The Duolingo language learning app has become one of the most reliable sources for people to improve their language skills. Duolingo offers lessons in over 20 languages through short games and challenges for all ages and language skills.
But it’s not the right solution for everyone – and it’s okay! You can try many other completely free language learning apps.
So, here are the best free options for Duolingo.
Why use the free Duolingo option?
Let’s start with why you might want to use the Duolingo option.
Duolingo is completely free, which is amazing. Although the company experimented with using in-app purchases like badly received health bars and gems, these are now long gone. The introduction of these “for progress” restrictions saw many users leave Duolingo.
Now the intrusive charges are gone, why would you use the Duolingo option?
One, the depth of Duolingo courses. Duolingo claims that “34 hours of Duolingo equals the entire university semester of language instruction,” complete supporting research [PDF].
The proposal means that Duolingo is more effective than a college language course that costs more, takes longer, and requires you to move.
Retired language professor Steven Sacco put the theory to the test.
Sacco studied Swedish in the Duolingo app for 300 hours (most of the leading Swedish college courses require about 150 hours of course work, so he doubled it), and then passed the final exam in UCLA, which has begun. What happened?
Despite 300 hours of research, despite Sacco’s history in which he was immersed in language and linguistics, he took home F.
This is one of Duolingo’s main criticisms. It’s a way to learn a language when it’s a tool you should use as part of a broader learning experience.
I don’t knock on Duolingo. I use it myself. But it is not the only free language learning tool.
1. Online Communities
One of the best ways to learn a new language is to surround yourself with other people with similar goals. Language learners ’online communities are great resources for learning tips and tricks on effective language learning, practicing speaking your native speakers with speakers, and discovering other good learning opportunities online and offline.
This highly active forum provides language learners with a place to practice their writing skills in any language of their choice, connect with language partners, post information about their language learning trips, and learn about the success of others.
Like most Reddit communities, this subsection is a mix of topics and discussions. Many posts recommend resources for continuous language learning, share personal accomplishments, or ask questions to nearly 100,000 community members.
This free language exchange community focuses on removing a language from a page and discussing it. The site offers opportunities for video calls or meetings in person, as well as free lessons and corrections for native speakers.
If you have difficulty “hearing” your native language while reading it, this site can be a savior. You can already record online recordings to hear how different Accents sound in your target language as you read the accompanying transcript. You can also send your own texts in your native language to speakers to read and record your own voice for others who are looking for help.
If you want a game-type language learning environment, consider Mango languages. This program is available for free through many library systems and offers language learning opportunities in over 70 languages.
The program is intuitive to use and prioritizes culturally and conversationally relevant language skills. In addition, Mango recognizes that you cannot access the library on a daily basis. Once you start the course, you can use your library credentials with Mango Languages iOS and Android apps. This way you can continue learning at home.
While this site is not an aesthetically pleasing option on this list, it is difficult to beat the quality of its resources. Public courses for the Foreign Policy Institute, the Defense Language Institute, and peacekeeping forces provide PDF guides in numerous languages and dialects.
Some long for it, you can also use multiple audio files and training materials.
Duolingo is missing in some areas. Fortunately, you can use Memrise alongside Duolingo to give your language learning an even better ball area. Guiding you through individual words and phrases with a flash card-based system, Memrise can help expand your vocabulary alongside other language learning opportunities.
Many users say that Memrise helps you learn and speak a language like indigenous and local people, which is different from Duolingo’s design.
The Memrise interface is easy to navigate and you will find a wide range of languages and courses ready to learn.
If you want to learn on the go or simply hear, you might want to check out the language learning podcasts. As you might expect, the world of podcasting has great resources for learning a new language. Here are three language learning podcasts to get you started.
Are you starting to learn a new language? You should check out the Innovative Language 101 series of podcasts. The series has a comprehensive list of languages, and each podcast has an overview of the language, learning tips, and more.
The goal of coffee break languages is to teach you a new language during your coffee break. Listen to a new podcast in your language every day and you will learn a new word, phrase or otherwise. The beauty of the Coffee Break Languages campaign is length. It’s short, to the point, and really only takes a coffee break.
Linguistica 360’s Slow News series is a great way to learn contextually. Instead of listening to a new expression, News in Slow discusses news daily in Spanish, French, Italian or German.
The idea is that you can relate to the news, so you create a stronger connection to the spoken language.
No matter what combination of online and offline language learning resources you use, YouTube would be your choice. You can learn almost anything on YouTube
10 interesting things you can learn on YouTube
, and the new language is no exception.
Nowhere else on the web do you have so much access to native speakers who speak on any imaginable topic. Whether you’re watching certain language learning videos, news, or TV shows, YouTube makes it easy to practice your new language.
Many say that the best and fastest way to learn a new language is by immersion. Heading to the nearest country that speaks the language you want is not always possible. Next, it’s best to speak the language directly to native speakers.
The HelloTalk app connects you to people around the world who speak the language you want to learn. The idea is that you teach each other your native languages and thus help you understand the conversation one by one.
With over 18 million users and over 150 languages to worry about, you’ll find someone to help you learn a new language.
Should you use a paid language learning service instead?
The language learning resources above are free. Some of them also offer a paid service, but you will find that you can learn a considerable amount without ever diving into your pocket.
However, paid language learning services exist for a reason. If they didn’t offer an excellent service that also includes results, they wouldn’t survive.
Julie Hansen, CEO of the USA Babbel (one of the most reliable paid language learning services currently available online) states that:
“Surface language applications may look similar, but they are not. Babbel teaches really useful content that can be applied to a real situation. . . When you look at other language apps teaching you to say useless phrases like “penguin drinks milk,” it’s clear that Babbel is the most effective app for learning a new language in an appropriate way. None of our content is machine- or user-created, and all of Babbel’s courses are created and customized for each combination by a team of over 150 linguists and teachers. “
If you are a serious language learner and have the financial resources, there are many good reasons to invest your money in genuine language learning experiences through either an app, a university course, or an immersion experience.
But for casual language learners or those with no extra income, there are plenty of great options available.
What is the best Duolingo option?
Finding a Duolingo option may not be the best way to learn a language. Sure, this article is about the best free Duolingo options. There are also many of them.
However, you should consider Duolingo as one aspect of the free language learning path, not the focus. For example, here are a number of more Duolingo options you can use your language skills.
If you want to learn more, check out the best mobile apps for learning and improving English
8 best mobile apps for learning and improving English
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