Spoken by people all over the Balkan region of Europe, Serbian is a popular language that has similarities to Croatian and Bosnian, and a healthy amount of crossover. With Serbian being so widely used, there definitely is demand for one of the world’s most popular language learning apps, Duolingo, to produce a Serbian language course. So, does Duolingo have Serbian, and if not, why not?
Is Serbian on Duolingo?
Unfortunately, Duolingo does not have a Serbian course at the moment. Despite calls for it to be made on Duolingo’s user forum – before it got closed down – there hasn’t been any visible progress towards a new Serbian Duolingo course.
Are They Planning on Releasing a Serbian Course on Duolingo?
The thing with Duolingo’s incubator service is that we tend to know a couple of years in advance which language tracks they’re developing. This is to get people excited ahead of release and so that people know what to expect from Duolingo moving forward.
So far, there has been no news of there being a Serbian course in development.
This doesn’t mean that it’ll never happen, but it’s unlikely to be released in the next two to three years, as this is how long the development period usually is.
Why is There No Serbian Course on Duolingo?
There are a few reasons that have been debated as to why there is no Serbian course on Duolingo, despite its broad usage. First and foremost, it’s probably because Serbian has a lot of crossovers with other Slavic languages, including Russian which already has a super popular Duolingo course.
However, the most closely aligned languages to Serbian are Croatian and Bosnian, neither of which are on Duolingo either. Just having one of these languages would be massively beneficial for the scores of tourists who now visit the Balkan region.
Another reason, which is the main reason behind the slow development of a lot of Duolingo courses, is that they’ve now stopped working with their volunteer contributors, and are solely relying on actual Duolingo employees.
These volunteers were normally native language teachers who would help develop and test the Duolingo courses before the courses get released. Especially with tricky languages or more grammatically-based languages, this was key.
4 App Alternatives to Duolingo with Serbian courses
So, now that we know that Duolingo doesn’t have Serbian as one of its many language courses – and it’s not on Babbel either – what other apps can you use to get to grips with Serbian?
LingQ is my newest language obsession, and I’ve been literally using it nonstop for the past few weeks. Basically, LingQ is an app where you can read or watch basically anything from the internet, with subtitles that make it super simple to look up the words you don’t know.
For example, you can choose any news article, open it in the app and it looks like this (my LingQ in Italian):
The words that are blue are words I’ve never read before on the app, the yellow ones are ones I’ve read but didn’t understand, and the white ones (not highlighted) are words that I know.
If you love to read, this is honestly the most fun you can have learning a language. I don’t worry about memorizing, instead, I just keep reading.
If I don’t click on those blue highlighted words above, then they will become white.
The app keeps track of how many words you know, which makes reading in your target language something you can actually measure. Here’s where I’m at with my languages so far:
There’s a free version, but I use the paid version since I love this app so much (I seriously never pay for anything subscription-based lol). You can read whatever you want unlimited and it counts your words to help you keep track of your progress.
If you need a quick and easy way to improve your Serbian vocabulary and phrases, you need to download Drops. Designed with beautiful colors and animation, it’s easy to use and perfect for using on the go.
Drops is also great if you’re busy and are just trying to fit in your Serbian language learning as and when you can. If you want to upgrade to Drops Premium, you’ll also gain access to a ton of Serbian audio, so you can improve your listening skills as well!
If you’re looking for a language learning app that’s similar to Duolingo, but actually has Serbian on it, then Ling might be your best bet.
With an entertaining mix of quizzes, flashcards, and interactive games, Ling tries to make learning Serbian as fun as possible. If you want to practice your conversational skills, Ling also has a built-in chatbot where you can test out your Serbian in a more real-life scenario.
4. Simply Learn Serbian
Looking for a language-learning app that does exactly what it says on the tin? Simply Learn Serbian offers essential phrases and words that you’re actually likely to learn.
The app is split up into 32 distinct categories, so you can choose the right theme for you. Need to book a hotel room? Pick that track. Want to learn Serbian greetings? There’s a section for that too.
There are even super high-quality audio tracks that are recorded by native Serbian speakers to really give you that authentic language learning experience, wherever you are!
4 More Ways to Learn Serbian Without Apps
Maybe you don’t want to learn Serbian on an app, or maybe you’re looking for another language learning method to supplement your app-based learning. Whatever the reason, here are some great places to start!
One of the hardest things to practice when you’re learning a language and you’re not in that specific country is your speaking and listening skills.
If you’re learning Serbian in Serbia, you can practice it out in the world, and you’re likely to see improvements pretty quickly. If you’re learning it without a native speaker to bounce off, it can be difficult to progress.
That’s where iTalki comes in. They have a whole bank of native Serbian tutors who offer lessons via video chat.
You can practice your conversational skills and they can point out any pronunciation or grammatical errors you’re making – it’s like having a one-on-one private lesson.
Choose your tutor based on their hourly rate and their user reviews, there’s bound to be a tutor that’s right for you on iTalki!
YouTube is the hub of everything. If you want to learn a new skill or figure out how to fix something, someone has definitely made a YouTube tutorial of it somewhere. Learning Serbian is no different.
If you need help with pronunciation, grammar, or basic words and phrases, you can find plenty of useful content on YouTube.
For vlogs in Serbian, check out Moje Blu and for lessons in Serbian covering grammar check out Teacher Boko.
Looking to improve your listening and pronunciation skills? By listening to Serbian language podcasts and music, you’ll automatically get a feel for the sound and rhythm of the language, even if you can’t fully translate what’s going on.
As time goes by, you’ll be able to pick out more and more words and phrases, until you can understand what’s happening.
There are also podcasts designed to help you learn Serbian, including Talkin’ Serbian, which is aimed at beginners!
These will all have different themes and aims for each episode, so you can dip in and out or listen to them in bulk while you’re in the car or out walking the dog!
4. Language Guide Books and Phrase Books on Amazon
If in doubt when learning a language, head for the books!
Whether you’re seeking out a Serbian phrasebook (like this one with 3000 of the most important phrases), or you’re needing a Serbian-English dictionary, you can definitely find them online, and it’s worth having if you’re wandering around the Balkans and WiFi is a little sketchy.
Unless you have a niche foreign language-specific bookshop, it’s going to be hard to find, but your local bookstore might be able to order some popular Serbian language books for you if you ask.
Even Without Duolingo, You Can Learn Serbian!
So, despite it being spoken across many Balkan countries, and its close association with other languages, Duolingo does not have a Serbian language course, and it doesn’t look like they’re getting one anytime soon.
In addition to this, Babbel doesn’t have a Serbian language course either, so both the language-learning favorites are letting us down here.
That being said, there are plenty of ways to learn Serbian, from interactive apps to videos, to one-on-one virtual lessons.
With the tourism levels in Serbia and the Balkans only rising, Serbian is a language that’s going to be in high demand, so it’s definitely worth putting in the time and effort to learn this wonderful Slavic language.
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Dayna Brockbank is a travel and language-learning blogger who has lived around the world but has now settled in Nice, France. She speaks 3 languages at varying levels of fluency: Spanish, Italian, and French, and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Spanish Education. She and her husband focus on making travel part of life by living cheaply and traveling on a budget.