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Learning a Language in 10 Minutes Every Day for a Year... Thoughts?

Recently, Duolingo posted a video on YouTube about a young woman that gave up social media for a year and instead used the time to learn Italian on Duo. She later went to Italy, apparently being able to speak the language. If you'd like, you can watch the video here.

While I do believe it is possible to learn a language in a year, (not for me, but I'm sure for people that are more linguistically inclined it is possible,) the topic of this discussion is the first sentence in the video description: "What would you do with 10 extra minutes a day?"

What do you think about this? How much of a language do you think you would know if you studied via Duo for just 10 minutes for 365 days?

July 14, 2017



Interesting. I haven't really banned anything in the same way, although I have cut back on games for now to improve my French. How much time did she spend though? 10 minutes? It's estimated to take at least 60 hours to reach A1 (beginner) level... well, let's do some maths:

365 x 10 = 3650 (minutes) 3650 / 60 = 60.83 (hours)

In theory, we would probably reach a minimal A1 level - very basic conversation.


Agreed, we would get to that level give or take..

I just think it also depends on how you learn.

No matter how useful Duolingo is, those who just study the language on Duolingo without conversing with natives or watching TV shows in that language for example (to immerse themselves a little more) will not get as far as those who do.

Overthinking it perhaps, but just an add-on that it's always helpful to approach language learning from all angles.


obviously chatting to native speakers is what makes you better... but I've been surprised how much I can hold in a conversation from just using duolingo. The site does a good job at putting stuff into your brain in a way that you don't even notice. I find using duolingo and listening to the spoken language are a powerful combo. I would like to speak to more people in spanish. but everytime I do.. they start going ten million miles per hour and I then start having trouble understanding.


Well, if your native language is English, I just hope you're planning to learn Italian rather than Japanese...


(Should 10 minutes on Duolingo happen to be equivalent to 100 minutes of FSI class study time, then you might be in with a chance!) ^^;


I like difficult languages. Hungarian and Japanese ftw.


Japanese is very difficult.. lol.. but hey go for it if that's what you want to learn. Just realize it will take a couple thousand hours to be proficient.


I agree. Spanish and Japanese are my target languages... I've actually put in a lot of time to japanese off of duolingo.. Like ten times more than spanish.. and I can still understand spanish more. It's a tough language for sure.. but I love the way it sound and rolls. It's a good challenge.


Look at the comments of the video, she does not speak Italian during the entire video... marketing? of course!

edit: I gave up social media too, after college, and you have a lot more than 10 minutes per day to do anything you want.


OK so she studied Italian with Duolingo for a year and then she took a trip to Italy. Did she actually speak Italian on the trip? She never says. In fact she never makes a connection between the two.


I think with an hour a day for a year you would be pretty good. 300 hours for a language that is related to your own will get you to a fairly advanced level. 10 minutes a day, though, would only leave you at the beginner level, unless you are extremely gifted at language learning. However, most of us probably spend more than 10 minutes a day on social media, so giving that up might free up enough time to learn a lot.


I have a feeling that certain grammatical concepts foreign to a person's native language may be too difficult to grasp given only 10 minutes a day. If it was a simple, repetitive task like learning Chinese characters then each of those 10 minutes a day could be used quite effectively but for grammar it may be more than twice as efficient to take twice that amount of time per day if you get what I mean.


At 0:43, a lot of her skills are decayed. She obviously didn't practice much :D


I gave up online shopping and now I can speak German toddler/survival kindda level.


I've never given up any of my time to study languages, why should I ? I just change my interface language to what I want to study, I watch movies and tv with subtitles, computer games, news websites, chat rooms.... you don't have to make time for studying by cutting yourself off from something, just adapt the way you use it.

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