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Can you speak already the langauge, when you're level 25?

Tell me

August 4, 2017



No, because Duo doesn't give you any speaking practice. No matter how often you use Duo and which level you reach, if it's all you use then your speaking and listening abilities will always lag far, far behind your reading and writing.

The best way to improve your speaking and listening is to get out there and talk to people. Duo is only meant to be an introduction to your chosen language.


Long post warning...!

If you reach level 25 I think you will be well versed in about 1500 words. And especially skilled in that level for reading.

I've read this is enough to understand a bit over 80% of a language. This will get you a long way in basic comprehension; however, that missing 20% will still be a bit of a barrier to understanding a lot of native writing as those gaps will contain a lot of meaning. For example, newspapers won't be so easy as journalists like to use their vocabulary and write in an advanced way.

They reckon you need 3000 words to get to 95%. Now this is where you can understand the majority of written material, because you are at the level where you can work a lot of the 5% from the context or, if not, at least get the gist of the paragraph. You might be mystified by some stuff and slow at others but mostly get there.

At 5000 words you are at 98% which still means a bit of guessing but means you will be able to understand the finer details of most material. It means you can still be a bit stilted in comprehension now and again, but considered a fairly fluent foreign speaker. You would really need to live in the country of the target language for a while or somehow replicate that level of immersion at home to get to here.

At 10000 words you at the level of an averagely educated native. You will understand 99% and feel quite at home. It's quite hard to get here as it takes a long time to have repeated exposure to many words that are not used all that often.

At 20000 words you're now at the level of a well educated native. However, we tend to take decades to get to this level in our own language.

The thing is you now have Duolingo skills which you have to convert into real world skills by reading, writing, listening and talking and that is how you increase your vocabulary and ability. This can take a while to get to the level you want. I find reading is much easier than listening as you can go as slow as you like, repeat as much as you like, jump about the sentence to assimilate the different order to your own tongue, and take time to look up words and phrases,

For listening it's something you have to tune in to and can be very frustrating and demotivating as native speaker, TV, films, podcasts etc will be too fast to start with, as well as words not clearly and distinctly enunciated plus colloquialisms and idioms to cope with.

Writing and speaking are probably not too different from each other as you can take your time although if you're conversing with someone, it's easier to look things up if you're texting etc.

I think the 3000 words is a very realistic goal for people who have got to level 25 on Duolingo and I believe that would be very rewarding - especially when travelling in a country of that language. It's all about finding other ways to get to the next level and spending a reasonably amount of time and effort on it. It's not just knowing the vocabulary, it's being able to recognise and recall it very quickly, for real time use.


Thank you for your excellent post. A few years ago, the German Government did a study on Fluency in the German Language. Their conclusion was in order to attain B1 level, German vocabulary (speaking, understanding, reading and writing) needs to be 2800 words. Every additional level requires additional 2000 words. B2 is usually considered intermediate level, requires 4800 words. I have reached level 25 German without immersion. I have completed 3600 lessons and my word count currently 2608 words. Since Duo only deals with reading and writing, I feel that if I was using only Duo I would be A1 level. The biggest problem with Duo is, that is does a terrible job teaching advance students. For example my word count at 3000 lessons was 2526 words, 600 lessons later it is only 2608 words.


Ok Interesting, Thx


Furthermore, I think word-count figures for things like B1 probably refer to "word families" (e.g. every conjugation of a verb, declension of a noun, and other attendent derived forms like "learner" from "learn." The Duolingo Words tab, however, counts every such form separately.


Sorry, I have not read your post yet.

But sometimes it helps to make two lines instead of only one empty line / paragraph by using two dots "." followed by two blanks" (a little workaround).

And don't forget about the powerful "------" line separator tool :-)

Actually my plan is to read your longer post after some editing and minor formatting updates ;) ;)

Thanks for your hard work, sharing your detail tips and insights!


No, Duolingo was only really designed to get you to A2 and A1 in speaking


It depends on what you mean by speaking. Of course you'll be able to pick up most of simple conversations and make some simple sentences as you were taught, but you won't be fluent for sure. That's a bit biased anyway, reaching level 25 is very long (you need as much xp to reach level 20 as you need to go from 20 to 25), if you're really interested in the language you'll quickly try to find other resources than Duolingo to improve your language skills before reaching level 25 ;)


I'm no expert but I think it depends on how hard you try etc. And if you keep practicing and reviewing. That's a big thing! So it depends on how much effort you throw into learning the language and you'll probably need some work in being fluent still when you get to level 25; hope i helped


No problem!♥♥♥


I reached my level 25s using Immersion, a wonderful tool that is no longer available.

Can I speak these languages? Not as well as one would think. Can I read these languages? Pretty well, actually, yes. Can I write in these languages? Not as well as I can read, for the most part, but better than I can speak them. My weakest skill in the languages I have exclusively studied on Duolingo is definitely recognising the language as it is spoken to me.


Thanks for all the comments


It looks like you're Dutch. I'm assuming you're already a fluent English speaker, and it looks like you're focusing on learning German. That means it sounds like you're in Duolingo's uber sweet-spot: learning a third (or more) language from the same language family where you already speak two fluently. Yeah, it's correct that Duolingo doesn't give you the speaking practice you'd need to be fluent, but it can easily give you one tremendous boost. You'll probably be able to understand authentic German content a long way before you get to level 25, and that's going to give you a big leg-up in gaining conversational ability, as, like Deodwyn mentioned, it can often be comprehension ability that lags behind.

I lost interest in further Italian on Duolingo (at least for the moment) when I realized I could already understand enough Italian to understand the great bulk of the content of most immediate interest to me (in my case, news and public affairs sorts of things) - spoken at full speed. As you can see, I'm only at level 12, and I have just barely touched the tree since the beginning of January. This comprehension is mostly based on my knowledge of Spanish. I have the impression the Dutch-German pair is probably roughly comparable to Spanish-Italian. Incidentally, for me at least for now spoken Italian is easier to understand than written since it's been long enough since I looked at the tree (and I spent sufficiently little time on it) that I don't really remember some of the basics of how it's written. It looks so very strange sometimes, but it sounds plenty familiar, and comprehensible.



I am Croata and live 2 years in Chile. On the begining my knowlege ; Spanis 0% ,German 20% English 15% . First year I try with books lika a "lengua in 3 mounts" and conversation on Chile Spanish They do not speak any languages! My doughter (master of lenguages) recommended me Duolingo 10 months ago ... I have started with 50 lingots/day 7 mounts i then I make a decision...gooal...NLP... 8000-9500 lingots/mouthly and here we are. thats brain wash and it is working... Of cours I need gramar and every tools wich I could find on Enlish and Spanish .Now German is easier for me..And whats new I will move soon ...China Camboga or Filipini I need urgently learning new .Please Duolingo hury up with new lenguages.


Unfortunately, not very well. Lo siento.


The maximum you'll get to is A2 level.


All the measurements and reputation systems on this websites are just there to keep you motivated, they do not contain any information about your actual capabilities. I am fluent in French but I don't have level 25.

In order to achieve fluency, you need to do complementing activities outside of Duolingo, including reading books, listening to podcasts, watching films, speaking with natives etc.


I use duolingo to help me learn more tenses and some extra vocabulary. The main way I learn is by watching videos in that language and talking to people. Usually people are nice and don't mind, so just ask!


"The best way to improve your speaking and listening is to get out there and talk to people. Duo is only meant to be an introduction to your chosen language"

Yep Duolingo isnt going to teach you the Spanish language but if you.....read Spanish language books (and most important is being able to enjoy the story and enjoy it, listen to spoken Spanish (comprehensible input), drill yourself with vocab (flashcards), get yourself on Italki for a bit of chat and I reckon youre on your way !

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