Duolingo: Language Instruction Goes Mobile with New App
About a month ago, we suggested a new way to learn a language at absolutely no cost called Duolingo. The site works by combining language learning and crowd-sourced translation service, in which users train themselves in a new language by translating documents submitted to Duolingo. Blending these two services not only allows users to learn Spanish, French, Portuguese and German for free, but also provides a great way of applying your new vocabulary in a real-world situation, and view how other users translated the same thing to help make sure you’re getting it right. While we loved the website version of Duolingo, its creators have now released a new, free app for iOS that will help you learn a new language while waiting for the bus.
In terms of functionality, the app works in essentially the same way as the website. Users earn skill points by completing lessons in the forms of puzzles and short games, as well as practicing new vocabulary words, which are used to unlock new sections of their skill tree. Then, you may begin practicing translating actual documents that help cement the material in an actual, real-world applicable way that is atypical of other language learning software. A new feature for the mobile version, however, is that these translations are performed by tapping on the appropriate words provided for a sentence rather than having to type it all out with your thumbs. While arguably easier than having to type it all out yourself, it’s a nice time saving feature.
So if you’re a student of foreign languages, gearing up for a year abroad, or just curious about learning a new langauge, definitely give it a try and let us know what you think. Unfortunately, no app is currently available for the Android, but Duolingo promises that an Android version will be out early next year.