Can you learn a language in 39 hours?
According to the publicity of Duolingo, 1 semester of a course is equivalent to 39 hours in Duolingo. But, what does it mean?. If we do some numbers, 39 hours=2340 min, and if each lesson takes approximately 5 min, we have that 39 hours is equivalent to 4680 XP. which means completing a tree and a few repetition. Every single person who has completed a tree will agree this is not enough to learn a language. So the answer to the main question is "No", but I would like to add, "but it is a good start."
Looking for another learning resources on internet I found the following article written by Steve Kaufmann a famous polyglot and founder of "https://www.lingq.com/". So I would like to know your opinions about this website (Lingq). (I already use Memrise as well)
Although Mr. Kaufmann makes a few valid criticisms, the main purpose of his 'review' seems to be the promotion of his own (pay) website as a superior tool to Duolingo (considering 'LingQ' is based around 'lingQs', I doubt anyone will get much out of it with the 'free' option of being limited to 20 of them).
The reveiw is an 'informercial'.
And, naturally, I agree that of course you can't 'learn' a language in 39 hours; you can certainly get a good grasp of the basic vocabulary and grammar of many languages in this time, however.
This isn't a fair argument that you are making. 1 semester at university doesn't teach you an entire language. Nor does doing 39 hours of duo. No no, in fact, any amount of university semesters would only get you so far as advanced. The road to fluency is a very long one, one of cultural immersion, foreign literature and movies. Essentially, Duolingo is saying that in the same time as a university course, you learn more on Duo than in said course.
Interesting question. Most university students would take at least 2 or 3 semesters of a language. This would include more detailed lessons on grammar that Duolingo doesn't cover. But even with the grammar lessons 1 semester of a university course would not be enough to become fluent.
As you mentioned though it's a great start.
In the USA a degree (major and minor) in language requires much more than 2 or 3 semesters. My university: 101, 102, 201, 202, 301 , 302, 401, 402, and a few classes taught as "495-" something which is required. To study and be certified or get a major/minor it's more like 8+ classes depending on where you start. So yeah once you complete a tree, you got to continue with other resources and practice
Just to add to swingbeatnik7's comment,
In my uni, we had 101, 102, 103. Then 201-3, 301-3 and then 400 level classes. And, they never mentioned that fluency would be a result.
So, if LingQ is saying Duolingo claims people can learn a language using it's course, it is being dishonest in order to make Duolingo look dishonest. And, that's a crappy, shady thing to do.
If you read the article, it actually says that the same time in lingq could be much more effective than spending it on Duo. In addition, there are legitimate and meaningful criticisms towards Duolingo (such as the rigidity of the course). Finally, it's the same when Duolingo says that spending 39 hours in Duo is equivalent to spending 50 hours in Rosetta Stone.
Indeed, there are meaningful criticisms, such as Duolingo only gets you so far and they are missing certain elements. Duolingo doesn't advertise being a one stop shop though.
Duolingo and Rosetta Stone used the same research company to determine language learning efficacy between them. Curious, did LingQ?
On a personal note, while Duolingo will get learners further faster with grammar and vocab, Rosetta Stone offers cultural lessons that Duolingo does not. (I really liked their cultural lessons. I just didn't like their teaching method. It didn't suit my learning style.)
You have a point in that about they do not use any impartial source but a review from Mr Kaufmann who knows around 10 languages. Indeed I used Lingq and I felt It is not an intuitive app and maybe difficult to use, but I was trying to get other opinions about the app to maybe change my mind. On the other hand I tried out readlang, which use a similar way and actually I liked it, but I think you must have at least an A2 level to be able to move forward with out frustration.
Be more direct when asking for reviews then. Duolingo is a great company and it doesn't tell people not to use other resources while using Duolingo. It's not an either/or situation as you've posited. It sounds like you're attempting to encourage anti-Duolingo sentiment by hinting at false advertisement on the part of Duolingo.
Well, as others have noted, there's no claim made that you can learn the language in 34 hours, only that you can learn as much as you would in one semester of a course. A single semester at a university won't get you much beyond being able to say some basic phrases. So, no, you can't learn a language in 34 hours, but no one is really saying you can.
I'm also suspicious of his claims of the superiority of LingQ, because he is using Duo's recommended 5 minutes a day as a comparison to the 60-90 minutes a day he spends on LingQ. He doesn't provide any data to suggest that one is more effective for a broad group than the other, just that LingQ is more suited to his particular style of learning.
The other thing that isn't noted in the article is that Duolingo is free (i.e., you can access all instructional content for free). Paid programs can offer more in depth learning experiences because users spend more to learn more. LingQ has a free option, but it's pretty limited, compared to what you can do on Duolingo.
Ultimately, I don't think that there is such a thing as a panacea for learning languages. I use Duolingo most frequently, because it works the best for me, but I've also tried Memrise, Mondly, 50 languages and Mango. (I've avoided paid services, because I know myself and I can see how expensive that would get in very short order.) But I still buy books and visit websites that put an emphasis on explaining how grammar works in different languages, because I know I learn best when I can put information like that into a chart for myself and "master the system".
I did pull up a couple of reviews of LingQ that explain how it works, as well as one of Mr. Kaufman's posts responding to a review. Generally, the reaction seems to be that it's a great system for people who learn best by reading.