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A question for people with a lot of little flags in their profiles.

It's impresive for me to see these little flags. One thinks "Hey! That guy really wants to be a polyglot"

But seriously (and please, it is a frank question, I am not ironic here) Are you really learning such amount of languages?

You should dedicate some hours per week to each one. You must look for other resources that complement this awesome site named Duolingo. Add here the post in order to clear doubts and so on...

I've always been very curious about this achievement.

What is your feedback?

August 6, 2017



I dont know if i speak for anyone else but I don't actually learn half the languages on my profile. I am actively only learning german on here, i had been taking spanish and french in classes for about 1o years and have them on here predominately as a form of practice for vocab and writing but it started as an assienment about 4 years ago, but i am not particulary active on them now.

As for all the other trees that have been on my profile at some point, the majorty of them were just of linguistic interest to me. for example i was super curious about the structure and bizarre grammar of irish so i am 'learning' it on here. I can tell you about the grammatical concepts now but i cant speak a lick of it because it was never my intention to do so.


Don't you want to get Spanish to the next and final level?


I already know everything on that tree so i'm not too worried about, i would rather focus on actually improving my Spanish than getting a higher level, but i do keep that tree gold and strengthen every so often so it will probably be gold sometimes but not as a priortiy


Most people with lots of little flags are not learning them all at once. Some people have been doing Duolingo everyday for many years. They may also have previous or current experience with one or more of the languages outside of Duolingo. As you mentioned, using other resources is necessary. Others are just sampling some of the languages to learn a little bit and may not have an equally serious interest in all of them.


I'm not learning any new language on duo or elsewhere. I simply enjoy learning about languages by playing duo crush: the basics about how they work, their similarities, differences, relationships, etc, and to lay a foundation for whenever I might want to take any of them up more seriously. :-)


I have completed seven trees in 3+ years.

  • I had previous experience with French and Russian, and I completed those trees just as a refresher.

  • Italian, Turkish, Dutch and German were/are for travel. I have made four trips to Italy since I started with Duolingo, and I am pretty comfortable with Italian now. Turkish was more of a struggle, but I did find that what I learned on Duolingo was helpful on my two trips to Turkey. I am comfortable reading signs and carrying on simple conversations, but I am far from fluent. As for Dutch and German, well, I will find out how much I have learned when I visit Holland and Germany next month.

  • I did Spanish because it is commonly spoken in the US. It helps for reading signs and such, but I am not comfortable speaking it.

  • Any less than Level 14 I am simply exploring.

I concentrate on one, sometimes two, languages at a time. If I am working on two languages, the second language is generally a language with which I have had previous experience.

I try to touch previously completed trees every few days. I would love to say that I touch each language once a day, but that's just not realistic for me anymore.


Hi Kaphinga!

So, can you assert that the skills acquired in Duolingo have been useful in real world environments?


I would say that, yes, Duolingo has been useful in real world environments. I would add that Duolingo alone will not make you fluent. I find it helpful to supplement Duolingo with things like Pimsleur or newspapers or videos, but Duolingo has given me a solid foothold on new languages.

In Italy, I am totally comfortable with Italian now -- I am still not sure that I would call myself fluent because my vocabulary isn't huge. On my last trip in February, though, sometimes I didn't even realize that I had switched over to Italian in conversations.

In Turkey, I was able to converse with a doctor in Turkish while my friend was being treated at the hospital. Fortunately, the doctor spoke fluent English, but I was able to switch over to Turkish when I needed to say things I didn't want my friend to hear. And I had no problem chatting with the Turkish masseuse who spoke no English while I was getting a Turkish bath. Waiters in restaurants and customs officials at the airport would alway give me a big grin and a thumbs up when they found I could speak some Turkish. I am not fluent by any means -- I still struggle to read Turkish newspapers, for example --- but Duolingo has definitely been useful and worth the effort.


Nice to know that!


No, I am not learning all of the languages represented on an ongoing basis. Of the 14 flags, it looks like as of now maybe half represent languages there's a reasonable chance I'll spend time on any given day (+ Latin not on here), and a lot of that isn't working on trees. I have podcasts / apps for streaming radio in Russian, Catalan, Italian, and Latin, which I mostly listen to in the car. For my 10 minute jaunts around town it's usually a daily news podcast in Russian or Italian. For longer trips I'll try to find a longer program, probably in Catalan or Italian. And I can wind up listening to French if I've wound up close enough to a Radio Canada 1ère tower to get it on my car radio. Catalan radio being what it is, there's a reasonable chance I'll be hearing some Spanish as well when I tune in. The Duolingo discussion feed presents me with a smattering of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, and Italian. I think it's a convenient way to get used to less formal language, which I've generally been less exposed to.


I've only ever seriously studied German, French, Russian, and Dutch (in order of how serious I am). Of these 4 I've abandoned Russian until I can learn it through French. As you can see from my profile I've dabbled in several more than that, and even some that aren't on duolingo (Yiddish, egyptian arabic, ASL, and bavarian). However it would be impossible for me to study all of them at once. My current streak learning German French and Dutch is the most hardcore I've ever been in my 4 years of language learning. I'm able to do this because 1. I'm learning French through German. And 2. I know German and English so I'm practically absorbing Dutch. And while I'm typing all of this I might as well say why I dabbled in each of the other languages.

-Polish: because there was a contest on Duolingo to see how much of a language you could learn in a month. I gave up after 3 days. Damn phonetics.

-Japanese: one of my sisters is very into anime and manga. I wanted to learn it with her but that just doesn't happen ever. Now after 3 days of japanese I probably know more than her. I don't think I'm gonna pursue this one, it's far too difficult to learn casually.

-Ukranian: My other sister knew a ukranian exchange student at her school. I wanted to learn russian but this was before it was available, so we decided to try to learn it together. She stopped in 2 days and I stopped in 3 or 4 (seeing a pattern here?) She stopped because lack of motivation/discipline, I stopped because after she stopped I was far less motivated and I wanted to learn russian anyway, not ukranian.

-Russian: Russian is my most experienced language that I gave up on. I learned it for about 1 month. I wanted to learn it because it sounds cool. Yeah I know super deep. Of course russian culture is also very interesting and the language is widely used on the internet. Anyway what finally did me in was the case system. This was before I even had a grasp of German's 4 cases and Russian has 6 of them. It seemed like rules were changing when in fact I was just learning new ones. When I return to it it should be easier.

-Yiddish: I'm ashkenazi jewish and I feel like I should learn the language of my people. This is one that I learn for 5 minutes every couple of months. It's just hard when you've got 3 other languages to learn first. I know german though so if I ever do commit it should be about as easy as Dutch.

-ASL: American Sign Language is a very good thing to know in the united states, so I was on board. I learned it seriously for maybe 3 days, then tried to keep it up every few days, until I just wasn't learning it at all. What keeps me from returning to this one is the same as yiddish, I have other linguistic priorities right now.

-Egyptian Arabic: My fencing coaches are first generation Egyptian immigrants. I figured it would be fun to try to learn some phrases. I stopped literally the day I started because arabic is freaking hard and I shouldn't burden myself with it right now.

-Bavarian: I know german, might as well learn a dialect. The grammar is mostly the same (maybe easier) but the spelling is very different, there's different words, and the spelling isn't standardized either. I learned it for a little under a month. What keeps me from returning is that I don't think my Standard German vocabulary is large enough to warrant adding a dialect to the mix.

And I also might as well add the languages I AM learning.

-Dutch: It started as just me dabbling for fun. Back then it was something to relax my brain from German. Now it's what I use to relax my brain from French. Almost all of the words are borrowed from German or English and the grammar is easier than both of them (idk about english though since I'm native). I'm pretty much absorbing it.

-French: Both of my sisters were learning it at one point. I think one of them (the one I wanted to learn ukranian with) learned it for 2 years and the other one learned it for 1. I wanted to learn it for a long time so when I found duolingo in the ancient year of 2013 i knew it was my chance. I tried and... gave up after 3 days. So much for really wanting to know it. Now that I'm older and I have second language experience I'm doing it again, this time I'm going to see it through. As a bonus I'm learning it through German, so I'm practicing both. It's enhanced my grammar a lot actually. By the way I know more French than either of my sisters now and I've only been doing it for a month and a half.

-German: It was easier than French. Seriously. That's it. Now it's my second language. Hundreds of hours of study, new connections made, and the start of my linguistic journey, all because I couldn't remember how to say "Le singe suit l'éléphant". Brilliant.


Legolink11, brilliant indeed! Well done!


Polish makes my brain hurt ;-p


I discovered Duo this summer! Kind of bounced around languages until I found one I liked- German


happy learning and welcome!


I looked at everyone else who's commenting and realized: 3 flags=/= a lot



Well , my mother language is Spanish. I have had previous contact with English and French before Duolingo for a while, but you see, I still make stupid mistakes as "Do you really are learning..." but only 'cause I was sleepy when I wrote that!

So, currently I do the course English from French and French from English and I can manage them quite well. I try to be active in French and English "fora". German is an appealing language for me and I try to be serious and dedicate it 50 xp every day, three lesson strengthening and two new lessons. Irish is a language that I always had wanted to learn. I like Irish culture so much and I am trying to be serious too. 50 xp every day, four or five lesson strengthening and one or none new lessons. For both, I consult grammar outside Duo. I'm waiting for Russian from Spanish for next March. I could start with Russian from English, but I prefer to feel no so burden in order to dedicate the time that it deserves. Japanese is quite appealing to me too, but I will wait the course realesing for PC. And so on...

As you see, I would want to start so many languages, but I'm afraid I won't be able to reach a decent competence, if I take many of them.

For that reason, my inquiry.


I am not "learning" most of these languages, so much as sampling how they feel in my mouth, how they sound to my ears, and their structures. I am not skilled at learning languages. But, I do enjoy tasting them. :)

The only three languages that I have spent any comparatively intense effort studying are Spanish, Japanese, and American Sign Language. (2 years each in university for the first two + doing the courses on Duolingo and for ASL 1 year via LifePrint online and with 1x week immersion sessions for 2-7 hours.) ^_^


I'm so glad someone else has the same idea of tasting languages - I have told several Israeli friends that Hebrew is delicious, because it's honestly the best way I have to describe it even in English LOL mostly people think it's very odd that I approach it that way, but when you enjoy how a language feels in your mouth, how else can you say it?


I like the certain colors of a language, you know French is predomiently light blue , hebrew is dark blue and orange etc


I beg to differ, French is yellow and hebrew is wheat colored. (Which is weird. I would have thought the greens would stand out stronger. r's next to e's do really strange things... :P) ;)


Wow okay that may actually be worse than my brother saying the word Sunday was green and Monday was orange xD


I think I may have referred to a language I particularly enjoy the "oral mechanics" of speaking as a "feast for the mouth." "Tasting" a language sounds to me more like just learning a little bit of it.


"A feast in the mouth." I like that! Swedish was certainly a feast for my mouth. It was a wonderful experience to feel the order of syllables rolling around in my mouth and the sounds were glorious. (Though, probably not for any native speakers if they were to hear me lol) :)

I often use the word "sampling" when "just learning a little". To "taste" for me, is much more about savoring the sensory aspects. :)


People, for you, learning languages is like an organic, sensual experience!


I've just been learning enough to help me with my job, but I have been on Duolingo for many years!


I will periodically look at them but for now I mostly am focusing on finishing and strengthening French, Italian and Spanish. But I often do a few skills in whatever one I want to review aha. I do know some people who do actively more study a lot of the languages and they are such hard workers and focused people for that.


I think that a lot of us like to dabble in languages to see what they are like, or take the placement tests to see how far we can get on knowledge from other languages + intelligent guesswork. The latter is the case for me for Danish, Swedish and Italian. Hungarian, Welsh, Romanian and Greek are all languages I looked into a little and then deserted to concentrate on others; there are only so many languages I can focus on at a time, especially when they are relatively difficult (which was the case for all those for me). Norwegian, Dutch and German are the courses I noodle about on for fun when there's nothing else that requires my attention. Some courses I delete (Turkish, Portuguese, Irish, Vietnamese), others I don't; there's no particular rhyme or reason.

French I already speak, not perfectly (my grammar is not good) but well enough; I completed the course from Russian for the challenge/more Russian practice, and after that it was easy to finish the English version using shortcuts and testing out of skills. German I also study from Russian, because it's good practice and more interesting that way. Spanish I finished the tree because my nephew might be starting Spanish at school in September, and I want to have some knowledge to be able to help him; I'm now tackling the tree from Russian (which is tough because my Spanish is very elementary!) for Russian practice. (I also sometimes noodle about with the French<=>German courses.)

Japanese I mostly want to relearn hiragana and learn katakana, and get back to the point I once was at of being able to introduce myself and talk about my life/town/etc a little. I'm not expecting or even aiming to get fluent right now, if ever, but I took an evening class my last year of university and this is a good way of getting back to that kind of standard. If I pick up a few kanji along the way, great.

Catalan I struggled through a few lessons purely because I like the flag and the language, although my Spanish is not nearly good enough to actively learn it from Spanish. If a course from English is released any time, then I may try to learn it properly.

Russian I already speak, albeit it's somewhat rusty, so the course is revision for me and I periodically work on strengthening skills. (I finished the course an age ago.) I also finished the Polish and Ukrainian courses for fun, because I love Slavic languages, and sometimes go back and dabble.

Esperanto, Hebrew and Russian are the only languages I study "seriously" here, and actually typically study outside of Duolingo. Esperanto I have done some courses on Lernu, though since finishing the tree most of my EO practice is typing or reading Esperanto rather than actively studying it. Russian is a case of trying to regain lost fluency by talking, reading and writing the language. Hebrew is the one language I'm seriously, actively studying outside Duolingo, by which I mean I do language exchanges, have lessons, study from actual books, etc.

(High Valyrian and Swahili don't show up on my flags because I haven't reached level two yet.)

So really, I have a grand total of one language I'm focusing on; the rest are either on the back burner, something I already know, or purely for fun.

When it comes down to it, I find learning languages - even just a little bit, to get a taste of the language - intrinsically enjoyable. I've dipped my toes into pretty much every course on here that I've even the tiniest interest in from any language I speak at all (and some I really don't, like Catalan from Spanish) because it's fun. I like seeing how languages work, I like seeing what similarities or differences there are with languages I already speak, and I just find it fun. I don't plan to get all of them to fluency, or even most of them! Some of them I do, others I'd just like some ability to recognise/read/understand, some of them I have no ambitions for at all. At least one is there because I like the flag ;)

I suspect it the same for many people who have multiple flags on their flair. Really, all the flags tell you is that a given person has amassed a certain amount of XP in a given language; for example, German is one of my highest levels, and that's purely because when I started Duolingo. it was the one language of which I knew very very little but actually had some interest in learning, so my initial stab at Duolingo was doing a lot of German while I waited for courses I had more interest in to be released. It doesn't mean I'm good at German or even that I'm seriously studying German - I'm still a long way from finishing the tree either from English or from Russian. It literally just shows that I did a lot of German while waiting on other courses ;)

I'd also hazard a guess that most of the people who have a large number of flags next to their names (especially at relatively high levels) are among the more experienced language learners on Duolingo, and are well aware that serious time and effort is required to take a language to fluency. Knowing that doesn't mean they/we aren't going to also sometimes play around with languages where we have zero intention of learning properly, because it's really, really fun ;D


woah...INSANE, AMAZING streak!!!


I'm only learning Italian at the moment. The other languages on my profile are those I have tried, but am not currently learning. I will return to each one in time, but not until I complete the Italian tree. The goal is one per year, which based on my current progress with Italian is reasonable. Next year I'm planning on doing Welsh. I tried it for a while, but didn't get far, but I now know a rather clever Welsh girl who has been learning Welsh in school for several years and is very good at teaching, so I'll have help!


I do actually actively study eight of the languages on my profile. I do plan on taking up Hungarian again when I have more time and Japanese once the web course is out. Irish is the only language I started for other reasons (I was actually trying to learn Scottish Gaelic at the time and wanted to get a feeling for the basic sentence structure) and never planned to continue. I dedicate small amounts of time to each of them on duolingo every day (only about ten minutes), which certainly isn't great, but can give me a decent basis. Especially in Swedish and Spanish, which I have at least at one point been fluent in, Duolingo serves me more as a way to reduce how much I forget from lack of practise. I supplement with books and movies, when I have the time and I keep vocabulary lists in all of the languages (usually with the words that I didn't know when reading a book/watching a movie). Also, I have little difficulty with Dutch, Danish, Portuguese and Italian, because in all of these cases, I already speak at least one closely related language. Because reading a book takes some time, there is usually one or two languages I concentrate on at any time. If I'm not reading in a language I'm studying, I have already had days where I really study all of them by putting on children's movies and TV shows to run in the background while working (depends on what exactly I'm doing at work, of course) or cleaning. I used to be able to do a bit more, but right now, I am exceptionally busy both at work and at home. It is, in my opinion at least, definitely possible to study a large amount of languages at the same time (I've also taken up to five language classes at one time as an undergrad), but it takes a bit of planning.


E.T.Gregor, that is impressive work, well done!


Duolingo serves me more as a way to reduce how much I forget from lack of practise.



It's not like that, you must know that some people just add languages so thst they can learn it in the future (like me!) and some people, if they do not get confused with the words, they can learn about 3 languages at a time....


I've been learning languages since 2013 and when I started I didn't know the English language at all. I have completed several trees and inverse trees and I also use Memrise to keep practising my languages. Even though I don't have enough time when I am at university I try to dedicate them some time listening to podcasts and music.

I didn't consider it before but nowadays I want to get fluency in the languages I'm learning. I hope I can learn Japanese and Korean soon on the web platform.

The languages I'm learning at the same time are English, German, French, Norwegian and Japanese (on Memrise). I used to learn Esperanto but I changed it for Norwegian.


Your English is very competent indeed for a relatively short time combined with university study! Kudos :D


Thank you! :)


I am forever impressed by how well people learn English, it puts our learning of other languages to shame! Congratulations on being so accomplished :)


¡Hola Fabián!

I see you master well the written English. How do you manage it in a conversation? What about French and German?



I understand almost everything I hear and have the vocabulary. I just need to find people to practise my speaking. For German and French I'm on the verge of getting to a B1 level in those two. I did what others do on here and use my English to learn more languages. That's why I feel I have made a lot of progress forcing my mind to get used to different foreign languages without using my mother tongue. In addition to that I haven't taken any classes even now when I'm studying at university. I learn foreign languages on my own on the internet.

To improve my speaking I learnt the IPA for British English, German and French. Here are some resources:

¡Ánimo y éxito con tus idiomas! :)


¡Gracias hermano!


Here's my take: the beginning levels in a language are almost like play, so it's a small time requirement to try a few languages and see how it goes. I have used Duolingo to strengthen Spanish that I do study seriously. And then I also used it to revive French which I am fluent in, but had fallen out of practice. I practiced a little in Portuguese and Italian because they are similar to languages I do know. Russian was to familiarize myself before a trip. I am not going to study any more Russian, but going back to Spanish, French, German, maybe Portuguese and Italian – whatever I'm in the mood for.


I'm a very off and on learner on Duolingo—I'll have a two month streak and then school starts and I focus on math (also a language), rather than French or German. I finished the French tree in one fell swoop about two years ago, ignored it completely (I really dislike those last few lessons!), and didn't use Duolingo for quite a while.

Then my boyfriend started learning German and we had a fun race at the beginning of this year to see how far we could each get in German. This summer, I started going back through the tree and gilding what I have so far, and that's inspiring me to also gild the French tree, though I know it will probably take at least six months because I am moving very slowly. I do read in French however, and my computer is in French. My phone is in German.

I am a native speaker of Romanian, so I wanted to help with that. The other languages were either to test out or things I plan on coming back to in the future... far away.

[deactivated user]

    I sampled many languages to level 5 to get a feel for many of them. Actively, I speak Spanish daily outside duo and I am fluent at it. I speak French whenever I have an opportunity but I mostly use apps to converse with natives. I am not improving as fast as I'd like in French but then that could be said by just about anyone to describe a language they're learning... I am close to conversational in Italian. I use apps like HelloTalk to have conversations with natives in Italy and France, and with Spanish speakers all over the world. I am now in duolingo focusing on German and I love the challenge it represents. After German I will finish the Portuguese tree and probably the Danish tree, at least. But I have been having fun and for me, that is really all that matters.


    I like the gamification aspect of Duolingo plus that it is fun to get a feeling for how different languages work. The languages that I am serious about are German and French. I was taught German for an embarrassing number of years at school without really getting any good at it and want that to change.. French is more because I am a Francophile. I have 30 xps as my daily limit (though I often use it more), and in that case I would typical take finish one german lesson, one french lesson and one lesson in another language.

    With regards to the other languages: Swedish is my mother tongue, so I just used it to test how Duolingo worked/what level you reach after finishing the tree. Danish and Norweigan are really close to Swedish so the plan was to use Duolingo to better understand when and how they differ. In practise it has been more about occasionally getting easy xps to reach the daily limit. The non french romance languages I do because in the future I want to put some effort into learning them. Currently I use one of them to mix it up a bit, perhaps putting effort into Spanish one month, Portuguese another month etc. I find that a quite useful was to both reinforce the common Latin roots when the words are the same and at the same time get a feeling for when the different languages actually use totally different words.

    All other languages are just for fun ( as a replacement for soduko and other kinds of "brain gymnastics"). However there might be specifics that I am interested in, such as being better at the Greek letters, as I work in the sciences. Also, if I were ever to pursue any of them seriously I would at least have a little bit to build on, however small. It takes far more effort to learn words in languages which are not related to your own, so it is nice to at least now a few words, even though they are pretty useless on their own right now.


    I spend at least a few hours on every language that comes to Duolingo to experience them.

    I always use several resources. Honestly, Duolingo is my introduction app for languages and I use it to review basics. It also is my time killing in waiting rooms, etc. I only study two dissimilar languages seriously at the same time and casually maintain the stuff I have learned in the other languages that I like.


    I started here on Duolingo with French (for Germans), then I did two reverse trees (English and German for French speakers), so already three flags while learning just one language :) Spanish is something I do seriously (well, by my own standards;) The other languages with two-digit levels have been my focus for some months each and I am not at all fluent in them. Then I still have my Esperanto flag (why the hell did I even start this? ^^) and Swedish and Russian which I plan to learn sometime in the future.


    Some I don't really care about anymore. I'll get back to Spanish and French eventually, but I doubt I'll go back to Italian, Romanian, or Catalan anytime soon.
    I dedicate my time to whatever I feel like at the moment. My interests sway easily and I can get bored of a resource fast so sometimes I'll go weeks without using this site in favor of other, sometimes I add it back in, etc. But I'm into Germanic languages so it's a safe bet that I'll be going at any of those at any gtiven time. I also think that the word "polyglot" tends to be overused. It's a hip buzzword that the impressionable around here especially like to use, but it's not a label I care about really.


    When viewing our progress and rank, I see some folks have a small flag (lower right corner) on top of the larger flag. What does the smaller flag represent?


    I dont have a gazillion but im guessing its since they are either know some of them, or they want ot learn the basics of most?

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