Duolingo

Duolingo is available as both a website and an a free app for mobiles and tablets. It is an app that allows you to learn a language and I have to say it is absolutely fantastic. I love this app. It’s easy to use, no advanced knowledge of the language is required and it is brilliant thought out.

You start with either a basic level or you can take a short test – the test will then place you where it thinks you should go.

Duolingo is like a tree. you start off at a base and translate sentences which are broken down into lessons. Once you’ve finished all the lessons in a particular skill – that skill turns gold. Once you have completed a line of skills – a new line of skills appears. Each skill is a particularly topic – these start off easy like Basics and progress to harder ones like clothings, education and Verbs: Modal and Idioms.

The website and the app are slightly different and I recommend you use both. Firstly the app has a word pairing feature which I really like, it also has a sentence builder from preselected words. The website has an answer against the clock feature – which is really good at building up association with a word.

If you don’t understand something there is a forum where you can make a comment and others can help explain something to you. There is also (online) a skill overview which talks about the particular skill and gives you an overview of the grammar rules. The main why you learn with Duolingo thought is through try and error – like a child does.

The app is designed designed to get you from going from a complete beginner to relatively comfortable with a language. It doesn’t help towards giving you conversational skills – but it certainly helps you build up a vocabulary and increase your understanding of grammar. It’s not a complete programme for learning languages and you really do need to supplement it with other ways of learning a language. However considering it’s price tag (or nothing) it is certainly one of the best free ways to improve your language.

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