Duolingo: Here Comes Everybody!

DuolingoGood news! Yesterday the creators of Duolingo announced that the site would be opened to the public on June 19th. Just to recap, Duolingo is a brilliant website where you learn languages by translating sentences in lessons and from the web. (More details in these blog posts.) You can also follow other Duolinguians and discuss language points and share things that you’ve learned. It’s been in private, invitation-only beta testing for about 6 months and has developed a lot in that time. They keep adding and improving features, and evidently the Duolingo team feels it is now ready for prime time. The general reaction of the beta users so far has been awe and unbridled enthusiasm, in four languages. There is one discussion going on about how Duolingo makes learning so effortless it’s spooky. It certainly goes against the conventional wisdom that you can learn a language without learning rules, memorizing vocabulary, and conjugating verbs, but so it is. Duolingo works.

So far the languages offered are Spanish, French, and German for English-speakers, and English for Spanish-speakers. Of course they are planning to add more languages, and I gather that Italian, Chinese (whether Mandarin or Cantonese is not clear), and Portuguese (or perhaps English for Portuguese-speakers) are likely next. If that sounds interesting, I have even better news for you. Today Duolingo has given all its beta users three invitations to bestow as we wish. If you don’t feel like waiting another 4 weeks to get in, leave a comment, and if there’s more than three candidates I’ll get out my choosing hat. Heartfelt appeals will also hold sway. I should just warn you that Duolingo is one of the most addictive substances on the planet, so don’t expect to get much else done once you start!

UPDATE: My three invitations are now gone, but if you’re desperate there are people offering invites on Twitter. Search for #duolingo to find them. Good luck!

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11 comments on “Duolingo: Here Comes Everybody!

  1. kcecelia says:

    I think Duolingo sounds wonderful but, I am happy to wait for another 4 weeks to try it. I have too much to do right now to add anything new. I just wanted you to know I’d read your blog and think Duolingo might be just the thing to help me remember the French I once knew, and then to help me learn more. I can dream…

    • Sylvia says:

      Thanks for the comment, Katherine. I’m sure Duolingo would be perfect to rekindle your French. It does not really take much time, a few minutes a day are all that is needed. You may find yourself spending more time on it that you should, but it is so enjoyable you won’t care! 😀

  2. Stefanie says:

    I missed the announcement yesterday because I was bad and didn’t log on to do a lesson. Cool that it will finally be opened up to everyone. It is definitely very addictive. Has there been any word about when the owl will return from vacation?

    • Sylvia says:

      Oh no, the owl will be sad! I have not heard any updates about Duo’s general state of health. Now that the site will be flooded with new users perhaps Duo had better lay low!

  3. vishnevats says:

    Duolingo sounds marvelous! I would love to have a chance to try out the Spanish lessons. Thanks!

  4. emmekappa says:

    I want to try duolingo.com because it seems very good. If you have an invitation I will be very happy to join the beta… thanx

  5. Sylvia says:

    OK vishnevats and emmekappa, your invites are on the way! Don’t forget to invite three of your friends when you get there. You’ll find me there as “ClassicBookworm.” Happy learning!

  6. Manish says:

    Sylvia, I’ll be grateful if you could send me an invite.

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