1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. My story of learning German..…


My story of learning German...!For some it is just a hobby,for me it wasn't. :-)

Hi everyone,I am Laertis and I am from Greece.I just want to tell a short story about how important Duolingo is to me.

As everybody know things in Greece are going bad and in the near future i can assure you that it will go even worse.As a result i wanted to move away and try to make a new life(I am 25 years old).My brother lives in Germany(but doesn't speak German,international work) and it was a good option although i wanted to go to London first because of the language.Whatever...

I came here(Lübeck,near Hamburg) at 20/11/2013 with no idea of German language.I thought that my English skills would save the day BUT BELIEVE ME,IT DID NOT.Many people here don't speak English because 1)they don't know or 2)they are shy or 3)THEY ARE EGOISTIC.So i spent Christmas looking everyone in the mouth trying to understand what they say.

After a month here i realised that without knowing German language is difficult to make progress on my career(sound engineer) despite the fact that i really don't need it in my field.I searched the net and THANK GOD I FOUND DUOLINGO.At the beginning i thought how someone can learn from that???

After the first week of using Duolingo i could go to the super market and talk basic German.After a month using Duolingo i was enable to Enrol to a morning school for learning German language from Level A2.And now after 2 months of using Duolingo(level 10),school and extra Grammar-Vocabulary sites i am able to send CVs(already have found some part time job at Mc Donald's) in German Language.


P.S. sorry for that big story,just wanted to write these things that happen in real hard life.

Best wishes to everyone

March 7, 2014



Awesome story! Duolingo just tweeted about it :) https://twitter.com/duolingo/status/442070402622582784


It's so good that Duolingo has achieved its goal, of teaching people a new language to improve their life. The dev team should feel proud, as now they can read actual proof that their creation has helped a real persons life become much better.


Congratulations. I really want to move to Germany once I graduate college (which is in a very long time) but luckily I am going for the summer. I cannot wait to test out my German skills on natives. Man, if there was an exchange student opening I would be in Germany faster than you could say Gänsenblumechen.


Gänseblümchen, it has the ü thingy


bah, gets me every time.


Lol! I would like to know how you are writing this ä ü ö ß :)


Windows 7: right, bottom angle of the screen (where the clock is), left besides the (?) in blue. Change EN (or whatever is there) to DE. Might be, that you have to add another keybord set somewhere in the Control Panel. alt text

You can put little stickers on you keybord with the german characters. I did it with the polish characters which also are lokated where the german Umlaute are situated.

You have to change back to you own keybord settings again near the windows clock.


When you have the 2 keyboards set up (or more) simply press the right hand alt + shift to swap quickly between them. I use it all the time for switching to german talk. If only the z and the y didn't swap around...

viel spaß


maybe his keyboard is different


for me on Mac it is option+u for an umlaut and option+s for a ezsett


If you're on a Windows PC and you're unwilling to change your keyboard layout (multi-language on Windows is quite a pain to deal with for me), it's possible to enter them through key combinations on the numpad. Simply hold down the Alt key, enter one of the following numbers (MUST be done on the numpad) then release the Alt key.

ä is Alt+132 / Ä is Alt+142 / ü is Alt+129 / Ü is Alt+154 / ö is Alt+148 / Ö is Alt+153 / ß is Alt+225

I'd only recommend this if you've tried Windows' multi-language input method support and are unhappy with it. After about 10 uses each, you'll remember the keys quite easily, though the lower case letters are obviously much more important and useful to remember.

If you've got a laptop where the numpad is overlaid on the letters part of the keyboard, you can try e.g. hold Alt then hold Fn then type the numbers, then release Alt and Fn.


Thanks, I think I've tried about everything and nothing was perfect. So I'll just have to train for ñ etc.


copying I have no clue you could just go to google translate and copy it


petition to change official grammar name to "ü thingy"


Amen brotha! same thing for me! I SOOO want to go to germany!


If you are a U.S. citizen, check out Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange. It's a year long Exchange program between the United States Congress and the Deutsche Bundestag. It's totally paid for and you get to study and work in Germany. I'm participating in it right now. There is one for high School students and one for college (www.cbyx.info is the college one)


Wow that's incredible! I'm checking that out now.


I'm of German descent and I'm really interesting in my heritage. So, obviously when I heard about Duolingo, I automatically wanted to learn German! My mother is slightly fluent in German I already knew a few phrases. But now that I've ben using Duolingo for months now, I'm so much more confident. I'm going to Germany this Summer to see where my family originates. I'm hoping that my new profound skills with this beautiful language will come in handy. Thank you Duolingo! :)


Thank you for taking the time to write your big story. It's scary to watch Greece, Portugal and Spain these days. So glad Duolingo can give you a hand on your way.


Wow! What a fast progress! Congrats! In one thing you are absolutely right - there's nothing to do in foreign country without a language. Many people says that "English will open all the doors for you", but no, it's not true. And you are going through it :)

By the way, in Germany, as I see, not so bad with English compared to Spain or Italy, for example :)

And the last question, what else has you use to learn except Doulingo?


As i said i am using other sites for grammar and vocabulary especially when it comes to articles.I have found the sites from here(when i made a mistake always looked in the discussion to understand).I can post you in your profile if you want


About the articles: learn them. BUT - my German teacher told us, if you don't know the article, just sort of slur it to "de" The Dutch only have two articles, de & het, & apparently that's a pretty typical thing for them to do when speaking German. When I was in Germany etc, people knew I wasn't a native speaker, but they couldn't tell I was American as soon as I opened my mouth. I was proud of that. A lot of people asked me if I was Dutch!


There's another one: "Hast du'n Schraubendreher?" (Do you have a srewdriver?) Many of us are too lazy to speak proper German, so instead of asking for a/an something, just ask for "n" something, works every time ;-) In this example, the "du" and the "einen" are pronounced together the way I wrote it.


But for feminine nouns, you would say 'ne: "Hast du 'ne Schraube?"


Maybe you could also slur this so you wouldn't need this "e" at the end? ;-) If a foreigner would try to understand the neighbours' son, they would be totally lost: "Ey alder ey, hasse man(e) Schraube?"

All not native Germans, don't ever learn this (and if you're native, don't ever use this)!


Yes i have heard it,German people like to come up with new words


that is a really good advice.Thank you very much :D


I'd be very interested in that, too! :)


Sure, I'm interested :)

  • 2583

Well done, and keep it up. Good luck!


Willkommen in Deutschland! Ich hoffe, dass du dich hier an der Ostsee wohl fühlst und viele liebe Menschen triffst. Wir sind fast Nachbarn! :D (Ich lebe in Kiel.)


wirklich?schreibe mir deine E-mail oder FB name so ich kann suche dir!


Tut mir leid, aber solche Informationen schreibe ich nicht gerne öffentlich. Vielleicht bekommt Duo irgendwann eine "Private Nachrichten" Funktion.

Ich füge bei Facebook auch nur Menschen hinzu, die ich im realen Leben kenne. Aber wir sind ja jetzt Duo-Freunde, das ist doch auch okay. :)


ha ha,ja ok.Kein problem! :D


That is great. Wish you have fun in Luebeck, that is very beautiful city. I think your story will encourage more people use that awesome app.


congratulations and thank you for motivation. I like to read such stories. I think that things like Duolingo are the proper utilization of the great human invention - the Internet.


Thanks for writing your story, I really appreciated reading it. I'm glad that Duolingo helped you--I just wish they would add languages, like Greek, that are not all from Western Europe!


Sehr gut! It was extremely brave of you to get up and move from your home to germany! kudos to you! I love how you use CAPS to EMPHASIZE THINGS!


Well done! I am English but lived 10 yrs in Germany worked in English but lived in German, so learned the language well to speak but many years later I am so unsure of genders and cases so must learn them properly confidently etc... DL is an amazing help. May I add you can't love and country and it's people unless you learn the language and culture I hope you will be as happy there as I was......Viel spass..


thats amazing best of luck in germany guten morgan

if u read this in the morning


That is great! Thanks for sharing your story c: It is great that you were willing to learn a new language, especially a complex one at that. You're right, Duolingo works wonders. It is the best language learning site I have found so far. I am hoping to learn German fluently or at least half way fluently by the end of the year because my line of work, will mean travelling soon. Plus, German is just a beautiful language regardless. Keep up the good work, and lucky you to be in the heart of Germany. I hope to be there soon too! c:


Keep it up! It's a great story, and give us an update when you master it :) Best of luck!!


this is inspiring , keep going man ;)


Keep doing your best Laertis, my motivation to learn German is similar to yours, I am from Latin America (Colombia) and things here won't be better soon. The further education here is expensive as heck and it would be cheaper for me to get academics and jobs opportunities in Germany rather than in America. For me learning German is not just a hobby, is a goal and if I had the chance to get better a life by learning a language, then I am willing to become fluent in German, and I really thank Duolingo for giving us a useful resource as this website is. Germany will remain strong as the leader of the EU (to the heck UK with its selfishness and its USA wannabe egocentricity...). Certainly economy ist hard in Europe, nonetheless Germany is aware that must prevail strong and it will be. Keep doing your best that everyone just as you should be allowed to strife and work hard for a better quality of life.


Same to me! But I'm international busdriver working in Germany :)



Now that's something really worth of note. Great story, nice to see that it helped you so much. We learn what we need. The more we need, the faster we learn. You needed in order to survive, make a living. Use the language and learn the culture (they are completely tied together). Keep going, one step every day and you will go a loong way. Good luck!


Well done. I hope things continue to go well for you.


That's a realy good story ... best of luck :)


"despite the fact that i really don't need it in my field" welcome to the club... Lots of unemployed scientists and engeneers in Germany allready... even a phd won't help you to find a job...

about 5.000.000 unemployed and about 500.000 Jobs, a 1:10 ratio. Well, good luck... The "official numbers are a bit better: http://jobboerse.arbeitsagentur.de/

But, have fun learning the language. That's something usefull noone can take away from you. One of the reasons I am here. Learning French and Italian in the hope to get a job in Switzerland, where you at least need French, often French, German, English and sometimes Italian.

Germany is no job paradise, I have to know, I am now searching for about nearly 2 years for a new job...

The plan is to further reduce the wages by immigration. It works so far and is one of the reasons why the situation in Greece is as it is. The more immigration, the lower the wages thus Greece, Spain, Portugal will have to reduce their wages even further. A fast spiral downward. It also happens in the US... Same mechanism (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/wait-until-wages-start-rising/?_php=true&_type=blogs=BlogPost-Title=Blog%20Main=Opinion=Click=Blogs=Body&_r=0)

[edit: removed links and contacted the blogs for permission to play with the texts]


Actually, you'll currently have a hard time to find countries in Europe where the situation on the job market is better than it is in Germany (sure, there are a few). In most parts of Europe the situation is far worse than in Germany… So moving here might not be such a bad decision after all.

BTW: do you own the copyright for these blog articles you uploaded?


You are right, but that doesn't mean that immigrants will have it easier to find a job in their profession in Germany than elsewhere. German employers have a huge number to pick from, and they will prefer to pick people who don't come with a language barrier.


No, not necessarily. There are other points to be considered, especially in case of contracts of limited duration. There young people of fogeign contries are preferred at the moment, as they are as good as the Germans but much cheaper, especially from countries like Greece, Spain, Romania. For foreign scientists it is much easier to find a job in Germany than for german scientists. There are laws that state, that you are onle allowed to work 6 years with contracts of limited duration, but as there are no unlimited contracts at the moment, you loose your job after six years and a YOUNG person from another country will get it. No chance to get a job if you are over 50. Same with the low wage jobs, much better chances for foreigners between 20-35...

At a certain level, there are no language barriers as long as you are able to speak english.

alt text

alt text


Welcome to reality. :-(


Employers everywhere in the world will do the same.


These blogs want to be read and shared, I can ask if you want to. But as noone is doing more than trying to read them... Where can one add the information, that the owner allowed the translation?

I'll deaktivate them, till I have the OK


I suppose that if they aren't cc-licensed (or something like that) it probably is a copyright violation to upload them. "The blogs want to be shared" is no substitute for an appropriate license. Note that uploading them on Duolingo probably falls under "commercial use".


Tell that to Duobot... I'll ask the owners of the good blogs.

Where can i put the response?


No idea. You'll have to resolve this issue directly with staff. I don't work for Duolingo and can't speak on their behalf. If Duobot uploads protected material it's probably from Duolingo's partners.


Espero que sigamos creciendo.


Herzlich willkommen in Deutschland! Gut, dass du zielstrebig bist , mit DL schaffst du sicherlich die Sprache.


Congratz for your achievement =) German is quite tricky and even native speakers do many mistakes. (I'm German myself ;)) I think one of the most important things i case you go to live in another country is to learn the language or at least try to learn it. About Germans speaking English... since it's mandatory after 3rd grad in school, most understand German (of course not the older generation). Many people are simply unsure of their skills, because in school you're often reminded to "Not dare to use a language you can't speak properly. Mistakes are unforgiveable." I had 11 year of English at school and a semester at university, but when someone asked if I could speak English I started to be embarrassed and said "Oh, only a little bit". Fortunately it changed now, because one of my flatmates was english ^^


I think you can get along with English if you visit Germany for a vacation or a semester pretty well, but searching for a job is a different matter entirely. Germans will be glad to talk English with a guest, but no boss will talk English just for you but expect that you speak German as everyone else in his company.


True! I talked with friends about it (no native speakers) and they told me the only jobs, they could get until now where in the kitchen of a restaurant or cleaning hotel rooms.


What a great story laertis1989, thanks so much for sharing it with us! I'm not sure what I love more, that you were brave enough to change your life or that Duolingo was able to help you change it.



Such a great story to read... Now I wonder if I could have the same achievement as you did, since I'm actually crossing the same path.. Will soon move to Germany actually it isn't for good but at least I should be accustomed to some of their traditions and cultures especially their language spoken. I've been referring on online resources till now, and Duolingo is the best so far, not until today.. I'm experiencing problems with the site. Like while I'm on my activity, I know I translated it correctly but the system says it isn't a German translation that I entered, then whenever I hit the Skip button, the whole thing just collapse and I'm like okei what should I do from here? Ended up hitting the quit button more than 5 times of trying it over and over again.. How am I suppose to move another step if I can't even finish the stage where I'm at... somebody help?


Can you be a bit more specific? Many people here can help, by first we need to properly understand what's going on. Before solving the issue, you need to explain it very clearly and in a specific way so we (and you) can understand it. Several times, the simple exercise of explaining something aloud and understanding it correctly is enough for me to solve it without external help. About the learning method of Duolingo, I think it is great. But learning a language takes a lot of time. So, just like any other method, it only works out if you have a lot of discipline and patience. Furthermore, this method is particularly difficult on the very beginning because we need to get used to the basics. Doing it by trial and error is tricky. Perhaps you are in this stage. Perhaps is a software issue. Anyway, don't give up. Stick to it. I study languages for about 20 to 40 minutes every day. It is not much, but consistently and for months, so far. After a while doing this every day, your mind magically "snaps in" and things quickly start to make sense. The more you try and practice, the faster you get used to it. So, keep trying. Over and over... and over again, that's the way it works. Good luck, Paulo


@Paulo.Guedes I didn't gave up.. I actually am pursuing it till now. Am I not specific with the information I provided? If yes, then I'm sorry maybe I should give more details, perhaps? Anyway it's working fine since yesterday so I continued with my activity and making a good progress! With regards to the efficiency and awesomeness of Duolingo, well I give it a 10 times thumbs up, so don't worry as I'm not making negative issues here if that's what you were thinking. Basics are not difficult that's why they're called the basics, I don't know with other people but that's what I think.. Schönen Dank Paulo! you're very much concern of my post and I really appreciate it!


Do you mean the part that asks you to speak in German? I have experienced the problem before when it keeps on giving me the feedback that my voice was unclear or I was not speaking German. Luckily, there is an option where you can delete practicing oral skills, so that questions that ask you to speak won't appear. Hope this help~


@echomiao I am not yet in that stage you're talking about...Danke für die Hilfe echomiao!


come on and make the shot for your future,best wishes from China


Lovely story! Thank you for sharing, danke. I'm learning German because one of my sons is moving to Berlin this week and his brother and I thought it would be fun to practice together.


Best of luck to you.You're story is inspiring and I hope you continue to learn and find happiness in your new home.


How well do you think your German will have to be before you start doing work in your field? I ask because my friend is a sound engineer and is considering moving to Germany, but is scared because of the language barrier and feels that he needs to speak absolutely fluent german to work on a set in Germany. Do you think that's the case? Have you done any sound work in Germany?


If he is looking for a job as an engineer, he should apply and get a job before moving to Germany. If they really look for foreign engineers, the job advertisements are in english and then he does not need German at all for the work. I know postdocs who worked for 5 years in Germany and could still not speak a word after these 5 years.... Here are some data bases, where he can look for suiting jobs. If the advertisement is in english, he can apply in english (same for switzerland)










Sick is also always looking for engineers: http://www.sick.com/group/EN/home/jobs/Pages/jobs.aspx

Micronas also: http://www.micronas.com/de

Basel/Swiss: http://www.stellen-basel.ch/index.php?action=stellensuche


Laertis is right, the competition is very high. For high qualified positions (with phd und 2-3 languages as minimum requirement) the ratio is 1:200 minimum, often 1:300

I am looking for a job for about 2 years now (Phd, 6 years working experience, 3 languages, about 150 applications, 25 interviews, no job), but it is like ancient Olympia, there is only one winner (mostly the youngest and cheapest, preferably male), all others lose.


thank you so much for taking the time to post all these links.


You're welcome. I check these links weekly myself, so I have a ready made list anyway :-)


Let's take things from the beginning.I can assure you that if he is afraid (even though he has not moved yet),he will have very difficult time.The language barrier is a thing but i believe if he learns basic German he will have an opportunity.On the other hand the competition here is very high so it should not disappoint him if he doesn't find something for 6+ months.I have played music(dj) for several parties here but still nothing studio time.I don't know about live bands because i don't like it so much.I hope i have answered some of your questions.


Just a small update, right now i got the C1 Level for university. To say the truth i like this language a lot despite the fact that it is really difficult. It has been already 2 years and my only option was to study good german so i can have a future here. :D

I hope you are also learning german if you do this course. Greetings to everybody!!!


I wish you all the best and hope more people will have the courage to live in another country when they think they can speak "a little bit" of its native language (most time, it's more than just a little bit and as you pointed out, about nobody in Lübeck had the courage to speak it with you).

And really, there are only higher grades Germans who really know how they have to write what and where and many also can't speak properly German ;-)

And if you still need help on the street, I think it would come from pupils and students that are younger than 20. Many of them will look forward to train their English and normally chemists and doctors are also willing to speak it. I know there are a lot of people that won't. And I also think they are egoistic.

So here is my kick in the butt for all you lazy Germans (I'm one too, but I'm willing to help everyone and everytime!): If there's someone needing help, please TRY to get it done!


I, on the other hand, DON'T think that these people are egoistic. Maybe some of them are, but not the majority. They aren't trained in speaking and aren't really interested in this language.

In my own experience: In school I HAD to learn (british) english. When I haven't got a say in what I want to learn, learning is difficult and isn't fun most of the time. So I learned what was mandatory, but nothing more. So it came, that speaking english isn't very advanced in my case. I have trouble finding the right words. Especially if someone stands before me, aks a question and waits for a response.

In writing it's a lot easier - I have time to think what I want to say. If I have trouble finding words I can look them up.

My english only got a lot better, since I got to love a series on TV. At first I couldn't understand a word (american english). So I used subtitles in german. Some time later it irritated me to read german and hear american english simultaneously. So I switched to english subtitles. Nowadays I only watch movies/series in english :-) I LOOOOVE english - whereever it comes from (America, England, Scotland or Australia).

The last years I have "worked" (not really!) on my hearing and reading skills. Now I have the work to do: writing more in english, get to know how grammar works correctly and last but not least: speaking english :-) The icing on the cake would be: Losing my horrible german accent ;-)


Many congratulations! Felicitations!


Wow, that is awesome. I applaud you. You can also use memrise for help.


Very interesting. ))))


That's great! The very first time I went to Germany, I flew into Lübeck, and found that my German skills were challenged as soon as I stepped off the plane. It's true that there are many people/places in Germany where people know little or no English or simply don't use it. I can't imagine living there without knowing how to communicate in both languages.


this is an amazing story thank u for sharing it with us and telling us nothing is impossible......best wishes to u too and keep it up


It is fine! I love it!


woow cool story!! thanks for share it!!


wow really nice


Your name reminds me of Ιλιάδα. :)


Ha ha,my name is the name of the father of Odesseas. :D


like father,like son.


Sehr gut! Very inspirational and I'm glad you had the gumption and determination to improve your life in a major way! Alles gute :)


The bigger the story the better. It's so inspiring.


great achievement, mate! i am learning german via duoling since 10 days and it is amazing! well done..keep going on.! cheers


I started learning german because I like the language and when I am old enough I want to live in germany


Awesome story keep it up!


Hi! What a nice story! I really can understand you, my friend... I'm italian and things are going rather bad here too. A lot of italian people (above all young ones) left (and are still leaving) the country because here is not easy to find a job!

I know a little English and I now I'm trying this new adventure with German... it is just a funny hobby now (thanks to duolingo), but who knows if in the future my level will be enough good to allow me reading books, understanding german speakers and - above all - making me able to speak??

I would be curious to know what are you doing now in Germany.

Good luck!


i am impressed i am searching for a new friend i think you are the right one ..... my name is jeeva from INDIA 18 year old


I love Duolingo very much. Now I can speak English clearly. I am going to learn German and some more languages. I can learn and chat with my friend on Duo. Best wishes to Duo - my best best friend. < 3


How do you remember German vocab


It's good to see Duolingo has fulfiled its purpose


Next stop grammar school and you're all set for a career.


So inspiring. I've just started learning a few days ago and I'm finding Duolingo to be a very useful tool as well!


Wow that is inspiring! Cheers to you!


Do you have an update about your endeavors?


It has been almost 7 years as I came here. Time passes really quickly... A lot of things have changed but I still have difficulties speaking as a native german would do haha! What you learn at school of course helps a lot but if you don't go out there and TRY TO SPEAK with other people, it will be really difficult for you. I suppose though that happens with every language. Don't worry about the "der, die, das" problem, even the germans make A LOT OF MISTAKES with them :P


For it is not hobby too


Hello Laertis, Thank you so much for sharing your story, it gives me great hope hearing that you learned German so quickly. By the way, how do you like your life in Germany now? I'm hoping to be an international student in Germany next year. Cheers from Canada! Nik

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.