Travel App Review Series by Jon—the Roaming Husband

Does Duolingo work? The answer to this question is more complex than it seems. The Duolingo app helps you learn a language through quick little sessions where you practice vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Currently, Duolingo is one of the most popular language learning apps boasting more than 300 million Android, iOS, and Windows users.

The creators of Duolingo have made it very easy to set up an account and customize daily goals. This language app is designed like a game with a reward system in place to give your brain that much needed hit of dopamine to keep you coming back for more! Every day you hit your goal, you are rewarded with ‘lingots,’ which you can use to purchase different items from the application. Lingots offer the ability to unlock bonus skills and purchase things like the very important ‘Streak Freeze.’ This is insurance in case you forget to complete a lesson for a day.

Duolingo, like many other language apps, offers a paid version. For a price, you can have an ad-free learning experience and also the ability to download lessons for offline use. Personally, the paid version of Duolingo doesn’t make sense for me because I am rarely without internet.

One of the features of the Duolingo app that I love is Tinycards! This is a free language app that works with Duolingo and offers flashcards which match up with the lesson you are currently completing. The reason why Tinycards works well for me is that I learn most effectively through repetition. I would highly recommend using Tinycards in conjunction with Duolingo. It really helps to reinforce current lesson vocabulary.

I using Duolingo and Tinycards to learn Italian…and have a 415-day streak! When I went to Italy last year I was surprised at how much the app had helped me. By no means was I fluent, but I could read signs and menus with a little more ease. I found that this actually gave me a bit more confidence, and in turn, lowered my language barrier anxiety level. Another positive result I noticed was that most locals appreciate tourists who try to learn the native language and are more helpful to those individuals.

Verdict: So, is Duolingo worth space on your phone? In my experience, Duolingo does work. It will give the user a basic understanding of vocabulary and sentence structure. However, if you are looking to have conversational skills you will need to supplement Duolingo with an online or face-to-face language class. After everything is said and done, I have to say that this is one on the most useful travel apps that I have on my phone!

**This blog was brought to you by Jon, the Roaming Husband, as part of his new series on travel apps & other travel tips.

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