Duolingo: Learn Languages Free
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Duolingo: Learn Languages Free is an excellent language-learning app for middle schoolers and older kids (and grown-ups, too). Kids can choose from many languages -- including Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, and French -- using a fun, game-style system that's very encouraging. Email registration is required, but push notifications asking users to keep practicing are optional. Kids will appreciate the gentle, positive approach to mastering a language, and they'll want to move through the levels, gaining skills along the way.
What's it about?
DUOLINGO: LEARN LANGUAGES FREE packs lots of language learning into an easy-to-grasp mind-map layout. After email registration and a quick but detailed level selection, English-speaking kids can select from a list of languages -- including Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, and French -- while speakers of these languages (plus Romanian, Turkish, and Polish) can select English (though instructions are still partially in English).
Lessons ask kids to type or select translations for missing words, select a picture to match a word, or listen and type translations. Themes cover basics, phrases, animals, transportation, sports, money, and much more. Feedback is immediate; kids will hear a happy "ding-dong" sound for correct answers. Incorrect answers are followed by a low tone, an x, and, the correct answer. Mini-lessons and hints pop up at appropriate learning moments. You can navigate freely within four groups of themes but must complete the whole group before moving to the next. Kids also can choose to test out when they feel confident about a particular theme.
Is it any good?
Duolingo: Learn Languages Free is truly a fantastic app, packing many European languages plus English and full-sentence learning into an easy-to-grasp visual map. Many themes, immediate and gentle feedback, mini-lesson pop-ups, and hints at just the right moment make for a consistent and meaningful experience. Kids will stay motivated despite the lack of games partly because they can compete with other users anonymously or find friends via email. Kids also can switch to any of the other languages at any time and still maintain their progress in the one they've left.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the process of learning a language and do it together. Learn a language along with your kid and compete on the app, and then challenge each other to keep up a conversation in real life.
Watch a film in the language your kids are studying. See how much they can pick up, and then turn on subtitles to check their skills.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Windows Phone
- Subjects: Language & Reading: speaking, vocabulary
Social Studies: cultural understanding, global awareness
- Skills: Self-Direction: academic development, achieving goals, personal growth
Communication: conveying messages effectively, listening, speaking
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: March 10, 2014
- Category: Education
- Size: 19.10 MB
- Publisher: Duolingo
- Version: 4.0.2
- Minimum software requirements: Android 2.2 and up; iOS 6.0 or later
For kids who love language learning
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.