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Would this be a good way to learn a language?

I was thinking of using Duolingo sort of as an introductory phase in learning a language and then going off to learn the language on my own with the basis of that language that I've acquired from using Duolingo. Is that a good and effective way of learning a language or would that just be totally unnecessary? Thanks!

April 21, 2017



This is actually exactly the way I'm using it and I can say it's been extremely effective. But you must remeber a few important things:

  • Learn (seriously) only 1-2 languages at the same time (2 is definitely the upper limit, I tried learning 3 and it's a very bad idea). If you focus on more, you won't learn well any of them. Of course if you like learning languages, like me, you can choose that 1 language (or 2) to learn seriously using resources outside Duolingo, and still do 1-2 Duolingo trees at the same time, e.g. for 30-60 minutes a day. This way you will get closer and closer to fluency in that 1 language (or 2) and you'll get to know a new language and its basics every few weeks/months (depending on how long it takes you to finish a tree)

  • It's very important to choose resources to learn outside Duolingo carefully. Don't fall into the trap of going through grammar textbooks and cramming grammar. This way you won't learn anything constructive. Try methods that will actually boost your language level. The most important thing in language learning is vocabulary so I'd recommend starting with it. If you want tips on how to learn vocabulary, a few weeks ago I made a (pretty long but, I hope, helfpul) post about my experience with it. You can check it out here. Once you know enough vocabulary, you can work on listening comprehension with YouTube videos or films, try reading books or other things, or anything you can think about, really. It's also good to work on phonetics, at least a little at the beginning. Good luck :)


Yes, but the best way to learn a language is to speak it. Speak the words while you are practicing and it will help a lot


Good idea. You should use Duolingo to get a good foundation. The best way to get such a foundation is not by going through the course as fast as you can, but by taking all the time you need to integrate all the grammar and vocab in your 'language core'. Try to spend some time on reviewing your skills, every day. Hurrying will not help. A relaxed mind is a mind that's good at learning.


That is correct thinking. Great plan. I'm doing it too and keep adapting my learning methods to accommodate the new situation that I'm facing.
I don’t encourage spending much time doing review exercises here. The benefit/time spent ratio is bad and ineffective, not to mention it’s boring and tedious.
I mostly use duolingo to get a foundation as you said, otherwise it would have been difficult to start, and then moving on, as quickly as I can, to real entertaining content, which helps solidify it much better in your brain, and makes it long term without even noticing.
You need to race as fast as you can through the language, and not slow down, trying to acquire as much input as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Just doing the same stuff you did, over and over again, is not very helpful.
Keep doing it too but not more then 20% of your time.


That sounds like a great plan. I think Duo gives you a good grounding in basic grammar, but to really learn the language, you do need to go on to something else.. I'm glad you realize Duo can't do it all.

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It might be useful to use a grammar book while using Duolingo, but I guess that depends on the language. Also, unless maybe you can speak it everyday or close, I still recommend continuing using Duolingo so you don't forget the basics.

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That's good, I don't know that website in particular, but if it has the verb conjugations I'm sure that would help. When I learned Spanish (to intermediate level at least), the verbs were by far the hardest part. Spanish verbs are an absolute nightmare! There are so many irregular conjugations and some basic verbs in the simple past tense aren't even recognizable to their present tense counterparts! Even French verbs are a piece of cake compared with the Spanish ones! I hope that doesn't dissuade you from learning Spanish, though. It's generally not a very hard language otherwise, it's a nice language and very useful here in the Southern U.S. where I live, but the verb forms took me a long time to learn, and even today I sometimes get tripped up, three years after I began seriously learning Spanish (not even including the one high school class).


Yes, the verbs! So I'm not the only one who wants to make the verbs in Spanish be muertos! XD Back to subject, one of the main reasons I like it is because of the oral exercises.


Absolutely! There is no wrong way of learning a language. There are nearly infinite ways you can learn it and you will find that some ways better suit you and your needs than other ways. Set a goal and hit the pavement running! Just remember, repetition, repetition, repetition. Good luck!


Certainly a good plan. Duolingo is only going to get you so far. It's only one tool in the toolbox, although there are various ways to use it. The trees also vary quite a bit in how much grammar they present and just how well they're constructed. What you find for Spanish might be quite different for Dutch (the Dutch tree, incidentally, is excellent). If you've studied some more on your own, you might see if e.g. laddered trees (Portuguese from French, for example) are to your liking. As long as you're pushing yourself forward, there's not really a wrong way to go about it. When things are easy, you move on. If things are still hard, but they're hard in a way Duolingo isn't focusing on, then Duolingo isn't the tool.


Yes, that will work well.


If I am serious about learning a language I use Duolingo and look up grammatical explination, then try to find content in my target language.


That works well, for instance: after 3 months, after a year. Those were written a few years ago but still hold true. While transitioning after having completed your tree, you may want to go through the reverse tree for practice, as it will have more translation into the foreign language from English.


I continue to go back and strengthen.

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