2000 days of Duolingo!
So, I wrote this post (https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/3588879) after completing a 500-day streak on Duolingo and this post (https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/11737991) after hitting 1000 days. People still ask me about this stuff and comment on these things - and so here we go again because today is the day when I reached a 2000-day streak! 2000 days! That's, like, a serious chunk of my life!
It's so weird to think about where I was 2000 days ago - still in my twenties with scarcely a grey hair in sight, unhappily stuck working in a miserable job at a terrible company, yearning to re-learn some of the university French and high school Spanish that I had totally forgotten without any idea as to how I would actually do it. Then a friend visiting from out of town one night mentioned this new language-learning startup called Duolingo over dinner, and I immediately and excitedly followed her recommendation.
I didn't really think it would change my life at the time. I was very wrong.
So, over the past 2000 days? Here's what I can tell you:
-I can speak respectable conversational French. I can speak halting conversational Spanish. I've put a lot more effort into getting my French into shape - finding people to practice with, reading books and articles in French, etc. etc. - and I'm really starting to do that with Spanish. Hopefully I'll be a bit smoother in Spanish in another 1000 days.
-I've started learning German and Italian over the past 1000-ish days. Closing in on completing the German tree and about a third of the way through the Italian tree. I don't know that I'll ever be as capable in either of them as I am in French, but I'd like to at least get to a quasi-conversational level. In another year, I'm planning to start Esperanto.
-Duolingo works and can get you to a point where you can understand all of the basics, but it's up to you to do the rest. If you seek out people to practice with, if you read books and listen to music and watch films in another language, you will get better. Honest! However hard it seems now, I believe in you (yes, you!) to do it.
-Do what you can do, and learn in the way that works best for you. For me, I use Duolingo every single morning. It's just as much a part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth. I rarely ever make it to noon before having finished language practice - and if I dare get to 2pm without it, I begin to feel awfully uneasy.
(Q: Did I once rush off a 13-hour connecting flight in the Abu Dhabi airport to hop on their Wi-Fi signal to notch Duolingo points in order to preserve my streak before communicating with any friends and family about my safety and whereabouts?
All that said: what works for me might not be what works for you, and that's okay. I sincerely recommend that you make it a persistent part of your routine, but your life is different than mine.
And a couple other thoughts:
-There are friendships that I've made with people in other places - France, Canada, Switzerland, Spain - as a result of wanting to go above and beyond Duolingo, but who would have never entered my life if I had never started on Duolingo. I've become friends with some of the kindest and most supportive people in the world, they've taught me and shown me all kinds of crazy new stuff, they've made me think more deeply about English and how to explain parts of it, they've given me new opportunities to make fun of their local sports teams, and I'm deeply grateful for every last bit of it. I can't recommend making ‘language practice friends’ enough - you'll help them with their English, they'll help you with your language of study, and you'll make friends with people that will teach you things that nobody else can.
-Don't be afraid to make mistakes, because you are going to do it. I once tried to say 'maybe' in French and said 'prostitute,' which invoked instantaneous belly laughs from my friend while I sheepishly sat there. But that's how you learn! You're going to make stupid, funny, embarrassing errors on the road to learning, so prepare to laugh at yourself now. Don't let it get in your way.
-Much in the same way: you'll know that you're beginning to get the hang of a new language when you can (deliberately) joke around in that language and get someone to laugh. Getting a few more questions right when watching Jeopardy! or Only Connect, or having a conversation with a cab driver about soccer, or learning a new curse word to yell out when you stub your toe, or being able to read Spanish advertisements on the subway are all personally rewarding in all kinds of weird ways - but making people laugh with a joke that you just improvised in another language is just the absolute best.
-A massive, huge, unending thanks/merci/gracias/danke/grazie to everyone at Duolingo for keeping this platform alive and thriving. I'm grateful for all that you do, and can't thank you enough for the impact that you've had on my life. I've said this in my previous posts, but it merits repeating: I'm well aware that this service is intended for people in other countries who desire to learn English to improve their standing in life and can't afford classes to study it, but I'm awfully fortunate that it exists for lanky, overtly-curious nerds living in Brooklyn, too. If nobody else has thanked you for your work lately, please allow me to say how much I appreciate all of you and all that you do.
-My final thought: it's as important as ever to try to meaningfully connect and empathize with people who are different than yourself, and language is such an important way to do that. The voices of those who would want us to stay in our own lanes forever, and lash out at those who stray from the little tribes that we were born into, are louder and more powerful than they were 2000 days ago. As an American, I consider it an moral obligation and ethical responsibility to try to get better at Spanish at a time when too many of my fellow countrymen have decided that unfathomably cruel treatment is the proper course of action for so many who were born speaking it. I'm going to have to really work at learning Spanish and I'll surely say a few more accidentally dumb things along the way, but hard work and occasional mishaps are just part of what it means to welcome someone who struggles more than I do into this society and celebrate our common, universal humanity. The situation might be better wherever you live - but don't forget that you learning a new language can help unite people, if even just a little bit.
Thanks again to everyone at Duolingo, and good luck to all of you in your efforts to keep learning. See you at the 3000-day mark?
What an inspirational post! I'm so glad I took time out to read your post!
Some days, I'm amazed at my language skills. Some days, I think they're awful. I breath in the amazing and work harder when it's awful. I relax and enjoy the learning journey!
See you in another thousand days, JaySilverman!
great job with your English. I saw you were...french...(idk)...on your profile. It is perfect. i hope to become as good as you in the languages i am learning.:)
Good morning, Josie348921! My native language is English. I live in the midwestern part of the U.S. I'm been taking university french classes and am getting much better at composing sentences in french. My speaking ability is bad but that's because I don't practice speaking as much as reading and writing. It looks like you are accomplishing a lot! Congratulations and keep up the good work! Have a great day!
You're correct! It will be exactly 365 days until my 2,000 day streak! But, I want to congratulate you on your 381 days and all the languages that you know! Congratulations, Bertijn2!
"Some days, I'm amazed at my language skills. Some days, I think they're awful."
Lol, samesies. It's all part of the neverending drive to learn languages.
There are days when I feel pretty awful about mine, too. It comes and goes. But progress is always uneven, right? Relax and enjoy the learning journey, indeed!
Wow, I can't even imagine reaching 2,000 days. ¡Bien hecho! But then again, I couldn't imagine getting a year-long streak 681 days ago. And now I've almost gotten a two-year streak. Well . . . sort of almost.
As I sometimes say, (which has been said to me more times than I can count), all you need is keep trying each day at a time.
I have one question. You said this:
It's so weird to think about where I was 2000 days ago . . . a friend visiting from out of town one night mentioned this new language-learning startup called Duolingo over dinner, and I immediately and excitedly followed her recommendation.
So . . . is this 2,000 day streak your original streak? That is to say, is this streak the same one you started out with in the beginning of when you started Duolingo? If so, wow. It took me the longest time of trying to get a 300 day streak, and even longer to get the courage to try again after reaching that goal and then somehow forgetting to do a day of Duolingo . . . I still remember that day, logging on sad because I missed one day in my streak, but confident I had a streak freeze; I didn't.
EDIT: Just (honestly) wondering why this was downvoted . . . was it because I might have been flouting my own streak, or maybe because of the unnecessary story about my first long-ish one? Or it could just be trolls. . . .
So, if I recall correctly: I had a 30-day streak (or thereabouts), and then I got stuck on a French lesson (I think it was the Questions) that I just couldn't figure out at the time. I didn't record any points that day, and didn't realize that the mere act of trying to accumulate points would end your streak on Duolingo. So I went back down to zero, and started anew.
(If someone from Duolingo that has access to all the behind the scenes stuff is reading this and can corroborate what I'm saying, I'd be sort of fascinated to know if I'm remembering this correctly!)
So, yeah. I don't think this is my 'original streak' per se. This current streak began in February 2013, whereas I would have learned about Duolingo from my friend right before Christmas 2012 and used it shortly thereafter.
Anyways - congratulations on making it to 684 days! And for studying so many languages! That is awesome!
Yeah, early on I did something like that as well; not finishing my lesson and not getting any points.
I was also wondering because your duome.eu page doesn't say "Last Streak: [number] · lost [however many] days ago" like mine does, but maybe that's just because it was so long ago that it's not recorded anymore.
Thank you! I'm not studying that many languages compared to some, but I find all that I am studying really interesting!
Danke schön! As a native anglophone who can go just about anywhere in the world and find people who can speak to me in my language, I think it's important to at least make the effort to meet other people halfway.
Oh my! Your streak is unimaginable! My compliments! Perhaps ypu would like to join a nice, talkative Italian club? I'd be honoured to have a person with such a long streak, really! Should you like to join I will give you the club code. Or, I will give it toyou right away: 62B5WX. Actually I am looking for people like you, dedicated to language learning and systematic in it.
I'd really like to join to your italian club if you don't mind. I miss real conversation in my clubs. Mostly youngsters saying hello and how are you all the time. They don't seem to strive.
Sure! I just started Italian in November, and I don't really understand the whole club thing yet. But I'll sign up in a moment. Thank you for the invite (and congratulations on your own lengthy streak!).
JaySilverman you are an inspiration to me as well. Thank you for so many good insights. Your hard work inspires many others. I, too, am grateful to all the duolingo workers and Dr. Ahn for the opportunity that has been granted to us all.
For those who wonder, google "duolingo streak hall of fame."
Thanks for your nice response - and congratulations on your super-lengthy streak, as well!
Congratulations on a fantastic achievement and thanks for the inspirational post which effectively sums up everything that is great and important about language learning and Duolingo .
I need to start getting out more for conversational practice. My health will probably keep me from having as long of streaks, but I hope to join you in conversation groups around the city e.g. NYC Language Exchange, Mundo Lingo, etc.
Conversation groups are great! I attended one today. Always interesting.
Yeah, it's really important to find other people to speak with. I've only done it a minor little bit here in NYC, but if there are clubs to meet up at and practice, I'm all for it!
Congratulations on changing and extending your life in so many positive ways! My journey is a fraction of yours (and my streak under 200) but I am closing in on four years and getting grounded in my second duolingo language (French after Spanish) and found myself identifying with almost everything you said. Thanks for reminding me what a gift Duolingo and language learning is. Gran trabajo on the language learning and bon travail on the post, too!
That's fantastic! It takes time to get grounded in a new language, but it looks like you're doing a good job of it!
Many contratulations and Thanks for your informative/inspirational thoughts! I did not realize Duolingo had been around that long!
I've got about 6 weeks to get to my first 1000. Thanks for the great post--and motivation to keep at it!
Congratulations! That's a really great and inspiring story! What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing that.
Do you have any plans for the future in regards to new trees or do you stay with Italian and German for the near future?
By the way, in case you haven't heard of it yet: https://duome.eu/JaySilverman (everyone else can use the same link just replacing the username at the end of the link with one's own username.) There you can find more details. The currently selected language shows more details.
I'm looking forward to your next post of that kind. Good luck for the future.
Thanks for your kind words!
I definitely want to do more languages - if I had more time, I'd already be studying Esperanto, Chinese, Dutch, Arabic, and who knows what else by now. I try to go about it all a bit thoughtfully - I don't like to start a new language and take it half-seriously, so if I'm going in and doing it then I'm really going to make an effort at it. I totally admire (and envy!) your roster of languages, and maybe I'll do something like that someday. But for now, picking up a new language every 1-2 years seems like a good thing to do.
I have indeed seen the Duome website, but thanks for passing it along anyhow! I wonder what other stats the people at Duolingo have on us.
That's so commendable and inspirational, well done and good luck with your various trees. Look forward to reading your next post - 2500, 3000?
“Q: Did I once rush off a 13-hour connecting flight in the Abu Dhabi airport to hop on their Wi-Fi signal to notch Duolingo points in order to preserve my streak before communicating with any friends and family about my safety and whereabouts? A: Yes.”
Hahahaha yeah. Sounds somewhat familiar! Bravo et bonne continuation!
Wow, congrats to you! 2000 day streak is a huge achievement and (this is a suggestion) maybe you could set a goal to 3000-day streak! Anyways, congrats and happy learning :)
What a nice post to start Sunday morning. Thank you, JaySilverman for sharing your experience. Good luck!
Congratulations for your streak of 2000 days... I have streaks 250+271+14 days... I am happy because I can understand the threads of my collegues... One question: All people write about Duolingo that it is for knowledge of basics of the language. It is really or I don't understand very well?
Congratulations on your progress! I think that Duolingo is very good for learning all of the basics of a language. It will not make you fluent - no website or app ever could. Languages are too big and too complex for that. But Duolingo will allow you to make more sense of different languages, and that's a pretty great thing in and of itself.
Oh gosh, that's awfully generous of you! But thanks for your kind thoughts.
I'm with everyone else in saying thank you for sharing your story and congratulations on your achievement. That was a great post - inspirational, I'm sure, for anyone who reads it. And I loved your story about rushing off the plane to preserve your streak - totally get that.
I'm really enjoying my learning and wish I had started 2000 days ago, but it's heartening to think that in that amount of time I might still be doing this and will be so much further advanced in my studies. As I've said: thank you!
Thanks Tracey! I have a few other such 'oh my god, I need to use Duolingo ASAP!' stories, but the reality is that I've just made a habit of it. When I've found myself in the Middle East, or Australia, or Spain, or Canada, or wherever - I still made time for Duolingo each day. Even if just 5 minutes, it still counts.
Don't worry that you didn't start 2000 days ago - you can't change it now, so what's the point in regretting it? You're doing a great job as it is right now.
(How are you finding Dutch? That's been on my mental list for awhile now.)
Fantastic inspiring post. Well done. Only 1711 days for me to emulate you! A lingot from me, spend it wisely.
Merci! The next 1711 days will be here before you know it. Keep at it, and you'll get there soon.
Incredible to hear that, fantastic, thank you so much for sharing! I've been away from Duolingo for quite some time, my language learning has been put on a huge halt for quite some time. I think I might want to start up some more now, after having read your post :)
Glad to have inspired you a little bit! I suppose that's always my goal when I write these posts every few years. :)
I can never get over a few day streak because I never do school work on Sunday.
The way my son approaches Duloingo (He has been doing it for about a year and a half) is that when he does French GCSE he will find it easy and be able to put his efforts into other subjects and still do well in French. Don't treat it like schoolwork just get in the habit of doing it every day including Sundays! You could just do less XP on a Sunday.
Your streak is 2191 today. I made a math:
It means that you have made continuous language learning for 6 years! (well may be 1-2 days before 6 full years to count for the leap years).
Congratulations to your hardwork and successes of the 6 years! (I wish duo has flowers!)
Thanks! I'm in disbelief that it's been six years already. Holy wow, that's a considerable chunk of my life!
That's very kind of you to say - and congratulations on 600 days! Keep going!
I always think that so much of learning is about willpower - if you want to be still learning new stuff in six years, then you will be. You just have to commit to it. I am sure that you can do it.
(As for the convincing your wife to move to France part - well, sorry, can't help you with that!)
I have a 5 day streak at present, and the longest I have managed is 54 days before something gets in the way. I think you are an inspiration for those days when I think 'what's the point'. Thank you for your post. I wonder what the longest duolingo streak is?
According to DuoMe, someone has a streak of like 2700 days - which I think maybe even pre-dates the app itself? Maybe someone who helped create it? I don't know. I believe that I have the 9th longest one in the world, but only a few of us have hit 2000 days at this point.
Merveilleux! I will be egging you on! :)) Not that you need it, mind you! ✿
wow. that is amazing. I am in the process of learning Japanese and have done a little in French and Spanish. you are a great inspiration to practice more.
Glad to hear it! Thanks for your kind thoughts. I think it's fantastic that you want to learn such a variety of languages! Keep it up!
Thanks, Coby! I just started Italian in November, and have gotten through a third of it in like 200 days. I felt like I didn't really go about learning German in a way that I was entirely happy with, so I've worked on Italian over the past year in a more deliberate way. I'll probably have it all finished by this time next year, I think.
Jay, that is an amazing tribute to your dedication, congratulations. As Americans, it is eye opening to discover another language and another culture within that language -- I am particularly enjoying discovering the nuance within the French language. Good luck going forward, I am visiting Brooklyn and Manhattan again soon and will once again marvel in the nuances of the English language. Great work!
Thanks for your kind thoughts! And totally - the discovery of all the little nuances of a new language is just wonderful!
what a wonderful thing you are doing and your post describes so well the highs (conversations/connections) and the lows (dashing to make the daily log in requirements)... bravo! PS: you will 'eat up' Esperanto... I find it almost too easy... such an elegant 'new' language... it's a pity it is not more widespread but the internet will do its magic, no doubt! Congratulations! PS: I forgot to say that I also love your comments regarding the current state of affairs in this world of ours, well said!
Thanks, Ann! Esperanto seems like a very egalitarian language to learn next, and one that is consistent with the worldview that I outlined. That you find it 'almost too easy' is sort of encouraging for me - hopefully I'll feel the same way!
Wow! That's impressive. I've been using Duolingo on and off since I discovered it in 2013. I have just hit my 23rd day continuously re-learning my Japanese from University and hopefully get back in my Korean and Spanish. This is so inspirational. I hope to get my 30-day mark soon, then 100, 1000 and hopefully reach 2000.
I trust that you can get there! Keep at it! And like I wrote - learning and trying to learn and being curious about the world is the most important thing. The streak is, ultimately, a big whatever. If you never reach 2000 days but you find yourself learning more Japanese and Korean and Spanish, that's equally as good!
wow congratulations! Thank you for sharing such a humblingly story. Good luck to reaching 3000.
Thanks - and what an impressive array of languages you have! Consider me jealous.
Congratulations; as you note you must be willing to make mistakes and learn from them to make progress.
Wow! Most impressive and inspiring! I, too, love Duilingo! (My French name is Suzanne. Don't know how I even got the "name" shown here - I think was just dragging something along the keyboard.)
Hi Suzanne, you can change your name in your Settings->Account Settings.
That's a good question, and it's hard to answer. I have averaged about 65 XP each day over the past 2000 days - but there have been days where I only notched a few XP, and days when I put in 1000+ XP. In the last few months since the development of the new crown system, I've been 're-golding' my trees and racking up huge point total numbers by doing the 'jump' lessons that notch you big points from just a few minutes of work - so that has distorted some of the averages a bit. I'd estimate that I put in anywhere from 10-45 minutes each morning, depending on how much time I have and a variety of other factors. I always try to do at least a little bit for each of the languages that I'm studying.
Félicitations ! Votre histoire était très inspirante !
BRAVO! To do anything outside of those things necessary to survival every day for this long is absolutely incredible and admirable.
Thanks, Kristen! I guess now you know how I was spending my mornings during the weekend of your brother's wedding, huh? :)
I'm happy for you, but how do you get peut-être and prostituée mixed up? Is there another word? Genuinely curious. Again, congrats though :)
Exactly - I was trying to say peut-être and it came out as pute-être. Instantaneous laughter ensued. I had no idea what I had just done until she resumed breathing just long enough to kindly explain it to me. :)
I'm using Duolingo to help me prepare for SAT subject tests and I really hope that it'll mean as much to me as it does to you after that
I wish that Duolingo was around when I was in high school! It'll totally help you on the SATs - at the very least, studying French or Spanish or Italian can help you for the same reasons that Latin might help you, as it makes you a bit more familiar and cognizant of various Latin roots that come up all the time on standardized vocabulary tests.
A well written piece Jay. You should consider writing as a future endeavor. Regards. peter
Ha, thanks! That's kind of you to say, Peter. I've done a small bit of writing for television and the web, but I've never seriously pursued it as a singular career or anything.
Heike - just saw the follow, and just followed you back. Danke!
Awesome! Well done. I had a highish score once but lost it due to travel. Anyway I havent given up - still at it.
My congratulations! I have been read about your achievements 500 days, 1000 days. Wow! There is a great deal and very impressive on my learning.
While you have done so great in language learning, I believe you have done very well in other areas in your life.
I would like to recommend your post to my friends as well.
Keeping motivation and discipline in the long run seems to be key, according to other accounts; this is one of Duolingo’s merits.
(As a side note, I disagree with the political bit — being curious about things does not contradict whatever degree of self-preservation one may look for —, but let us not get into it too deeply.)