Nowadays, if you decide to learn another language via a mobile app, you will encounter many language learning apps available online. Among the most popular of these apps is Duolingo, an app that is used by hundreds of millions of language learners globally. 

Personally, I have used Duolingo to learn Korean in the past, and I’ve been impressed by how convenient it is to use. Mobile apps like Duolingo have become an alternative way to learn new languages at the comforts of your home instead of spending hours in classes, virtual or face to face.


Duolingo made language learning fun for me and something I look forward to whenever I have time to spend on it. Prior to using the app, I always thought studying a new language would be stressful and tedious. In this article, I will talk more about Duolingo.

  • What Is Duolingo, And How Did It Start?
  • What Makes Duolingo Different From Other Language Apps?
  • Duolingo’s User Interface And Lesson Structure
  • Downloading The Duolingo App To Your Mobile Device
  • Duolingo Plus Subscription And Its Perks
Learn Why Duolingo Is So Popular
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What Is Duolingo, And How Did It Start?

Duolingo is a language learning platform that is accessible via a website and mobile apps. It offers 106 different language courses available in 40 different languages, such as French, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.

Learn Why Duolingo Is So Popular
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These language courses were designed with different learning styles in mind, and the exercises within them are personalized based on the lessons that a user has taken so far. The advantage of Duolingo as an app is that it allows learners to start lessons and take breaks based on their convenience.


I received lessons and do exercises during work breaks, on my way to work, and while waiting for my appointment at the doctor’s office. 

One thing I find remarkable about the app is how I receive immediate feedback from exercise results, making it easier to learn from mistakes.

Brief History Of Duolingo

Duolingo began as a project by reCAPTCHA creator and Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn and his then-graduate student Severin Hacker in 2009. One of the reasons for the development of Duolingo was Von Ahn saw how people in his community in Guatemala struggled to learn English.


The project used Von Ahn’s MacArthur fellowship and a National Science Foundation grant as its initial funding. It eventually received millions in investments through several funding series.

Duolingo was officially launched in June 2012 and currently has over 300 million registered users globally. The company filed to go public on the Nasdaq exchange on June 28, 2021, under the ticker DUOL.

What Makes Duolingo Different From Other Language Apps?

I have tried several other language learning apps in the past, and I think that what makes Duolingo stand out is its gamified structure. Lessons are presented in the format of mobile video games so that learners are kept engaged and competitive.

Learn Why Duolingo Is So Popular
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The app also features a reward system to make things more interesting, where learners can earn gems or so-called lingots. This in-app currency can be used to buy things such as character customizations or bonus levels.

Skill level is measured by the number of experience points you earn while completing activities in the app. Users can also earn badges for accomplishing certain challenges or objectives.

Duolingo also has public leaderboards where people can see how they stack up against friends and other people learning the same language.

Learning A Language Takes Multiple Skills

Linguists say that in order to learn a language, you must hone multiple skills. These are reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Designing an app that touches on all of these skills seems quite challenging that’s why most apps only focus on one or two of them.

Duolingo was able to incorporate all of them into one app by creating various activities that target each of them to develop users’ skills in all of the areas of language learning. This is why the app does not entirely focus on vocabulary and grammar like its peers.

Duolingo’s User Interface And Lesson Structure

In my opinion, Duolingo is one of the most organized and well-structured language apps available online. In the app, multiple lessons are arranged progressively within modules, and in order to open the next module, you need to finish a certain number of lessons in your current lesson.

Learn Why Duolingo Is So Popular
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Topics are broken down into small lessons that can be completed in a few minutes. This is ideal for people like me who have hectic schedules on certain days, enabling me to finish daily tasks even with limited minutes of free time.

Duolingo also allows users to revisit completed modules and lessons so that they can prepare before diving into new topics. It even displays subjects that users may need a refresher on and tests them. 

Motivation And Sense Of Accomplishment

As I mentioned earlier, users receive specific achievements and badges when completing lessons and tasks on Duolingo. These serve as a motivational tool for people to continue with their lessons and to answer exercises.

Admittedly, I feel a sense of accomplishment whenever I see my daily streaks and hit my XP goals. These achievements kept me from skipping lessons at times. Hitting milestones really had a psychological effect on my willingness to continue using the app.

Seeing your name on the leaderboards against friends and even strangers taking the same language lessons as you induce a sense of pride.

Downloading The Duolingo App To Your Mobile Device

The Duolingo app is available on various platforms, including desktops, web browsers, and mobile apps. If you’re using a computer or laptop, lessons can be accessed via the company’s official website, or Windows users may install the desktop app.

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For iOS users, you will find the app on the Apple App Store under the Education category. It currently has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 1.2 million user reviews. The app has a file size of 200 MB and requires devices to run iOS 12.0 or later.

Meanwhile, Android users may find Duolingo on the Google Play Store under the name Duolingo: Learn Languages Free. The Android version of the app also has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars based on more than 11 million user reviews. File size and system version vary depending on the device you use.

Creating A Duolingo Account

You may create a Duolingo account via the website or the mobile app. Using the website, you can search for the Get Started button, click it, and follow the instructions, while with the app, you will immediately be asked to create a profile after installing it. 

The first thing you have to decide on is the language you want to learn about. Pick from the list of languages available on the app and tap on your choice. Select how many minutes you can spend learning this language daily by toggling the Casual, Regular, Serious, and Intense options.

Initially, I was on the Regular option but shifted to Intense later. To complete the setup, use either your existing Facebook account or Google account, or you can register your email and create a username and password.

Duolingo Plus Subscription And Its Perks

The Duolingo app is free to download and install for anyone who wants to use it. However, the company offers a paid subscription called Duolingo Plus to anyone who wants to enjoy additional features on the app. 

Learn Why Duolingo Is So Popular
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Duolingo Plus subscribers won’t have to see the sometimes annoying ads, making their learning sessions uninterrupted. With the subscription, users can also download lessons and use them offline, unlike with the free version, where an internet connection is required to access the modules.

Other Duolingo perks subscribers will enjoy include unlimited hearts and skill test-outs, a monthly streak repair, and the ability to take a Progress/Mastery Quiz.

Subscribing To Duolingo Plus And Its Costs

To subscribe to Duolingo Plus, tap the gem-like Shop icon on the lower-right corner of the main screen and select Learn More on the Duolingo Plus banner you will see above. 

To complete your subscription, follow the instructions on the screen. 

You can subscribe to Duolingo Plus for just $6.99 monthly or pay $83.88 for a yearly subscription.

The Bottom Line

The Duolingo app is one of the most popular language apps you would find, and its popularity is well-deserved. The gamified approach to learning keeps users engaged, and the sense of accomplishments from badges and leaderboards make it more interesting than other language learning methods.

I personally recommend the Duolingo app if you’re looking to start learning another language. No matter how busy you are, you can easily adjust the amount of time you can spend on the app daily. I hope this article helped you learn a lot about Duolingo.