Duolingo Vs Lingodeer


I have been doing Duolingo for a little over 2 months straight but I am thinking of giving it up…

So far my Japanese study is composed of:

  • Pimsleurs (on the way to work)
  • Wanikani (morning and night).
  • Duolingo (throughout the day)
  • Japanese from Zero text book (Book 1)
  • Bunpo / Bunpro (i’ve just started these; i need to work out which one i should do)

I would like to add Lingodeer as well but I am pretty pressed for time as it is. I am thinking of swapping out Duolingo for Lingodeer since i’ve heard a lot of good things about it.

What are people’s opinions on this?

I know Lingodeer is paid (and Duo is free) but this doesn’t concern me.

Is Lingodeer far and away superior to Duo? Do both apps pretty much accomplish the same thing? (they seem similar to me).

Any input would be great.

Cheers Peter.

Debatable. Technically it’s free, but has that stupid heart system that punishes you for getting anything wrong, stopping you actually studying.
So, they claim free, then make it painful if you don’t cough up.


Go for it. LD is much more superior with sentences not written by madmen and voices are done by actual human beings rather than soulless computers.


Ah thanks. I like how Lingodeer has N5 - N1 levels so you know where you are at and feel like you’re getting somewhere.

Yeh you’re not wrong. But i generally am able to do it on the computer at work so this doesn’t affect me.

I didn’t know this about Lingodeer before I bought it, but each lesson concludes with a little reading/speaking portion. You get a chance to practice speaking/pronounciation by parroting the dialog, but the app also makes you record your voice and submit it to a shared leaderboard in order to complete the entire lesson.

It’s skippable (I’m not using the app to “complete” it), but I was surprised by not being able to exit the speaking portion without submiting my voice to some database that was accessible to other app users. (I mean I could always force quit, but why is that my only option lingodeer?)

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I actually like the heart system in Duolingo. As I typically want to spend no more than 30 minutes on it each day, this gives me a good way to limit the study - I just go until I run out of hearts. If I paid for it and got the limit removed, it would mean I’d have to decide myself when to stop, and I don’t like that. Also, I pay more attention to my answers as I need to get at least one full lesson done to keep my stride of 800 or so days up.


Disclaimer: I used LingoDeer in the beta and received a lifetime subscription after donating to them

An often overlooked feature for LingoDeer I feel is the “Learning Tips” section which is essentially a textbook explanation for each grammar point you cover. If you’re using the app, as you progress, you can also check your “Knowledge Cards” under the “Review” section which are also the grammar points you’ve unlocked and their explanations which you can favorite.

You essentially get to carry a textbook in your pocket that is integrated into itself rather than splitting PDFs of e-books. Is’so good!


Disclaimers: I bought a cheap LDeer lifetime sub during beta so it’s basically “free” for me. Also I’ve used Duo for French but not for Japanese … and supposedly their European languages are (or used to be) a heck of a lot better than their Asian ones.

I like LDeer a lot. It’s cute and the interface somehow feels smoother and more fun than Duo? Not sure quite what it is. Like @Rego said, the little grammar guides are really nice, too!

Unlike Duo, there’s a “Test out” option that lets you skip ahead by taking a quiz. The lessons you skipped won’t get added to your flashcards (so you won’t be spammed with hiragana reviews!) and you can always go back and do the individual lessons if you want them.

The only real disadvantage is it doesn’t have SRS. There’s a flashcard mode and you can quiz yourself on the “weak” words that you got wrong on lessons. But AFAIK once you get the word right it doesn’t weaken over time. It kinda feels like a feature they might add in later? I really hope so.

If cost is no problem, sub and try it out for a month!


I highly recommed to take a look at busuu. It is not as popular/known as Lingodeer. But the explanation of grammar is fantastic. You get a lot of dialogues, learning kanji ony by one etc.


You can mitigate this with the LingoDeer+ app which has games to help you learn as well. I bought the lifetime to that one as well and haven’t regretted my purchase yet, though it is a bit of a smaller package. I will say that some of the dialogue practice game is legitimately challenging for me.

@PeterRoss If you don’t mind the self-promoting part of it, I stream my study sessions when I’m not addicted to a video game.

EDIT: I just got home and noticed the stream I linked was about to expire, so I clipped the entire section of the stream I spend studying on Lingo Deer and Lingo Deer+, though this isn’t the best example since I am tried as all heck during this stream apparently. Hope it helps give you some insight into the apps.

LingoDeer/LingoDeer+ Study Session


Thanks for your advice everybody. I am def. leaning towards Lingodeer…Duo is just too repetitiive.

I have been aiming for just 1 crown per day (5-6 separate lessons per day) but at this rate it will take me 2 YEARS to finish Duo and I don’t think it has N1 / N2 content (correct me if i’m wrong, but I would be surprised). The progress on Duo just seems far too slow and doesn’t appear to increase in challenge.

Over 1200 days on my Duolingo streak. I wouldn’t recommend Duo to anybody. When I started, I gave it the benefit of the doubt that it was in beta and therefore things would occasionally be wrong or off. Words being pronounced with a different reading than they should be in a certain context is one of those issues, I’m sure I even ran into the ‘wa’ particle being read out as ‘ha’ at one point, which is like teaching English and mispronouncing ‘the’. I haven’t seen huge improvement in that time. Even basic things seem like they are technically correct, but no native would generally speak that way. (I’m hungry is translated by them as お腹が空きます, as opposed to お腹が空いています for instance. Anyone else find that sounds odd?). It’s making me paranoid about everything it tries to teach, though skepticism and open mindedness during language learning is a good thing in certain amounts, not feeling like you can trust a source in general is pretty bad. Duo seems like it was kinda made for European languages at first and then it expanded into trying to cover all languages possible without any special care being put into the expanded set. Though I’ve heard both Welsh and Spanish speaking people say “Who would ever say that? What a strange example, we’d usually say x or y instead.” when reviewing their courses as well.

Haven’t had as much experience with Lingodeer, and I don’t even remember it being a paid option back when I tried it out, but it seems like it was made with the purpose of teaching Japanese specifically. Which is highly preferable to Duo’s general framework. @Rego reminded me of it’s learning tips function. This is something I feel Duo has desperately needed for a while, rather than Duo’s tendency to rely on it’s community comments (Granted, some of the community users are pretty good at explaining and helping out, I have much respect for them. But it shouldn’t become their job to do so when that’s what Duolingo’s purpose is.). Lingodeer sounds more natural than what I’ve seen from Duo in terms of sentence examples. All around, I would trust it more than Duo and personally want to make the switch to it myself but haven’t yet for whatever reason. Even if it’s now a pay only option, I think it would be worth it.

TLDR: DuoJP has been in beta for 4+ years and relies on a general framework that isn’t built for japanese, Lingodeer seemed good straight outta the box and I regret not making that my main choice from the beginning.


The what? :thinking: I did Spanish for a while and didn’t have anything like this.

The only good thing about Duolingo were the Stories. Those were actually well done and useful. Sadly they are only available in a few languages only.

Thanks for your detailed response. That was very interesting!

So is it the streak that is keeping you going? and have you been doing the Japanese course on Duo for 4 years or are you doing a bunch of other languages as well? (I see a lot of people on Duo doing 10+ languages at once).

I did bite the bullet and paid approx $160 AUD for a lifetime sub. It’s a lot of money for sure but i don’t regret it. It will give me a reason to take it seriously.

I’ve posted about this in previous threads, so I shall just quote myself, hehe:

DISCLAIMER: I have a lifetime LingoDeer and LingoDeer+ subscription from when they became available


Great idea.

Another great idea.

Would recommend keeping both. I do Bunpo and then add the concepts I’ve learned to Bunpro.


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Glad I could give some insight.

Yes the streak is part of what’s keeping me on it, the other half is my desire 100% the course. OCD won’t really let me justify letting that go. Fun fact, before Duo introduced the crown system it instead had a kind of SRS element to it’s lessons. So you’d have to run through a whole course of lessons constantly like spinning plates to keep them all from falling back down in strength level. It was poorly handled and actively discouraged progress for people who wanted all their stuff to be at maximum before even looking at new lessons. When they introduced crowns it was an improvement, but it reset a lot of user progress. As you said, working through it at the rate of a crown a day definitely takes it’s time.

Japanese is the reason I started doing Duo in the first place and I have been interested in a couple of other languages it offers (Esperanto, German), but I can’t justify really beginning trying to learn them before I get to a level I’m more comfortable with in Japanese first, I don’t think learning multiple languages at once would be very efficient (At least in my case, others may find that kind of thing easier, but I know it’d end up an incoherent mess for me). Also, given my time with Duo, I would probably look to another service if I do want to have a go at another language later on.

Cool, I wish you success. One recommendation since I just noticed that you’re still pretty early into learning Japanese is that you might like an app/book called Human Japanese, there’s a free version that covers the first eight chapters, and the full version with the rest of them (45) is 10 GBP which I think is like 20 AUD. I remember it being quite helpful when I started out and ultra cheap. Don’t know how it compares to Japanese from Zero, but you might enjoy it.

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The same mechanism you see in so many mobile games.
You have five hearts, every time you get something wrong, you lose a heart. Run out of hearts, and your current session is null and void. Every five minutes you get a new heart, up to the max of five. (my numbers may be incorrect, its been a while)

I’m just wondering why I didn’t have that. But that sounds like such bad design; especially in the context of language learning.

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