Learn a new language fast

The Duolingo language app will have you talking like a local in no time.

Learn a new language fast

If you’re travelling overseas and want to learn a new language, the Duolingo language app is fun, free and will have you talking like a local in no time.



My partner and I are planning our first trip to France in June, and while both of us studied French during school, we can’t remember very much. We would really like to be able to communicate with the locals, and find our way by ourselves when we are there. Can you give me any recommendations of how to pick up the basics of a new language quickly?


Hi Irene

Firstly, good on you for wanting to learn a new language. I’m sure the locals will really appreciate that you made the effort to converse with them in their language.

There are many books, websites and apps available to help people just like you wrap their heads around the basics of a foreign language. If you have a smartphone, tablet or computer with internet access, one learning tool that comes very highly recommended is Duolingo. Used by 70 million people around the world, this app, offers free online courses in such languages as French, German, Italian, Dutch, Irish and Portuguese.

Learning a new language with Duolingo is an interactive experience, which includes typing answers, translating text and sound, pronunciation practice and word games. A recent independent study found that using Duolingo for 34 hours resulted in the learning equivalent of one university semester of language instruction.

When you first select your new language, the app asks you on which difficulty level you’d like to start. It then takes you through various lessons focussed on getting to know common-usage words (e.g. boy, woman, cat, bread, child), as well as sentence conjugation, pronunciation and phrases. You can choose how often and how long you spend on each lesson. The lessons become tricker the further on your progress, but you can go back and review completed lessons at any time.

Duolingo is an effective way to learn a language and really very easy to use. It is also quite fun, so why not broaden your language base and try it out?

Check out Duolingo online or download it for free on your iPhone or Android.

Find more language learning websites.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    26th Mar 2015
    This is a fantastic and fun site. I have been learning french and revising german fir a couple of years using it. It is easy to navigate, interactive and will give you a good basic start to a language. Once you get to grammar tenses it obviously becomes more difficult but maybe a class would help there. Good luck und Bon Voyage.
    26th Mar 2015
    Hi everybody: I command 5 languages and teach 3: Spanish, Italian and French. Personally, I believe that nothing can replace the guidance of a good, professional and caring teacher. It is most important to get immersed into the culture. A native / qualified tutor who is passionate about empowering students will make learning fun and easy: humor as well as etiquette are relevant aspects of learning and speaking a language. Yes, many pocket guides, information on the net etc. In fact Youtube.com has maney useful people teaching all languages. Remember: learning a language is not taking part in a race: however, Yes, it is possible to learn a language in a simplified manner for daily use and without any tears. Good luck/ Bon chance/ Buona Fortuna/ Buenas suerte! Mila
    27th Apr 2015
    If you have studied a language at school, get some old text books or easy reading books in the language. A lot of Antiquarian and second hand bookshops have foreign language books.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles