Duo, the famously pushy Duolingo owl, has got some new friends. Described as "an entire cast of characters that live in Duo's world", the nine new faces come as part of the ongoing "Project World", and are designed to be just as diverse as the languages covered in the popular learning app.
"Combining quirky characters with quality content is how we believe learning a new language can be most effective," said Duolingo illustrator Greg Hartman (opens in new tab) in his Duocon 2020 address.
"By adding a cast of characters we hope to give people a small taste of the world that's awaiting them as they begin learning a new language. One full of interesting personalities, colorful experiences, and great stories."
Hartman added that Duolingo hoped its new characters would help users to stay motivated when learning a language. He explained that adding a storyline and engaging personalities to the user experience can take some of the struggle and hard work out of learning "by dropping the audience into a world that they enjoy spending time in."
Duolingo's character-lead learning makes it one of the best learn Spanish software (opens in new tab) and learn French software (opens in new tab) options for those eager to take up a new language. Its game-style learning made it stand out in our Duolingo review (opens in new tab), as well as the fact that's free and easy to use.
Meet the cast:
"By designing our characters as humans, in a small way we're reflecting our user base" said Duolingo illustrator Greg Hartman.
"We knew from the get-go that we wanted our characters to be a diverse cast of humans. It might seem logical to expect that our cast be a pack of friendly woodland creatures to complement Duo being an owl, but we don't want learning a language to feel like something that exists only in a fantasy world."
The user is meant to get to know the new Duolingo characters in greater depth through ongoing learning, but Hartman introduced each character in his address.
One of the most exciting new features includes custom voices for each of the new characters. Although it's not out yet, we're introduced to Lily and Junior specific voices as an example of how they might sound when the feature does roll out.