Duolingo On The Go
I’ve previously written about the free language learning service Duolingo and this week I’m doing a follow up post focused on their newly released iPhone app. Duolingo offers a way to learn languages at your own pace through lessons that combine reading, writing, listening and speaking practice drills as well as translation exercises. In the short time since it originally debuted in private beta a little less than a year ago, the service has expanded to include English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese lessons with Italian lessons scheduled to be released before the end of the year. New features have been added regularly, including most recently the ability to time exercise. All of these features combined make for a very impressive language learning tool, particularly given that the service is completely free. But, the launch of the iPhone app has made the process of learning a language vastly more convenient.
The app easily connects with an existing Duolingo account so that you can seamlessly track your progress wherever you work on lessons. While the look and feel of the app closely tracks that of the browser-based version of the tool, the company has clearly put thought into how to best translate this functionality into an app. Lesson content has been streamlined, with students able to click on some words, such as articles, to limit the amount of typing that is necessary. The app also allows you to access accents by touching the corresponding letter for an extended period of time, which works around the added complication of typing accented letters on a smartphone. The images and layout of the screen take full advantage of the screen dimensions without being so busy that content is lost in the shuffle and the app checks responses almost as quickly as the browser-based tool. Whether you are already a fan of Duolingo or just starting out this app is a great way to get started with these languages while on the go. The only limitation is that the app is currently only available for iPhones, with no corresponding version for iPads or other mobile devices (though there are plans to release an Android version of the app in 2013). I would highly recommend trying Duolingo out if you are interested in learning or practicing any of the available languages.