Duolingo Courses Now Aligned with CEFR/ACTFL

Perhaps you have been wondering ‘what CEFR language levels can I learn with Duolingo? Well, recently Duolingo has been reviewing the content of their courses, and aligning them with the ACTFL and CEFR proficiency frameworks.

Since every Duolingo language has a different course, learners achieve varying CEFR levels of proficiency depending on the language they choose to study.

Join us as we compare Duolingo to CEFR levels, and how far they can take you in your language learning journey.

Top 3 Languages by CEFR Language Level

The most comprehensive language courses are those taught from English. Of these, the top three are Spanish, French and German.

Language:CEFR AlignedNo. WordsUnits
1. SpanishB25256213
2. FrenchB24883201
3. GermanB13583113
Top 3 Duolingo Languages by CEFR levels

Duolingo also offers English courses for speakers of languages other than English that can help place learners. Duolingo English proficiency levels vary based on the language you are learning from.

And if you want to provide evidence of your English level for a university application, the Duolingo English Test is an English proficiency test now accepted at thousands of institutions worldwide.


Duolingo CEFR Levels By Language

LanguageApprox. LevelNo. WordsNo. Topic Units
Arabic (Modern Standard)A2143430
Chinese (Mandarin)HSK 3+150157
CzechA1186454
DanishA2200945
DutchB1260079
EsperantoA2230742
FinnishA1.191923
FrenchB2*4883201
GermanB1*3583113
GreekB1296461
Haitian CreoleA1.164823
HawaiianA1.168824
HebrewA2264454
High ValyrianA1.180528
HindiA1.163021
HungarianA2.1196451
IndonesianA1180044
IrishA1164042
ItalianA2.2200051
JapaneseJLPT N5 & N4443489
KlingonA1129942
KoreanTOPIK level 2210361
LatinA1.149914
NavajoA01417
Norwegian (Bokmål)B13366111
PolishA1171943
Portuguese (Brazilian)A2220074
RomanianA2230040
RussianA2.1203651
Scottish GaelicB1293369
SpanishB2*5256213
SwahiliA1120042
SwedishA2226643
TurkishA1138743
UkrainianA1106033
VietnameseLevel 6+ (ViLT)160054
WelshA2213969
YiddishA2199461
ZuluA149513
Duolingo Languages by Level, Word Count & Topic Units
*Properly Assessed and Aligned with CEFR/ACTFL Frameworks. Remaining languages’ levels were estimated
with reference to Milton & Alexiou (2009)1, except for some Asian languages, which use different scales.

For help understanding CEFR levels, read our post
What are the Different Levels of Language Proficiency?


Duolingo Languages List in Detail

(Modern Standard) Arabic (MSA)

Arabic duolingo flag

The Duolingo Arabic course is a less-formal, spoken version of Modern Standard Arabic2. It begins with an introduction to the script for those who need it. The language course itself covers material for achieving a beginner level of A2, with around 1400 words, and appropriate grammar and basic conversational skills.

Catalan

Duolingo Catalan flag

Taught only from Spanish, the Duolingo Catalan course teaches 1783 words in 42 units. There are no stories, similar to other courses of this length. Expect to reach a solid A1, moving into A2 level by the end of this course.

Chinese (Mandarin)

Duolingo Chinese flag

The 1500 Duolingo Chinese (Mandarin) words taught will bring you to a solid HSK 3+ for Chinese. There are tutorials and practice opportunities to learn how to form the characters. Pinyin transliterations accompany the characters in exercises.

Czech

Czech Duolingo flag

The Duolingo Czech course teaches 1864 words across 54 topics to an A1 level, emphasizing grammatical gender, complex declension of nouns and adjectives, and inflection of verbs to convey tense and voice.

Danish

Danish Duoingo flag

Duolingo Danish covers 2100 words from beginner to lower intermediate levels (A2/B1.1), providing a foundation in grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure. The content is solid, offering a wide range of topics including various home and professional life subjects, and exercises to practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

Dutch

Duolingo Dutch flag

Dutch is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn, and Duolingo Dutch is a great introduction.

The course caters to beginner and intermediate learners with just over 2600 words and 79 units. Around a B1 level, the content is well-structured, covering essential grammar concepts, such as present and past tenses, vocabulary, and common phrases. Culturally, information about Belgium is included, but the focus is on the Netherlands, and the course teaches standard Dutch, not Flemish.

Esperanto

Duolingo Esperanto flag

Despite being a constructed language, or conlang, Esperanto is thought to be spoken natively by at least 1,000 people, and as a second language by as many as 100,000 more. The Duolingo Esperanto course will give you a solid start into using the language. It has 2307 words over 42 units, and can be expected to bring you to an A2 level.

Finnish

Duoingo Finnish flag

The Duolingo Finnish course is unfortunately one of the shorter ones. A Uralic language, like Hungarian, Finnish can be quite tricky for English speaker to learn. At only 919 words and 23 units, it may just bring you to a A1.1 level, although the course is not aligned to the frameworks.

French

Duolingo French flag

Duolingo French covers beginner to upper intermediate levels of proficiency (A1-B2). The content is well-structured and has been aligned with the ACTFL and CEFL frameworks. It teaches almost 5000 words in 201 units, and provides a solid foundation in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, making it suitable for learners of all levels.

German

Duolingo German flag

Duolingo German is one of the most popular offerings, spanning beginner to intermediate levels. The course is aligned to CEFR/ACTFL frameworks, and covers grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills across A1-B1 levels. The content is extensive and well-developed, with 3583 words in 113 content units, allowing learners to acquire a strong foundation in the language. Users appreciate the depth and quality of the content available, making it an easy way to learn german.

Greek

Duolingo Greek flag

Duolingo Greek is one of the longer ones, with 2964 words over 61 units. It is not yet officially aligned with. the CEFR/ACTFL frameworks, but looks to cover up to a solid B1 level. There is a ‘precourse’ in the Greek alphabet.

Haitian Creole

Duolingo Haitian Creole flag

The Duolingo Haitian Creole lessons are a very limited introduction of 648 words across 23 units. Despite it’s limited nature, reviews on Reddit.com are generally positive.

Worth noting is that because Haitian Creole is only recently transitioning to a written language, there are some variations with spelling choices. Duolingo relied on some newly-formed standards as much as possible when writing the course3.

Hawaiian

Duolingo Hawaiian flag

Duolingo Hawaiian is an interesting introduction to the language which will give you a basic exposure to 688 words of the language. I estimate it covers to around an A1.1 level.

(Modern) Hebrew

Duolingo Hebrew flag

The Duolingo Hebrew course offers a script course to start. The language part of the course contains 2644 words in 54 topical units, and covers approximately a A2 level of language. It covers content such as current affairs, and the conditional past.

High Valyrian

Duolingo High Valyrian flag

The Duolingo High Valyrian course was written by the creator of High Valyrian, David J. Petersen. One of only two Duolingo fictional languages includes only 805 words in 28 units, and as such is a very brief introduction to the language. It is not aligned to the CEFR/ACTFL frameworks, and based on number of words alone, I would say teaches no more than A1.1.

Hindi

Duolingo Hindi flag

The Duolingo Hindi course has apparently been prepared using the CEFR framework4, but this is not apparent within Duolingo itself. The Hindi course includes a “pre-course” on the Devanagari script. With only 633 words across 21 units, the Hindi course won’t make you fluent, but it will give you a solid start with the script and basic A1 language skills.

Hungarian

Duolingo Hungarian flag

The Duolingo Hungarian course will take you to a solid A2 and start you on B1, instructing you in 2559 words across 71 units.

However, according to users5, the implicit teaching method of Duolingo means that discussion of cases and other peculiarities of Hungarian are not particularly well covered.

You will probably need tutoring from a Hungarian teacher, or some other form of study, to understand the subtleties of the language.

Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia)

Duolingo Indonesian flag

The Indonesian course contains around 1800 words, which will give you a starting foundation sufficient for travelling, or further study. The number of words taught approximate an A1 level.

Irish

Duolingo Irish flag

The Duolingo Irish course teaches 1640 words over 42 units, to a solid A1 level. It will get you started learning Irish, but will need to be supplemented with other materials in order to achieve a conversational level.

Italian

Duolingo Italian flag

Duolingo Italian covers beginner to low intermediate levels, offering 51 units and just under 2000 words. The content teaches basic grammar and vocabulary, but it lacks depth in more advanced language skills. The course is not aligned with language frameworks but seems to approximate to A2.1.

Japanese

Duolingo Japanese flag

In Duolingo Japanese you will cover most of JLPT N5 and N4 grammar, and 4400 words. Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana characters are all introduced with tutorials and writing practice tasks. Romaji (transliteration in latin script) accompanies the characters throughout the course.

Korean

Duoingo Korean flag

The Korean course teaches around 2100 words, around TOPIK level 2. Tutorials for the Korean script are available, and the letter tiles are accompanied by romaji transliterations, but these disappear as you progress through the course.

Klingon

Klingon Duolingo flag

The Duolingo Klingon course was added when Duolingo was mostly volunteer staffed. It is a fairly basic course, teaching 1299 words over 42 units. It has no alignment to the CEFR/ACTFL frameworks, but will cover most vocabulary for an A1 level.

Latin

Latin Duolingo flag

The Duolingo Latin course is a very basic introduction to Latin for beginners, not quite A1.1. It covers 499 words, and has only 14 units, but is one of the most easily accessible Latin resources.

Navajo

Duolingo Navajo flag

The Duolingo Navajo course was added by volunteers, and is not being updated or augmented at this stage. It is just a taster at only 141 words in 7 units. But if you are interested in having a look at a Native American language, check it out!

Norwegian (Bokmål)

Duolingo Norwegian (Bokmål) targets beginners and intermediate learners, offering a comprehensive curriculum of the language’s grammar, vocabulary, and basic phrases. The course has not been aligned to CEFR/ACTFL frameworks. It teaches 3366 words in 111 topic units, so around B1 level. Users of the Duolingo Norwegian course appreciate the quality and depth of content available, allowing them to progress steadily and build a solid foundation.6

Polish

Duoingo Polish flag

Duolingo Polish provides a strong beginner foundation with 1719 words over 41 units to give you an estimated A1 level. Use it alongside other resources for a comprehensive learning experience.

(Brazilian) Portuguese

Duolingo Portuguese flag

Duolingo Portuguese (Brazilian) course covers beginner to lower intermediate levels. The content has not been aligned with ACTFL/CEFR but it teaches 2200 words in 74 units (approximately B1.1). It is engaging and interactive, providing learners with a good understanding of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. However, it could benefit from more in-depth explanations and cultural context.

Romanian

Duolingo Romainian flag

The Duolingo Romanian course is designed for beginners, providing an introduction to the language and basic vocabulary of around 2300 words across 40 topics. However, the course is relatively limited in scope and lacks content for intermediate or advanced learners. It serves as a good starting point but will not be sufficient for developing a significant level of proficiency beyond about A2.

Russian

Duolingo Russian flag

The Duolingo Russian course covers a reasonable 2241 words, and 61 units, giving you a start on a B1 language level. It includes a Cyrillic tutorial to learn the alphabet. However the implicit method of learning assumed with Duolingo makes learning the grammar a little difficult.

Scottish Gaelic

Duolingo Scottish Gaelic flag

The Duolingo Scottish Gaelic course contains 2933 words over 69 topic units, and by the end of it, you can expect to have a reasonably solid B1 level of vocabulary.

Spanish

Duolingo Spanish flag

Duolingo Spanish course is one of its most popular offerings, covering beginner to upper intermediate levels ( A1-B2). The content is comprehensive, including grammar, vocabulary, and cultural insights. It provides a solid foundation in the language with 5256 words across 213 units, aligned to the CEFR/ACTFL frameworks. Additional features like 348 Stories and Spanish Podcasts round out the language learning experience.

Swahili

Duolingo Swahili flag

You can expect to reach an A1 level with the Duolingo Swahili course. With around 1200 words and 42 units, apart from the typical greetings and introductions, you will also learn farm terms, and past, present and future verb terms.

Swedish

Duolingo Swedish flag

The Duolingo Swedish course delivers a comprehensive beginners curriculum. The course covers 2264 words, in just 43 units, which is possibly around an A1, possibly A2.1 level.

Turkish

Duolingo Turkish flag

Duolingo Turkish is a relatively small course of 1387 words and 43 units. It is not aligned to the CEFR/ACTFL frameworks, but by the end you can expect to cover an A1 level reasonably well.

It has been reasonably well received by language learners, although some Reddit.com users have commented that their native-speaker family members find some sentences a bit strange.

Ukrainian

Duolingo Ukrainian flag

The Duolingo Ukrainian course is quite limited at 1060 words and 33 units. As with other languages using a different script, there are exercises for learning Cyrillic. If you complete the whole path, you will have covered much of an A1 level.

Vietnamese

Duolingo Vietnamese flag

There is no standardised Vietnamese test at this time, but the 1600 words in the Duolingo Vietnamese course should bring you to Level 6+ (roughly equivalent to CEFR A2) of the Practical Vietnamese Proficiency Test (ViLT)7 conducted by the Japan Southeast Asia Language Promotion Association (J-TAG).

Welsh

Duolingo Welsh flag

At 2139 words, 69 units, and around an A2 level, the Duolingo Welsh course gives a basic foundation to the language in both grammar and vocabulary.

Yiddish

Duolingo Yiddish flag

Duolingo Yiddish course is relatively new, focusing on introducing learners to the basics of the language. The course covers essential vocabulary of 1994 words, grammar, and pronunciation, in 61 units. It looks to cover roughly an A2 level of language. It serves as a valuable starting point for those interested in learning Yiddish.

Zulu

Duolingo Zulu (S.A.) flag

Duolingo introduces you to your first 500 words in Zulu. As you might expect, the course has not been aligned with CEFR or ACTFL, and is around an A1.1 in number of words and content. Vocabulary includes domestic and wild animals, food, greetings and other typical word groups, and past and present verb forms.


Not sure what languages to learn? Find out which 5 languages on Duolingos list are also in the top 8 easiest languages to learn for English speakers?

To explore Duolingo languages more, including about the conlangs and English test on offer, check out my overview of the 40 languages on offer at Duolingo.

And for an in-depth look at how Duolingo rekindled my attraction to the little green owl, don’t miss my product review, ‘Duolingo Review: How Did The Little Green Owl Win Back My Heart?’.


Duolingo CEFR FAQ

What CEFR level are Duolingo courses?

Duolingo courses range from just 141 words for Navajo, not even an A1.1, to B2 for Spanish and French courses.

Can Duolingo get you to B2?

Yes, in Spanish, French, and English when learning from Spanish.

What level of Duolingo is B1?

In the Spanish, French and German courseswhich have been aligned to the CEFR, teach B1 content across levels 5-6. Likewise for the English course from other languages. Other courses have yet to be aligned.

How do I check my CEFR level?

It is not possible to check your CEFR level from inside the normal courses. However, if you set up a ‘school’ (found under the ‘more’ navigational link), and then sent up a course in your target language, each level now shows the CEFR level.

References

  1. Milton, James & Alexiou, Thomaï. (2009). Vocabulary size and the common European framework of reference for languages. 10.1057/9780230242258. Accessed 10 May, 2024.
  2. Wilson, H. (2019, June 26). ‘What makes Arabic hard (and why that shouldn’t stop you from learning it).’ Duolingo. https://blog.duolingo.com/what-makes-arabic-hard-and-why-that-shouldnt-stop-you-from-learning-it/. Accessed 10 May, 2024.
  3. Cindy Blanco, as quoted by Hu, C. (2022, Feb 21). ‘How Duolingo added Haitian Creole to its language library’. Popular Science. https://www.popsci.com/technology/duolingo-adds-haitian-creole-language-course/. Accessed 10 May, 2024.
  4.  Zein Al Maha Oweis (2018, Jul 27). Duolingo launches Hindi course for English speakers’. The Pie News. https://thepienews.com/news/duolingo-launch-hindi-course-for-english-speakers/. Accessed 10 May, 2024.
  5. Personal conversation with longtime Duolingo Hungarian Learner, 24 August, 2023.
  6. Personal conversation with longtime user of Duolingo Norwegian, 24 August, 2023.
  7. ‘Practical Vietnamese Language Proficiency Test – About the exam’. Japan Southeast Asia Language Promotion and Exchange Association. https://www.jtag.or.jp/exam/. Accessed 10 May, 2024, using Google Translate.

Cate is a language enthusiast sharing her language learning journey here. Apart from her native English (albeit 'Strine'*!), as an adult she has also learned Auslan (Australian Sign Language) to approximately a C1 level, Dutch to around B1/2, French to around A2, and has a smattering of other languages.

B.A. (Anthropology/Marketing), Grad. Dip. Arts (Linguistics), Grad. Cert. Entrepreneurship & Venture Development, (CELTA).

Auslan Interpreter (NAATI), and general Language Nut.

*For more information on 'Strine', visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strine