Duolingo is a worldwide phenomenon for good reason. It’s free, there are numerous language courses, and its gamelike style is a great way to learn better. But with so many courses, it’s hard to know which courses are the best. To help, we’ve put together a list of the best Duolingo courses to get your started.
Apple named Duolingo as iPhone App of the Year, and Google selected them for theirBest of the Best apps in Google Play – so you know it’s a great choice if you’re trying to decide which language app is the best to try out. Keep reading to learn all about these courses and decide which one is right for you!
Making the Most of Duolingo
Before we launch into the best languages to learn on Duolingo, it’s necessary to know what makes a course great. Not every entry on the Duolingo language list is the same. Some have more lessons, some offer stories, others include podcasts, and some have more sophisticated audio lessons. For that reason, it’s a better language-learning experience for some courses than others.
Additionally, an important criterion to keep in mind when assessing the best and worst Duolingo courses is applicability. Not all languages are the same. Some are more foreign-feeling, which means they have different requirements.
If you want to learn a language that sounds different from your native language, for instance, you’ll want to make sure the Duolingo course has well-developed pronunciations. If you’re looking to visit the country, you should look for more activities to develop your listening comprehension.
Our Top Picks For Best Duolingo Courses
Based on factors like the number of lessons, quality of language recordings, and special features, these are our top picks for best Duolingo courses right now.
Spanish for English Speakers
Spanish for English speakers is one of the two most popular Duolingo courses (spoiler alert: the second one is the next entry on this list), which means it gets the most updates, the newest features, and the best voice lessons. Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet – so if you’re planning to visit Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, or anywhere in Latin America, this course should be top of your list.
This excellence is clear from the number of crowns—the number of individual sessions that comprise a lesson. In the case of Spanish, there are 1521 crowns, which is one of the highest of any Duolingo language.
This high number of crowns means that Spanish learners have a tremendous number of opportunities to practice and refine their skills. As a result, taking the Duolingo Spanish for English Speakers course can make you a master of the language in no time!
French for English Speakers
The second most popular Duolingo course is French for English Speakers. Like the Spanish for English speakers course, it has many lessons—over 1400 crowns!
Like Spanish (and several other languages), this French language course allows users to take advantage of Duolingo Stories, which are interactive storytelling activities that test users’ listening comprehension skills and give the chance to fill in blanks.
These stories are often fun, humorous, and quirky, making them an especially memorable experience in your language learning. Since French for English Speakers takes advantage of them, it helps the course rank among the best classes on Duolingo.
English for Spanish Speakers
English for Spanish speakers is the third most well-developed course on all of Duolingo, with 1300 crowns available—more than most of the courses for any other language!
This English course is also one of just four items on the Duolingo language list that offers podcasts. These are excellent language-learning resources, giving the chance for learners to use Duolingo audio lessons to improve their English listening comprehension.
For that reason, if you’re a Spanish speaker who is interested in learning English, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than the English for Spanish-speakers course.
Italian for English Speakers
Returning to the English-speaking side of Duolingo, Italian for English Speakers is another of Duolingo’s strongest courses.
In addition to offering high-quality vocals (more on that in a moment), the Italian course also has a suite of excellent vocabulary for English speakers. This vocabulary is especially strong because it’s culturally relevant to Italian life, making it an excellent resource if you’re planning to visit the gleaming Mediterranean nation.
While the course boasts just under 400 crowns, it also boasts a collection of Duolingo Stories, which helps the all-essential process of listening comprehension. After all, you need to be able to understand the language to speak back!
German for English Speakers
In many ways, German is a rather different language from English, and, indeed, from the foreign languages that most English-speakers are used to. For that reason, it’s especially important to have quite a large number of lessons—which, thankfully, Duolingo’s German for English Speakers course does have.
German has one of the highest number of crowns on Duolingo (behind Spanish for English Speakers, English for Spanish Speakers, and French for English Speakers), which places it high on our list of best Duolingo courses.
Additionally, Duolingo for German speakers is especially strong for its varied and diverse audio lessons. German’s sounds, especially its “r,” can be very different from those of English, which makes it essential to have high-quality pronunciation in lessons. Again, German for English Speakers checks off these boxes.
Portuguese for English Speakers
Portuguese for English speakers is a great resource for those looking to dip into the culture of Brazil.
While Portuguese for English speakers has a few under 550 lessons—under half of that of Spanish for English Speakers. These lessons are very well-developed and use great audio clips to guide learners.
This latter feature is especially important since Portuguese can be a little tricky. While it’s written rather similarly to Spanish, it’s pronounced very differently, which can make a spot of trouble for English-speakers more familiar with the language.
As a bonus, Duolingo’s Portuguese for English Speakers focuses mostly on Brazilian Portuguese. Although this won’t make learners quite as ready to visit the Western European nation, Brazil does have about 20 times as many Portuguese speakers as Portugal does, making it one of the most practical options available for would-be language learners.
Norwegian for English Speakers
Norwegian for English Speakers is another powerhouse Duolingo course, as attested by the 1032 crowns it boasts.
Since Norwegian is one of the most different languages from those that English-speakers are familiar with, it matters quite a lot to get thorough explanations of Norwegian grammar. One of the best assets of the Norwegian for English Speakers course is that it follows through on this, with thorough lessons briefing learners in the complexities of the Norwegian language.
On top of that, Norwegian has one of the best communities on Duolingo. This means that Norwegian language learning can be a collaborative effort, with users helping each other out with the challenges of the Scandinavian language.
Final Thoughts – Best Duolingo Courses
All in all, there are quite a few excellent courses on Duolingo. If you’re looking to try out a language on Duolingo, there are a few options for you to consider—namely what variety of language you’re looking to learn, what type of language-learning community you need, and what kind of resources you need to adapt to your language of choice.
On the whole, if you’re looking for the best option, pick Spanish for English Speakers. But since Duolingo is always adding new content, each course is getting better all the time. Look for yourself to see if there’s a hidden gem among the Duolingo language list that we forgot to include among the best Duolingo courses.