To have another language is to possess a second soul.” - Charlemagne

Did you take a foreign language in high school or college?  Probably.  Do you remember how to read, write, and speak in that language?  Probably Not.  Do you need to master a foreign language to advance your career in the 21st century?  Certainly.  So how can you recover this skill without wasting time and money?

The solution is  Duolingo was created at Carnegie Mellon University by computer science professor Luis von Ahn and his student Severin Hacker (yes, his last name really is hacker).  Luis and Severin thought there should be a simple way for people to learn languages on their smart phones.  Here's what sets Duolingo apart from its competitors:

1. It's 100% free anytime and anywhere.

Unlike Rosetta Stone or a course at your local college, Duolingo can be utilized for free at the user's convenience on or on Duolingo's app for iPhone and Android.  With over 80 million users, Duolingo was selected by Apple as iPhone App of the Year 2013, by Google as Best of the Best for Android in 2013 and 2014, and by TechCrunch as Best Education Startup. 

2. Gamification

Do you have time to play Angry Birds?  Then you have time to pick up a language on Duolingo!  Duolingo makes learning (or relearning) a language fun by keeping track of your progress as you proceed through each level of the language like a video game.  You can even compete against your friends via Facebook.

3. It is effective

Professors from the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of South Carolina found that when using Duolingo for 34 hours, students learn the equivalent of one university semester of language instruction.

4. New languages are being "hatched" all the time

Currently, Duolingo offers full courses in following languages for native English speakers: Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Irish, Swedish, Danish, and Turkish.  If English isn't your first language, Duolingo offers a wide array of choices like Spanish to English.  There are various language combinations that are still crowdsourced in Beta.  They are even working on English to Klingon.  Qapla!