Duolingo reports 577% increase in Ukrainian language learners

US and Poland showed particular interest in learning Ukrainian following Russia’s invasion

More people are taking time to study Ukrainian as the Russia-Ukraine war continues.

Duolingo, a popular language learning app, reports that it saw a 577% global increase in Ukrainian language learners since the war’s start on Feb. 24 to March 20. 

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"Most of the spike in interest is coming from the US, which is what we would expect because it’s where Duolingo has the most learners," the app’s CEO Luis von Ahn wrote in a blog post from March 14, when the app had seen a 485% global increase in Ukrainian language learners.

In a statement provided to FOX Business, Duolingo Senior Learning Scientist Cindy Blanco said that people around the world have different "motivations" for learning Ukrainian.

While the U.S. reportedly has the "most learners studying Ukrainian," interest in the language has surged in Poland with a 2677% increase in that 25-day period, according to Duolingo.

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"For our learners in Poland, knowing Ukrainian is a way to welcome refugees and connect with them during this devastating time," Blanco wrote. "For our U.S. learners, learning Ukrainian is a way to engage with what is going on, in a place that can feel so far away, and show solidarity for Ukraine."

She added, "It’s also worth noting that many Ukrainians also speak and understand Russian, which can account for the smaller increase in Russian learners as well."

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Ukrainian flag on black storm cloud sky. stormy weather

Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine, but many Ukrainians also speak Russian. (iStock)

In Duolingo’s earlier blog post, the company stated, "We suspect is caused by people in Poland who are welcoming and hosting refugees," 

Poland has taken in more than two million refugees who’ve fled the war Ukraine, The UN Refugee Agency reported on Friday, March 18.

Russian is currently ranked as the eighth most popular language course on Duolingo, which is a step up from its previous ninth place.

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DUOL DUOLINGO INC 99.25 +4.19 +4.41%

Despite the growth the app has seen with Russian language learners, Duolingo’s blog did note that the app has disabled "all monetization in Russia and Belarus," the company is still operating "a completely free app" in the two countries. 

The blog added, "about 1% of our language app revenue came from these countries in 2021."

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Ukrainian is an East Slavic language that uses a form of the Cyrillic alphabet, according to Britannica. The language shares similarities with Russian and Belarusian.