I have heard that the Duolingo app is a really good tool for learning languages on the move. However, it was first released only for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod touch, etc.) but recently it has now been made available to Android users.
My Android phone (Samsung Galaxy Ace) is relatively old, and runs the 2.3.4 operating system. The majority of new apps do not work on my phone (for example, the Memrise app). I was expecting the usual incompatibility issues, but to my surprise it runs perfectly!
Incidentally, this is the first language learning app that I have used on a phone. So I am going to be a little unfair and simply compare the Duolingo app to the website.
How it is better than the Duolingo website?
- Non English characters, such as French accents, have been integrated seamlessly into the app. Simply hold down the virtual keyboard button to put an accent on it. On the Duolingo website you must click a separate button on the webpage to do this.
- You are not required to speak any sentences or phrases. I often use the Duolingo app on my commute to work, so the last thing I want to be doing is saying odd phrases for the first time when I’m on a crowded bus!
- It has full support for using English to learn French, Portugese, German, Italian and Spanish. That is a lot of language learning for one (free) app. It even has options to learn English using another language.
What does the website offer, that this Duolingo app lacks?
- An endless supply of real world web pages to translate. The grand purpose of Duolingo is actually to translate the internet. This is the reason that both the app and the website are completely free. Ideally we are all learning the languages in order to translate the web. This is an admirable thing to do in itself, but on a more individual level – you simply can’t beat real world materials for seeing how a language is really used outside of a textbook.
- The Duolingo community on disputed sentences or features of a language. Part of the great thing about Duolingo is that is constantly evolving and being refined to be even more efficient. Naturally this means that user feedback is vital for this process. The Duolingo app does not a way to comment on a sentence or be part of the Duolingo community outside of your friends list leaderboard.
I am really happy with the Duolingo app. If I have any downtime now, I just practice a few French phrases here and there. I am already noticing a difference when I read real world French content on the internet.