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Duolingo Russian

beginner to intermediate

Duolingo has won many awards in recent years. Its website makes the claim that, according to an independent study, an average of 34 hours of Duolingo is equivalent to a full university semester of language education. Since a one-semester university course usually takes more than 34 hours of work, this suggests that Duolingo is more effective than an average university language course. 


With Duolingo there are different levels which you have to progress through. You can skip through the levels by successfully completing tests (“checkpoints”), but if you fail them, then you are “locked” into completing each level until you reach the end of the course. Normally, you have three or four “hearts” per level, which means that you can make three or four mistakes before you fail the level and have to start it again.


In the Russian app, each level is comprised of learning-themed Russian vocabulary or grammar. There are short, one-line grammar explanations, though most of the learning occurs through making mistakes and correcting them. The levels work your reading, writing, and comprehension skills through translation exercises. There is also voice-recognition software which identifies if you are “correctly” pronouncing a word or expression.


Considering that the app is free to download and addictive to use, I would recommend it as a secondary learning aid. It’s great to use when you have ten or twenty minutes to kill, such as while on a commute, as you will certainly learn something interesting in your target language. However, the Russian app is not yet comprehensive, intuitive, or effective enough to be a primary learning resource in its current form.


Reviewed by

Conor Clyne

Conor Clyne has lived in 8 countries and travelled to over 70 in the past 15 years. Although not talented at all with languages in school, he subsequently learnt or is currently learning to speak 12 languages, including French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Romanian, Irish, Ukrainian and Catalan, in addition to, his native English. Inspired by the other polyglots who participated at the first Polyglot Conference in Budapest in 2013, Conor subsequently started his own website and YouTube channel called "Language Tsar" at


From our clients all over the world

"I am making good progress with Stella; she is patient and encouraging ..."
Byron Hauser

Russian course in Miami.

"I'm happy with my course and wouldn't change a thing. My teacher is fantastic, and she is good about setting a pace/plan but adjusting it to my needs."
Dana Gorodetsky

Russian course in Online.

"My teacher is excellent and has a passion for language. These one-to-one lessons are by far the best way to learn."
Sam rhein

Russian course in Online.

"I was thrilled with my first Russian class."
William McChesney

Russian course in Chicago.

"Everything's going great! I'm getting tons out of the course and me and Veronika get along fantastic!"
Patrick Nurse

Russian course in Toronto.