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Will Duolingo make me fluent?

Let's say if I have mastered everything on the German tree and I can do everything with perfection (or almost) Will I understand EVERYTHING a German has to say to me? As Duolingo has a huge German word count of 2225. I am wondering if I could easily communicate with a German.


June 4, 2017



A native German speaker will have a vocabulary of over 20,000 words so there is still a long way to go before calling yourself fluent with only 10% of that vocabulary. However, you will have a good start at fluency. Now you need to build your vocabulary by reading and listening and watching TV and films.


Honest answer:

Not a chance in heck! It's nowhere near good enough. Not even close.

Having said that, it's better than nothing and I don't know of any software that can take you to the level you want.

My hope is that over the years Duolingo gains enough vocabulary and other improvements to make something approaching "fluency" attainable. It ought to be possible in theory.



You must use other resources as well.


With Duolingo alone, no.


No, Duolingo is only for the first stage of learning or brushing up a language.

Neither the levels in Duolingo nor Duolingo's "Fluency %" are related to your actual fluency and knowledge in your daily life. Just ignore them. Enjoy this very nice course, it is a good start for learning German.

Will I understand EVERYTHING a German has to say to me?

You can try it yourself. Here are links to discussions with resources:
- https://www.duolingo.com/comment/4001283
- https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22843151
- https://www.duolingo.com/comment/14381497


With a complete tree, what would you guys said that equates to if you were a child and it was your first language eg. you're as fluent as the average 6 year old?


An average kindergartner in America has a vocabulary of approximately 5,000 words, so you would be more like a preschooler.


Duolingo is a spring board to learn a language. I finished the Spanish tree, and now I'm trying to read El Camino A Cristo in Spanish (without Google translate), and I'm listening and watching to as much Spanish as I can throughout the day. I bought a bluetooth headset, which has really worked out well for me to listen to Spanish while doing my daily activities.

The real questions to obtaining fluency (at least to me) are: Are you daily trying to learn your target language? If so, how much time per day do you put into learning your target language? Are you immersing yourself in your language as much as possible (at least reading books and listening in your target language)?

You might also like this blog post that I read recently that I thought was very fascinating: https://bookboundpolyglot.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/input-hypothesis-the-basics/


Adding on to what others have said, Duolingo's stronger suit is teaching grammar, which for a lot of language learners is the bigger hurdle between that and vocabulary. If you "master" the tree, you should be able to make your way through the grammatical structure of most things you read or hear. Which would hopefully make picking up new words come more easily to you.
I recommend Memrise for vocabulary.


Where can I find information about the number of words in each course? Apparently German (which I'm currently doing has 2225, but I wonder about the others I'm doing as well).

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