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Finally starting German

For a long time I was so scared to learn German, it looked so scary and hard for me so I have been avoiding it. But lately, I've grown so interested in visiting Germany and I have decided to conquer my fear and learn it.

Any advice?

July 30, 2017




as a native German speaker I am excited for you and very proud that you want to learn my language.
Thanks for trying your best.

Take your time :-)

Well, you are already quite experienced learning in Portuguese, French and Spanish and more with DuoLingo...

Have you been using any additional flashcard resources like Memrise, AnkiSRS, Flashcards Deluxe, SuperMemo, www.languagecourse.net vocabulary trainer VT, etc. or paper printed flashcards to regularly train new vocabulary in shorter-term 4-5/12/24h++ review intervals and also to focus on weak / difficult words?

This is IMHO quite hard to do so on DuoLingo:

  • The decay rates of words or relevant skills and skill strength bars seem to work differently than I would expect how I review (either normal or speed review) on Memrise?!
  • Not to forget recognized bugs like "last practiced" database fields not updating, wrong words/skills choosen, or simply words not being added to the words list after lessons....

If you had only focused on DuoLingo for your shown languages, you might also want to consider additional 3rd party tools to give your German learning a boost and to focus on hammering the weak/difficult words (and not repeating the basic easy stuff over and over again like DuoLingo seems to do it).

At least this is how I try to learn Portuguese.

BTW: My DL tree is not finished, I am currently a little bit behind my Memrise-DuoLingo PT BR course and several finished levels...so I have to catch up :-)
I do like Camilo's "DuoLingo tree enhancer" user script very much, where you could auto-play German audio for given right hand side answers (e.g EN-DE) even for normal / forward courses.
It is A MUST that you install this for your new German tree (either Firefox Greasemonkey or Chrome Tampermonkey works).
The other working user script is called "DuoLingo skill strength viewer", which would be working as of V0.2 with the English-German tree (show the tab on "home" for all courses with L1 source: English).


I can clearly tell you that there are many working user scripts, which you can use on Memrise, to train German L2 target language typing (recalling) while DuoLingo focuses for forward trees (e.g EN-DE) on reading German L2 text and many translations into your L1 native (English) language.

I would not know what I would do without them.

Currently I am also using the Memrise Android app on Bluestacks (Android emulator on Windows), to learn new vocabulary (gives bonus points) and to do speed reviews.
It also supports "difficult words" and "listening excercises" if you are subscribed for "Memrise Pro".

Want a future German reading challenge (feel free to use Google translate)?

I wrote a thread about how I use Memrise in my native German language:

There are also many (German) threads talking about the missing DuoLingo spaced repetition (SR) and missing weak, 1-3 strength bar vocabulary practices, which I replied to.

You can find them with google "site:duolingo.com thomas.heiss", e.g:

Hopefully you will find your way around all the known DuoLingo issues and be able to learn German in a more didactical and efficient way.

Are you going to signup for any "30 or 90 days speaking challenges" where you have to record a video of yourself? :-)

Good luck! Have fun!


Pay attention to the grammatical cases. They seem to be troublesome for many beginners.

For example;

"A man sees a woman" would be "ein Mann sieht eine Frau", but "a woman sees a man" would be "eine Frau sieht einen Mann".

However, once you recognise the pattern (usually, you add "en" to adjectives and the definite/indefinite articles in the Accusative case for masculine words) for all four cases, German becomes pretty easy.


I have found the cases quite easy so far but the thing I am finding a bit difficult is the gender of the words, there are rules (https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23754963 ) but they are not definite rules so there are often many exepetions (I have no idea how to spell this I have tried like ten different ways this is how it is pronounced ' X EP shon') . Therefore the one thing I would strongly suggest is making a conscious effort to learn the definite article (der/die/das) with the noun.

Hope you have fun learning this beautiful language :)


Beware the adjective endings. This is the only thing stopping me from being good at this.



what is the difference between grammatical gender and biological gender? it is really confusing


Biological gender is what makes us male or female. Grammatical gender is just that - Grammar! The two aren't related in any way.


According to a native speaker, grammatical gender has a relationship to biological gender, which goes back to mythology. The gender of a word in German will often inherit the gender of the word it was drawn from in older languages (which can be Latin as well as Norse). You can memorize the gender guidelines, memorize the gender of words by brute force with their articles (der / die / das). Use Memrise, which rewards you for getting the right answer, whereas Duolingo rewards you for checking your answer. Memrise will make the gender more instinctive. Make your own notes and try color coding for genders. Find the way that works best for you.


Well when it-'s people it's seemingly obvious, right? Woman, man. Female, male. But it already falls appart when you say boy or girl. "der Junge" but it's "das Mädchen" and not "die Mädchen" (would be plural). No rule here as far as I know.

When it comes to things there is no rule, too! Die Sonne - the sun Das Auto - the car Der Hocker - the (small) chair

There is no indicator that shows you that the sun is femals and the chair is male. I'm sorry but it's just experiance I guess. No tricks.


Watch out for the differences between Swedish and German - they are similar but the Swedish definite word ending is a plural in German. German grammatical genders can be different from Romance languages for the same word. It's more important in German to study tables of endings so that you can memorize them. Duolingo does not help you with this. German is a rewarding and enjoyable language, I wish you well with it.


My advice would be just start with Duo and as you probably did for other languages before, ask the people here if you're freaking out about something. The people here are very helpfull!!!

German is funny sometimes! Germans tend to build words by putting some word together. So there are words like "Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher" ;) It's actually just some words put together "Eier-schalen-sollbruchstellen-verursacher" (Meaning a tool for breaking the eggshell of, well ...eggs.)


Best of luck girl! I feel exactly the same and I am also giving it a shot! Going quite well so far! Go us! :)


They are saying that the sentence I speak is wrong. Is it my accent or the microphone problem? It used to be accepted till stage 2.


I'm a native German and the software almost always says I'm wrong... so better don't trust the talking part, mate... everything else is just great but talking to the KI can definitly be improved! Talk to German people ..that's the best way!!! :o)


so I just have to talk to you? they should also keep emojis in this. (laughing emojis)


Agreed on the emojis ;O) Well if you have questions you can certainly ask me...talking via Duo isn't possible, is it??


Wanna be facebook friends? My account is Riven Max (the one with the coffee, cookie and a book on the profile pic). Feel free to send me a friend request


Uhh, I'm pretty "old school" when it comes to my personal data! Meaning I don't like / don't use facebook or google+ or any social media!!!

Do you have Skype? I could set up a Sykpe account...

But I have to inform, I really really suck at explaining grammar! I almost always just know what is right, but I almost always can't explain the grammar behind it! But if you just want to double check if your pronunciation is fine, I can surly help with that.

By the way, what is your native tongue?


is the pronunciation they give correct?


from what I've seen ...well heard... it is actually quiet amazing! Well educated robot lady!


I dont do skype.. Just like you, I am too old school. I use my Riven Max fb account just for social media and fun stuff...no personal data involved....lol


When to use deine and dein?


Hi mate, deine is plural:

deine Socken = your socks dein Auto = your car

BUT you also say:

deine Schwester = your sis or dein bruder=your bro

...which is both not plural.

..but besides that, if you use "deine" for plural you are almost always right, I guess


thanks a lot..

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