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Duolingo Review

Wednesday, May 29th

2024 Arabic Lesson Reviews

Duolingo Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • Pricing from free to $9.99 per month
  • Sentence-reading and listening approach
  • Latin and Al-abjadiyah alphabets used
  • Totally free account available
  • 14-day free trial of premium (Super Duolingo)
  • Gamified learning with points and leaderboards
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • 4.7-star average rating

If you haven't already heard of Duolingo, we'd be pretty surprised. This language-learning platform has gained tons of popularity and notoriety on social media for the cute little owl that sends you reminders to pick up on your language-learning journey. Duolingo is a program that offers an impressive gamified approach to learning Arabic (among 40+ other languages on its roster). Duolingo has become a go-to resource for numerous language learners, establishing itself as a widely recognized and free alternative to established companies.

Easy to get started

Getting started on Duolingo is simple. You can join 100% for free and start learning right away. All you need to do is pick the language of your choice. Duolingo will start by asking you questions about why you're learning Arabic, what your current level of understanding is, and how many minutes per day you want to spend on your Arabic lessons. Without even needing to sign up for anything, you'll be sent right to your first lesson.

Free trial offers alphabet and vocab

We found during the trial lesson that Duolingo focuses on understanding the Al-abjadiyah alphabet as much as getting you started with your vocab. You can see your progress through the lesson through the helpful top bar that slowly turns green as you answer questions. Anything you don't answer correctly will be returned briefly for a repeat question. The most important feature of the lessons (especially if you're on the free plan) is the hearts. If you make mistakes, you lose hearts. Once you run out (you start with 5 of them), you aren't able to learn any more until they refill. This can be frustrating if you want to keep learning for a long time, but can also help you really focus on learning the words and alphabet characters right away.

Best Arabic Lessons

Complex listening lessons with gamified fun

As a platform, Duolingo is based on a gamified approach. The goal is to make learning fun with game-like penalties if you make too many mistakes. The program focuses on Modern Standard Arabic, and there is some impressive complexity to the lessons too. In the alphabet lessons, you need to pay close attention to discern various sounds and understand how characters and symbols impact pronunciation. For instance, it introduces symbols with long and short vowel sounds requiring you to listen carefully for the right answer.

Free use or $6.99 per month

Duolingo offers a subscription at a monthly cost of $6.99, and you have the option to explore premium features during a complimentary 14-day trial before committing to the subscription. However, you do need to remember to cancel the premium membership once the trial is over or you'll be charged. Otherwise, you can use the platform entirely for free without ever paying a dime. The benefits of Super Duolingo Include unlimited replays (meaning you won't run out of hearts when you make mistakes) and access to extra practice tools that can help you really nail down some of the tougher parts of the Arabic lessons. Also, Duolingo recently rolled out a Super Duolingo Family Plan that lets you add multiple people to one paid subscription, but they can be literally anyone you'd like to include (friends, roommates). We had a hard time pinning down the price on that, or even finding where to sign up, but our research indicates that you can probably expect to pay $9.99/month for up to 5 users.

Progression requires self-discipline and outside help

Now, one of the downsides of Duolingo is that progressing through a language (to fluency) isn't as easy here as with other companies on our list. While the gamified approach is fun and engaging, it has received criticism as being "too addicting" and taking students away from more helpful learning methods. In the end, Duolingo offers lesson plans, but to actually take away language skills from the experience, you have to be very intentional with your learning. Taking notes, practicing outside of Duolingo, and keeping track of grammar on your own are going to be important if you want to succeed in a language as complex as Arabic. Duolingo offers some great features, but without a dedicated focus on grammar, a complex language like Arabic can become much more difficult to learn for someone who isn't supplementing Duolingo with other learning methods.

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No refund policy

According to Duolingo, none of the purchases are refundable. So if you don't pay attention to your 14-day free trial, you'll be immediately signed up. Sometimes this comes as a yearly charge despite being listed in monthly increments on the website. Duolingo is a site where you want to keep a careful eye on the timing if you choose to subscribe (or want to quit).

Mixed reviews raise some flags

In terms of reputation, Duolingo has feedback on both ends of the spectrum. According to the Better Business Bureau, Duolingo holds the lowest "F" rating. There have been 128 different complaints on the BBB in the last 3 years. However, if you check out the app stores where you can download Duolingo, it's a completely different story. On both the Google Play store and the Apple Store, Duolingo holds a 4.7-star rating. Duolingo also won the Editors Choice award on the Apple Store. Reviewers say that they're seeing improvement in their languages of choice and that the program is "fun" . Many customers also noted that this app is best for "getting your feet wet" with a new language rather than expecting to learn the whole thing from Duolingo.

Best as an introductory course

At the end of the day, Duolingo is a fun way to engage with Arabic, but it may not be the best option out there. Some customers noted that this app is best for getting started or "testing the waters" of a new language rather than relying on it to teach you from beginner to advanced level. However, with impressive pricing and a fun platform, Duolingo remains a fan favorite with students who download it. Since you can use it totally for free, it's definitely worth a download even as a supplement to other learning programs. For this reason, it gets a solid rating in our review of Arabic lessons.

Where Can You Find the Best Arabic Lessons?

Are you interested in learning Arabic? You may find yourself contemplating a relocation to one of the many countries where Arabic is the national language, or maybe you're just planning a trip to see Egypt. Whether you're looking to reconnect with your culture, learn more about a new one, or brush up on some courses you took in school, learning Arabic can be a truly worthwhile experience.

However, finding Arabic lessons that fit your busy life, include your preferred learning methods, and don't break the bank can be hard. For most people, in-person lessons aren't an option either for cost reasons or time commitments. Fortunately, the realm of online courses continues to grow, offering new Arabic learning opportunities that were previously unavailable.

The Best Arabic Lessons Compare Arabic Lessons Compare Arabic Lesson Reviews What are the best Arabic Lessons Best Arabic Lesson Reviews

Arabic Lesson FAQ

It is estimated that there are over 420 million speakers of Arabic worldwide, making it one of the five most commonly-spoken languages around the globe. This includes both native and non-native speakers.
Generally speaking, there are two basic forms of Arabic: standard and colloquial. The former is used by the media and in universities, literature and formal writing. If you take Arabic lessons from a Western school, this is probably the form you'll get. But, this isn't the way Arabic speakers use the language in their day-to-day lives! If you know that you'll be using Arabic mainly in one particular location (e.g. Egypt vs. Persian Gulf nations vs. Lebanon), it might be worth looking for an Arabic course that at least introduces the dialect of that area. On the other hand, of all of the Arabic dialects, Egyptian is the most widely-understood by all speakers (largely due to the nation's popular music, film and TV industry), so learning the Egyptian dialect is a safe bet too.
If your first language is English, be prepared for your Arabic studies to require some work! Ranked as a Category IV language by the State Department's Foreign Service Institute, Arabic is "exceptionally difficult" on par with Japanese, Korean and Chinese. But, if you're willing to put in the time and effort, it's definitely doable!
Your first step should be to learn the Arabic alphabet, so that you don't have to depend on transliteration into English. Arabic experts also recommend that you memorize the plural forms of every noun you learn, because they can be very different (no tacking on an "s" like we do in English!), as well as the verb forms and any prepositions that go along with them. Finally, as with learning any language, give yourself plenty of time to study regularly; a few minutes here and there won't get you speaking Arabic fluently!
Availability, affordability and access: for those three reasons alone, you should consider studying Arabic online. Many colleges and universities don't offer courses in the language, and there's no guarantee you can secure one of the coveted seats in the class if your school does. Studying Arabic online can be done according to your preferred schedule, and at a fraction of the cost you'd pay per credit hour at a local school.
If you're studying Arabic online, you will probably need to take a few extra steps to enable the language on your computer. The steps depend on whether you're using a Mac or Windows-based PC, so search for the instructions according to your operating system. There are also online Arabic keyboards you can use without changing your computer settings.
No! They're definitely less costly than taking in-person courses. Some programs charge a one-time fee, while others use a month-to-month subscription format. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 for a one-off software purchase, or between $10 and $30 per month for an online course that lasts up to two years. You've got lots of options!
That depends on the provider you choose. Some offer satisfaction guarantees ranging from 30-60 days from the date of purchase or start of the subscription plan, while others only allow you to cancel future months without refunding past payments. We recommend that you use any free materials offered by the Arabic lessons platform prior to making your choice: you can often take full sample lessons or watch a demo of how the program works, which will help you get a feel for which Arabic lessons are the best fit for your preferences and learning style.
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Continued from above...

Whether you prefer hearing, writing, or speaking, various Arabic programs are designed to offer a range of skill-building exercises. Modern audio materials cover syllables, words, phrases, and sentences for effective repetition.

Alternatively, for visual learners, there are Arabic language platforms that cleverly gamify the entire learning process. These platforms not only cover grammar and writing exercises but also often integrate speech recognition software, allowing you to compare your pronunciation directly with that of a native speaker.

Nearly every Arabic platform offers cultural and historical aspects in their programs. Given the rich historical background and symbolic importance of the Arabic language, a thorough grasp of it requires exploring its historical origins and understanding its contemporary applications. Many of today's language-learning options also emphasize Modern Standard Arabic, mirroring the language you would encounter in general conversations. And, some companies focus on local dialects too.

As you navigate the wide array of online Arabic lessons, it might seem a little daunting to pick the best fit. To help you find the best Arabic lessons for you, we've put together some helpful criteria:

  • Teaching methodology. What type of learner are you? Are you inclined towards auditory learning, finding podcasts or narrations to be your favorite? Perhaps you enjoy engaging in written or gamified exercises to support your learning experience? While several Arabic lesson programs integrate various learning modalities, some platforms prioritize one style over others. Consider your preferred learning approach so you select the most suitable platform for how you learn best.
  • Free trial option. Top-notch Arabic lesson programs allow you to explore the program without making a payment. Look for platforms that offer free trials and pay attention to their duration. You should also look for sites that provide example lessons or preview videos on the site so you can see what you're getting into at a glance. Exercise extra caution if a company doesn't have these important details.
  • Cost vs. value. The cost of the subscription (or one-time payment) is a significant factor for your Arabic education. But you'll also want to assess the value you'll receive. Consider how much fluency you'll gain from the program and whether you can learn Arabic from one program or if you'll need two or three to supplement others that are less complete.
  • Reputation. While many Arabic lesson platforms aren't listed with the Better Business Bureau, there are reviews on third-party sites, linguistics blogs, and mobile apps to consider. Check-in on the ratings for your chosen Arabic lesson provider to make sure you're getting a language source with a great reputation.

To make sure you have the best possible experience learning Arabic, Top Consumer Reviews has assessed and rated the top options for Arabic lessons. We hope our reviews help you achieve your desired level of fluency, whether your goal is travel, cultural understanding, or simply enjoyment of a new language. Enjoy your continuing education in the beautiful language of Arabic!

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