Pros and Cons of Duolingo, the Language Learning Website



Learning a second language can be extremely difficult for some, especially when they don’t live in the country or region that speaks it natively. Many look to online sources to help them gain the vocabulary and grammar rules of the language. Duolingo is on the these sites and after a few months of using it I have a pros and cons list to share. Did you use the site? Comment below! Is the app for smart phones different (better or worse), comment that below too!

Pro: Several Different Languages to Choose From

I know this is different depending on the country you’re in; in America the standard second language is either French or Spanish. Sometimes if you stay slightly you’ll get Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic, German, and even Russian in some places. Duolingo has several options like Swedish, Vietnamese, Polish, Dutch, Korean, Hungarian, even Klingon and other options that aren’t the same old French or Spanish. They are even experimenting with a new language that is supposedly brining world peace by combining English, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, and other languages around the world to promote better understanding around the world. There are so many options to choose from, so why not choose one of the different ones?

Pro: Easy Access and User Interface

While it’s another username and password, all you need is an email address and you’re done. It’s easy to click on the little circles to gain vocabulary and grammar such as “clothing” or “plurals.” You always know what you’re learning and they often include lessons inside of lessons so it’s easier to learn! It's also available for your phone and your computer.

Con: Spelling Counts

If you ever type on a computer or on your phone you know that sometimes you can easily hit a wrong key, making a spelling error. Duolingo rarely makes up for these errors. Sometimes it doesn’t give you the spelling of the foreign word so make sure you triple check the spelling!

Con: Must Repeating Lessons in Order to Keep Moving On

Once you complete a lesson it shows that it’s up to “full strength.” The website also “warns” you to keep up those full strength bars because words can fade from your memory if you don’t use it. There has been several times when I return the next day only to find it isn’t near “full strength” at all! I’d have to retest several times in order to keep up those levels when I just learned those words the day before. In recent times I once returned an hour later only to find I was below “full strength” again. It was becoming to get annoying having to test and retest things I just learned just to make sure they stayed in “full strength” mode. No one else seemed to complain about this so it could just be me.

Con: Sound Problems

Others have complained about this too, just google “Duolingo sound not working” and you’ll get dozens of answers. On one of my computers the sound works perfectly. Unfortunately I can’t access this computer all the time. The other computer I have (the one I use the most and do have access 24/7) the sound doesn’t work at all. Youtube, Facebook videos, movies, they all sound just fine on that computer but Duolingo has no sound on it at all. This wouldn’t be such a problem if they didn’t have test questions such as “type what you hear.” I have no idea what the robot speaking Swedish is saying…so I can’t type it out to answer the question. Once I actually guessed the correct answer! When these happen you have to click the little “skip” button and then I get thrown back several more questions until it comes up again and I have to click “skip” again and on and on.

Con: It’s a Robot Talking

While the website is made by native speakers and those who actually already know and understand the language…the sound that comes from the website is robotic. It’s sometimes difficult to understand exactly what it’s saying because it doesn’t enunciate like a human would. I can’t tell you how many times I couldn't understand what it was saying.

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