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Achieving fluency in any language via Duolingo

/This topic is posted in general and applies for all languages/

I have the feeling Duolingo is very helpful in achieving the basics in multiple languages. I am however missing out on some advancements in certain languages that I would like to reach (i.e. fluency). Is it on the agenda (for Duolingo) to achieve deeper knowledge in a language? Or is their aim to simply teach a basic knowledge and being able to have conversational chats in another language?

As for now, I use Duolingo to get ahold of the basics and then I usually move on to another course (such as Memrise) to practise further. But the aim is of course to reach fluency. I had hoped I could use one education channel to learn it, but I guess I would have to use different sources to master a language.

Thanks in advance,

November 11, 2017



I don't think it's realistic to gain fluency through any one channel, period. I think this is a fantastic resource, as are Memrise and others, but they only target specific skills. I also believe that it's impossible to become fluent merely by translating text, which is Duolingo's primary format. Even in school, you don't become fluent just by taking the course - I'm in my fourth year of Spanish (and first year of IB) and I'm really good for the year I'm in. My teacher has said immersion is the only true way to become fluent. As such, I've improved by reading Spanish books and speaking in Spanish when possible. That level of interaction just isn't possible on Duolingo. I agree with you that I would love to see more features to facilitate deeper learning here, but I don't think it's realistic to think you could become fluent just from an app/website.


I agree with what you say. Here is an interesting thought. How we speak in a language is a History of how we learned it. To learn a language outside of our native language, many people often start in schools, filtering from their past experiences and understanding of their first language to learn a new one; as anyone can see structural differences in communication patterns and accents in how this group communicates, its different from the native speakers, who learn from just listening at first, not knowing any grammar rules from instruction, and have what is called a more natural way of speaking at least for their context (typically, and holding for auditory processing and other potential genetic barriers). So within this case, there are even different kids of fluency, despite how well you are doing—which I beleive and way good job with!—is that if you ever get 'fluency' another silly word, it will mean something different than to other people.

But yes what you say makes sense!


Wow, four years of Spanish.

How would you compare one year with a DuoLingo completed tree (lot's of grammar strengthen needed next 3-6 months) to 1-4 school years?

How often and how long do you train Spanish in school?
- 1-2 days / week
- 45-90min. / day
- any longer
- any speaking drilling (how is that even possible with many people in a class?)
- listening practices
- have you been working through stories


Also, FYI, there is a study on the effectiveness of Duolingo with Spanish. The study concluded that about 36 (if I recall correctly Hours in Duolingo could help one move up a semester of college Spanish, and this was for beginners in one of the first 4 classes. While I know their are biases in the study that most readers will not understand, I think the results are interesting. I mean, for me, I am conversational in portuguese after what is coming up on a year studying it, and that is mostly thanks to Duolingo. And I should say too, a college course typically takes more time investment than 36 hours, which suggests Duolingo may be more effective—but I mean, this all depends, like so many thing—and its free. But for me, look; with not a ton of determination I got to a conversational level in a language mostly from Duolingo; I mean I am doing the Italian and the French courses from Portuguese and its not that big a deal for me.

And I mean if you want to make judgements, it all depends on ones investment, learning strategies, capacity, and so much more, because it is not just Duolingo will lead to someone gaining some specified level, but the context of how people are using it. And with people using it, quite a few moved up a semester or two in college Spanish. Not bad, and I think I could do better if I wanted too. (and I mean I have—if I was to take a college class for Portuguese, it would have been the 5th class at my school, for grammar review for people who are basically fluent but don't get the grammar, or like a class I could talk in (because that is what I need the most practice with!))


You can read texts with native recorded audio on www.bliubliu.com


I mean, look. If you want and all in one place, you may not be alone, but the amount info and exposure needed to do that seems way out of the scope of Duolingo for the immediate future. If you want to get there, go talk with people in the languages because that is what it takes for fluency. Duolingo does have ways—though I don't think this was intent by designers to develope higher learning: GO Ladder! You have to work in other language and is capacity building. The notion of a base to fluent website typically seems a scam to me, and the notion it could exist soon, I doubt, and I would figure how to utilize the resources here to the best of your ability and find other ones. As you are doing Spanish there are tons of resources all over the place, and of course for the other languages.


I would say that, as awesome as Duolingo is for learning a language, it is not possible to become fluent in a language using Duolingo alone. I had already learned a lot of Spanish before discovering Duolingo from being in Peru for an extended period of time. Duolingo then helped my vocabulary and has given me an understanding in some other languages. I could probably speak a bit of Portuguese and French just from Duolingo but I would never expect to become fluent in these languages without taking additional lessons or immersing myself


Some thoughts of at least potential relevance: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/25175692


Well, for better of for worse, that is the way duolingo is making the courses, teaching only the basics. so if you want to achieve fluency, you have to look for external resourses.

By the way, the only exception is Esperanto, you can reach fluency just by studying it right here on Duolingo. I recommend it, it is very easy, a great language and has a lot of positive points.

PD: Play https://mope.io ! but only if you are going to take advantage of its linguistic bright side: there you can chat with people that speak other languages. If you do not see it in that way I don't recommend it.


Thank you very much.

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