App review: Duolingo’s free download is worth your time
Learning another language can be a hassle, especially to those over the age of ten. Our brains no longer the absorbent sponges of our Sesame Street hay days.
Many students enter college, realize, “I need six credit hours of a foreign language to graduate,” and begin the arduous days of learning to say “me llamo” or “me gusta” for semesters on end.
Duolingo is an app that teaches users how to speak, read and write English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese. It is available for free download on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
Downloading the app takes a few minutes, and immediately the learning can begin. Users begin with simple and basic phrases and work their way up through more complicated lessons, such as prepositions and pronouns.
Lessons are divided into four different types of exercises: translation, listening, matching and speaking. A lot of the vocabulary on the app, such “cat,” dog” and “elephant” seem a little useless, given that these will not be the terms you rely on the most should you ever visit Paris or Montreal.
The voice used is quite robotic and not the way it would sound in conversation.
The interface is very user-friendly, and the app is not prone to technical problems. Users can set daily goals and will receive a daily reminder from a “coach” who looks like an owl.
Obviously, this app will not replace learning a language with the help of a certified instructor or a program such as Rosetta Stone. However, Duolingo is a free and useful resource for anyone looking to boost their language learning experience.