Why DuoLingo is the Actual Best

Duolingo is a language-learning website (and app, although I don’t use the app as much) that –finally–makes learning new words somehow both easy and fun. Here are four reasons why I love it.

italy street

The Italian alleys that I’ll be able to navigate with ease, thanks to Duolingo….

1) It works.

I love the idea of knowing another language, but I have failed to actually learn one over and over again.

With Duolingo, which I started using abroad about two years ago and have picked up again this summer, a little bit of Italian has actually stuck.

It may not be the best/most efficient/most pedagogically correct tool out there, but I can stick with it, and that makes all the difference.

2) It’s fun.

Duolingo is like a game. You can set goals and collect points (for answering questions correctly) and rack up “lingots” (for completing levels or a certain number of days in a row). It tells you how “fluent” you are. There’s a graph that shows your progress day-to-day and noises that cheer you on as you race against the clock.

For the first time, I actually enjoy learning a language after the first three days.

3) It’s competitive.

I am incredibly competitive (sorry family) and Duolingo feeds that (sorry again). There’s a leaderboard that shows how you’re doing compared to your connections each day, week and month, and now that my whole family (including my father, who dropped about four language classes in college and now does Duolingo) is playing, I have incentive to learn my way to the top of the field.

The various language skills are grouped into categories (house, people, possessives, etc) and those turn gold once you’ve mastered them, but they also decay over time, meaning that you have to constantly be practicing to keep all your skills gold as well as to learn new ones. This is referred to as “gilding the tree” and it’s serious business (here’s a blog post on keeping your tree gold).

4) It’s collaborative.

While Duolingo does bring out my competitive side, it’s also incredibly collaborative, and this is more seamless than in any language-learning app I’ve used before. Users can leave comments, so you can see what people have written about a particular phrase and discern why it tripped you up, for example, or if it has a more colloquial meaning. The other/business side of Duolingo is translating the Internet, and you can earn points by doing that too. There are also discussion boards for more general topics and advice.


Duolingo is the first program, including Rosetta Stone, that has worked for me on a consistent basis. I’m nearly halfway through Italian now, and next I’m going to give German a shot–all the better for studying theology.

Happy travel Tuesday! Linking up with Bonnie, Sara, and Christine

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  • http://summerisntover.com Camilla | Summer Isn’t Over

    Duolinguo is a great app! I used to use it for Spanish and really need to get back into it.. thanks for the reminder!

    • http://livlovelaugh.com Olivia @ Liv, Love, Laugh

      Glad you were inspired! I set a daily goal and it keeps me motivated with reminders on my phone.

  • http://estrellaexplores.com/ Estrella

    I think Duollingo is one of the best language learning outs app there. It’s great for all the reasons you’ve listed above, plus the fact that’s its FREE! Can’t beat that lol

    • http://livlovelaugh.com Olivia @ Liv, Love, Laugh

      I can’t believe I forgot to mention it was free! Who doesn’t love free stuff?!

  • http://anestingnomad.com/ Rachel

    I love Duolingo! I was doing the German portion (trying to resurrect my very rusty schoolgirl language skills) and loved it, but fell out of the habit of using it recently. I liked that there was a speaking element too because you can be as proficient on paper as you like but be completely unable to get about in real life because your accent is atrocious!

    • http://livlovelaugh.com Olivia @ Liv, Love, Laugh

      That’s so true–a lot of the time I find I know vocabulary but stringing it together is intimidating, and Duolingo helps!

  • Alec Singletary

    Love this review! When I was living in Italy I always wanted something to help me with the language but sometimes its hard to stay motivated! I also really want to learn Spanish so I might need to check this out!! Stoping by from the Travel Tuesday linkup!

    • http://livlovelaugh.com Olivia @ Liv, Love, Laugh

      It’s definitely a great first step. Are you going to a Spanish-speaking country soon?

      • Alec Singletary

        I’m not actually sure where we are headed next but learning Spanish would just be helpful for me in general being from Texas! :)

        • http://livlovelaugh.com Olivia @ Liv, Love, Laugh

          Gotcha…very cool!

  • Becky @Disney in your Day

    What a great idea! I’m definitely going to look into this before I go to France next year.

    • http://livlovelaugh.com Olivia @ Liv, Love, Laugh

      Thanks, Becky! It’s a great program.

  • http://www.akeanesenseofadventure.com/ Christine | A Keane Sense

    Never head of Duolingo but definitely going to check out this afternoon! I took French all throughout highschool/college but am totally rusty now. I bought Rosetta Stone but never got in the habit of sitting down and using it.

  • http://www.sara-sees.com/ Sara @ Sara Sees

    I started learning Portuguese on Duolingo and it’s awesome! Granted, I already know Spanish so I skipped the first few lessons, but the app is seriously awesome!