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Duolingo and the real world...

Hey guys,

I have been studying with Duolingo for about 6 months now I think in the hope I could learn the basics of the German language. Does anyone have any extra material they use? Other websites, books, tip or tricks?

I am struggling to use most of what I "think" I am learning with actual real life people and situations....I would be so much easier if people spoke with robotic voices!

March 2, 2017



Here are some tips that helps with learning any language:

  • Read books in German. Start with children books, then teen, then adult. Or even better, read books you already know in your mother tongue. For example, loads of people I know read Harry Potter in several languages, because they knew them by heart.
  • Listen to German music. You may not understand everything at first, but it gives you any idea about pronunciation and definitely makes you curious to learn more words.
  • Watch TV shows with German subs
  • Actually USE the language. It's one thing to learn a language, it's another thing to actually speak/write it. Sites like lang-8.come are very good to practice.
  • Find an app to talk to native speakers. They are still the best source to learn a language, not to mention it's always fun to make new friends! :)

And if you have Discord, come and visit the Official Unofficial Duolingo Discord Server. A nice community who's always there to help. https://discord.gg/QGMtSxx


Look in popular there are several posts with lists of resources


I use books to read literature. Well that was the whole point of learning the language. Sometimes I watch TV series (with german subs)


DuoLingo sentences are very short - much shorter than ones you will regularly encounter in real situations. Additionally, the DuoLingo vocabulary range isn't as wide as you'll need to do anything significant.

I would suggest reading German newspapers (Bild, Die Welt, Der Spiegel) - with a dictionary/google translate (you'll need it for some words) which will help you get familiar with the structuring of longer sentences, as well as widening your vocabulary.

Then watch German films on YouTube - it will be confusing and daunting at first (you can start with small learning videos - 'Extra' isn't a bad place to start, before you work up to real programmes.) They will help with listening and understanding.

I also find listening to German music helps - it gives you the repetition you need to help crystallise expressions.

If you can get Euronews, (e.g. on Sky) you can choose to watch it in German - if you watch the news in English first, then again in German, it can help, as you know the gist of the story they're describing.

With writing and speaking, you actually need real people to talk to. The best solution for this is to go to Germany - but that might not be an option for you you (and it's of limited value, until you have a reasonable level of German, or can stay for an extended period - in many cities, people will just switch into English as soon you encounter any difficulty.)

Nothing better than a full immersion, with non-English speaking Germans, if you can get it!


For building vocabulary, Memrise official German courses are excellent. Used in conjunction with Duolingo (or the German Duolingo Memrise course), you'll build up your vocabulary quite quickly.

I also highly recommend Lang-8 once you're at a point where you're relatively familiar with the basic grammar, sentence structure, and vocabulary of the language. The users on there are very understanding (since they are studying languages of their own) and provide very helpful corrections, so it's a great way to practice actually using the language without having to worry about people getting frustrated with you for completely screwing up a sentence.

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