source: Duolingo Facebook

by Maya Girimaji, managing editor

Learning a new language is hard. Learning a new language on your own is even harder. The constant homework, projects, grades and interactions that you’d find in a school setting act as driving forces to become fluent. When all of that is taken away, though, it’s just you and your own drive. So it’s important to find something, whether it be a textbook, website, or even a person that will motivate you. 

I’ve only learned Spanish up to what is required to graduate high school. While listening to Spanish songs, reading Spanish text, or hearing conversations in Spanish I realized that I could understand some of it based off of the very limited knowledge I had. I figured that since I have this potential, why not make the most of it. Being fluent in a second language has always fascinated me but I never knew how or where to even start. And then I found the app Duolingo.

Duolingo is a free app designed by Duolingo Inc. which has 23 languages to choose from–Spanish, French, German,, Italian, Hebrew, Vietnamese– the list just goes on and on. The Spanish lessons start off with the basics like food and animals and with each lesson it gets harder, focusing on grammar. It’s an interactive app that allows you to learn the language in different ways. Each lesson lasts roughly five minutes, depending on how much you know. The lesson involves translating from English to Spanish and Spanish to English, writing in Spanish and speaking in Spanish. Each section ends with a real conversation with a bot.

The app is, in my opinion, the best way to learn a language if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. You have options to do 5 minute lessons to 20 minute lessons a day. I picked the 10 minute options and I’m surprised by how much I learn in just 10 minutes. I’ve been using this app for only a week but I have made a lot of progress because of how interactive the app is. 

It’s hard to stay motivated especially when you’re on your own, the material is difficult and you don’t receive immediate rewards. But Duolingo is something I reach for whenever I want to take a break from work because it makes it fun to learn Spanish. And, even if you miss a day or two you don’t get any penalties. Instead, you receive gems as positive reinforcements every time you complete a lesson. And with these gems you can “buy” bonus skills, health refills and health shields that allow continuous progress.

Overall, Duolingo is hands down an amazing app and if you want to learn a new language, this is one of the best ways to go. It’s easy to use, designed to fit every learning type and actually helps you become a multilingual person. Download the app and give it a try. After all, it is free so if you end up hating it you can just delete it.