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Can you really learn a foreign language only using duolingo?

Hi! I use duolingo less than a week and i m wondering if it really helps to learn a foreign language. I am asking because i don't remeber any word of these I have learnt so far and i want to know if i should keep using just the app or i should study from books at the same time??

September 5, 2017



One way I look at is is that it is a good primer to get more familiar with vocab. What I mean by this is down the road individuals who use duolingo will likely have higher recognition, and possibly some type of maintaining words. One issue I have found with duolingo is that a lot of the sentences are not really practical, and their isn't really reciprocal-based practice of daily language use...which is kind of important. Their are things you can do to accompany duolingo to help you learn how to tangibly use the language—I know quite few having gotten function portuguese on my own—but I think its mostly vocab, a little grammar, a lot tacilty learned, sentence structure, spelling, and a little pronunciation, but not a ton of tactical use.

I mean the one exception I can think of though is portuguese from Spanish–because the languages are so similar—and having finished that with a lot of suplimental stuff, I can speak portuguese pretty well, just don't understand it great because, like I said, their isn't a lot of stuff based on reciprocal tangible language use. My view.


I agree. Lot's of sentences don't make sense, like not being not understood, but have no use.


Yeah. I would be such an advocate of redesigning stuff like that for the language learning. Like: Greetings. Hobbies. Presentation of other people. Cooking. Basic Travel info. Restuarante stuff. Etc, etc, etc. Like tangible situations instead of just vocab groups.

Their is a guy below who linked his review of Rosetta Stone, and his point was that learning how to say 'the man is under the table' is not that helpful for learning the language because it is not practical. I have spent a little over a year learning arabic and I can actually talk to people—as compared to people who been in my classes—because the vast majority of what I study is how to use the language, not the grammar. Other people in my classes may know how to do the homework, or answer a specific class related question about grammar on the board, but they can't use the structures to communicate effectively; I can.

I think duolingo would be a lot better if their were more tangible stuff. I see you are learning french, and I have tried, and one reason why I was frustrated was just all this: a lot of the sentences are not practicle, and its just frustrating mispelling a word of a sentence I will never use, even if it gives me more grammar exposure.


Very well said! You just expressed my thoughts better than i ever could.


Their is a

Typo: "There is a" ;)

I have seen it at least twice (actually counting more) in this thread in two comments. Damn auto correct :-)


There is a guy below who linked his review of Rosetta Stone, and his point was

I linked it, but it is NOT my website and not MY review!


I absolutely hate the "useful sentences". It's usually artificial and cringe.

Borderline random sentences are much better for me.


Well if by useful you mean artificial, I don't like useful sentences either.


As the other people in this thread have stated, no, the app is not enough. Things you can do to boost/supplement your understanding are:

  • Read elementary/preschool level books in french, it'll help you get the culture a bit and some metaphors and expressions

-Listen to french music, it'll help you to tune your ear to what it is supposed to sound like

-Watch some french youtubers with English subtitles to watch how they talk and how they sound, this also helps you pick up slang

-Talk to yourself in french if you don't get it or are having a hard time pronouncing it

-Take the time to physically write down the words you are hearing, this helps you remember them better.

-Speak to other humans who also speak the language or are learning, it's the best way to cement the language as a language and not a bunch of stuff to memorize.

Hope these help a bit and that you have fun learning!


Singers are usually the hardest thing to understand.


Which is precisely why they are so helpful, they force you to tune your ear if you want to understand what they are saying. At the very least, music helps you understand what other people who speak the language listen to, and gives you a conversation starter


Do you have any links up your sleeve to French YouTubers?


Not really, as I don't tend to watch much youtube, however, this article looks like it has a good variety of styles and people


One of the french youtubers that I do know about is Squeezie, he is a letsplayer so that may be a deterrant, but he speaks quickly and uses a lot of slang, which is helpful in every day scenarios.

This thread seems to have a bunch as well https://www.duolingo.com/comment/14753713/FRENCH-YOUTUBERS

Hope this helps you out!


It depends what you like. If you like a topic, find the keywords in English, look at their equivalent in French and search for it on Youtube.

Also, Youtube recommendation system will soon provide you French videos recommendations.


Cool. In that case, does anyone know how to say "minecraft 1.13 update," in French? (Not to get off-topic, lol)


Minecraft 1.13 français

Add français after any keyword and this will help you find videos in French.

For example: Minecraft 1.13 - Thème et premières infos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4TNqW9ncXQ


Duolingo is the beginning, it is like 2 semesters in a school you will need more during and after Duolingo.


It's great to get you to a beginner/intermediate level and familiarise yourself with the language. But it's no way to achieve fluency. The ONLY way to achieve fluency is to immerse yourself with the language and talk to natives. Besides I find that when you get talking with natives it's interesting to know what life is like in their country etc. and eventually you forget you're practising the language and just start having an enjoyable conversation.


Yes, it helps. No, it won't teach you to speak or write the language fluently on its own. It's an excellent tool, but it's just a tool, it's not a total language learning solution.


The short answer is, yes, duoLingo will help you learn a foreign language.

I have played with duoLingo for several years; as a supplement to some adult education French classes I was taking. And, it helped, but I was really not committed to learning a foreign language. I did not engage French everyday. So, my retention was not very long.

About four months ago, I had re-engaged duoLingo French, and built up a streak of about two weeks. So I set a goal, initially at 20 points per day and then throttled back to 10 points per day....which may not seem like much, but I have found that I feel much more familiar with French. It is something that I make a point of doing, everyday! Either: first thing in the morning before I go to work; or just as when I get home from work; or right before I retire for the evening....I hit it one of those times...everyday.

I engage new lessons, only if the strength level on all of my previous lessons are at 100%. So I am reviewing several days a week, but usually can take in 2-3 new lessons (or more) per week. And, I have found that when I need to do strengthening exercises, I actually go back and read the lesson material. In fact I now keep the lesson material open in a separate window, so that I can check on some of the grammatical rules while executing a lesson.

I think my casual reading of French has improved the most. The ability to hear French spoken at a native pace is improving, as is the ability to speak it (at least as well as the duoLingo voice recognition function can judge my speech).

I expect I will keep this up for a while, and will decide if I would like to continue lessons to improve my conversational French.

If I do, I feel my experience with douLingo will be an asset...if nothing else, as a confidence booster. Especially, if I engage the classwork on a daily basis as I have with duoLingo.

My advice: create or, as in my case, stumble into a process/schedule through experimenting with what works for you. A process that is easy for you to support/remember....and then enjoy the experience.

I am surprised as to how my feelings about French has changed in the past 4 months! What I really appreciate from my experience, is that I am beginning to understand some of the nuances of the language...I want what little French I can speak, to be mechanically sound...and I get that from duoLingo.

If you stay with it, I think your experience will be similar to mine.


Non, ce n'est pas un professeur mais je pense "duolingo" est un bonne outil pour apprendre les bases élémentaire d'une langue.


It helps a lot, I made huge progress in German (as a native French speaker).

Duolingo is just a tool for beginners. The real way you learn is language is to consume content in this language, by reading articles, watching Youtube and so on.

Duolingo is here to provide the basics. You can't understand media content when you don't understand a single word!

I advise you to listen to a lot of French videos on Youtube. What many people don't realise is that you learn a language by first identifying sounds, then groups of sounds that appear often, then word roots, then basic words, then combined words, then groups of words, then complex sentence structure.

This Ted talk explains is wonderfully for piano. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LCwI5iErE

Duolingo, or just any other language training starts with the basic vocabulary, which is hard if you don't even have the basic sounds in your head. By watching hours and hours of video in French when you understand nothing, you assimilate the melody of the language and the sounds and groups of sounds.

Also, like all complex skills, it takes 7000 hours of experience to master it. So don't expect it to come instantly! The sustainable way to progress is to consume media content that you are interested in.

So I advise you to go to Youtube in addition to Duolingo. Watch documentaries in French, you can follow the pictures even if you hear nothing. Also, listen to French people speaking while you fall asleep, you don't even need to care about what is being said, just listen and you will learn more than you think!


Depends, You won't become 'Fluent' but you will get the basic/intermediate understanding of grammar and vocabulary, But will not provide all the vocab in the language thats pretty much, Duolingo will definitley give you a boost as well :)

Definitley dont just use Duolingo, use books, dictonaries, short stories and other websites like Memrise, or if you think you wont need one of your kidneys, you could use Rosetta stone.


Hahaha because i need all the parts of my body i think using duolingo and some dictioneries seems to be a good idea, thanks for your help!


You are welcome! Good luck with your learning!

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