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Other languages?

Okay, so I've been moderately active on duolingo for maybe two weeks, and this is already starting to annoy me: people asking for language X to be introduced to the site. Goodness knows how all you veterans (not to mention site staff) tolerate all the threads wanting this language or that language to be developed.

So, anyone learning one or more of the useful European languages offered by duolingo (or learning English from any one of the other languages around the world) knows that Duolingo is a pretty awesome online resource. I'm making headway in Spanish with quite literally no money down (while a course at the local TAFE would have cost several hundred dollars).

But here's the crazy thing: Duolingo isn't the only language learning website out there. It's an awesome one, yes, and I love it and use it daily for Spanish learning and French refreshers. But there are other websites, a lot of them free, that offer other languages.


This article outlines three other decent free sites that exist for speakers of English. It's admittedly a bit outdated (I don't think livemocha exists independently - t'was bought out by those of whom we ne'er shall speak).

Of those three, I have personally tried busuu (good, but a lot of its winning features are limited to those with premium accounts, to which you only have access to for seven days after registering before it asks you to pay per month) and memrise (pretty much on par with duolingo. It doesn't teach you random sentences like "the bear drinks beer" but actual useful sentences for day-to-day interactions. Cons are that it doesn't have the same flexibility for answers that duolingo has (eg when they ask you to translate "I am happy but he is tired" the answer they want is "Yo estoy feliz pero él esta cansado". Typing "Estoy feliz pero él esta cansado" would be incorrect. On duo, both would be acceptable.) Also worth noting that I am using it for Spanish, which is a highly supported course managed by memrise staff. Other courses are user-generated so depending on the language you're after, your mileage may vary quite drastically).

Another thing you might want to do before asking about language X being available is consult the great God of the Internet: Google.

Seriously, this morning I was texting my brother and he casually mentioned that he would be interested in learning Swedish. I told him that I was learning Spanish on the Internet, but that unfortunately duolingo didn't have a Swedish course. But then I did a crazy thing and googled "Learn Swedish Online Free" and guess what? I discovered a few Youtube channels and a few websites that would allow my brother to do just that.

Duolingo is great, I love it, and you're here so obviously you love it too. But unfortunately the high quality of the courses offered means that the quantity of courses offered is a bit limited. But don't let that limit you!

If you want to learn a language, get out there and learn it - don't let duo stop you! They're working hard on developing courses, but this takes time and resources, and maybe if you're patient, the language you want will become available at some point. In the meantime, the internet is out there; use it!

TL:DR If you want to learn a language that duolingo doesn't offer, google the language you want to learn and learn it.

April 22, 2014


Sorted by top post


True. I started to learn Estonian on Memrise. I hope Duolingo will have this language someday, but on the meantime, I use Memrise, and that doesn't mean I stop using Duolingo, I keep using it daily, and I will keep doing the same for a long time.

100% agree with you. Nice post!

April 22, 2014


me too! That language is cool.

April 23, 2014


tsau! miks te õpite eesti keelt? :)

April 23, 2014


We need to have a sticky option in Duolingo so this is on the top of the discussion page and visible every time. It really annoys me when someone starts demanding Chinese or Japanese when they haven't even started any of the courses that DL does offer.

April 22, 2014


Ha, interesting, this is the article that led me to Duolingo. Actually at first I tried out with all 5 sticked with Busuu for a while. But there are some features there that are only available through the paid Premium membership. Later I tried Duolingo and settled here since then :3

April 22, 2014


I'm using duolingo and memrise more than the other sites - I haven't used livemocha at all, actually, and I've only just briefly looked at using the FSI website without actually using it. As I said, Busuu seemed to work well, but a lot of its better features are for premium members only and I don't have the $20 per month to fork out for it when I know that there are programs just as good for free.

April 23, 2014


One hundred percent agreement resounds from my lips.

April 22, 2014


ExamTime is another great site that can help you learn any languages using Mind Maps, Flashcards, Quizzes and Notes: https://www.examtime.com

April 23, 2014


Well said although if people dont have the notion to look around the site to see discussions and information regarding the incubator they arent going to see your post.

The developers ought to build some automation tools that provides the poster with FAQ & Answers when questions like these are detected.

April 22, 2014


This is true. Old posts tend to get buried and missed after a few days due to the format used. (I'm aching for a duolingo forum-style discussion. Is there such a thing? With stickied posts and FAQs?)

Still, felt good to rant. :-P

April 22, 2014


I agree. Knowing how to say "Yo soy un pingüino" is useless, since I am not a penguin! ( I can say the slightly more useful "¡Yo no soy un pingüino!")

I wish Duo Lingo would replace the animal section with things that are more common in a typical life, such as pen, pencil, paper, car, motorcycle, bicycle, street, traffic light, etc.

April 22, 2014


I think a lot of Duo's sentences are designed to prepare you for reading actual texts. The earlier sentences seem to come from children's books while the later ones seem to come from mysteries and thrillers. That at least makes sense out of "I am a lion," and "The bear eats a fish," as well as "There are six dead here" and "Not while we have his wife."

I agree with Aurelia that Duo's vocabulary choices are pretty good even for newspapers.

Some people's complaints appear to be based on the assumption that they only want to speak the language--they don't even expect to listen to anyone else speak it. Like a man objecting to "My new dress is red" because he would never say that. Others just seem to be failures of imagination. "He is pretty" makes no sense until you realize "he" might be a horse. Similarly, quite a few sentences seem odd but would work fine in the right context--either by adding a few more words or an introductory sentence.

There are mistakes, but, based on French, Italian, and Spanish, I would say the test sentences are generally chosen very well.

April 23, 2014


You get a lingot for using common sense. Something that's, ironically enough, not common much any more.

I don't mind the way Duo has their lessons laid out. I'd rather start knowing simple things such as the name of animals and food which are every day things people come across, but they just don't realise it. Starting off small actually helps the tougher things become much easier to understand, for me at least.

April 23, 2014


I sometimes think that common sense is the rarest commodity on the planet.

April 23, 2014


But "Yo soy una bicicleta" isn't much more useful than "Yo soy un pingüino".

In practice, the course does introduce words for pen, car, paper, bicycle, motorcycle and street so the "everyday" words are covered.

Since I've been using Immersion and reading newspapers and other websites I've been quite impressed at just how well DL's core vocabulary has been chosen to prepare the learner for tackling real materials.

April 23, 2014


I'm hoping Duolingo will make a Jamaican on English! Most of my family is Jamaican and it's EXTREMELY HARD to understand what they're saying. I sometimes have to use my parents as translators!

April 22, 2014
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