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Your way of learning with Duolingo?

Personally, I write down all the grammar and vocabs as I complete every day's tasks/challenges on a scrap piece of paper, and later on transcribe and regroup them onto my notebook. It's quite effective at first (helps me remember better) but I find it a bit tedious after a while; it also takes too much time.

I also try to read the comments for every question, which is always helpful. There's always someone who poses a question that I never would have thought of, but again, it's too time-consuming, especially if it involves grammar.

I started at Present 2 in the beginning of July, and I'm almost arriving at Objects on the French tree now (Sep. 2nd), which I consider really slow. (It's probably also because I've been learning Swedish along the way though.) In the end I turned to other websites to learn the tenses because tenses are too important for me; I simply couldn't wait till I reach Past Imperfect.

I do realise that it's never enough to rely on Duolingo alone to learn the language, but I still wonder how you guys use Duolingo, do you simply use it to practice? to learn grammar? And how do you utilise Duolingo to accommodate your learning needs? I really need some tips.

Merci beaucoup!

September 2, 2017



Full intuition, no formal writing.

I watch tons and tons of Youtube videos, acquiring oral understanding is the easiest part. And watching documentaries or listening to youtubers is fun anyway.

Learning lists of words is nearly useless for me, what matters is the context surrounding the word. You really learn a word by seeing it dozens of times in context.


Really useful suggestions!


Cool! I watch YouTube videos as well, but not as often as I would like to. Do you watch them with subtitles on? If so what language are the subtitles?


Well, I'm French and I currently learn German.

I only use subtitles in the language I try to learn, never in the native language. The purpose is to follow what is said with the eyes, not to get the translation.

Unfortunately, the Youtube automatic subtitles don't work very well in French. It's better than nothing, but there are many mistakes.

You can use the Youtube filter for subtitles to only get videos with proper French subtitles.

Otherwise, you can download movies/series in French with French subtitles.

Then, well, you can also watch random French Youtube videos with no subtitles, it will be hard of course as you start, but over time it will become easier and easier.

Documentaries are great as it's usually easier to understand what is said with the context in the images.


Thanks a lot for the advice! Gotta find some documentaries to watch (they often have pretty clear pronunciation) I'm not sure about watching lots of YouTube videos though, as much as I love watching them there isn't much images to match the language with (plus YouTubers often talk really fast, which makes the videos even harder to understand)


If you enter the realm of subtitles, you will soon discover the issue of pure subtitles vs deaf subtitles. Deaf subtitles are not perfectly matching what is being said, this makes them nearly unusable as a help for foreign listeners.


Huh, never heard of that before. For my native language (Mandarin Chinese) people sometimes omit filler words in subtitles. Are deaf subtitles similar to that?


I am using duolingo to begin my studies in Spanish. I am planning to reach a C2 level, so I need a lot of practice and Duolingo is helping the most of all my resources. I decided to take the Guarani Jopara course for Spanish speakers, and that is helping a lot. I also like to strengthen often, because I want to keep the words in my memory, and I actually find it fun.


I do the strengthening a lot too, but I often feel like it isn't enough for my bad memory, which is why I write the words and the sentences down. I also find it a bit lacking in context (compared to whole paragraphs or conversations), so I'm trying to find something interesting in French to read.


I use anki (flashcard software) and enter in all of the words and grammar I learn in duolingo. As a general rule, I don't move forward on duolingo until I've mastered the majority of my anki flashcards (and am ready to add more).

I've found this method really helps reinforce what I learn on duolingo. And like duo, anki is free! If you've never seen it, check it out here: https://apps.ankiweb.net/


I haven't heard about anki before, so thanks! I think I'm too easily bored by memorising vocabulary repeatedly to use flashcards though :P


I understand. It's much less fun for me than duolingo, I have to force myself to do it each day!


Just like you I write down all the grammar tips and vocabulary in my notebook and also check out the comments quite often. Superficially one might say I am progressing slowly (I will definitely not be one of those people who finish the tree on level 13, I am on level 10, but I have learned only a quarter of the tree). Then again I do think I am building a strong base for the language I am learning and will be more fluent when I will finally complete the tree compared to people who rush through it.

Otherwise I listen to music and watch films in Turkish (that's the language I am learning). Also my boyfriend is Turkish so I practice speaking and reading with him!

I think to fully learn the language you should immerse yourself in it. Studied French eleven years in school, but I was still very limited. After I had spent just two weeks in France hitchhiking (most drivers didn't speak English) I could really feel all the French vocabulary and grammar I had learned become activated. So I am planning to go to Turkey soon, too.


Yeah, I think finding one's way to immersion is the key; studying a bit of grammar every day (basically what Duolingo is for) is important, but without using it within context, the language would never really be alive (and vice versa.)


I answer here to your previous message as the previous comment tree had reached its maximal depth.

Well, I don't know exactly why they do this for deaf subtitles. It's probably because spoken language often has repetitions, half-words, improper structure or too long to read compared to the time on screen. When people speak a lot, it's often very hard to read fast enough, so subtitles are simplified.

Deaf subtitles are simpler and clearer. But it makes them nearly unusable for foreigners who want to use the subtitles as a help to follow what is being said by reading at the same time as they listen.



I see. Thanks for the detailed reply!


I've been using Duolingo for just over a year now, although a there were a few months over the summer where I didn't use it very much at all. After a while, it gets pretty boring just repeating the same lessons over and over again. I try to read the comments on the questions I struggle with, but I also try to use other resources. Reading the news on French websites or French blogs about a topic you're interested in is a fun way to learn. It especially helps you find some more common/colloquial ways to say stuff, too. And the flashcard tool on Duo gets overlooked a lot, but I find that it's actually pretty helpful!


I'm feeling the same way about Duolingo too. I find reading articles a really awarding process, but I'm not reading as much as I hope to. Recently I've also been chatting with people in French, which is a quick way of forcing myself to learn the essential parts of everyday speech. Will check out the flashcard tool. Thanks for the advice :)


I use Duolingo in combination with a lot of Youtube, practicing with natives and listening to music.


Listening music has been quite effective for me so far, the words are pronounced clearly and relatively slowly; the only shortcoming though is that prosody in normal speech doesn't exist in songs. How long does it take you to understand what people are saying in Youtube videos? Feels like gibberish for me most of the time; it's probably because of my far-from-enough French vocab and grammar, but sometimes I can't even find common words when listening to the audio. How do you practise with natives? I'm using Speaky because my spoken French is laughable and no one should undergo such torture of listening to it. (Sorry for the long paragraph, somehow in the Duolingo comments I can't generate a newline.)


I mostly watch French tips and lessons on Youtube, There's lots of things like how to speak french in the real world that Duolingo or textbook won't teach you. And yeah. I've been using Speaky for 2 years for most of my languages. It's been very helpful and I've made good friends who I keep in touch with often off the app or site.

Other things I recommend is Coffee break French podcast and keep an eye on the Language Transfer French course. It's about to be fully released and it really helped with my Spanish. German and Italian. Lastly there's Assimil books and audio that can really help with understanding


Thanks for the recommendations! Will check them out soon :)

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