approach (making it cool and even a bit addictive). Because of this, you may fall into the trap of feeling it’s all you need.

Learning a language:

Learning a language is like crossing a big valley. You will need certain tools and equipment to make it possible. Trying to cross this valley only with Duolingo will leave you halfway.

Crossing_a_valley_with_Duolingo

Don’t fall into this trap:

Based on pure convenience, you may close your eyes and fold your arms. And you may ignore the attentiveness you need to apply in searching for other courses. Relying only on Duolingo means staying in the comfort zone. And that has a price. In this case, relying only on Duolingo will cause you to never advance past an intermediate level.

I’m telling you all this having used Duolingo for several years myself. But by no means am I the only one that has arrived at this conclusion.

Several respected learning language sites present this same idea. Here is an example that you could check out. Benny Lewis, the Irish polyglot, published a post by a guest writer, Agnieszka Murdoch. She is from 5minutelanguage and recommends Duolingo as well, but never as a sole resource. She states in that post:

“Duolingo is not a stand-alone language course, but it’s an excellent addition to a language learner’s toolbox. It’s easy to use, it’s fun and it works. Don’t forget to do the homework, though. If you aim to achieve real fluency, remember to read, speak, and truly live the language that you’re learning!”

Agnieszka Murdoch

What does Duolingo say about its reach?

Duolingo is capable of covering a limited range. But this is not my mere opinion or any other blogger’s interpretation. Moreover, this should not be surprising. The very founder and CEO of Duolingo, Luis von Ahn, promises this about his platform. We quote him referring to the realistic results any person can achieve with the platform:

“Get users to a level between advanced beginner and early intermediate”.

Luis von Ahn, Duolingo CEO

A little example here:

Do you like examples? Let’s go back a few years to the time when you were a first grader. Your first-grade book was useful for the year you were in first grade. But relying on it when you were starting high school would not make much sense.

Duolingo will introduce you to the language. There is a lifetime journey ahead of Duolingo.

Completing the Duolingo tree:

Some may suggest that it would be a good idea to complete the Duolingo tree for the language you’re learning. I maintain that once you’re halfway down that tree, you must add other practice tools that suit you. Finish the tree (please do, we should finish the goals we set), but don’t rely only on it!

My concern is that you lose momentum and start feeling stuck. Take advantage of the cool way Duolingo gives you a head start when you’re a complete beginner. It gets you to an early intermediate level in a relatively short time. But don’t stay there, right away incorporate other more advanced tools.

Searching for other language tools:

Have you begun learning a language with Duolingo? Excellent! Soon after beginning your journey, start searching for further courses. You need these to help you with the next stages of your learning.

I know that searching for more courses may be a bit tedious. And especially when you feel you’re progressing comfortably with Duolingo. But if you don’t want to start feeling stuck one year ahead from now, it’s time to begin searching.

Good news:

We have done part of this homework for you. Therefore, we have searched the Internet and have a list of recommended courses. Click here to check them out. And you can join them all for free. So don’t hesitate to look at this list. I encourage you to start complimenting your learning with these other good platforms.

We wish you all the best.

Wrapping up:

If you decide NOT to join Duolingo, there are many useful (and even unique) features that you’re missing. But if you decide to STICK ONLY with Duolingo, you’ll be limiting your possibilities.

My recommendation is clear: Duolingo is a must for anybody learning a language. Even so, it’s not a stand-alone learning language course. I followed your guideline and translate it as short as possible.


10 Comments

Harish · March 1, 2020 at 1:32 AM

Hi! Duolingo is a must for anybody learning a language. But, as you have stated, you must also use other tools while you’re learning with Duolingo. It’s not a stand alone course.

I like the fact that this introductory course is free. It gives anybody a chance to get started with a language around the world, no matter what his economic condition is. I think that was one of Luis von Ahn’s inspirations to create Duolingo, to make learning the basics of languages accessible to the whole world.

    Jonathan Henry · March 1, 2020 at 1:53 AM

    Hi! Yes, Lui von Ahn wanted to create a platform that offered free resources to learn languages. He was born in Guatemala and knows how students from poor countries around the world struggle to learn languages.

shrey · March 1, 2020 at 2:05 AM

I have tried Duolingo to learn German and it did help me A LOT with the basics. I was interested in learning more but it does limit you a bit. For conversational purposes it’s not very helpful.

I do agree with the points mentioned here but I would have to say the app is amazing for beginners to get acquainted with the language.

    Jonathan Henry · March 1, 2020 at 2:34 AM

    Hi! Thank you for sharing your experience learning German. Yes, it fails a bit concerning conversational purposes but it’s excellent for beginners getting their feet wet.

JULIUS · March 1, 2020 at 2:07 AM

I would personally like to learn the basics of Italian and Hebrew as I have been secretly planning to go on vacations to Italy and Israel. It’s a surprise trip for all my family, as my wife has relatives in both countries.

I had been deciding between purchasing a course such as Rosetta Stone or something similar or go with the free courses. What would you recommend? I just want to learn the basics.

    Jonathan Henry · March 1, 2020 at 4:41 AM

    Hi! Duolingo is perfect for learning the basics of any language. So you must definitely give them a try. And after a few months using Duolingo, we’ll see if you’re satisfied with your progress or want something more specifically. Please keep tuned.

Imelda · July 13, 2020 at 2:45 PM

Due to lock-down, I suppose many people are looking into learning different things and another language would be mine. My mother learns French and was aware of Duolingo and used it alongside on lessons and has improved quite a lot. I on the other hand will look into getting this to help me learn Italian but I will take your advice and have other options too.

Thank you so much.

    Jonathan Henry · July 13, 2020 at 4:58 PM

    Hi Imelda,

    I’m glad to hear that both your mom and you are using Duolingo. Thanks for stopping by and following my advice. Feel free to continue visiting our site and all the best learning Italian.

Jay · August 3, 2020 at 11:13 PM

Hello Jo. It’s good to see that you have a good review of Duolingo. When I wanted to start learning a new language, I was told to try the platform out because of its popularity and it’s good reputation. I think however that it is important for me not to restrict myself to that or else I will not find another platform to learn from just like you have said here and I will make sure to let that stick to my head. This is some really good stuff and I am very happy to learn to.

    Jonathan Henry · August 3, 2020 at 11:31 PM

    Hi Jay,

    yes Duolingo is a good platform but should not be used alone. All the best learning your new language.

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