You may have a bunch of questions in mind. Can you really learn a language with Duolingo? Can you actually become fluent with Duolingo? Can you rely only on Duolingo? Young_man_thinking_in_DuolingoI believe that any person that wants to learn a language should immediately go to Duolingo and check if the language they want to learn is supported by the platform. And if it is, enroll in Duolingo’s course.

To check which languages are included in Duolingo, please click here. They have quite a variety of European and Asian languages. Duolingo even has fictional languages such as Klingon and High Valyrian. So chances are that the language you’re looking for is there.

In case you don’t know, you can complete all Duolingo courses on any language, completely free. And specially beginners will greatly benefit from this platform.

Simple answer: Don’t rely only on Duolingo. Why?

Despite all the pros Duolingo has, based on my own experience using the platform, Duolingo can only take you so far. There are aspects of learning a language that you’ll never learn with Duolingo.

Because of Duolingo’s gamified approach (making it cool and even a bit addictive) you may fall into the trap of feeling it’s all you need.

Learning a language:

Learning a language is like crossing a big valley. You will need certain tools and equipment to make it possible. Trying to cross this valley only with Duolingo will just leave you half way.


Don’t fall into this trap:

Based on pure convenience, you may close your eyes and fold your arms. And the needed attentiveness in searching for other courses may be ignored. Relying only on Duolingo means staying in the comfort zone. And that has a price. In this specific case, only relying on Duolingo will cause you to never go further from an intermediate level.

I’m telling you all this having used Duolingo for several years myself. But I by no means am the only one that has arrived to this conclusion.

There are several respected learning language sites that present this same idea. You could check out, just as an example, a post published on Benny Lewis’ site, the Irish polyglot, where a guest writer, Agnieszka Murdoch, from 5minutelanguage also recommends Duolingo but never to rely solely on it. She states in that post:

“Duolingo is not a stand-alone language course, but it’s an excellent addition to a language learner’s toolbox. It’s easy to use, it’s fun and it works. Don’t forget to do the homework, though. If your aim is to achieve real fluency, remember to read, speak, and truly live the language that you’re learning!”

What does Duolingo say about its own reach?

This limited range Duolingo is capable of covering must not be viewed as my or other blogger’s interpretation. You shouldn’t be surprised about it because it agrees with what even the founder and CEO of Duolingo, Luis von Ahn, promises concerning his platform. We quote him referring to the realistic results any person can obtain with the platform:

“Get users to a level between advanced beginner and early intermediate”.

A little example here:

Do you like examples? Let’s go back a few years to the time when you were a first grader. Your first grade book was useful for the year you were in first grade but relying on it when you were starting high school would not make much sense.

Duolingo will introduce you to the language. There is a lifetime journey ahead of Duolingo.

Completing the Duolingo tree:

Some may suggest that it would be a good idea to complete the Duolingo tree for the language you’re learning. I personally believe that once you’re half way down that tree, you must start simultaneously practicing with other tools that suit you. Finish the tree (please do, we should finish goals we set), but don’t rely only on it!

My concern is that you lose momentum and start feeling stuck. Take advantage of the cool way Duolingo takes you from being a complete beginner to an early intermediate level in a relatively short time. But don’t stay there, quickly jump on other more advanced tools.

Searching for other language tools:

Have you begun learning a language with Duolingo? Excellent! Quickly after beginning your journey, start searching for more courses that may help you with the subsequent stages.

I know that searching for more courses may be a bit tedious. And especially when you feel you’re comfortably progressing with Duolingo. But if you don’t want to start feeling stuck one year ahead from now, it’s time to begin searching.

Good news:

We have done part of this homework for you. We have searched the Internet and have a list of recommended courses. Click here to check them out. And you can join them all for free. So don’t hesitate to look at this list and start complementing your learning with these other good platforms.

We wish you all the best.

Wrapping up:

If you decide NOT to join Duolingo, there are many useful (and even unique) features in the platform that you’re letting go by. But if you decide to STICK ONLY with Duolingo, you’ll be limiting your possibilities.

My recommendation is clear: Duolingo is a must for anybody learning a language but it’s not a stand-alone learning language course.


Harish · March 1, 2020 at 1:32 AM

Hi! Duolingo is a must for anybody learning a language. But, as you have stated, you must also use other tools while you’re learning with Duolingo. It’s not a stand alone course.

I like the fact that this introductory course is free. It gives anybody a chance to get started with a language around the world, no matter what his economic condition is. I think that was one of Luis von Ahn’s inspirations to create Duolingo, to make learning the basics of languages accessible to the whole world.

    Jonathan Henry · March 1, 2020 at 1:53 AM

    Hi! Yes, Lui von Ahn wanted to create a platform that offered free resources to learn languages. He was born in Guatemala and knows how students from poor countries around the world struggle to learn languages.

shrey · March 1, 2020 at 2:05 AM

I have tried Duolingo to learn German and it did help me A LOT with the basics. I was interested in learning more but it does limit you a bit. For conversational purposes it’s not very helpful.

I do agree with the points mentioned here but I would have to say the app is amazing for beginners to get acquainted with the language.

    Jonathan Henry · March 1, 2020 at 2:34 AM

    Hi! Thank you for sharing your experience learning German. Yes, it fails a bit concerning conversational purposes but it’s excellent for beginners getting their feet wet.

JULIUS · March 1, 2020 at 2:07 AM

I would personally like to learn the basics of Italian and Hebrew as I have been secretly planning to go on vacations to Italy and Israel. It’s a surprise trip for all my family, as my wife has relatives in both countries.

I had been deciding between purchasing a course such as Rosetta Stone or something similar or go with the free courses. What would you recommend? I just want to learn the basics.

    Jonathan Henry · March 1, 2020 at 4:41 AM

    Hi! Duolingo is perfect for learning the basics of any language. So you must definitely give them a try. And after a few months using Duolingo, we’ll see if you’re satisfied with your progress or want something more specifically. Please keep tuned.

Imelda · July 13, 2020 at 2:45 PM

Due to lock-down, I suppose many people are looking into learning different things and another language would be mine. My mother learns French and was aware of Duolingo and used it alongside on lessons and has improved quite a lot. I on the other hand will look into getting this to help me learn Italian but I will take your advice and have other options too.

Thank you so much.

    Jonathan Henry · July 13, 2020 at 4:58 PM

    Hi Imelda,

    I’m glad to hear that both your mom and you are using Duolingo. Thanks for stopping by and following my advice. Feel free to continue visiting our site and all the best learning Italian.

Jay · August 3, 2020 at 11:13 PM

Hello Jo. It’s good to see that you have a good review of Duolingo. When I wanted to start learning a new language, I was told to try the platform out because of its popularity and it’s good reputation. I think however that it is important for me not to restrict myself to that or else I will not find another platform to learn from just like you have said here and I will make sure to let that stick to my head. This is some really good stuff and I am very happy to learn to.

    Jonathan Henry · August 3, 2020 at 11:31 PM

    Hi Jay,

    yes Duolingo is a good platform but should not be used alone. All the best learning your new language.

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