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Duolingo, Inc.
Duolingo logo, featuring the owl mascot Duo
Type of site
Available in
HeadquartersPittsburgh, PA, U.S.
Area servedWorld
Founder(s)Luis von Ahn, Severin Hacker
CEOLuis von Ahn
IndustryOnline education, Professional certification, Translation, Crowdsourcing
ServicesLanguage courses, Duolingo English Test, Duolingo for Schools, Tinycards flashcard app
Alexa rankDecrease 863 (May 2018)[2]
Users300 million[3]
Launched30 November 2011; 7 years ago (2011-11-30)
Current statusOnline
Native client(s) onAndroid, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows 10 Mobile
Written inSwift[4], React, Python, Scala[5]
Presentation at Wikimania about Duolingo

Duolingo ( DEW-oh-LING-goh) is a freemium language-learning platform that includes a language-learning website and app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam. As of October 2018, the language-learning website and app offer 81 different language courses across 37 languages. The app has about 300 million registered users across the world.[1][6][7][8][9]


The project was started at the end of 2009 in Pittsburgh by Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn (creator of reCAPTCHA) and his graduate student Severin Hacker, and then developed along with Antonio Navas, Vicki Cheung, Marcel Uekermann, Brendan Meeder, Hector Villafuerte, and Jose Fuentes.[10][11]

Inspiration for Duolingo came from two places. Luis Von Ahn wanted to create another program that served two purposes in one, what he calls a "twofer".[12] Duolingo originally did this by teaching its users a foreign language while having them translate simple phrases in documents, though the translation feature has since been removed.[13]

Von Ahn was born in Guatemala and saw how expensive it was for people in his community to learn English. Severin Hacker (born in Zug, Switzerland), co-founder of Duolingo, and Von Ahn believe that "free education will really change the world"[14] and wanted to supply the people an outlet to do so.

The project was originally sponsored by Luis von Ahn's MacArthur fellowship and a National Science Foundation grant.[15][16] Additional funding was later received in the form of investments from Union Square Ventures and actor Ashton Kutcher's firm, A-Grade Investments.[17][18]

Duolingo started its private beta on November 30, 2011, and accumulated a waiting list of more than 300,000 users.[19] On June 19, 2012, Duolingo launched for the general public. Due to popular interest, Duolingo has received many investments including a $20 million Series C round of investment led by Kleiner Caufield & Byers and a $45 million Series D round of investment led by Google Capital.[20] Duolingo has 95 staff members, of whom many were Google employees,[21] and operates from an office in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of East Liberty.[22][23][24]

On November 13, 2012, Duolingo released their iOS app through the iTunes App Store.[25] The application is a free download and is compatible with most iPhone, iPod and iPad devices.[26] On May 29, 2013, Duolingo released their Android app, which was downloaded about a million times in the first three weeks and quickly became the #1 education app in the Google Play store.[27] As of 2017, the company had a total funding of USD $108.3 million.[28] Duolingo received a fifth-round $25 million in July 2017 from Drive Capital, with the funds directed toward creating initiatives such as TinyCards and Duolingo Labs.[29]

Business model

Duolingo has a freemium business model and it uses advertising in both its Android and iPhone apps.[30] Duolingo courses include periodic advertisements which users can remove by paying a subscription fee. To earn money, Duolingo originally employed a crowd sourced business model, where the content came from organizations (such as CNN and BuzzFeed) that paid Duolingo to translate it.[31]

As of 2017, Duolingo runs ads on both its mobile and desktop applications.[32]

Language courses

Courses for English speakers

As of December 16, 2018, 32 courses are available to the public in English, three of which are constructed languages (including two fictional languages). Ordered by number of learners, they are:[33][34][35]

Three courses for English speakers are currently in development (ordered by progression percentage towards completion):[38][39]

Languages in beta are usually not available to mobile app users. However, Hawaiian, Navajo, and Hungarian are courses released in beta that are available on the apps.

Courses unavailable in English

Duolingo offers language courses for speakers of languages other than English, but all available languages offer at least English as a course. The Catalan and Guarani courses are exclusive to Spanish speakers.

Courses available in other languages

As of November 18, 2018, the following languages are available to speakers of languages other than English:[41]

  • Arabic: English, French, German, Swedish, Spanish(#)
  • Bengali: English(#)
  • Chinese: English, Spanish, French(#), German(#), Italian(#), Japanese(#), Korean(#)
  • Czech: English
  • Dutch: English
  • French: English, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese
  • German: English, Spanish, French
  • Greek: English
  • Hindi: English
  • Hungarian: English
  • Indonesian: English
  • Italian: English, French, German, Spanish(?)
  • Japanese: English
  • Korean: English
  • Polish: English
  • Portuguese: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Esperanto(?)
  • Punjabi: English(#)
  • Romanian: English
  • Russian: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish#
  • Spanish: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Catalan, Guarani, Esperanto, Russian
  • Tagalog: English(#)
  • Tamil: English(#)
  • Telugu: English(#)
  • Thai: English
  • Turkish: English, German, Russian, French(#)
  • Ukranian: English
  • Vietnamese: English

# = course still in development (?) = Course still in beta version

Number of languages available for speakers of: On app On website
German 3 3
Turkish 2 4
Spanish 8 9
Greek 1 1
Dutch 1 1
French 5 5
Hungarian 1 1
Czech 1 1
Italian 3 4
Arabic 4 5
Indonesian 1 1
Korean 1 1
Ukrainian 1 1
Vietnamese 1 1
Japanese 1 1
Russian 4 5
Thai 1 1
Hindi 1 1
Chinese 2 3
Portuguese 4 6
Polish 1 1
Romanian 1 1
Bengali - 2
Punjabi - 1
Tagalog - 1
Tamil - 1
Telugu - 1


Duolingo uses many services in the Amazon Web Services suite of products, including Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, nearly 200 virtual instances in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS).[42] The server backend is written in the programming language Python.[43] A component called the Session Generator was rewritten in Scala by 2017.[5] The frontend was written in Backbone.js and Mustache but is now primarily in React and Redux. Duolingo provides a single-page web application for desktop computer users and also smart phone applications on Android (both Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore), iOS App Store and Windows Phone platforms. 20% of traffic comes from desktop users and 80% from mobile app users.[42]


Duolingo is funded by Union Square Venture Partners ($3.3 million in 2011), New Enterprise Associates ($15 million), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers ($20 million), Google Capital ($45 million), Ashton Kutcher's A-Grade Investments, and Tim Ferriss.[44][45][46]

Game elements

Duolingo mimics the structure of video games in several ways in order to engage its users. There is a reward system in which users acquire "lingots", an in-game currency that can be spent on features such as character customizations or bonus levels. There are public leaderboards in which people can compete against their friends or see how they stack up against the rest of the world. The level system that Duolingo uses is XP (experience points), a numerical system that represents a user's skill level. Badges in Duolingo represent achievements that are earned from completing specific objectives or challenges.[47]

School use

Duolingo provides "Duolingo for Schools" with features designed to allow teachers to track their students. In 2012, an effectiveness study of Duolingo was published with the authors concluding that Duolingo usage for Spanish study was more effective than classroom language learning alone, but that this effect was less for more advanced learners.[48] One proposed reason for this is that the direct-translation method that Duolingo primarily uses is more applicable to simpler words and phrases than to complex ones; simpler ones can be translated in a more exact manner from one language to another and thus are more conducive to Duolingo's direct-translation method.[49]

Recognition and awards

In 2013, Apple chose Duolingo as its iPhone App of the Year, the first time this honor had been awarded to an educational application.[50] Also, Duolingo won Best Education Startup at the 2014 Crunchies,[22] and was the most downloaded app in the Education category in Google Play in 2013 and 2014.[51] In 2015, Duolingo was announced the 2015 award winner in Play & Learning category by Design to Improve Life.[52] In 2018, Duolingo was named to Fast Company's list of the Most Innovative Companies[53] to CNBC's Disruptor 50 list[54] and one of TIME Magazine's 50 Genius Companies[55].

Duolingo Clubs

Duolingo Clubs was launched on December 20, 2016, with the intention of promoting competitiveness and relations between users, adding more "fun" to the course, which increases learning motivation. In Duolingo Clubs there is a weekly ranking of the experience acquired in the lessons, there are badges (achievements) to acquire, among other implements. It is available in the mobile version of iOs, Android and Windows Phone, and has a very similar system, although not identical, on the website.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Duolingo moving to East Liberty, plans to add employees". The Business Journals. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ "Duolingo". Ranking. Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ Frederic Lardinois. "Duolingo hires its first chief marketing officer as active user numbers stagnate but revenue grows". Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "Real World Swift - Making Duolingo Blog". making.duolingo.com.
  5. ^ a b "Rewriting Duolingo's engine in Scala - Making Duolingo Blog". making.duolingo.com.
  6. ^ "100M users strong, Duolingo raises $45M led by Google at a $470M valuation to grow language-learning platform". Venture beat. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ "Duolingo - Learn Languages for Free". Windows phone. Microsoft. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ Guliani, Parul. "Duolingo Looks To Dominate The Mobile Education Market With New Flashcard App TinyCards". Forbes. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "By the Numbers: 16 Amazing Duolingo Stats and Facts (October 2017)". DMR. Retrieved .
  10. ^ Siegler, MG (April 12, 2011). "Meet Duolingo, Google's Next Acquisition Target; Learn A Language, Help The Web". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "The Duolingo Team". Twitpic.
  12. ^ Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor; Cukier, Kenneth (2014). Learning with Big Data: The Future of Education. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 9-10. ISBN 978-0-54435550-7.
  13. ^ "What Happened to Immersion?". duolingo.[dead link]
  14. ^ Olson, Parmy. "Crowdsourcing Capitalists: How Duolingo's Founders Offered Free Education To Millions". Forbes.
  15. ^ "Online Education as a Vehicle for Human Computation". National Science Foundation.
  16. ^ "Learn a language, translate the web". New Scientist.
  17. ^ Todd, Deborah M. (July 3, 2012). "Ashton Kutcher backs CMU duo's startup Duolingo". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved 2012.
  18. ^ "The Daily Start-Up: Kutcher-Backed Language Site Duolingo Finds Its Voice". The Wall Street Journal. June 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  19. ^ Adi Robertson (December 16, 2011). "Duolingo will translate the internet while teaching languages". The Verge. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ "We have a blog!". Blog. Duolingo.
  21. ^ "The Google effect: How has the tech giant changed Pittsburgh's commerce and culture?". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 7, 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  22. ^ a b Luis. "Duolingo turns two today!". Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ "Duolingo launching on Android; plans move to bigger office". Biz journals. May 29, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  24. ^ Hartmans, Avery (March 23, 2016). "Duolingo moving to East Liberty, plans to add employees". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ Frederic Lardinois (November 13, 2012). "Language Learning Service Duolingo Launches Its First iPhone App". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ "Duolingo - Learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian for free". iTunes App Store. Apple. Retrieved 2013.
  27. ^ Farber, Dan (July 11, 2013). "Duolingo brings free language courses to the iPad". C net. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ Lardinois, Frederic (July 25, 2017). "Duolingo raises $25M at a $700M valuation". TechCrunch.
  29. ^ Elaine, Ramirez. "Duolingo Is Launching A Korean Course To Cash In On Asia's Booming Language Market". Forbes. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ "Crowdsourcing Capitalists: How Duolingo's Founders Offered Free Education To Millions". Forbes. Retrieved 2015.
  31. ^ Simonite, Tom (November 29, 2012). "The Cleverest Business Model in Online Education". Technology review. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "Duolingo: Learn Spanish, French and other languages for free". www.duolingo.com. Retrieved .
  33. ^ Allan, Patrick. "Language Learning Showdown: Rosetta Stone Vs. Duolingo". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ Fisher, Stacy. "Duolingo Review". The Balance. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ "Language Courses for English Speakers". Duolingo. Retrieved 2017.
  36. ^ "Duolingo now supports Chinese, but it probably won't help you become fluent". The Verge. Retrieved .
  37. ^ "High Valyrian for English speakers" (status report). Duolingo. Retrieved 2017.
  38. ^ "Incubator". Duolingo. Retrieved 2015.
  39. ^ "[WIS] Weekly Incubator Summary: 2018, Week 42". Retrieved 2018.
  40. ^ "Arabic for English speakers" (status report). Duolingo. Retrieved 2018.
  41. ^ "Duolingo Language Courses". Duolingo. Retrieved 2018.
  42. ^ a b "AWS Case Study: Duolingo". Web Services. Amazon. Retrieved 2015.
  43. ^ "What language is Duolingo written in?". Quora. Retrieved 2014.
  44. ^ "Duolingo: Learn Spanish, French and other languages for free". www.duolingo.com. Retrieved .
  45. ^ "Want to start a New EdTech Venture ? First Learn about the Amazing DuoLingo Business Model". Unicornomy. 2017-03-28. Retrieved .
  46. ^ Konrad, Alex. "Language App Duolingo Raises $20M In Race To Teach English". Forbes. Retrieved .
  47. ^ Huynh, Duy; Zuo, Long; Iida, Hiroyuki (2016-12-05). "Analyzing Gamification of "Duolingo" with Focus on Its Course Structure". Games and Learning Alliance. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Cham: 268-277. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-50182-6_24. ISBN 9783319501819.
  48. ^ VESSELINOV, ROUMEN (December 2012). "Duolingo Effectiveness Study" (PDF). Duolingo.com. Retrieved 2018.
  49. ^ Ahmed, Heba (2016-06-15). "Duolingo as a Bilingual Learning App: a Case Study". Arab World English Journal. 7 (2): 255-267. doi:10.24093/awej/vol7no2.17. ISSN 2229-9327.
  50. ^ "Duolingo snags iPhone App of the Year". Gigaom. December 17, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  51. ^ "Google Play reveals the most downloaded apps, games and entertainment content from 2014". The Next Web. 2014-12-11. Retrieved 2014.
  52. ^ "Duolingo-Index: Award 2015 Winner (Play & Learning Category)". Design to Improve Life. Design to Improve Life. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  53. ^ "Duolingo: Most Innovative Company | Fast Company". Fast Company. Retrieved .
  54. ^ staff, CNBC.com (2018-05-22). "2018 Disruptor 50: No. 35 Duolingo". CNBC. Retrieved .
  55. ^ "Duolingo: The 50 Most Genius Companies of 2018". Time. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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