Duolingo App of the Year: New Language App Wins Apple Award

December 17, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Duolingo has been chosen as App of the Year by Apple.

The app enables users to learn new languages for free. A year after being released, the app has been downloaded 10 million times.

It was created by a professor, Luis von Ahn of Carnegie Mellon University, and a student, Severin Hacker.

People who need to learn languages “don’t have the money” to invest in pricey programs such as Rosetta Stone, which starts at $274, said von Ahn.

“They need it to get a better job,” he told USA Today.

“We’re super happy” about the award, he added. While he’s currently teaching, he plans to take next semester off to improve Doulingo.

The app offers six languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, English, and Portuguese.

A study conducted by Roumen Vesselinov of Queens College and John Grego of the University of South Carolina to assess the app’s effectiveness found that 34 hours of using the app equaled one university semester (11 weeks).

“The study estimated that a person with no knowledge of Spanish would need between 26 and 49 hours (or 34 hours on average) to cover the material for the first college semester of Spanish,” according to Duolingo. “Since a one semester university course usually takes more than 34 hours of work, this study suggests that Duolingo is more effective than university.”

Von Ahn said there are plans to add 50 languages to the app, but will stay free.

There are now 30 people working at Duolingo, which makes money by having users volunteer to help translate web pages for clients, which includes CNN.

The top apps also included:

-Ridiculous Fishing as iPhone Game of the Year. The $2.99 game is a fishing game that has uesrs tilt their phone to drop the lure in the water and steer it to fishes.

-Disney Animated as iPad App of the Year. The $9.99 game is described as a deep dive into Disney’s best films.

-Badland as iPad Game of the Year. The $3.99 game is an adventure game where players journey through interesting worlds.

The list of top free iPhone apps and top free iPad apps were topped by Candy Crush Saga, YouTube, and Temple Run 2.

Top paid iPhone apps are: Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Heads Up!, and Temple Run: Oz.

Top paid iPad apps are: Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Temple Run: Oz, and Plants vs. Zombies HD.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
RECOMMENDED