Japan-based users of popular language-learning app Duolingo spend the longest time studying a language on the platform, with English being studied the most followed by Korean and Chinese, a recent report by the U.S.-based developer showed.

Learners in Belarus, Hungary, and Russia followed Japan in spending the most time using the app, according to the 2022 Duolingo Language Report, which was compiled based on data from over 500 million users worldwide.

File photo taken in September 2018 shows a junior high school student using a smartphone. (Kyodo)

Duolingo, which the firm says is the world's most downloaded education app, sends daily reminders to users on their smartphones to complete language lessons presented in a game-like format. It has both free and paid versions.

The report said Japanese was the fourth most studied language in Japan.

This is partly due to international travelers and businesspeople returning to the country, after it fully relaxed border restrictions in October that were originally imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a white paper separately released by Duolingo.

The white paper, which provided further analysis of user trends in Japan, found that 78.4 percent of respondents in survey said they studied English, while 17.4 percent studied Korean, and 11.9 percent learnt Chinese.

In 2022, Japanese was the most popular language in Malaysia and Myanmar. Korean, meanwhile, is now the seventh most studied language worldwide and the most popular language in four countries, including Brunei and the Philippines, where it replaced Japanese in the top spot.

"Both languages are popular and growing, and people are learning them for the same reason, which is culture and entertainment," said Duolingo's Japan country manager Sho Mizutani.

Mizutani said that interest in manga and anime likely motivated people to study Japanese, while noting a "big spike" in Korean learners following the 2021 release of South Korean drama series Squid Game, a huge hit on Netflix.

Meanwhile, over 1.3 million people around the world began learning Ukrainian following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, the report said.

Although far from the conflict, Japan saw a 1,700 percent increase in people studying Ukrainian in the month immediately after the invasion.

"It was a rare case for us to see a certain language gain popularity for political reasons," Mizutani said.