What is Duolingo?

By Katrina - March 01, 2019

There are roughly 6,500 languages spoken on planet Earth. Language is a special and unique human ability. As adults, we remember our days in school when different languages were shoved at us in bland, uninspiring ways, and we probably hoped our hardest to pick up the language over time, just to barely get by and pass the class without really learning anything that stuck.

The travel bug has bitten us pretty hard as a family unit. We've travelled quite often every summer, and even visited France twice in one year for different reasons. My son would have a sudden interest in learning the languages of the various countries we would travel to, and I didn't want to give the chance for that inspiration to go away so when a friend recommended an app called Duolingo, we decided to give it a try.

Duolingo is a free app to download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Duolingo provides kids, and adults with a fun and quick daily lesson in the language of your choice in a simple format. Duolingo does have the option for a payment plan that provides you a user experience that is ad free and comes with no limit of "health". When you make an error in your lessons you end up losing "health" and thus when you run out of "health" you need to wait a certain time before you can continue your lesson or onto the next lesson.

My son has been on Duolingo for about 1 month now. I have set him up on a 10 minutes lesson per day and he is learning French. The language was his choice. He is excited to learn the language and looks forward to his lessons. Duoolingo sends a reminder daily for a time that you set up within the system. I have found the reminder to be excellent. When my son hears my phone ding the unique Duolingo ringtone, he knows it's time for his lesson and begins it on his own.

I have found Duolingo to be effective in the sense that my son is having fun, interested in a language, and is being exposed to it in a way that keeps him engaged. My son is proud of his progress and talks about how he can't wait to go back to France and talk to the locals. He may need a lot more practice before he's ready for that, but for an app to give a child the key to communicating with people around the world, it's a dream come true and something I am thankful to have. Being multilingual has too many benefits to name, so putting our children on the path to be interested in learning another language is a gift that I am thankful for.

Being bilingual myself, I know how special it is to know more than one language. I have always wanted to pick up Spanish and even though I went through Spanish through schooling and have retained a very tiny bit of the language, Duolingo has given me a little push to start Spanish lessons on their platform for myself.

There are many language platforms that are available to the public, so it's up to you to do some research and decide which one will meet your specific needs. Keep in mind that they don't all cost the same. If you have never heard of Duolingo, I hope my post has inspired you to do some digging into the app and maybe even to try it out for yourself! Let me know if you're a DuoLingo-er! I would love to hear about your experience!


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