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Learning a language solely using Duolingo?

I was wondering has anyone learned to speak a language well solely using Duolingo?

I have spent quite some time here and my vocabulary has definitely improved, but I still find it difficult to form (longer) sentences correctly and fluently. It feels like Duolingo isn't helping me as much on speaking/writing as it is improving my vocabulary. For this reason I'm only doing 1 lesson per day (to continue my streak) and I spend the rest of my sparse time watching news and reading online newspapers.

What is your thought on this, and what's your approach to learning a language?

4 years ago



there is no single book or app that can teach someone a language completely. Learning a language is like a journey that never ends. It totally depends on how advanced or fluent you want to be. If your goal of learning Spanish is just to pass a test or slight improve, I think duolingo will do the job. But if you want to converse with native speakers or read novels or something like that, you need more than duolingo. In that case, you have at least to finish an advanced textbook designed to teach Spanish. Also, as you said, reading newspapers and watching movies are very important. From my experience learning English for almost 3 years, i'm still learning something new. Always there is something pops up e.g. idioms, slangs, jargons, and scientific words. So the only one who can decides if Duolingo is enough or not is YOU.

wish you the best

Reply4 years ago


IMO you need much more than Duo to learn a language well, especially listening/speaking. Many of use several other resouces.

Reply4 years ago

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You'll have to go other places besides duolingo in order to truly understand the grammar of your target language. If I wasn't taking a German class, the German course would have made no sense to me grammatically. You can often find legitimate websites that can teach you grammar better than duolingo does. That being said, I still think duolingo is great.

Reply4 years ago

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I think trying to use Duolingo only to become proficient at a language would be a really bad idea.

Even on the lower levels of Duolingo, I've found learning to be dramatically better when Duolingo is paired with something like Memrise or Anki, that does a better job of using SRS for vocabulary.

Duolingo and these other sites are really something you should think of as just enough to boost you up to the point where you can start learning from native materials. Listening to the radio and podcasts in your chosen language, finding some children's books through your local library, turning on subtitles in foreign films and seeing how much you can pick up, writing your own journal entries on lang-8, etc.

Reply4 years ago


Honestly, I dont think it does much. I speak Portuguese natively and English fluently. I also speak Spanish by ear, so I started DuoLingo as a helper. It doesnt help at all. I am much closer to the end than to the beginning and the sentences are too simple, short and out-of-the-blue. There is no connection, context, complexity. I started Japanese, a language that I have been meaning to learn for so many years, and after the first lessons I just lost it and had to start from somewhere else, learn the alphabets, a little bit of grammar... DuoLingo doesnt teach anything. I have also taken 2 years of German while in college, so I also started that one. If i hdant taken German before, I would NEVER be able to grasp grammar not even vocabulary. And finally, I also added portuguese (my native language, but my kids only know it passively) so they could get some structure. Nope, it is not happening. the oldest one hovers over the words and uses the english translation to get sentences right and the youngest one cant produce one single easy sentence. all in all, I dont think duolingo is really useful. It is too hard for real beginners, too shallow for advanced ones, and not enough for intermediate students. I have been keeping my streak with a little of Spanish/day (even tho I dont really know the benefit of keeping the streak), and using the German course to have myself back on track while I start a basic textbook again. Having 4 courses at the same time keeps the streak going on, BTW... The streak counts by lesson completed, regardless of the language....

Reply5 months ago