Duocon 2021 just ended, and what an amazing experience it was! This event was our third-annual gathering of language learners, enthusiasts, and researchers from around the world. This year's Duocon was all virtual, but the connections and comments that streamed online and across social media prove the power of language to bring us together. 💚

You can find all our Duocon talks and presentations here. Read on for a recap of what this year's presenters taught us about how language can make us think, laugh, and belong. Click any talk below to watch the full segment!

Eat, laugh, learn languages

Duocon 2021 kicked off with Patton Oswalt as our guide in this celebration of language, technology, and culture, and he was joined by more familiar faces who highlighted how important language is to culture -- and also how much fun languages can be.

Patton Oswalt
Duocon 2021 Host & Emcee
photograph of Patton Oswalt sitting in a movie theater alone Patton Oswalt is Duocon 2021’s host and emcee. A Duolingo user himself, this stand-up comedian, actor, and screenwriter is learning Italian on Duolingo and is closing in on a 300 day streak!
Trevor Noah
Interview with Luis von Ahn
photograph of Trevor Noah Comedian, polyglot, and host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah talks through the challenges and joys of language learning and how different languages feel, sound, and work for joke telling. He also gets into how his multilingualism has influenced his identity and how his languages have changed over time.
Sohla El-Waylly
Baking with Sohla El-Waylly
photograph of Sohla El-Waylly in a kitchen Chef Sohla El-Waylly uses her kitchen to take us to South America to explore her love of cheese -- and language learning. Learn how to make cheesy bread (or pão de queijo, or cuñapés) all your own, with ingredients from your own culture!

News from Duolingo: features, functionality, and fun

And, of course, there were lots of updates from Duolingo! From our becoming a public company in July to major advancements throughout the year in how we teach and engage our learners, we had plenty to share about our work to make language learning free, fun, and effective, for everyone.

Luis von Ahn
State of Duolingo
photograph of Luis von Ahn, CEO and co-founder of Duolingo Duolingo CEO and co-founder Luis von Ahn shares some of Duolingo's proudest accomplishments and where we're going from here. He highlights our newest AI-driven writing feature, the results of our learning studies, plans for our new app to teach math, and the new languages you'll soon be able to learn on Duolingo!
Edwin Bodge & Angela Huang
Duolingo Plus: A Deep Dive Into New Features
photograph of Angela and Edwin standing on stage Language learning is better together — which is why we recently launched a Family Plan for Duolingo Plus! Now you can share all the benefits of Plus with five members of your family or friends, and encourage everyone to reach their goals together.
Chris D.
Teaching Non-Latin Writing Systems
photograph of Chris giving his presentation Duolingo has developed a series of tools to help you learn to read in languages that use other writing systems! Our latest character and reading lessons will get you learning and reading in your new language, no matter what its new writing system is.
Dr. Burr Settles
Inside Birdbrain, the AI Behind the Duolingo App
photograph of Burr giving his presentation Duolingo uses artificial intelligence to improve our courses and how we teach. Our algorithms analyze learners' progress in order to generate lessons at just the right difficulty level for them. These tools have improved learning and engagement, making language learning more enjoyable and effective!
Emily Chiu & Dr. Kevin Lenzo
Project World Character Voices
photograph of Emily and Kevin standing side-by-side on stage We're now building custom text-to-speech voices for our Duolingo characters to really bring them and their personalities to life! We're using machine learning to build unique voices on a scale and for a purpose -- language learning -- that's never been done before.

Research roundup: languages, language change, and you

This year, we were joined by two linguists who presented about how language and linguistics can get really personal, both when we use our own languages and when we learn new ones.

Gretchen McCulloch
How Linguistics Can Help You Learn a Language
photograph of Gretchen McCulloch Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch gives us a crash course in linguistics and introduces new ways of thinking about weird spellings, formal writing versus internet writing, and why language keeps changing. And there's even a special note for French learners!
Dr. Jessi Grieser
Language and Belonging
photograph of Dr. Jessi Grieser Dr. Jessi Grieser is an Associate Professor of English Linguistics, and her presentation is all about how we use language to signal which groups we do (or don't) belong to. She shows how we do this with sounds and grammar and with the languages we choose to use, and how our need to belong can even change language.

See you next year!

Relive all of Duocon 2021 at our Duocon website, where you can find recordings of all our talks.

We'll have more language-learning news, research, and entertainment in store for you in Duocon 2022! The Duocon site will have all the details about next year's celebration. See you then!