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How to Build a Language Learning App Like Duolingo

Young woman and man in headphones learning different languages communicating through simultaneous interpretation

In this tech-savvy era, learning a new language is the key to expanding your business across the world. Dealing with foreign clients in their native language helps to build stronger business relationships and reduces the communication gap to a large extent. In the past couple of years, the rise of language learning apps like Duolingo has made it easy for people to learn a new language within just a few days.

Considering the huge success of Duolingo, entrepreneurs have started investing in language learning app development. However, creating a language learning app is not an easy task as it requires a deep understanding of the activities involved in the language learning app development process. In this blog, in-depth information on building a language learning app like Duolingo is shared.

Online Language Learning Market: Key Facts & Statistics

  • As per the recent survey conducted by GlobeNewswire, the online language learning market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 18.7% from 2020 to 2027.
  • According to Statista:
  • The global language services market witnessed a twofold increase in its size over the last decade and reached 49.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.
  • In 2019, TransPerfect ranked first among the top language service providers in the U.S. with a whopping revenue of 764.5 million U.S. dollars.
  • The digital English language learning market size is expected to reach upto 5.1 billion euros by the end of 2025.

Key Features to Include in Your Language Learning App

Log In/Sign-up: After submitting a few details like email-id, name, and phone number, users will register in the app. After the one-time registration, users can log in to the app any time by using their username and password. Social media profiles could also be used for single-clicking sign-on.

Profile Management: A language learning app must have this feature so that users can effectively manage their accounts. From personal information to profile pictures, users will add numerous details to set up their profiles.

Dashboard: The dashboard will display information like the user’s accomplishment, no. of courses, reward points, etc. Users will be able to keep track of their performance and daily based progress using this feature.

Chatbots: It’ll be possible for app users to send real-time messages to their instructors using chatbots. Not only will it promote two-way communication but also help learners to share their doubts in a more precise manner.

Video Streaming: This feature will make the language learning procedure more exciting for users. Candidates will connect with their teachers via live video conferencing to attend lectures. It will also be easy for users to get instant feedback and answers to their queries.

Push Notifications: Users will receive timely updates regarding any kind of changes in lecture timings, availability of trainers, new courses, etc. Apart from that, push notifications will also increase the knowledge base of users as they will receive all the updates regarding the current trends in the online language industry.

Live Games: It is an advanced feature that will play a significant role in enhancing the user base. Adding gaming elements to your app will transform the overall learning procedure into a more effective and fun-filled process for all users.

Pronunciation Checker: Intelligible pronunciation skills are necessary to communicate effectively with native speakers. A feature like a pronunciation checker will help the app users improve their speaking skills. For instance, most language learning apps like Duolingo use speech recognition technology to test users’ pronunciation. Audio clips recorded in a native language could also help users in practicing pronunciation.

Vocabulary Builder: Integrating a vocabulary builder in a language learning app will enable users to enhance their vocabulary. The greater your vocabulary becomes, the easier it will be to learn a new language. Having a good breadth of vocabulary will help users to express their views and thoughts more articulately.

Grammar Reviewer: Grammatical skills are important to gain expertise in a particular language. A language learning app must offer practice exercises and test papers to the app users so that they can improve their basic grammar and take their skills to the next level. Good grammar knowledge will not only improve their writing ability but also help them polish their communication skills at the same time.

Reading Assistant: A reading assistant will use voice recognition technology to listen to your voice and help you build your overall reading fluency and proficiency. A language learning app that comes with an in-app reading assistant will enable users to develop their sentence structuring skills and increase their ability to empathize.

Listening Comprehension: There is no denying that mastering a new language is not possible unless you know how to listen and understand easily.  To be a successful public speaker, you need to be a good listener.

Including audio tracks and podcasts in your language learning app could help the app users sharpen their listening comprehension skills.

Some Popular Apps Similar to Duolingo

  1. Busuu: Busuu is an AI-powered language learning app that offers 12 language courses to its users across the globe. It was founded in 2008 by Bernhard Niesner and Adrian Hilti. As of January 2020, there are more than 100 million active users on Busuu. In the last 12 years, Busuu and its founders have won more than 19 awards including the “best app of 2015” by Google Play and “best language app” by the German Association for Consumer Studies.
  2. Babbel: Babbel is a subscription-based language learning app currently offering 14 different languages to its worldwide users. The content available on the Babbel app is created by an in-house team of more than 100 linguists and educators. To create a low-cost online English test for their users, Babbel partnered with Cambridge English Language Assessment Board.
  3. Tandem: Tandem is a name among the top language learning apps available on both the App Store and the Play store. It is a language exchange app that connects app users with native speakers. Tandem offers 300 languages and is supported by an organization named Tandem Fundazioa. The app allows language learners to contact their tutors via messages, video calls, and audio calls.
  4. Mondly: Mondly is a language learning app loved by more than 60 million people across the world. The latest version of Mondly offers numerous language learning courses in more than 33 languages including English, Spanish, Russian, Latin, Urdu, Bengali, and many more. Apart from language learning courses, Mondly is integrated with numerous lessons that could help beginners, as well as advanced learners, improve their grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. Mondly has been recognized by Business Insider, CNN, Forbes, and awarded by Facebook with the “app of the year” award in 2017.
  5. Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone is an award-winning app through which users can learn more than 24 languages including English, French, Dutch, Irish, Italian, Persian, and many more. Users can select a language learning plan as per their requirements and learning goals. The app also offers 5–10-minute bite-sized language learning lessons, especially for individuals who find it difficult to take out some time from their busy working schedule. Since its launch, the app has been installed by more than 10 million Play Store users.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Language Learning App like Duolingo?

Building a language learning app as successful as Duolingo a challenging, even with a good understanding of concepts. So, finding the exact app cost in the early stages of the development process is a difficult task. To help you on your way, I’ve listed some noteworthy factors that could help you determine the estimated cost for creating a language learning app like Duolingo.

Type of Application: The type of language learning application you’re willing to build could affect the development cost. Native, Hybrid, and Web apps are three different types of applications. Native apps are developed for a specific app development platform using a specific language. Applications that utilize a web browser to perform various tasks over the internet are known as web apps. Hybrid or cross-platform apps are a mix of both native and web applications.

Complexity Level: The cost of an application depends heavily on its complexity level. The number of features you’ll include in your app will decide its size. To prevent cost overrun, it is necessary to make a list of features before starting with language learning app development. To get better clarity regarding the key app features, it is advisable to check some popular language learning apps available on the App Store and the Play store.

Size of Development Team: The number of people involved in the overall app development process will also help you analyze your app cost. Developing a complex language learning app just like Duolingo might require a complete mobile app development team. From programmers to UI/UX designers to app testers, an app development team involves a lot of subject matter experts. So, it’s necessary to make a wise decision while hiring a freelancer or a custom app development company.

App Development Platform: In the current app development market, Android and iOS are two popular app development platforms. The tools and technologies required to create a language learning app like Duolingo will be different for both platforms. Hence, the type of platform you’re using to build a language learning app could also be a deciding factor in depicting the app cost.       

Location of Development Agency: If you’re looking to hire a reputed mobile app development company for your language learning app development needs, then the app budget will also get affected by the location of the agency. The amount charged by developers could vary from region to region. For instance, the US-based freelancers will follow the pricing plans followed in the U.S. while UK-based developers will charge as per the availability of resources in their country.


Learning a new language has become a trend in this modern world- thanks to the language learning apps like Duolingo that made it possible for people to learn unlimited languages while being at home. The craze of learning a new language is increasing continuously among people of every age group which indicates that there’s a lot of space for a new app idea to flourish in the future.

Hence, it’s the right time for entrepreneurs to contribute to the world of e-learning by making investments in either education app development or language learning app development.

Published: June 16, 2021

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