Learn Spanish, German and French for free on your phone with Duolingo!
Claiming to “change the way people learn languages”, Duolingo has been running for a while, and has been lauded as an “elegant solution” to 2 problems – helping people learn languages, and translating foreign language texts on the web.
For example, if you’re a native English speaker who wants to learn Spanish, it gives you Spanish sentences from around the web that are relevant to your level, along with a crib sheet of words that you may not know. After you’ve finished, it then highlights words that you had trouble with and gives you more real-world examples of their usage. As you translate more sentences, you not only learn new vocabulary, but you’re also helping out with translating Spanish websites into English!
Now the iPhone app is out, and like the website, it is 100% free.
Duolingo certainly is a practical and elegant way to learn a new language, though whether it’s the most effective technique for learning a language is doubtful. However, it “gameifies” the language learning process, by making it more fun and interactive, and allowing you to “level up”, compete with your friends, and generally give the user an addictive way to improve their language skills. The fact that it also has the side effect of helping translate the web is a huge bonus.
You can learn more about Duolingo by watching this video: