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Does Duolingo Have Sanskrit?

Does the world-famous language learning app, Duolingo, have Sanskrit, and if not, why not? Let’s dive in and find out more. 

An ancient language that’s the basis of many modern languages, Sanskrit was a hugely popular language across Asia, specifically across India.

Nowadays, it’s primarily assumed to be a dead language. Still, there are still those that use it daily due to yoga terminology and an interest in reading religious texts and stories in their original language.

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Does Duolingo Have Sanskrit?

Unsurprisingly, Duolingo does not have Sanskrit, this infamously tricky language, on its app. As it has limited speakers and uses, and seems to be declining in popularity overall, it’s easy to see why Duolingo hasn’t put in the time to develop a Sanskrit course.

That being said, they do have courses for fantasy languages like Dothraki and Klingon, so they could’ve used these resources for an actual real-life language…

Why Doesn’t Duolingo Have Sanskrit?

Well, there are a couple of reasons that we’ve touched on already. It’s a difficult and technical language that might be tricky to teach in Duolingo’s short and gamified lesson styles. With complex grammar, Duolingo’s delivery style can sometimes be lacking.

If you’re going to learn complicated, ancient grammar a more intensive language-learning method might be needed. 

Another reason that is probably the main concern is the demand. If people don’t want to learn Sanskrit, there’s no point investing the time, money, and resources to produce a Duolingo course.

As speaker numbers are low and there doesn’t seem like tons of people are interested, it’s unlikely Duolingo is going to develop a Sanskrit course.

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5 Alternative Apps to Duolingo for Learning Sanskrit

As Duolingo has let us down on the Sanskrit front, which apps can we turn to instead to help us learn this notoriously tricky and ancient language? Let’s check out some of the best options. 

1. Liberation Philology Sanskrit

Okay, let’s start with one of the most comprehensive Sanskrit language learning apps out there. Liberation Philology Sanskrit contains lessons for all levels, meaning you can progress your learning all in one tidy app.

Using multiple-choice tests and repetition, you get the hang of that tricky Sanskrit grammar and gain plenty of vocabulary tips in the process. In fact, there are 320 vocabulary levels and grammar lessons for you to work through, so it’s a really detailed app.

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One of the best things about Liberation Philology Sanskrit is that it works without WiFi so if you’re out and about or traveling in a country and you don’t have mobile data or a steady connection, you can still use the app and continue to learn Sanskrit – no matter where you are!

2. Memrise

So, it’s important to mention up top that Memrise is not specifically a language-learning app, it’s actually a revision tool. All the content is uploaded by users and it’s normal tools, quizzes, flashcards, and media that they’ve used to learn about the subject before.

Basically a crowdsourced revision toolkit. Especially if you’re studying for your yoga teacher exams, you can find a ton of Sanskrit language content, games, and revision tools on Memrise. 

It’s not a structured language course that you can follow along with, so you definitely need to use it alongside another language learning method, but Memrise is useful for refreshing your memory in fun and easy-to-consume ways.

3. iTalki

So, we mentioned earlier that it can be difficult to find a Sanskrit tutor in your local area. iTalki saw this problem and created a solution. It’s essentially a platform that connects language learners and tutors from all around the world, allowing them to have one-to-one sessions via video call.

italki sanskrit tutors

You simply search the site for Sanskrit tutors, read the student reviews, and pick the one that best suits your needs. The tutors range in price, experience, and location so you can filter to find the perfect fit.

iTalki is a great way to learn Sanskrit as tutors can tailor lessons to your individual needs and correct you in real-time – something that apps are famously not great at doing. It’s obviously more expensive and time-consuming than a lot of language-learning apps, but it’s definitely worth it!

4. Drops

Do you want to build up your vocabulary skills in a fun, easy, and accessible way? Drops is a beautifully-designed flashcard app that helps you get familiar with Sanskrit script, words, and phrases when you’re on the go.

drops app for sanskrit

Now, it doesn’t dive into the complex grammar rules of Sanskrit, but it is a good place to start to get a feel for the language as a whole. Use this alongside another learning method, as a way to refresh your memory and build up that bank of Sanskrit words and phrases!

5. Learn Sanskrit. Speak Sanskrit. Study Sanskrit. by Bluebird Languages

The problem with a lot of language learning apps is that many of them just offer bite-sized lessons that are 5-10 minutes long. Yes, you do them every day, but it’s not long enough to really get into the rhythm of the language.

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Learn Sanskrit. Speak Sanskrit. Study Sanskrit. by Bluebird Languages offers 15-45 minute comprehensive lessons designed to improve your Sanskrit vocabulary, grammar, and conversational skills.

With over 2,000 quizzes to test your knowledge, this app is a holistic look at learning Sanskrit. One of the added bonuses is that there are 146 teaching languages so you can learn from your native language. It’s pretty rare to have that many translations which are awesome.

That being said, some users have said that the pronunciation isn’t always right with this app. That might be down to regional differences or translation services, but in any regard, it’s worth keeping in mind moving forward. 

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What is Sanskrit?

Sanskrit is a language with its roots in India. Largely used as the classical language of Hinduism, but also featured in Buddhism and Jainism, Sanskrit is a sacred language to many people.

It’s also commonly used in the yoga community as many of the proper terms for positions and moves are in Sanskrit.

Who Speaks Sanskrit?

Honestly, not that many people anymore. In fact, only 1% of the Indian population can speak Sanskrit. Given that the population of India is over 1.4 billion, that’s around 14 million speakers.

It’s definitely gone down as an everyday language, but it’s still in use as an academic and spiritual language. It’s also used by yoga teachers and practitioners all over the world. 

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Why Should I Learn Sanskrit?

If you want to understand sacred texts in the original language, which often leads to different interpretations, you should learn Sanskrit. Also, if you’re thinking about becoming a yoga teacher or want to deepen your practice, learning Sanskrit terminology is a must.

It’s a spiritual practice that deserves to be delivered in its original language. Besides, many people only know the Sanskrit names for the different poses and asanas, so it’s important if you’re leading a flow and shouting out cues.   

What’s the Best Way to Learn Sanskrit?

As with any language, it’s best to learn in person from a native language tutor or by immersing yourself in a place where the language is being spoken. As it’s dropping in popularity across India, this might be tricky.

There are plenty of native language Sanskrit tutors around, especially if you’re looking to focus on more written Sanskrit for spiritual reasons or specifically want to learn yoga terminology.

However, it’s not always possible to find a Sanskrit tutor in your area, which is where online resources and apps come into play.

Is Sanskrit Difficult to Learn?

There’s no getting around it, Sanskrit is notoriously complex due to its grammatical structure. It can take a lot of time to get your head around it all, despite being the root of a lot of popular languages across the world.

This has definitely contributed to the waning popularity of the language, especially when regional languages or modern languages can be a lot easier to learn, teach, and understand. 

Ready to Start Learning Sanskrit, Even Without Duo?

So, given that Sanskrit isn’t the most popular language in the world and has fairly limited uses of either studying ancient religious texts in their original language, understanding yoga poses, or communicating with 1% of Indian speakers, it’s unsurprising that Duolingo hasn’t developed a Sanskrit course.

It’s a tricky language to learn and without the necessary demand, it doesn’t make business sense for Duolingo to put the effort in.

Luckily, there are plenty of other language-learning apps out there with Sanskrit resources already built in. Pick one or two from the list and get learning!

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