What is Duolingo? | Blockchain.News


Website: https://www.duolingo.com/
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  • Updated:3/3/2024
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Duolingo is a free language-learning platform that offers over 100 different language courses across more than 30 languages. The courses are designed to make language-learning accessible, fun, and effective through bite-sized lessons, gamification, and adaptive learning technology.


Duolingo was founded in 2011 by Luis von Ahn, Severin Hacker, and Antoine Bricks. Von Ahn is a Guatemalan American entrepreneur and computer scientist known for inventing CAPTCHAs and reCAPTCHA. The inspiration for Duolingo came from von Ahn's desire to develop a free language-learning tool that could promote education in developing countries.

Duolingo launched in private beta in November 2011 with courses for English speakers learning Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian. In June 2012, Duolingo opened to the public with those initial 5 language courses. Since then, the platform has continued to expand and now offers over 100 total courses.


  • Gamified lessons - Duolingo lessons are presented in the form of fun mini-games and quizzes to engage users.
  • Bite-sized content - Lessons are short, requiring just 5-10 minutes per session.
  • Adaptive learning - The app tailors lessons based on individual strengths and weaknesses.
  • Progress tracking - Users earn points and track progress to stay motivated.
  • Free access - All language courses are 100% free to use.
  • Variety of languages - Duolingo supports learning for over 30 languages.
  • Offline access - Lessons can be downloaded for offline use.

Learning Methodology

Duolingo's methodology is centered around gamification, spaced repetition, and active learning. The app uses game-like features and quizzes to engage users and encourage habit formation. Lessons are repeated over time through spaced repetition to aid memorization. And users actively produce the language by speaking, reading, writing, and listening.

This overall methodology aims to make language-learning feel more like a game than traditional textbook study. The app strives to keep users motivated through points, level progression, and streaks for consistent practice.


Duolingo offers courses for over 30 languages spanning multiple language families including:

  • Romance languages like Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.
  • Germanic languages like German, English, and Dutch.
  • Slavic languages like Russian and Polish.
  • Asian languages like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

The courses are mainly tailored for English speakers learning a new language, but some are available for other language combinations as well. Each language course is developed by a team of expert linguists and language teachers.


Multiple studies have found Duolingo to be an effective language-learning tool. A 2017 study by the University of South Carolina showed that 34 hours of Duolingo study equated to a full university semester of language education. Another study by the University of Pittsburgh found vocabulary gains and reading comprehension improvements from using Duolingo.

However, some experts debate how fully Duolingo can develop conversational fluency on its own. Many see Duolingo as best used to build a language foundation, with real world conversation practice still recommended to achieve fluency.


Duolingo is available both on the web and as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. This makes the platform easily accessible for language learners on the go. The mobile apps include features like offline downloads and push notifications to support learning on-the-go.

Duolingo is also completely free to use, with the option of paid subscriptions for an ad-free experience and additional features. This free accessibility helps promote education equality.


Duolingo is an innovative platform that has made language-learning fun, effective, and accessible for millions worldwide. With its engaging gamified lessons, adaptive learning technology, and variety of language courses, Duolingo aims to make personal language education free for all. While practice is still required to master conversing in a new language, Duolingo provides an easy first step towards fluency.

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