Being a former Spanish language instructor at all levels and holding a Masters degree in Spanish Linguistics, I am in a position to evaluate different Spanish language programs. Duolingo is an excellent tool for those wanting to learn the Spanish language. However, it must supplemented by practice with native speakers, Spanish immersion and above all the desire and motivation to learn the language. Remember, any method is only as good as the effort you put into it. “To learn another language, is to know another world” — Cervantes.
The free, online training site is 5 years old now, and 27 languages are being offered with nearly that many in development. Not all courses are for English speakers, and the English course for foreigners is the most popular.
Of particular interest for expats in Costa Rica is the Spanish for English course, which quickly propels a learner into a basic vocabulary. No one claims that a Duolingo course can make a learner fluent, but the grammatical groundwork is comprehensive.
After 60 or so quick lessons, a learner can construct basic sentences, knows a little about telling time, as well as basic occupations and sizes: small, big, short, tall.
The program originated at Carnegie Mellon University. So, despite being free, the coursework is impressive. Each course is developed by bilingual speakers, and many are academics with vast knowledge of linguistics.
The Spanish for English speakers course has about 79,000 learners now, but many, of course, do not finish the lessons.
That is not the fault of Duolingo. The program sends out daily messages encouraging learners to sign on and complete a lesson. Its motto is that language learning requires daily practice.
The website is available on handheld devices, too. https://en.duolingo.com/
Some may want to use the oral capacities. Those with microphones on computers can use this optional feature.
Parts of this article courtesy of AM Costa Rica