Can apps like Duolingo actually teach you a new language?

If you have ever tried to learn a new language, then you probably know how hard it can be to understand how other people communicate, and how some words are really difficult to pronounce. But nowadays, with all the technology, we have many platforms, online schools and apps that promise to teach us easily, quickly, and without boring lessons. Can these apps actually teach us something? Is it possible to learn an entire new language through them?

There are many apps to learn new languages. One of the most popular among them is Duolingo, a free platform that allows you to take all the lessons you want and challenges you to learn more. But this is not the only one app for this. There are many others, like Busuu, Speekoo, Memrise, Babbel, Tandem, Beelinguapp, and so much more. All of them have specific features that make people prefer one of the others, but are they actually good?

How apps teach you new languages

The number one app for learning new languages is Duolingo, and it has been the preferred platform because it offers its lessons for free and you can complete the entire course without paying anything. The method that this app uses is the same method that other apps apply too, which is basically repeating the same word or sentence associated with an image, so we can remember exactly the meaning.

Most of them are very complete and try to teach you to recognize how to write a word, how it sounds, how to say it correctly, and of course, its meaning. You will get different exercises so you can reinforce the new knowledge in all its versions and you understand what it means.

Is there an issue with these methods?

The main issue with this method of teaching is that it is based mainly on memory and association, and there is little use to logic and comprehension. The same words and same sentences are repeated over and over and over until we learn the meaning, but in real life, people that speak that language don’t use the same words or the sentences in that specific order. So, when we actually try to understand a native talking in the new language, we get confused because they don’t use the same words.

How to actually use apps to learn new languages?

Even though these apps are based on memory, they are a great complement to learning a new language, and in cases like Duolingo, it is completely free. We can still use them to get the basics and practice new words and sentences, but if your goal is to get to an advanced level or almost native in this new language, then the best recommendation is to use these apps as a side practice.

The main recommendation is to invest yourself in the culture, so read new books, watch shows and movies in that language, listen to songs, watch TV, and so on. This will give you a better idea of how native speakers talk and how it sounds, and then you can use the apps to learn more words and understand how to write them perfectly.