ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Duolingo-Learn Spanish, English and German for Free

Updated on June 2, 2012

Have you always wanted to learn a foreign language? If you are anything like me, it's been on your to do list for a while now, maybe several years. Becoming bilingual may pave the way for new opportunities and career advancements. Do you dream about traveling to another country? Possibly you just enjoy learning new things.

Learning a language is hard work and takes time most people just don't have. Traditionally you have the option of taking a class, hiring a private tutor, or buying software that can be quite expensive. Of course there are free options for self learners, but I've found them quite boring. It's hard to stick with something that doesn't capture my attention.

I recently got an invitation to try out the new website Duolingo. Right now the site offers free courses in Spanish, German and English. There are plans to add other languages such as Chinese, Portuguese, French and Italian. I've only had the chance to poke around the site for a few days, but so far I really like what I see.

Interactive learning is a growing trend among educators at every level. It incorporates traditional methods of learning with new technologies. For self learners just hoping to pick up a new skill in their spare time, the advantages are clear. Interactive learning works because it's enjoyable. You want to learn, therefore your more engaged and receptive to new knowledge. Duolingo incorporates several interactive approaches, along with the ability to go at your own pace.

Gain Knowledge While Helping Out

The creator of Duolingo, Luis von Ahn a professor from Carnegie Mellon, wanted to find a way to translate pages from around the web, and do it for free. That's a pretty ambitious goal, but Duolingo seems up to the task.

The site makes learning a new language while simultaneously translating the web fun. Interactive learning make the experience feel as much like a game as instruction. To take in the whole experience you'll want to turn on you computer speakers and have a mic handy. Besides learning to read and write in a foreign language, the site allows users to test their recognition of spoken words and phrases, and even see if their pronunciation is up to snuff.

The theory is you can help out a good cause, translating the web, while acquiring a new skill. It's a win-win.

Duolingo is great for busy people without time to commit to traditional methods of learning. Users can go at their own pace, repeating information until they feel comfortable before moving on. There is a social component as well. You can show off to friends on social media sites like Facebook, alerting them whenever you've advance to a new level. Compete with friends to see who progresses the fastest.

There are pictures to view along with new words that you can hear as well as see, reinforcing vocabulary and ensuring you'll retain what you've learned.

If you make a mistake, no big deal, but if you make too many you'll have to do the lesson over. Couple that with the points and trophies users get for completing lessons and Duolingo starts to sound more like a game, and less like a chore.

Just to give you an idea of how much fun this site makes an otherwise tedious task seem, I let my 11 year old test it out. He loved it, and in fact I had to chase him off the computer after an hour! We've both decided to try and learn some Spanish over the summer.

Besides just being a great concept, and free to boot, Duolingo scores points with overall ease of use. There is nothing complicated to wade through. It's simple to sign up, so you are learning while playing within seconds.The uncluttered design is also a plus. I love the little owl that guides you along each lesson!

Right now the site is still in private beta, but scheduled to go live in just a few weeks. You can sign up for an invitation, or wait until the official release.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ASchwartz profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Kentucky

      I'm hoping they bring French on in the future. I took it all through high school, but could definitely use a refresher. Thanks for stopping by.

    • catholicconvert profile image


      6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for the tip! I've been wanting to learn Italian, actually, but Spanish would probably be useful in my teaching. Might give it a go!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)