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People who have finished Duolingo, how well can you speak the language now?

I just finished my first keyhole in Italian! I do know how to say much more than I used to, but I can't help but wonder, will I become fluent? Have you become fluent using duolingo? When I do finish, what should I do next to keep learning? :D

February 4, 2013



You my friend need to try making conversations or sentences with yourself (as crazy as it sounds) to test your skills believe me it works


Congrats on getting this far. I haven't finished the course yet but, from what I gather, you won't be fluent by the end but will have a strong grounding in the grammar side of things and a reasonable vocabulary to move on and build on. My own plan is to complete the course here on Duolingo (I'm doing Spanish) and then to move on to a website like LiveMocha to start exchanging Emails with native speakers. Hopefully, when I'm comfortable enough, I'll be able to hold an online conversation in real time through LiveMocha chat. Best of luck with the rest of your course :-D


Also try Verbling. Look it up on Google. I think it's a very good tool to be used in conjunction with DuoLingo.


Thanks for the suggestion.


Well done on completing your first keyhole!

As far as speaking fluency goes, I suspect you'll need to spend some time with native Italian speakers to build upon what you've learnt here. I don't think Duolingo should be seen as being an independent learning experience outside of other language learning facilities.

What I think Duolingo does very well, is give you a good writing and reading ability in your chosen language, to speak it and hear and understand it needs experience in the real world, with real native speakers.


Depends. What do you call fluent? If you work hard, Duolingo should get you to working proficiency. By the end of the course, you should be able to get through an arbitrary piece of light <insert language> literature on your own. Which is not to say that you'll know every single word in that work. You should be able to understand the language enough to figure out most of the new words through context, and understand how to use a dictionary to look up the rest and incorporate them into your vocabulary. Which is to say, by the end of the Duolingo course, you should be almost ready to take off the training wheels. :D


Did anyone finish the korean course? I'm learning korean here and I'm wondering how well I'll know the language once I've finished the course.


I've finished the lessons, but I haven't perfected them all (getting 3 stars in everything), and I haven't finished all my translations to 'master' each section. I'm not fluent, not at all. I'd probably struggle with anything past a basic conversation. However, my reading is improving a lot...I've started to understand some of the translation exercises much more easily and without having to hover over every single word for the english translation. I have a long way to go, but DuoLingo has been great at giving me an introduction to French...it's up to me now to take it further using other resources!


At what point in Duolingo do you actually learn to SPEAK the language chosen? I joined about a week ago and can hear and understand, type, and read my language, but cannot speak a word. Is there something I am missing?


You should be speaking and repeating every word spoken on DL! That simple!


Hi Keilarah. You need to use Duolingo with other forms of learning to speak and understand a language. Try reading out loud simple texts, you don't need to understand the words yet. Also listen to podcasts and Youtube videos, again you won't understand it all but it will go in bit by bit. Remember this is a journey to be enjoyed.


Thank you, lesorton for telling me that. I heard about it from a friend who had not deeply looked into it and they said you could learn to speak the language chosen. I now can inform them not to use it for school, for their school demands to count for a foreign language, you must speak it as well. My parents do not appreciate my hobby of wishing to study Russian and may wish me to quit Duolingo, as they will view it as a waste of time. Thank you again for informing me about this important detail. On another note, where can i find reliable, kid-appropriate texts to read and which podcasts would you recommend, because i am better at reading Cyrillic characters than recognizing them as they are spoken. Approximately how much time does it take each day with the activities you mentioned to learn productively for the amount of time devoted, so i may attempt to fit them in my school schedule?


Hi Keilarah, To learn a different language is a good thing, it will be useful even if you go onto learn another language, and the younger you start the better. I can only speak about learning Spanish, I started to learn it when I was in my 50´s and I am still learning. I do a bit every day, for me the best time is when I am eating my breakfast, so for me I do about half an hour to an hour a day. A bit every day is better than a lot once a week. I started reading children's books from the library, if you have one I am sure they will have a section on languages. Do you have access to Youtube, I would try there first to find people speaking Russian. Good luck and enjoy the learning.


thank you lesorton, you have been a HUGE help. I will try youtube, as i have heard listening to familiar songs in Russian will help you connect the two. Good luck with your Spanish!


Well, I am sure there are other net resources for Italian, there certainly are for Spanish. For example, there is Desdinos (google it) and the University of Texas website with native speakers. Try some searches to identify other resources. Also, I have used some library CDs from Pimsleur during my commute in the car. It helps to have the language actually come out of your mouth.


Yep. I have used Destinos, Univ of TX, BBC, listen to Spanish radio online, watch Spanish language TV, and watch DVDs in Spanish. It is easy to listen to Spanish if you want to. Especially valuable is time spent a a local Mexican restaurant every weekend, talking with friendly, chatty native speakers.


I've finished French and am using Pimsleur CD's (up to "section" 2 of 4) to help my conversational ability.

A quick rundown of the Pimsleur CD's is this: 1) A 30 second dialogue 2) go through each line of dialogue one sentence at a time there are 4 "sections" each with 30x 30 minute lessons (more info at http://www.pimsleur.com/About-The-Programs)

Section 1 (the first 15 hours) was a breeze, I knew the answers and could say them at a slow but decent pace.

For section 2, what I find is that I know the words and sentences being said about 70-90% of the time at a learning pace (ie. one sentence at a time). However, I can only barely keep up with a dialogue at normal speed (I can gather bits and pieces at the end of sentences). Thus I feel that I might have to go through it again or listen to it at a slower speed.

In the end, with just duolingo you'll have enough to get around for a short holiday (where is x?, read a menu) but nothing close to what you would need to live or study there. That being said, you should definitely consider combining duolingo with a more audio based learning system (itunes podcasts etc).

Hope this helps


The most affordable and effective way I've found to grow a meaningful vocabulary is simple, but it takes an effort. You only need three things: something you want to read (newspapers, a good book, the Internet), WordReference.com, and flashcard software, like Anki.

If you diligently make an effort to learn every single word you don't know, your comprehension will improve. This is how I learned (and continue to learn) Spanish (and others). Finding people to converse with is also a huge help. (I joined a local Spanish language book club in my local library, so I read and converse, the best of both!) I like the website LingQ because you can listen and read along (and create flashcards there, too).

I just started duoLingo the other day and I find it positively addictive. I think it can only help. The most important thing is to find what you enjoy. Then you'll stick with it. Understand that it is a process, and you will go very far.


It’s not possible to achieve fluency solely through the use of an app. It surely familiarizes one with various grammatical concepts, along with (more or less) common vocabulary and phrases, but it does not in so doing grant one fluency. Duolingo, along with other language learning apps, should only be considered a resource that one uses to eventually gain fluency. True fluency can really only be reached through immersion.


Conversational fluency will come with a great deal more listening and speaking. IMO, Duolingo alone, as it now stands, will not bring one anywhere near "fluency" in Spanish.


it will get you much closer 5 years later lol


This is a good answer! 5 year old fluency is great for me! I will finish my Spanish duolingo courses.


Any idea where I might find other resources to hear or to speak to native Italian speakers? As much as I'd love to, I can't go to Italy, and there are no native speaks I know of (except my grandparents but it's a Sicilian dialect and they don't remember most of it XD)


jeslam1, I haven't used either, but you could try these online services:

http://www.verbling.com/ http://www.italki.com/


IF you want to hear flat-out real world italian, as well as other languages, and if you're willing to pay 10 bucks a month U.S, then LoMasTV is an excellent source. It improved my Spanish by leaps and bounds. Anyone who says that Spanish is easy to listen to in the real world must be smoking something really strong. I'm a lot better now, but since I left LoMás a while back, they implemented some of the things I suggested while there. Mainly, they started rating video difficulties by inluding information about the number of words per minute of the speaker, usually not a big problem in some other languages. It is no wonder that Spanish speakers have easily defended world records for the fastest speaker for many years. You'll find Italian easier to follow by leaps and bounds, no contest. It is the most beautiful language in the world, according to many linguists, my opinion also. Good luck. :-)


Try Euronews http://it.euronews.com/ .This is the link to the Italian section but other languages are covered also. Some news items come with a transcript and you can always read or listen to the particular news item on the English part for further information.


Learn Italian Pod is a very good FREE podcast. Also a simple dual language Italian reader has been helpful to me. Also, look for an Italian Meet Up group in you area. Oh, and my Italian grandma also doesn't remember any of her childhood Sicilian. :)


Try this site, I use it to speak to Spanish people who want to learn English, you need Skype of course.



I actually prefer http://verbling.com. It does not require Skype, and you can jump right in with people trying to learn English. It supports a bunch of different languages just like conversationexchange, it's just web-based.


Thanks for the suggestion. I just checked it out! I like the links to forms of the verbs.


Exciting! I am learning German and agree that other methods of learning in conjunction with Duolingo will be beneficial - flash cards for conjugation/ notes around the house w/ the German word taped everywhere (mirror/oven/sink)etc. and listening to German TV or Radio streaming online!!!


Taping foreign words around the house haha, that's interesting. You can also try reading a wikipedia article in another language.


I agree there should be more information online on the conjugation of word.....The only example you have is for the Sien, which is irregular. At this stage I would very much like a little table of examples of conjugation.


I agree, tables are useful. I think this is a different method of learning a language than the usual...with tables and such. I think this is move of a "learn a new language the way you learned your first language" approach. I think all approaches have a lot to offer. Have you seen the book 501 Verbs? It's very useful ... lots of tables!


Great suggestion-taping the words all over the house. LOL, love it


I just started the Italian course. I am almost finished with going through the 3 Pimsluer coursed for a second time. Those courses are very good for immersion but with limited vocabulary. Duolingo seems to offer more vocab which helps compliment Pimsleur. I doubt that either can make you fluent but a multi tool approach is probably best.


Coffee Break French is what I use for learning to speak the language. They have other languages too. I am not really learning how to speak on duolingo but am learning a large amount of vocabulary.


Yes, I love Coffee Break French! I'm using that in conjunction with Duolingo and I've learned a lot. I haven't finished either course yet, but my French is progressing nicely.


That's a great question and one I've wondered about as well. There's a free podcast called "News in Slow Spanish" for anyone interested in improving their Spanish listening skills. It's associated with a great website but it costs to become a full member. It seems reasonable to me, though.


I've been posting to fixoodle (http://www.fixoodle.com) and native speakers say I don't make many mistakes. My topics aren't really that complex, though...


wow, i feel like an idiot. today i just discovered that on my desktop you speak into the microphone in your lessons ONLY on Chrome, cause Firefox cannot handle it. must be too old. Is that new or did i just miss that?


I just switched browsers and noticed that too.


Completely irrelevant to discussion


I have been learning German on Duolingo ,but I still can't everything that Germans say.


Im still level 10 oof


I know this is old and you have most likely given up/became fluent already but it is all about the effort you put into learning the language. I have taken Spanish for nearly 7 years and a beginner is probably better at it than I am.


hmmm. I gather it depends on the person, but from what I've seen duolingo when finished will give you enough tools to get around in a country that has the majority of it's population speaking said language. Will you be fluent? I doubt it. Fluency takes years of experience and practice day in and out. But this will definitely get you to the point where you can start conversating with other fluent speakers.


Just keep practicing until your heart and soul becomes confident and involve the new language in your life trying mixing the language in your native one!! yo apprendo espanol ahora !! i am from india and i am learning three languages at a time - Italian,Spanish and Latin


You can’t really become fluent without being surrounded by the language. You become fluent by reading, watching, and listening to Italian or media in other languages. Duo lingo helps, but nothing compares to actual exposure


You should be able to mid-tier texts to a decent level. Speaking is a whole different matter.


I finished my Latin some time ago, and yes, it became fluent. Aldo, I would not be sure, that it works every time.


One thing that I and a lot of other people have tried has been watching shows in that specific language. Though Duolingo did help in the basics, you can't advance yourself if you don't further your education! It's always best to watch shows and copy what they're saying and repeat phrases to get the informal tone of that language. Something you can do to advance and challenge yourself is to also change the subtitles so they're also in your language of study to focus and try to translate and understand in English or your native language.


Oh, it was 7 years ago. How did you proceed? Do you speak Italian fluent?


I did a large potion of Spanish and know about 78 percent more than I used to

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