Flying over a mountain with Duolingo

Can you rely only on Duolingo?

You may have a bunch of questions in mind. Can you 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 that interests them. And if it is available, they should enroll in the Duolingo 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 there is a high chance that the language you are looking for is there.

In case you do not know, you can complete all Duolingo courses in any language, completely free. And beginners will particularly benefit from this platform.

Simple answer: Do not 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 will never get with Duolingo.

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

Learning a language:

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


Do not 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, depending only on Duolingo will cause you to never advance past an intermediate level.

I am telling you all this because I took Duolingo lessons for several years. 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 us go back a few years to when you were a first grader. Your first-grade book was helpful during the time 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 are learning. I maintain that once you are 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 do not rely only on it!

My concern is that you lose momentum and start feeling stuck. Take advantage of how Duolingo gives you a head start when you are a complete beginner. It gets you to an early intermediate level in a relatively short time. But do not stay there. Immediately 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. They are a must to help you with the following stages of your learning.

I know that searching for more courses may be a bit tedious. And especially when you feel you are progressing comfortably with Duolingo. But if you do not want to start feeling stuck one year ahead from now, it is 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 do not 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 helpful (and even unique) features that you are missing. But if you are determined to STICK ONLY with Duolingo, you will be limiting your possibilities.

My recommendation is clear: Duolingo is a must for anybody learning a language. Even so, it is not a stand-alone learning language course.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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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