App of the Week: Duolingo

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By Igor Magun

If you’re looking to learn a new language, or brush up on one you already know, Duolingo is a great app for the job.

The app can teach 13 different languages to English speakers, including French, German and Spanish. It can also teach in 21 languages other than English, although the languages that can be taught will vary.

Duolingo divides languages up into skills, each of which has a series of lessons. The lessons ask you to type out translations, as well as read sentences into the microphone to test pronunciation. If you get anything wrong, it will take you through more practice before allowing you to pass. Over time, it will remind you to come back to skills you have already completed to strengthen them.

Lessons are short, typically taking less than five minutes each. To help ensure you practice the language regularly, Duolingo will ask you to set a goal for how many lessons you’d like to complete each day. It can also send you reminders at a preset time.
Progress is rewarded using a virtual currency called Lingots. These are earned upon finishing a new skill and after 10 days in a row of meeting your lesson goal. Lingots can be used to purchase additional skills, like idioms and proverbs. They can also be used to keep your streak going for a single day of inactivity.

Duolingo is available for free on the iOS App Store, Android’s Google Play, and the Windows Store. A web version is also available.

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