10 min

Duolingo Review 2023: Is It the Best Language Learning App?

Duolingo is a free language learning app that offers personalized lessons in over 40 languages, making it fun and easy to learn.
Duolingo Review 2023 - main image
Written by
The Storyteller
Published on
March 27, 2023

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Duolingo
  2. What is Duolingo?‍
  3. How does Duolingo work?‍
  4. Duolingo's Features and Functionality
  5. Duolingo Plus
  6. Duolingo for Schools
  7. Pros and Cons
  8. Duolingo alternatives
  9. Babbel vs Duolingo
  10. Conclusion


Hey there, language enthusiasts!

Are you looking to pick up a new language or brush up on your skills in one you've learned before?

Well, you've come to the right place! In this Duolingo Review 2023, we'll dive deep into the world of this popular language-learning app and determine if it's truly the best option out there.

Nowadays, there are countless language learning apps and resources available, but not all are created equal. In this review, we will provide an in-depth analysis of Duolingo's features, benefits, and drawbacks, and compare it to other language learning tools on the market.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of whether Duolingo is the best choice for your language learning needs.

Duolingo company logo

What is Duolingo?‍

Duolingo is a free language learning app that was launched in 2012 by Luis von Ahn, a Guatemalan entrepreneur and computer science professor.

The app uses gamification and artificial intelligence to make language learning fun, engaging, and personalized.

Duolingo offers courses in over 40 languages, from Arabic to Vietnamese, and covers various topics, from basic vocabulary to complex grammar. Duolingo is also one of the most downloaded education app.

Duolingo can be accessed on desktop and mobile devices and has a free version or a premium subscription option, Duolingo Plus, that unlocks additional features such as offline access, ad-free learning, and progress quizzes.

Getting Started with Duolingo Lessons

To begin your language learning journey with Duolingo, follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit the Duolingo website or download the app on your iOS or Android device.
  2. Create a free account or sign in with your Google, Apple, or Facebook account.
  3. Select the language you want to learn from the list of available options.
  4. Choose your starting level and set your daily learning goal.
  5. Start learning by completing lessons, practicing, and tracking your progress.‍
duolingo program courses - illustration and text

How does Duolingo work?‍

Duolingo's core learning system consists of lessons that are divided into skills, such as "Greetings", "Animals", or "Travel".

Each skill contains several levels, and each level contains several exercises, such as multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, or dictation.

Duolingo courses use a spaced repetition algorithm to determine which exercises you need to practice more or less, based on your performance and progress. You can learn at your own pace

Duolingo also offers a social aspect, where you can connect with friends and compete against them on a leaderboard.

Duolingo's Language Courses

Duolingo offers an extensive range of language courses, including popular languages like Spanish, French, and German, as well as lesser-known languages like Welsh, Esperanto, and even fictional languages like Klingon and High Valyrian.

Language courses are divided into various skill levels, ranging from beginner to advanced. Each level consists of themed modules that cover different aspects of the language, such as vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.

ebook, app, banned

Duolingo's Features and Functionality

To kick things off, let's explore the features and functionality that have made Duolingo a go-to language learning platform for millions of users worldwide.

Gamification and engagement

One of the key elements that set the Duolingo app apart from other language apps is its gamification approach.

Duolingo app turns language learning into a game, complete with levels, points, leaderboards, and even a virtual currency called "gems" or "lingots" that can be used to unlock additional content.

This gamified experience keeps users engaged and motivated, making the learning process more enjoyable and less like a chore.

Variety of languages offered

Duolingo offers a wide range of languages for users to choose from, with more than 30 options available.

Whether you're looking to learn a widely spoken language like Spanish, French, or Chinese or dive into something more niche like Irish, Hawaiian, or even Klingon, Duolingo has you covered.

Learning modes: lessons, stories, podcasts, and live events

Duolingo offers a variety of learning modes to cater to different learning styles and preferences.

The app features bite-sized lessons that focus on vocabulary, grammar, listening, and speaking skills.

Additionally, you can explore Stories, where you'll read and listen to engaging narratives in your target language, and podcasts that cover a range of interesting topics.

Duolingo also hosts live events, which are interactive, small-group sessions led by language experts for an additional fee.

Customizable learning goals and daily reminders

When you start using Duolingo, you can set a daily goal for yourself, ranging from 5 to 20 minutes of learning per day.

The app will then send you daily reminders to keep you on track and ensure that you're making progress in your chosen language.

This customization allows you to tailor your learning experience to fit your schedule and personal goals.

language learning, timer

Duolingo Plus: The Premium Experience

Duolingo offers a paid version called Duolingo Plus, which provides additional benefits and features to enhance the language learning experience. These include:

  1. Ad-free learning: Enjoy an uninterrupted learning experience without advertisements.
  2. Offline access: Download lessons to learn on the go, even without an internet connection.
  3. Unlimited hearts: Make mistakes without penalty, allowing for continuous learning without waiting for hearts to refill.
  4. Progress quizzes: Assess your language proficiency and track your improvement with regular quizzes.
  5. Priority support: Receive faster customer service from the Duolingo team.

Duolingo Plus Pricing Plans

How much is Duolingo Plus 2023? As of January 1, 2023, Duolingo Plus offers the following pricing plans:

  1. Monthly Plan: $12.99 per month
  2. Six-Month Plan: $47.94 ($7.99 per month)
  3. Annual Plan: $79.99 ($6.67 per month)

The Annual Plan offers the best value for long-term learners, with savings of nearly 50% compared to the monthly plan.

laptop, woman, education

Is Duolingo Plus Worth It?

Determining whether Duolingo Plus is worth the investment depends on your individual needs and goals. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if upgrading is the right choice for you:

Learning pace:

If you're serious about learning a language and plan to dedicate a significant amount of time each day, Duolingo Plus can help you maintain your momentum without limitations.

Ad sensitivity:

If ads distract you or disrupt your learning flow, the ad-free experience of Duolingo Plus may be worth the cost.

Offline learning:

For those who travel frequently or have limited internet access, offline learning can be a game-changer.

Commitment to learning:

If you're planning to learn a language long-term, the Annual Plan offers significant savings and additional benefits that can enhance your overall experience.

Duolingo for Schools

Duolingo offers a dedicated platform called Duolingo for Schools to help teachers integrate the platform into their classrooms. Features of Duolingo for Schools include:

  1. Classroom management: Teachers can create and manage virtual classrooms, adding students and assigning lessons.
  2. Progress tracking: Monitor student progress with detailed reports and analytics, identifying areas of strength and weakness.
  3. Customization: Teachers can tailor lesson plans and assignments to suit the needs of their students and align with curriculum goals.
learning languages, empty classroom,

‍What are the pros of Duolingo?‍

Duolingo has many advantages that make it a popular choice for language learners:

  • It's free: Duolingo is a free language learning app and doesn't require any payment or credit card information. This makes it accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a device.
  • It's fun: Duolingo's colorful interface, cute characters, and sound effects make learning feel like playing a game. The app also rewards you with lingots, a virtual currency, that you can use to purchase additional features or items.
  • It's personalized: Duolingo adapts to your learning style and pace and provides instant feedback and explanations for your mistakes. You can also choose which skills or topics you want to focus on or skip the ones you already know.
  • It's convenient: Duolingo can be used anytime, anywhere, and doesn't require any textbooks, papers, or pencils. You can also switch between devices or platforms, and continue your progress seamlessly.
arrow illustration, text, Duolingo pros and cons

What are the cons of Duolingo?‍

Duolingo also has some limitations that may affect your learning experience:

  • It's not enough: Duolingo can help you build vocabulary and basic grammar skills, but it may not be enough to achieve fluency or advanced proficiency. Duolingo doesn't offer much speaking or listening practice, nor does it provide cultural context or real-life scenarios.
  • It's repetitive: Duolingo's exercises can become repetitive and boring after a while, especially if you're not interested in certain topics or skills. Duolingo also tends to focus more on translation and grammar than on communication or interaction.
  • It's not perfect: Duolingo may have errors, glitches, or outdated content, especially in less popular languages or dialects. Duolingo also relies heavily on user-generated content, which may not always be accurate or appropriate.
learning, illustration

Duolingo Alternatives

‍How does Duolingo compare to other language-learning apps?‍ Duolingo is not the only language learning app on the market, and it's important to compare it to other options before making a decision.

Here are some key differences between Duolingo and some of its competitors:

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is a well-known language learning platform that focuses on an immersive approach, teaching users through context and images rather than explicit grammar rules.

While Rosetta Stone offers a more in-depth learning experience, it comes with a higher price tag than Duolingo.


Babbel is another popular language app, that offers a more structured approach to learning with an emphasis on practical, real-life conversations.

Babbel's courses are tailored to specific languages, and while it is not free, it remains more affordable than Rosetta Stone.

language learning, headphones, photo


Memrise is an app that focuses on vocabulary building through the use of spaced repetition and mnemonic techniques.

While it can be an excellent supplementary resource for vocabulary acquisition, it doesn't offer the same comprehensive learning experience as Duolingo.


Pimsleur is an audio-based language learning method that emphasizes listening and speaking skills through interactive lessons.

While Pimsleur's approach can be highly effective, it also comes with a higher cost and may not suit those who prefer a more visual or gamified learning experience.


Busuu offers language courses that combine vocabulary, grammar, and conversation practice. One unique feature of Busuu is the ability to have your writing and speaking exercises corrected by native speakers.

However, some of the app's features do require a subscription.

online learning, laptop, writing

Which is better Babbel or Duolingo?

Choosing between the two depends on your learning preferences, budget, and goals. Here's a comparison of the two platforms:

1. Methodology

Duolingo: Focuses on gamification and encourages users to learn through a fun, game-like interface. It employs a variety of exercises such as matching words, translating phrases, and listening exercises. Duolingo's courses are generally designed to build basic vocabulary and grammar skills.

Babbel: Takes a more structured and traditional approach to language learning. It uses a combination of vocabulary, grammar, and conversation exercises to help users develop a well-rounded understanding of the language. Babbel's courses are designed to help users gain practical conversation skills.

2. Course offerings:

Duolingo: Offers a larger number of language courses (30+ languages), including some less common ones like Welsh, Esperanto, and Hawaiian.

Babbel: Offers fewer language courses (14 languages) compared to Duolingo, but covers the most popular languages such as Spanish, French, German, and Italian.

3. Pricing:

Duolingo: Free to use, with optional in-app purchases and a subscription plan called Duolingo Plus, which offers additional features like ad-free experience, offline access, and unlimited hearts.

Babbel: Requires a subscription, with monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual plans available. There is no free version, but Babbel offers a 7-day free trial.

4. Offline access:

Duolingo: Offers offline access only for Duolingo Plus subscribers.

Babbel: Allows offline access to lessons for all subscribers.

5. Target audience:

Duolingo: Ideal for beginners or casual learners looking for a fun and engaging way to learn a new language at no cost.

Babbel: Better suited for learners who are serious about developing practical conversation skills and are willing to pay for a more structured and comprehensive learning experience.

online classes photo

Ultimately, the choice of which language learning app to use depends on your individual preferences, goals, and learning style.

Duolingo may be the best option for beginners, casual learners, or those who want a free and fun way to dip their toes in a new language.

However, if you're serious about achieving fluency or mastering a specific aspect of a language, you may need to supplement Duolingo with other resources or tools.

How long does it take to finish a Duolingo course?

How long does it take the average person to finish a Duolingo course? The time it takes to complete a Duolingo course varies depending on several factors, including the individual's learning pace, the language being learned, and the level of commitment.

On average, it takes most users between 4 to 6 months to finish a Duolingo course if they dedicate at least 30 minutes to an hour per day to their language learning.

However, this timeframe can vary widely, and some users may take longer or shorter periods to complete a course, depending on their personal circumstances and goals.


In conclusion, Duolingo is a great language-learning app that has revolutionized the way we approach language education.

Duolingo's gamification, personalization, and accessibility have made language learning more fun, engaging, and democratic than ever before.

However, Duolingo also has its limitations, and may not be the perfect solution for everyone.

By reviewing Duolingo's features, benefits, and drawbacks, and comparing it to other language learning apps, we hope we have provided you with a comprehensive and unbiased perspective on whether Duolingo is the best language learning app for you.

Happy learning, and good luck on your language-learning journey!