SEOUL, May 23 (Korea Bizwire) – Good news for those who want to learn foreign languages: A free language study app, “DuoLingo,” will be served in Korea soon.
DuoLingo offers a free service for language learning including English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian. Korean will be added in six months. Centering on North America, it has secured some 25 million subscribers. Apple Inc. nominated it the best iPhone app of the year last year. Reflecting on its popularity, venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers invested US$20 million to the app last February.
DuoLingo will be launched next week in Korea. Luis von Ahn, co-developer of the app, said “We decided to offer our service in Korea. The app will offer a good chance to learn foreign languages for Koreans who are accustomed to mobile devices.”
With DuoLingo, users learn foreign languages like playing a mobile game. The app teaches vocabulary and grammar in increasingly difficult stages, using a blend of audio and visual matching and translation to teach. People who use the app can compare their scores for the exercises, adding a dose of competition to the mix.
When users are not studying at the app for a while, it sends a push alarm for the users to remind of the app. Roumen Vesselinov, professor at Queens Colleges, the City University of New York, released a study that 34 hours of Spanish study with the app is equivalent to a semester’s study of a subject at university.
Moreover, its strength lies in its unique revenue model. Unlike any other language learning programs, it is totally free. There is no ad in the app. Its revenue comes from the cooperation among DuoLingo, partner companies and the users. For example, a learner translates a news article of CNN, a partner of DuoLingo, for studying English. CNN pays money for the translation to DuoLingo which runs the program with the money. Anyway, users don’t pay.
Von Ahn said, “Everybody regardless of their income level should have an equal opportunity to learn foreign languages.”
Written by John Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)