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How helpful is Doulingo to you?

Hi, I a college student with a minor in German. I am working in a group analyzing Doulingo for language learners. I find Doulingo helpful to practice German, while my partner who has no background in a foreign language doesn't and doesn't retain anything she learns. What are your experiences for the sake of our study?

October 31, 2017



^^ Duolingo, not Doulingo.

I would say it depends on your own motivation. To use an analogy, I find Duolingo quite useful, in the way that running sprints are useful to stay in shape. Kind of repetitive, and it will only take you so far (A2 to B1 maybe). It definitely cannot be one's only resource, as there is no speaking engagement or creativity in assembling new sentences from scratch. And you need to speak the language with native speakers for it to really stick.

Is it a beautiful, uplifting experience of personal growth? (traveling to Italy and speaking the language)? No. Is it an intensive period of work on an exciting, creative project (reading a novel)? No. It's just practice. But you need practice. And seeing slow improvement in skills has its own reward.


Also - to clarify. I feel like it has helped my reading ability quite well, but my speaking ability not at all.


How about chatting / writing with your gained DuoLingo knowledge? How well are you prepared for that?

Try e.g www.hellolingo.com.

You seem not to take the reverse tree courses, which are known for their higher translation ratio into the L2 target language, don't you?


Well, if you are analyzing it, I would hope their would be some systematicness to it. Or maybe just going to be one of those college students who find some random source, cite, and don't do it systematically. Or maybe not!

Here is an interesting source that some users of Duolingo's Spanish course got to a point equivalent to 1 semester of college Spanish (link at the end). I mean, using Duolingo and some other resources, I got to 3rd year college Portuguese. This was my assessment of how what sources helped me:

Portuguese IRL level 3—Professional working proficiency. Duolingo 62% (Muito Obrigado Duolingo) Talking with others in Portuguese 19% Netflix 8% 2 weeks of Portuguese class 5% Portuguese club 3% Reading in Portuguese 3%

( https://www.duolingo.com/comment/25008435 )

Duolingo is a good resource for people in different positions. It can work for review, practicing grammar concepts, and learning new vocab for individuals with previous knowledge of the language. I haven't done this, but its pretty straightforward those are things Duolingo offers. For starting some scratch, people who have knowledge of other languages will likely have an advatage at turning the info into more usable speach. I mean Duolingo has a focus on recognition of stuff in other language, which on the surface level looks like reading skills. Can other stuff be gotten out of it? Sure. Is it a stand alone resource? Depends what someone wants to get out of it.

I got a kind of interesting survey idea. Classify people who are using Duolingo into different categories. Like totally new to languages, Already know other languages but starting new languages, reviewing a language already known (and what is someones level in the language). What languages are known. What languages are being seriously learned. How long has one been using Duolingo. What are peoples goals with the website ( and before getting some feedback for ideas would make sense). What other resources do people use (getting some ideas beforehand would be good). Then seeing how effective people feel Duolingo is. It seems a little unrealistic to do a Study like the Spanish one–though I think it would be way interesting. I have thought it would be cool to do some assessment of Duolingo. Those are some ideas. Duolingo usefulness depends on the person, and like Dcarl says, motivation is big factor.

I use it to get exposure, learn new languages, and learn new languages from other base language (a term called laddering here). And its a bit fun, which I am guessing has to do with its game like structure, which probably cues neurotransmiters when one does well (IE, probably on a biological level what is fun).

Here is the report that was done. I thought it was interesting.



I started with Italian. Finished it. Nowhere near fluent in it. But can understand some of what I read. A restaurant called Cibo I found out most were pronouncing it wrong and I had no idea where Seebo was till my sister took me to show me. I later started Spanish. I honestly believe the Italian helped me in my learning with Spanish. Both languages allow me to see written words and understand what I am reading though not everything I read. Closed captioning on tv in the target language or subtitles, for me helps. Fear of the Walking Dead it was exciting to understand the sarcasm one character said in Spanish. “Mr. speaks very little Spanish.” For me, Duolingo does help. But the more I learn, the more I know I need to learn. Its a big tool in learning but you need other sources to help. TV. Books or ebooks. Movies. Whatever you know you could enjoy. Best they say is talking with someone who speaks the target language. But without that, Duo does a great job for me, though I feel I can better read Spanish and have not finished the tree. But got Golden with Italian on another account. Esparanto, the easiest to learn has not been the easiest for me. Right now ignoring working on it. Repetition with Duolingo I think will eventually make sense to many but don’t give up too soon. I am always amazed what I know if I quit lessons for a long time and then come back later.


I love Duolingo in that it is a very good stepping stone into a language. The grammar and vocabulary might not set one up to be fluent, but to get a good understanding of the basics and start immersion via books, movies or travel without it being to frustrating, because there's just nothing you understand.

But that's for the web version with the typing. While I use the app for a quick session if I'm low on time, I doubt I'd remember much if I'd use it exclusively. I'm also putting every word I learn into anki (a flashcard program with awesome customisation and a lot of control over the spaced repetition algorithm.).


Good point. I never use the app as I consider it very low on learning quality. It’s just a game there


Depends if you go there frequently and learn consequently or if it is for fun. About fun happy Halloween! Have fun


it definitely helps with languages, but it needs to be paired with a teacher to be effective.

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