1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. Using German to teach German.…


Using German to teach German... Why doesn't Duolingo do it?

In most traditional language courses, at some point, when the students know enough, the teacher slowly starts using the language being taught for everyday communication and, at some point, the entire lecture is in the target language. Can Duolingo do something similar slowly replacing the English words with German words (in the case of German from English)? For instance: Home --> Startseite Words --> Worter Discussion --> Diskussion Begin the Exercise --> Übung anfängen etc. It could be done past some fluency rating (e.g. pat 33%), replacing one, two, or three words at every notch.

Just a thought....

July 25, 2017



Good idea. But you can do that if you do the reverse tree.


Thank you for posting this! I can see that some people are recommending the reverse tree. They are right but not fully. I have gone through the entire reverse tree (English for German speakers) and I absolutely enjoyed the German user interface and reading the German discussions. But unfortunately I could still feel that Duoloingo was trying to teach me English, instead of German... And my English-German "all golden" tree changed to dull gray at the same time while I was busy with the reverse tree.

I would recommend a very easy change in the user interface - DL, please add the "user interface language" choice to the Settings page. You have all the translations there already. And if any user feels that the German interface would be good for his/her learning then they can just set his/her personal user interface to German and still do the exercises of the English-German tree. No big effort at all for the software engineers at Duolingo. but a nice little improvement for the learners.


No big effort at all for the programmers at Duolingo.



Oops, the term"programmer" is not the correct job title in English. I'm doing this mistake again and again...


... when the students know enough, .....
...... at some point, the entire lecture is in the target language........

That is what Duolingo does!
Duolingo uses a very good teaching method for beginners and for people, who want to brush up their school knowledge.

  1. In the course "German for English speakers" you are learning the grammar and the pronunciation. You will mostly translate from German to English and the user interface is in English.

  2. You can start the reverse tree if your German fluency is e.g 33%.
    In the "reverse tree", the course "English for German speakers", you will mostly translate from English to German. The user interface is in German. And you can start to read (and write) in the German discussion forums.

  3. In the "laddering trees" you can do "Foreign language 2" from "Foreign language 1" and reverse. If you are learning two ore more foreign languages.


I am up to level seven on the reverse tree, and it's definitely valuable. However, it would be much more efficient if I didn't have to waste time transcribing sentences that are in English. If Duolingo gave us the option to signal that we are "learning English from German" but don't need practice in hearing English, this would vastly improve the usefulness of the reverse tree!


You don't need to practice hearing English!
Go to Settings and set your microfoon and sound off:
- on Pc https://www.duolingo.com/settings/account
- in the App you are asked every hour whether you want listening or speaking exercises or not.

If Duolingo gave us the option to signal that we are "learning English from German" but don't need practice in hearing.

Maybe in the future. They have just started rewriting the web version.

For myself, I do only the listening and speaking exercises in the Android App and I have both permanently "OFF" on Pc.


Hmm... That's a good idea. But won't I then miss practice at hearing English and translating to German (or vice versa)?


No, that's one of the reasons why you continue strengthening in the course "German for English speakers".


Thank you. Great info.


Well, Duolingo is based on translation - a totally different philosophy. Replacing the website/app interface with the target language is generally a good idea, but you'll never get full immersion if the prompts are still in the source language. So I suppose the effort would be better used elsewhere.


It's just not what Duolingo is about. There are plenty of ways out there to immerse yourself in German. Duolingo is really only meant to be an introductory course. Once you feel intermediate, there are other resources that would better serve your needs.

I am not a big fan of the reverse tree thing as I find it a bit boring even if many people find it useful, though I do really like studying additional foreign languages from one I am already decent at. Unfortunately, there aren't that many options from German and most of them don't make a lot of sense since I find studying a language that is more closely related to the one you already know helps a lot. For instance, I learned Portuguese and Catalan from Spanish rather than English. None of the languages available for German speakers are any more closely related to German than English, but if you have any urge to learn French or Spanish, that is a thought. It would cause you to have to produce large amounts of German correctly and the interface would be in German.

If anything, something I quite like about Duolingo is that it takes into account that adult learners are going to involve their mother tongue when learning a new language. It's unavoidable in the beginning. I have taught ESL and always found beginning level classes with mixed mother tongues a nightmare. It is just the least efficient way to start a language. I basically don't believe that model of adult language learning is that solid. I think it exists in the world because it's easier to set up than immersion classes in a country that speaks X but also with a teacher who speaks the language of all the students and can compare the things they are going to compare anyway. It's not that it doesn't work at all, but it's slower than if you just get the comparison over with, explain things, translate things and so on.

If you are at the point you feel over comparing English to German, it's probably time for something else.

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