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What do you tell non-Duolingo people when you learn a new language?

Asking because when I told a couple of people that I am learning Spanish online through DL app, they were like "Oh, just an app" like it is nothing serious and so I stopped mentioning it to people. They think that I can't learn anything proper on app. Jokes on them though, I have progressed remarkably well. But I am wondering, do y'all tell others that you are learning languages yourself? How do people react when they find out?

January 11, 2018



In general no one cares when you are learning unless its a shared interest. When you have learned something and can demonstrate it that's when folks take note.


Eh I did tell my family, but otherwise no, same reason as you. I also have a colleague that can speak Spanish so I told her as well because I wanted to practise a bit. Thing is, duolingo can't bring you anywhere above B1 for reading and writing, and even lower for speaking and listening. I think people would only take B2+ seriously, as that is some actual good fluency.


I don't really mention it very often, except for mentioning that I like learning languages.


Yup... I have stopped mentioning too


Well, I have met both kinds of people, either they think I am crazy - especially for learning Irish ( which I really love, the language, not the people who can't appreciate learning with fun) or they started using duolingo themselves ( in different languages than I do).

I enjoy learning languages and I believe duolingo offers a unique possibility to do so.


Most people I tell (an I rarely tell anyone) only speak English, but I found that DL is most useful for me retaining the grammar of Spanish I learn while working in Spain and Mexico. I feel like I am much better prepared to return to those places when I finally am able to.


I prefer to stay silent about my Duolingo activity on any language not considered to be 'useful' (ironic, considering language is all about communication). The time I was open about such things, it led to at least six months of turmoil and zero activity on Duolingo for me. Needless to say, I don't want a repeat.

People, when I told them such things tended to react with reactions anywhere inbetween "I tried it once for three days, did not do anything for months, did a lesson and quit" and "if you cannot decide upon a single language to learn and keep hopping around like that you are going to end up in prison!" (no idea why choosing to dabble in multiple languages would land me in prison, but logical fallacies tend not to make sense.). The most common thing however that I've heard must be "Danish, what use is that?".

I suppose we have made 'acting normal', 'fitting in' and 'normality' in general our national religion. Learning 'non-useful languages' instead of useful ones or 'useful science' like economics is out of the norm and not very much appreciated. It can be quite difficult if you fall outside the norm and have to keep your hobbies to yourself and be unable to share them with others in real life.


I agree... even I went for months without using duo bcoz of all negativity. But I now believe that what I choose as a hobby is nobody's business considering that I am investing my time for something useful rather than wasting it.

p.s. I am glad you decided to come back to DL again

[deactivated user]

    I sometimes tell other people, but not for a language like Spanish or French, since I'd have to agree with FreeHelicopters, that they would only really care if it is a shared interest, but for some people it may work as the language that they study provides enough shock value (or foreignness) for it to be possibly interesting to other people. As for the learning it on an app, just ask them if they're really communicating when they text on their phone, as it's obviously a yes.


    I personally don't think it's really worth telling until you reach a certain level of fluency. No matter what there will always be people who'll react to any skill in a "yeah right" manner (it can also make people feel incompetent because they don't posses the skill nor the will to stick with learning it). And to be honest, I won't really take it serious either when somebody says they're learning a language through Duolingo (or most other methods) as only few people stick with it long enough to reach anywhere near fluency. Sticking with it is worthy of credit but just "having started", that's only about as valuable as a new years resolution that you abandon after a week. But who cares what others think anyway if you enjoy it / want to do it.

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