As the year ends, many people and companies are looking back at their years in review. People are seeing their top liked Facebook photo, their favorite Instagram photos, the artists they listened to the most, their ranks in listeners who most listened to those artists, and language learners on Duolingo received their ranks for the most completed lessons for the language they are studying. Some dedicated learners achieved a place in the top 2% of Russian aficionados. While other less dedicated learners managed to barely eek into 12% of top learners for Italian.
Duolingo did its own year in review. With over 100 million downloads, it has quite a wealth of information to gather from to determine the top 10 most studied languages on Duolingo in 2021. The most popular languages with language learners across the globe were as follows: English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Russian, and Portuguese.
There were a few upsets for top languages in a few different countries and across the globe this year. It is no surprise that English, Spanish, and French have topped the charts once again, followed closely behind by German. The surprise comes at number 5 where Japanese grew in popularity across the globe to overtake Italian for the first time in Duolingo history. Japanese grew fastest in popularity in the US, the UK, and in Brazil in 2021. A couple of reasons for this growth in popularity among learners in the US and UK could be the rise in the affinity for K-Pop and anime among the Brits and their American counterparts. With Brazil having the largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan, it is no wonder that Japanese would be in high demand for Brazilian learners. Brazilians also studied Turkish the most this year, likely due to the new Turkish soap operas airing in Brazil for the first time this year. In South Africa, learners spent more time learning Spanish in 2021, which displaced French from number one.
Duolingo also awarded a place in the top 5 for the countries that worked hardest at learning languages per capita than others. These stats were determined by the number of lessons completed per person in the country. The most dedicated Duolingo language learners reside in Czechia followed by Japan. Belarus knocked German from their normal position of 3rd place. Germany finds itself in 4th place for the year 2021. 5th place goes to Hungary for most completed lessons per person on Duolingo.
Another part of Duolingo’s year in review consists of learners’ reasons for learning the language that they signed up to study. When signing up to use the Duolingo app, learners are presented with a variety of options from which they can select their reasons for learning their language of choice. In the year 2021, people had more personal reasons for learning than in past years. In previous years, the top reasons were usually business, school, or travel. With international travel down this year, and people staying home more, their reasons for learning languages have shifted. 70% of people said that they were learning their chosen language for reasons of ancestry, heritage, or culture. Language teachers know that language learners will practice more, study harder, and learn more, if they feel they feel that learning a language is personally beneficial. Hopefully, this shift to learning languages for more personal reasons will help learners to be dedicated for longer to achieve their goal of fluency in a new language.
How did you do in your year review for 2021? Comment below!