Spanish and French most studied languages in South Africa - Duolingo 2023 Report

Duolingo, the world's leading language learning app, reveals intriguing insights into global language learning trends in its 2023 report.

Duolingo, the world's leading language learning app, reveals intriguing insights into global language learning trends in its 2023 report.

Published Dec 13, 2023


The 2023 Duolingo Language Report presents the latest language trends and learner behaviours based on data from millions of Duolingo learners around the globe.

Duolingo is the world's most downloaded education app, offering over 100 courses teaching 40+ languages, maths and music.

The 2023 Duolingo Language Report includes information about learners who studied languages on Duolingo between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023. The data was aggregated by country or by language to ensure learner privacy.

This year witnessed significant changes in the global top 10 list, generational divisions in language interests, and the impact of world events on learning patterns.

The top ten most popular languages studied on Duolingo in 2023.

Unsurprisingly, English remains the most popular language globally, with 122 countries ranking it as the #1 language to study. Learners in Asia, especially in India, Vietnam, and China, show a strong commitment to English learning for economic and educational success.

In a surprising move, Korean surpassed Italian, claiming the #6 spot globally. It is now among the top 10 languages studied in major countries, experiencing a remarkable 75% year-over-year growth in India.

Portuguese ousted Russian for the #10 spot, reflecting decreased interest in Russian due to the war in Ukraine and increased interest in Brazil and Portugal, particularly for travel. Connecting with people and preparing for travel are top reasons for studying Portuguese.

The war in Ukraine continues to influence language learning, with Ukrainian learning remaining steady throughout 2023. Globally, 37% of new learners study Ukrainian to connect with people, indicating a significant rise compared to other languages.

Although English is the most studied language on the African continent, Spanish takes the number one spot in South Africa with French a close second. German came out tops as the most studied language in Namibia with French dominating most of East Africa.

Most popular language studied on Duolingo in each country in 2023.

The App found that Gen Z’ers are driving a shift in language learning motivations, picking up languages for personal reasons like political solidarity or complementing their interests. This has led to increased interest in less commonly studied languages.

For the first time, Swedish has been demoted from the top spot in Sweden, with Spanish taking the lead. A similar shift occurred in Denmark, where Spanish and German overtook Danish.

Germany's learners studying 3 or more languages pulled ahead of the U.K., marking a shift in study habits. Boomers lead in streaks, showcasing their commitment to consistent learning.

English remains the most popular language studied on Duolingo in 2023, followed by Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Hindi, Chinese, and Portuguese.

A visual representation of the most popular languages studied in each country showcases diverse language preferences worldwide.