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Fluent from Duolingo?

Do you feel like Duolingo is enough to become fluent in a language? If so, are you fluent? Which language did you learn and how long did it take?

September 13, 2017



No, I think not. Duolingo's courses are merely based on every day vocabulary that could be enough to build a core, but are not what would be necessary for a person to be considered truly "fluent".

Before anyone else mentions it; no, Duolingo's "fluency percentage" is totally different from what real fluency would be. It is only a reference to the strength of the contents within the courses. Real fluency can not be measured by percentages.


Gracias Neutrino! Saves anyone else saying it. To be truly fluent in a language not your native language is probably only going to start to happen when you stop translating before you speak, and stop translating when you listen! Once you start to think in whatever language you are learning, then you may be on the way to fluency. DL does try to point you in that direction, but going to a Spanish speaking country for six months, and living where few or none of the local folks speak YOUR native language will force you into a reasonable level of fluency more quickly than anything else you can imagine.

But then you realise how little you actually DO know - - - - - :-)


To be truly fluent in a language not your native language is probably only going to start to happen when you stop translating before you speak, and stop translating when you listen!

For me I have observed this mental ability to be a largely transferable skill. Once acquired in one second language, it's largely just present for others, contingent of course on acquired vocab level. Others' experience may differ.


Personally speaking, It won't make you fluent, but it will definitely help you out. Although I'm not fluent in any language, I can tell that you need more resources and practice speaking with real people (not only recording your voice). That's just my two cents.


Of course not. I think this other question is more interesting: From duolingo, can you immerse yourself in native material comfortably without the help of another language courses? From my limited experience, I think you can do it if the new language is similar of what you already know. For example, if you have a great level in Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan or Italian should be easy for you, and maybe Duolingo it's the only thing you need to go to communicate with natives or understand them. On the other hand, if your culture is occidental, I highly doubt that with only Duolingo you can get by in Korean or Vietnamese!! In that case I would say that you need further courses to get closer to a useful level. But again, my experience is limited, I'd like to know what have to say the people who start and finish an Asiatic language from absolute zero.


Yes, I think you're right. I haven't done so much on the speaking front yet, but Duolingo alone has been enough to give me pretty good comprehension of full-speed spoken content in Catalan (news podcasts and the like), and for Italian things seem even easier.

As for Asian languages, the Japanese course only targets the lowest level of the Japanese language assessment scale, so it obviously only gets you so far.

Basically it's all about easily recognizable cognates. If the language has tens of thousands of them, then Duolingo can get you far b/c it teaches you a couple thousand words on its own and opens up that vast cognate reservoir. If the language has few of them, whether it's related or not (e.g. Greek and Russian are more like how you characterize Asian languages), it gets you largely just the couple thousand words, which is only a fraction of what's needed to do much.


Yes, you are right, any language away from the Germanic or Romance family are out of my comfort zone and I think that Duolingo would fall short in this case.


No, Duolingo will bring you to intermediate level in Grammar and beginner in speaking and listening comprehension.


Take the Fluency score from Duolingo and visit the area of your language for one week. Use only that language. And grade yourself in fluency. So....I'm am not actually 49% fluent. But I am much closer with the written word. :)

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