https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525

Why do the internet polyglots hate on Duolingo so much?

Prussia1525
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Let’s talk about the internet polyglots.

[audience groans, leaves]

Yes, I know. You have opinions about them and what they do and what they say and what they think. (And I have opinions on what they wear- can Steve Kaufmann release his fashion line already? I’m so prepared to steal his look.)

But what exactly is their problem with Duolingo?

After approximately 0.6 seconds of intense thinking, I’ve determined that it’s probably that they want to sell their own sh-stuff.

Let’s think about Fluent in 3 Months. How long does that suggest it will take you to become fluent? (I see you need a hint. It’s three months.) Now everyone who has achieved a C1 level in a language via an internet program alone, raise your hand. Just kidding- you’re alone, how would anyone know? Don’t be ridiculous.

“Benny Lewis,” said a German-speaking friend of mine, “can speak German in the same way that putting on a British accent makes me the Queen.” (More accurately, it was “ze same way zat putting on a Breetish accent makes me ze Queen,” but that isn’t important. We're getting better.)

Benny Lewis’ actual language qualifications aren’t what we are here to discuss, though. What I was wondering is why he bashes Duolingo so often.

“Here’s a sentence Duolingo teaches,” reads one of Benny’s recent emails (November 20, 2018,) “‘Today the spider lives between the radio and the plastic giraffe.’ Honestly, Duolingo can be a good tool and it has made language learning available to many more people, but it’s not likely to keep you going long.”

I dunno, Lewis. I see a lot of streaks around here longer than three months.

Yes, I am subscribed to the FI3M mail list, and yes, I am too lazy to unsubscribe, and yes, I hate myself, too.

Kaufmann, Steve Kaufmann, has also checked Duolingo out. (Full disclosure: Steve Kaufmann is awesome as heck.)

His criticism was less direct than Lewis’, but he still described the platform as “boring” and mostly used the space to promote LingQ (which worked for me not at all, but some fans insist it does.) “It’s not that we’re putting bricks into this wall that we’re building,” Kaufmann said, having just taken his glasses off. “It’s sort of in flux.”

He put his glasses back on at that point, to add emphasis.

Kaufmann complained that the Duolingo lessons were unhelpful, and he was unhappy with the fact that he couldn’t access skills he hadn’t worked his way up to. He’d had experience with Greek before Duolingo, enough to make the first lesson boring, but it was unclear if he’d attempted anything beyond that and the placement test for people who already have learned a reasonable amount of the language.

I hear he’s quite good at Greek now, though. Nice job, Steve!

Gabriel Silva gave a more positive review, but mourned the lack of languages (in a video from 2016.) In a more recent one, he learned a fair amount of Swedish from it over the course of 7 hours. Silva has made several videos on it over the years, agreeing that it is helpful. And sometimes not- he’s pretty honest about his thoughts on the app.

Silva’s review is odd, compared to some other major polyglots who have complained about Duolingo to no end.

Guess what product SIlva’s trying to sell?

I keep up with the internet polyglots like some people catch up with the Kardashians or the royals (did ya’ll hear that Meghan is pregnant???) and this has always bothered me. The sheep following the major polyglots and simply taking their word for it that this or that program works much better (and will only cost you your soul, a bag of Doritos, eight euros, and one elephant tusk) worry me a good deal.

I didn’t use Duolingo for a long time because everyone said I’m never going to learn anything from a game.

And it won’t make me fluent. You guys know that as well as I do. But the only thing you’re doing by discouraging someone from learning the basics of a language in a fun and convenient way is hurting them.

You can try to sell us whatever you like, but giving Duolingo a hard time for doing better than your product is lazy.

I hope you all use what works for you, even if it isn’t Duolingo, even if it’s Fluent In 3 Months or LingQ or by sacrificing your Icelandic phrasebook to Thor. Guys, don’t knock it until you try it. But be wary of who you take advice from. Everyone is trying to sell you something.

(Including me. I’m kickstarting a new business that I think is really going to take off. The plan is to, for a monthly fee, fill your chimney with radishes. This is a sign of wealth, because you can afford to have your chimney filled with radishes. Are you in?)

Good luck with your language studies, and use whatever language source works best for you, even if the “pros” don’t like it!

(And, hey, no hate for Lewis and Kaufmann. They have cool YouTube channels and devoted their life to something we all love. Best wishes for them and their individual services!)

Bye, kids. Think about the radish thing and let me know.

Update: Yes, there is a 20% radish discount if you purchase before Christmas, by which I mean you pay 3K more and we take away 20% of the radishes we put in your chimney.

Update 2.0: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29757136 That's last week's post, if you were thrown off by the mention of Thor.

6 days ago

211 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/labradore1

"Today the spider lives between the radio and the plastic giraffe."

I still remember a lesson from second-year French which was deliberately nonsensical: "Il est luthérien, mais il aime les fleurs."

Let's assume that sentence was in an English for _ course. It has in it:

  • An adverb of time
  • Definite articles (some languages don't)
  • A present-tense verb
  • A preposition (some languages don't have prepositions in the way IE-speaking people conceive of them)
  • An adjective
  • A conjunction

"Today the spider lives between the radio and the plastic giraffe."

Put it all together and you have a perfectly cromulent sentence, just like many of the perfectly cromulent sentences I've been exposed to in the four languages I'm working on in Duolingo, only one of which I've had any real previous exposure to.

For the sneerers, if the vocabulary and the overall subject matter of the sentence is kind of silly, ridiculous, or impractical, it's probably not aimed at teaching you vocabulary. What's the sentence doing in terms of exposing you to syntax, grammar, even spelling or pronunciation in your target language?

"Il est luthérien, mais il aime les fleurs."

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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I second all of this. It's true that this helps build important skills for becoming better that "Hello. I am Bob. I have a job. I am a teacher" simply won't teach you. Plus, it keeps me learning longer if I'm having fun, and hearing about a Danish man that drinks beer with a bear for breakfast is something that makes me laugh and work harder.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Katred2
Katred2
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YES. THIS. Those weird sentences actually strike me as very useful because they are teaching grammar and also because their peculiarity makes them stick in your head. For me, that makes them very useful.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hanspersson
hanspersson
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Silly and weird sentences are excellent at teaching stuff since you can't just guess the second half of them, you need to understand.

Duo isn't going to make you fluent in anything but it can definitely take you from nothing to a level where you can continue to practice in real-world situations (reading books and magazines, posting on the internet, watching TV, etc). In order to master a language you will need to do that regardless of your method. No web site will get you fluent.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/daltojr
daltojr
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OK, you have cromulent sentences, but they're not enough for someone who wants to MASTER a language.

And the reason is simple: you cannot grow your vocabulary to a decent size by just using Duolingo. The average number of words one learns in Duo is ~2000, and while that's a good start, it's NOT EVEN CLOSE to the vocabulary you have to have to reach fluency.

I think most of the polyglots criticism to Duo comes from this. It is not even the goal of Duolingo for you to reach fluency using it.

You should be somewhere between A2-B1 levels after finishing a course, and by finishing it I'd say you have to go all the way to level 25 and get a golden or reversed tree.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Aww - can't I be fluent after I get to Level 3?

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nikhil3
Nikhil3
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Fluency is totally upto you. If you use only Duolingo. I don''t like you are going to be fluent. But if you make use of multiple resources along with Duolingo ... yes, at Level 3 in the whole try, you can have comfortable elementary conversations.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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If the polyglot's criticism of Duolingo is that the goal isn't fluency, that is like giving a 1 star rating to a cook book because it is not a history book. There is something dubious if a competing cookbook company starts giving their competition low ratings based on not being something other than advertised.

Duolingo intends and advertises that it provides learners access to the basics. It should only be rated on what it is: access to learning the basics up to an Intermediate level.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HayleyMitc7
HayleyMitc7
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"If the polyglot's criticism of Duolingo is that the goal isn't fluency, that is like giving a 1 star rating to a cook book because it is not a history book."

I agree with that analogy - and to put it to an everyday example - it's like critiquing me for not being a cordon bleu chef when really all I want to do is cook simple, healthy meals that I enjoy eating. Functionality rather than expertise is my goal.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CaseyNedry

Presuming the ~2,000 words learned in the course are based on high frequency words & their iterations (e.g. assume-assumes-unassuming) then that would cover ~85-90% of words in novels, tv, and films as well as ~84% of words in newspapers, at least in English. That’s fairly fluent. How are defining/thinking of fluency?

Based on my experience in the Japanese course, which I’ve not finished, I feel I’ll be at the A2-B1 level. But perhaps my perception is wrong.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulEres1

no, 2000 words is by no possible definition fluent. it is true that it's 80%-90% of words by frequency, but, if you were listening to someone in english, like just reading the comments here, and didn't know 1 word out of 5, or one word out of 10 -- even if you knew 4/5 of the words in the OP's post, or 9/10 of the words, that would not be fluency, and you wouldn't be able to understand the post. fluency requires understanding about 98-99% of the words in a text. you can't stop to look up a word every 5 words or even every 10 words. if you stopped to look up a word every 100 words (roughly one per paragraph), then sure, that'd be usable. but if you were still needing to look up on average one word per sentence i'm not sure how that could be even remotely fluent. fluent implies flow, and there would be no flow if you didn't know one word per sentence when someone was talking to you or when you were reading something.

also, often the meaning of a sentence is contained in its less frequent words, not its more frequent words. here's an example in english:

i'm going to the store to buy a water purifier.

you might know i'm, going, to, the, store, to, buy, a, water, but if you don't know purifier, you would not know what the meaning of the sentence was, or what they were buying.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

2000 is nothing like enough. Just enough to get the gist - but few enough to miss the infrequent word that reverses the meaning of the sentence. What's more DL would count "assume-assumes-unassuming" as three words.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulEres1

yeah this is especially a problem in languages with a lot of conjugation. in spanish, a single word might have up to 50 or 60 conjugations. so it'd be counting 'we run', 'she ran', 'i ran', 'they ran', they all ran', 'you ran' etc. each as a separate word.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Laboradore1, thanks for your well-articulated comment. I hope you don't mind that I've borrowed it. I feel that once people understand why Duolingo has quirky sentences, they can enjoy them more instead of worrying that they are wasting their time. :)

2 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HayleyMitc7
HayleyMitc7
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Yeah, I'm relearning Italian after having lived there for a year a loooong time ago, and while some of the sentences Duolingo has me learn, I'd never use in real life, they do reinforce important grammar points.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TehsinF
TehsinF
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Thanks for your comment - and all the upvotes that prove there are some who understand the reason behind the absurd sentences! :)

1 day ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carbsrule
carbsrule
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I think I kind of agree with Steve Kaufmann but most of my Duolingo is done on the tram to and from work, where any other method wouldn't be anywhere near as convenient. As they say, the best language learning tool is the one you actually use.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/abc.sea
abc.sea
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As they say, the best language learning tool is the one you actually use.

Yes. The world is big enough for several approaches.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kobnach
Kobnach
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I also agree.

I have specific uses for Duolingo, along with my German speaking roommate, my local library's "foreign language" book section (I love graphic novels in languages I'm trying to learn), enormous dictionaries, a couple of textbooks, and at least one graded primer. I even have crossword puzzles for beginning German speakers.

I don't think I'd do well with Duoling alone.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Corn425470

That's really cool. Do you have any idea where I could find this type of stuff?

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Whenever I run into someone else on Duolingo in the wild, I ask if they are on the website. If not (so far they had all only used the app), I encourage them to come here. I feel the desktop version is more challenging and more effective than just using the app. The lack of opportunity for me to remember the word, rather than just recognize the word in blocks on the app, slows my retention. I'll use the app if im away from my computer so Im grateful it exists. However, I dont see the app being equal to the website as a learning tool. I also recognize that others might have a different experience. Different things work for different folks. So, I also really value that we encourage each other to use multiple resources. Why limit ourselves if we don't need to? :)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DustinCMoo

I just recently found out about the website after having used the app on and off for years... let me tell you, I pull out my laptop just to use the desktop site whenever I am travelling. My phone tends to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot instead of just using the app.

I was showing some friends I had travelled to see this past weekend all the features on the website. It's exciting!

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Natea74
Natea74
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I only have the website. Have never seen or used the app, hadn't even thought of it...won't bother now though! - thanks for tip... ;)

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I still use the app when I'm out doing errands and riding the city bus or if it's cold and I'm not ready to get out of bed just yet. So, it's a good support tool for the website.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DustinCMoo

I will say, though, one benefit of the app I'm realizing is the ability to join a "club" of others learning the language. It lets me know how I do weekly in XP compared to others in the club on the leader board and also gives prompts and questions to orient discussions in the learning-language. I haven't seen the option on the desktop site so far in my searching, but it was fun to see when I was using the app.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hanspersson
hanspersson
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Same for me. I'll occasionally use the app as a bad substitute for the web site if I'm travelling and can't easily get to a computer, but then I'll only do what I need to keep up me streak instead of really practice.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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It really is- even if Duolingo isn't perfect, using it means you're making at least some progress. Thanks for checking out my post.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Reichsritter14

Steve Kaufmann basically considers LingQ to be the end-all be-all of language learning. I wonder why... oh wait it's because he is the owner of LingQ. People should keep that in mind when they hear him criticize other products.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ClarkStephen
ClarkStephenPlus
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All of these guys are self-appointed. You aren't hearing from those people who don't put themselves forward, usually because they aren't trying to make a buck. There is a conflict of interest here, true? I look at how my wife does it. She speaks eight languages well and a smattering of about half a dozen more but don't look for her on the internet, you won't find her. But here's what I've learned from watching her:

1) There is no one course/app/technique that takes you to fluent. My wife does it all: Duolingo, reading books in the target language, watching films in the target language, Skyping with people in the target language, travel to countries where they speak the target language, etc., etc.

2) As soon as you stop practicing a language, you start forgeting it (even your mother tongue). So my wife will never tell you she is fluent in eight languages, because she doesn't have time to practice all of them everyday. But with a little practice the languages come back at a pretty high level.

Yumm ... radishes.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Giovanna-Louise
Giovanna-Louise
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An awesome comment and so true!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bodyshower

you are absolutely right and precise, Mr. ClarkStephen, you summarized the debate in a few lines, thank you so much for your comment

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nikhil3
Nikhil3
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Chapeau bas! Hats off! Awesome comment.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/judyholzwart
judyholzwart
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I thoroughly enjoy using Duolingo. It's a great program. I'll probably never become fluent but, who cares? I'm just having a blast learning.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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That's good. Honestly, if it makes you happy and doesn't hurt anything, it's usually worth doing!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/judyholzwart
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I'm making it fun for my friends on Facebook as well. Each day I post a word of the day, in the language I'm practicing for that day. They enjoy making funny sentences from the word. They are learning as well. I've even been told that they look forward to this "game".

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmmaLouG
EmmaLouG
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You wrote a great article and it's fun to read! You've covered it all so well I have nothing left to say.

Well... maybe I can elaborate. People drilling on Duolingo for the "useless sentences" is ridiculous. Other sites teach hello how are you good thanks you're welcome how much does this hotel room cost but you can't know every possible sentence! Duolingo teaches you how to make your own sentences!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Thank you!!! I'm just impressed you read all this crap. I'm glad you liked it, and your profile pic is pretty neat.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmmaLouG
EmmaLouG
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Not crap at all! I love reading writing that is entertaining as well as informative. And thank you!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bodyshower

you are right Emma dl teaches.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
garpike
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Why do the internet polyglots hate on Duolingo so much?

Because they want you to spend time watching their videos and making them advertising revenue, or reading their e-mails and signing up to their associated referral programmes or buying their e-books. Essentially, they want to make money: this is how they make their livings. Duolingo has no referral programme and does not make them any money, but it is also something on which language-learners can and do spend a lot of time that could otherwise be spent with the 'internet polyglots'.

Some of these people used to be worth watching when they were normal people documenting their attempts to learn various languages, but now they are mostly trying to promote their own brands and cash in on Google ads.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Yes . . . this was what I said in the post. ;)

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Plazation
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I'd be an internet polyglot if I had the time, but I wouldn't do it for money, I'd do it for the benefit of the people.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Giovanni0604
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I think most of the hate is simply driven from the fact that Duolingo is a free service that many people are choosing over the "big leagues." If you can buy an iPhone 8 for 250 on eBay or get a new iPhone X from Apple for a grand, which are you more likely to choose? Duo isn't a RS (which I bought, by the way, and don't use) or, really, any other paid service. But it's %$#@ing free! And who's not going to try to better themselves FOR FREE when they could be bettering themselves for 200 dollars a little bit more. That's why Duo gets hate. They're just too good.

Oh, and the radishes, where can I pre-order this service? Can I schedule the filling for December 26th though, assuming I've been a good boi this year? See ya, Gio.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Yes, absolutely. ;D And thanks for reading my post!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Giovanni0604
Giovanni0604
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No problem, I've written my share of long reads.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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One of the best posts I've read on Duolingo in a long, long time. Thank you for that!

I admit to following celebrity polyglots. I find them inspiring. Tim Doner, Judith what's-her-name, Luca Lamp-however-you-spell-it, Steve Kauffman, and Richard Simcott are all great folks, IMO. I don't care for Benny Lewis' over-the-top hype but he will forever have my gratitude for what he has done to promote language learning and make it "cool".

As you can see, I don't follow them closely enough to remember their last names all the time (it will probably come to me later, when I don't need it...) but I know them a lot better than the Kardashians. Other than Kim I have no clue what any of them are named.

If you haven't seen the "Skype Me Maybe" video on YouTube, you're missing out! https://youtu.be/6HZbBLl4FA0

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Thank you so much! I see you around the community often, and it's super cool of you to leave a comment on my post!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carbsrule
carbsrule
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Judith Meyer, I'm guessing. I quite liked her talk about how she 'learned' Indonesian in 6 weeks in order to give a speech in it.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/D_..
D_..
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The video was fun until it reached the Greek bit which I can only assume was created with an automatic translator :/ - thank goodness for the subtitles!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cloudsurfer7000
Cloudsurfer7000
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Is it odd that I'm mostly just extremely skeptical that anyone could get fluent in a language in three months? I'll believe it when I see it, I guess.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

It can be done for one of the easier languages if you work for about 11 hours a day (every day) and have talent and a good course. (This is based on the FSI figures)

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FredrikVC

While the math works, I'm not sure if you can maintain that level of efficiency for that long in a single day. No, it's not something I want to test. (Even if my boss let me.)

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Yes, I admit I haven't managed to do more than about 8 hours in a day - but I can't do it for more than a couple of days. I can hold 5-6 hours for a week though. :-)

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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That's my belief. When Benny has gone about attempting his own program, it never seems to work so well . . .

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ashley204948

I've spent some time on his site, and he has an article where he admits that he has a very relaxed view of the world "fluent". He does have a point that chasing perfect fluency holds a lot of people back from getting descent (The perfect is the enemy of the good and all that). But if all he can do is hold a basic conversation and be understood by someone, that's not really fluency imo.

Although I could see getting fluent in three months if say, you were already fluent in Spanish, and were trying to learn Portuguese, and had lots of time and resources available. Or if you knew Danish and were trying to learn Swedish etc. Lots of similarly related languages. But like, an English speaker gaining fluency in Quechua in three months or something? Doesn't seem likely!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
garpike
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For all the languages Benny Lewis speaks fluently, he has lived in a country speaking that language for a lot longer than three months. On all the occasions he has tried to learn an unfamiliar language in three months, he has never got anywhere near fluency; you can certainly learn a lot in three months, but genuine fluency takes more than simply 'a lot' of mundane questions and answers.
He is dishonest in the way he presents a selection of A2 skills as 'fluency' in order to peddle his books and e-books full of self-improvement platitudes.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HayleyMitc7
HayleyMitc7
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I think it depends on what other languages you speak already and the degree of mutual intelligibility between those and the one you wish to acquire. When I was in Rome the Spanish speaking expats were highly functional Italian speakers within a month or two - the rest of us had to work much harder at it.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Davey944676

I'm remarkably wealthy, and have always used "Radishes by Prussia" to fill my magnificent chimney. However this season, as a cultured man, I wish my neighbours to know that I am a devotee of the current minimalist fashions.

To this end, I am prepared to pay handsomely for a fleet of your liveried vehicles to park outside my home, and for an artist to spend a day tastefully arranging several small radishes within my fireplace.

Regards.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Oh! Minimalism is in. We'll get in touch soon about your exquisite taste in radish design. Thanks for your loyalty to "Radishes by Prussia."

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
garpike
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Could you make me a single radish suspended within a huge tank of formaldehyde? You could entitle it 'The Physical Impossibility of Being A Non-Cancerogenic Salad Ingredient Within the Mind of Someone Living '.
As an art-lover, though, I must insist that its price be many orders of magnitude more than what it cost you to make; also, feel free to re-interpret the specifics my request as, e.g., a radish-sized ball of radioactive dead locusts partially coated with platinum and elephant dung suspended in a huge tank of formaldehyde.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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There is nothing that Radishes by Prussia won't do to the best of our ability to make your home better this season.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Giovanna-Louise
Giovanna-Louise
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Hahaha..You guys are truly brilliant ! Thanks for the great humor!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rev._mother

Radishes by Prussia. So funny. XD

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mattoleriver
mattoleriver
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Minimalism be damned! Noche de Los Rabanos is alive and well in Oaxaca, December 23. https://tinyurl.com/y7y49qsg

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Boujleba
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I have never heard of any of those people because I don't like to watch youtube videos where a person talks to their youtube audience, but this is the most surprisingly enjoyable to read duolingo post I have read in a long time. Thanks!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Thank you so much! It always makes me happy to hear that something I wrote made someone else smile.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Loucke
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I had no idea that there were "celebrity polyglots" before reading this post, but I'm fairly amused by the idea. That said, I agree with everything you've said. For me, Duo is a fun, low maintenance way to learn a language. Sure, some of the sentences are nonsensical, but it's always impressive to realize just how much you've learned over time. I'm pretty happy to stick with Duolingo.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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I'm glad you feel that way, too. It's a pretty nice way to spend time!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Natea74
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I'm exactly the same! Internet "celebrity" polywhats?... I enjoy my quiet time, I see it as a game and I am learning/relearning my old school stuff. Totally agree with Prussia1525.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ryanaissance
Ryanaissance
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Trade the radishes for potatoes and I'm in.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Oof, you might need to try a different service. We take pride in our handiwork.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I'm dying.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Giovanna-Louise
Giovanna-Louise
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LolOlOL..:-)))))))))))))))))))

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carbsrule
carbsrule
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A lingot for the fellow potato fan!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Can I frame this? x'D

PS I don't have any radishes for you, but I do have a few lingots and they kinda look like radishes to me. If I squint.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Hey, I wouldn't mind. And I see you around a lot, it's so cool to have you comment on my post! It's okay, lingots can go in the chimney as well.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tranklements
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Finally, a use for lingots - chimney stuffing! Do you also build chimneys for the hearth-less?

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Of course, but the only material we have is radishes, so you should probably take that into consideration when making this request.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CadetheBruce
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I had to google Kaufmann. That's pretty indicative of how much mental energy I spend on these celebrity polyglots.

I only know of Lewis because I study Celtic languages and it's almost impossible to google info on Irish that doesn't eventually lead to him or something his fans have posted about him. I watched a couple videos of him speaking languages after following his own method--one of Arabic, the other I forget--and I wasn't impressed. If that's all it takes for him to sell his brand, I could go into business myself too. Except I'm a cranky disabled woman who nowhere fits other people's idea of a "language geek," so yeah. That actually says a lot about this little celebrity polyglot industry.

I ignore these people as much as I can, although other learners continually bring them up at forums for learning languages under the presumption that we care about people who are selling an image and an illusion of mastery and "specialness" as we work away at actually trying to learn something well. These hacks--and yes, I mean that--are products of our consumer culture, and thus incredibly irrelevant to most people's language learning goals. I wouldn't be interested in their opinion on anything, and I don't think other people should either.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Yes, that was what I said in my post. :) I was making sure that people who kept up with the exploits of these people also understood, and informing some others of a reason some language learners might not use Duolingo. It's cool of you to comment- I see you on the forums a lot, thanks for taking a minute to share. It's good to hear your opinion.

Update: I reread your comment with a different tone of voice and now I realize this may be a complaint of my own interest in polyglots. I keep up with them mostly for inspiration, just to prove to myself that at least someone out there has done what I want to do, and watching them go about their process is always somewhat informative. I'm sorry if my bringing them up bothered you so much. :(

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Beau861
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I'm a HUGE fan of Steve Kaufmann, but I found his "review" of Duo to be laughable. Especially since he brought up Duo in previous videos and recommended it. I guess by the time he finally made his "review" he figured he'd better bash it to promote his LingQ website. He reviewed the Greek course, which at the time was brand new to Duo and surely had kinks to work out, which I suspect Kaufmann knew, which gave him ammunition to put together a scathing take on Duo.

All in all, though, I get 100% that established polyglots would find the Duo method very boring and un-engaging, as they already have their established method that works for them. But sometimes, especially in Kaufmann's review, I think they take a bit of a condescending attitude toward the people who like, enjoy and find success with Duo. Kaufmann even added an extra bit at the end, seemingly the same day after he initially posted the video, sort-of-but-not-really apologizing or his strong negativity. But really, Steve Kaufmann is a wonderful vlogger, and his videos have provided me with a lot of encouragement over my language learning journey. Though be warned, he never shuts up about LingQ. I've sort of tried it out when I paid for the subscription a while back (and only for a couple months), but find the interface of it to be very cluttered and difficult to navigate. It seems like a good method in principle, but there would have to be some major clean-up if I were to return to it.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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I agree! Steve is very interesting, and actually knows the languages he claims to know! But I was not a fan of LingQ or his biased review of Duolingo. Thanks for taking a minute to share- you're absolutely right.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rev._mother

I don’t know. Those guys are all nerds. I don’t really follow them.

I love Thor. I think he only speaks Australian though. I would buy radishes from him.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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"Those guys are all nerds." I love that and agree 10000%. That's why I follow them. I hear Thor will sell radishes for the right price.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/martinc31415

I lived in Germany for a few years. I learned almost nothing. I took 12 credits worth of German in college and learned a bit but forgot it.

About 8 or 9 years ago I decided to try learning Spanish since I had quite a few Spanish students in my classes (I teach Calc mostly). I bought Rosetta Stone when it was a $750 software package and ended up with buyer's remorse. I used it diligently and got bored to death in about 4 weeks. Learned a little.

A couple of years later I tried some audio method called The Pimsleur Approach (something like that). I got bored in a couple of weeks. Learned a very little.

I started Duolingo 49 days ago and have got a 49 day streak going. I enjoy it and I would not be enjoying it if I weren't learning so much. It may not work for everyone but I feel like it is working really well for me. I do 50 exp a day at least and have hit 650ish on a few days. I like it and I am learning a lot.

Complaining about Duolingo not making you fluent is like buying a home gym and bitching because it will not prepare you for bodybuilding competitions.

I am also using another free app called memrise and when I get a bit further along I may try some Spanish children's books or tv programs or something.

This has been very effective for me personally. I pay for Duolingo Plus and feel like I am getting a deal. I use it on PC and on iPhone (XS MAX because a fool and his money...) and enjoy both quite a bit.

This app delivers far more than anyone has the right to expect.

EDIT: For some reason this thread has given me a lot of motivation to get back to learning spanish....

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
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This is true, and thank you for putting it into words superior to mine. And congrats for doing well with your Spanish studies!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/.Spartan117

You have several good points. thanks for sharing!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Hey, thank you for saying so.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TimDiggle

What is their problem with D/L? What is Ford's problem with GM? What is CNN's problem with Fox? What is Apple's problem with Samsung? You cannot really expect the competition to recommend a free resource ahead of their own...

I do not think D/L has ever really claimed to be a one-stop resource to get from nothing to comfortable fluency. But my own experience is that it provides an excellent framework and a logical progression from scratch to about B2 level - it is a path to be followed at a pace of your own choosing.

It needs to be allied with external sources (You Tube, films, Children's programmes/cartoons, Grammar books/sites etc) just like homework was needed at school (!) but I have found it an excellent guide and mentor.

PS I'll pass on the radish offer as the house will fill with smoke when I light the fire in the really cold days to come!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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That's a shame. You can always purchase Radish Scented Candles by Prussia. ;) And yes, you definitely need external sources to best learn your language.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PhoenixRising18

The part with the radishes really got me going. XD And I agree with you. Honestly, I think everyone has their own way of learning anything, not just languages. Duolingo has been a way for me to dip my feet in the water and also get some practice here and there when I am unable to pull out the books. (When I am on the bus, train, mom's car, ect. :P) I also appreciate the community on here and in the forums you can find some rather helpful advice. :)

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Yes, yes, yes. Whatever helps you is what you should be using!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MossQuartz

This discussion helps me understand why I returned to studying languages. I don't remember the first time I found Duolingo, but I remember my first impression: I didn't like it. I was preoccupied with work, home, family, and lack of sleep; and I was easily distracted. I came back to look again at Duolingo after I saw my youngest child using Duolingo between college semesters, to practice Spanish language during school break. If it is good enough to be recommended by a Professor from that college, then maybe my problem was with myself. I looked again. Yes, I'm my problem; or, my point of view was my problem. In my first encounter with Duolingo, I was furious that one word meaning two things in English (and French, and Los Angelino slang Spanglish) was presented as ALSO having both meanings in Spanish. That one lesson, telling me "naranja" meant both the fruit and its color, instead of mentioning "anaranjado" as the color (much the same as German uses separate words for the fruit and its color). It was petty of me to let one little thing throw me into the equivalent of a tantrum. I was wrong to look at Duolingo as a way to become an elegant and fluent speaker of another language. I should have been remembering all of the many times from my youth in Los Angeles where I needed to use a fistful of words in Japanese (his car hit my car), or French (reading a menu), or Cantonese (specifying pork fried rice before she reached for mein), or Spanish (ordering shaved-ice snow-cone or paletas from street vendor). No, I was snobbishly WRONG to think fluent or nothing. I was wrong to forget that with fewer than ten words or phrases, communication can happen and can improve even a car accident with a foreign exchange student driving his uncle's car!

Radishes? I had not previously considered a ball of radishes in lieu of a sprig of mistletoe this winter season. Interesting, I must see your website!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
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Our website is currently down because of Radish interference. Thanks for your interest, and I'm so glad that you found out that some language is better than none.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kobnach
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I'm not sure that you were wrong to be annoyed about errors in Duolingo lessons. I'd like Duolingo much better if their material was more consistently accurate. It's not, and that's one reason I don't pay them money to use their site.

If there happens to be a big blooper in the first material you see -let's say one error in your first ten sentences - it's reasonable to guess that there will be 10 errors in the next 100, and go find something more reliable. The actual rate of errors and embarassing omissions isn't really that bad, but no one has time to keep trying everything that might actually get better.

There are lots of ways to learn languages. If I'd hit bad errors on my first day using the site - and had some way to recognize them - it would have taken a lot of people I trusted, insisting that this was unusual, before I'd try them again.

Of course you can argue that giving the wrong name for the colour wasn't a big enough error, particularly if it's common usage for some minority of speakers of the language. But I'd have reacted the same way - if I'm likely to be laughed at by natives for something I learnt on some language site, I wouldn't want to use it.

Instead, I've learned to live with it - I create Anki flash cards based on German from all sources, but I always check a high quality dictionary before adding something. That way I know if the usage in question is unique to 3 small villages somewhere in the Tyrol, rather than being standard German. And also when what I'm proposing to learn was actually a typo, or the result of some German-first-language developer whose English just isn't good enough for the job they are trying to do.

FWIW, it helps that my French was once very very good, and my roommate's German is excellent. If something in the French class looks strange to me, it's probably wrong. And if something in the German class looks wrong to her, it's definitely wrong.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Errors and all, is it still useful enough to use? If I was using something and could afford it, I'd pay for it. I wouldn't use it if I didn't benefit from using it. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Personally, I've used what I learned on Duolingo to help save my friend's mom's life. So, I'm a pretty big fan. It's been well worth volunteering for the last 5 years. :)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MossQuartz

Useful, yes, it is still useful. This source is one source of useful information. This information can be and should be supplemented with another source of information, your choice on the additional source or sources of information. I suggest adding a pocket-sized dictionary or listening to radio-stations or reading library books or watching foreign language video or reading something in the other language on the internet. Any or all or similar sources will give us real-life sentences and sounds and examples. Errors and all, Duolingo is still useful enough to use.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kobnach
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That's got to be quite a story. I'm glad you were able to do that.

What Duolingo does very well for me, is read everything out loud, so that my ear gets trained as well as my eye. Even better, it has dictation questions, where my job is to type whatever it just said. To me, those are worth the time I put into Duolingo, but not all that much more.

Fix the 'review' to be less annoying (and more useful), proofread everything very well, stop making changes that break existing material, and then I'd start feeling like paying for it.

OTOH, I have a very high threshold for buying subscriptions. I'd want to buy access to e.g. the current version of English-to-German, forever - not either pay a monthly fee, or buy access to whatever-they've-changed-the-course-or-the-interface-to-this-week

I'm not a heavy user - I'm a 10 xp a day plodder. Subscription pricing doesn't favour my usage pattern. And at my slow pace, there are far too many changes.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Hiya Kobnach,

If you want to read the story, there is a very generalized version of it here. What happened is my friend posted the need to find an emergency blood transfusion for her mom who was on vacation in a Spanish speaking country. Then, I saw it and created a post in Spanish and English on fb to my community of international friends I'd met through mostly Duolingo. From there, it got shared all over the world in a bunch of different languages through my friends' network, then spread through their friends' networks and so on until we found a match. We ended up finding someone with the same rare blood type, in the same city where she was in hospital, who donated blood for her. :)

Duolingo could definitely use fewer bugs. My impression is that we're limited on the type of staff that can come in and rewrite code and fix bugs and stuff. Plus memberships help boost the budget. So I imagine it is one of those things where if people wait for it to get better, then there isn't the budget to hire more staff to improve things.

Hmm, if you were learning Japanese, Korean, or Chinese I would recommend Lingodeer. (It might have other courses too. Those are just the ones I keep hearing about.) It has a $20 Lifetime subscription at the moment. My friend really likes their Japanese course. (Edit, it might seem counter intuitive for me to recommend subscribing to a different resource after expressing I hoped people would subscribe to Duolingo. But, you've stated that Duolingo doesn't quite have what you're looking for. Staff doesn't discourage us from recommending outside resources. And, a big priority for me is for people to find the resources that work for them, no matter which company has those resources. I think multi-lingualism can help the world. It doesn't guarantee it. But, if more people connect across the world, then I hope we can better understand each other and care about what is happening all over the world. )

I totally empathize with being strapped for cash and trying to spread it out as far as possible. That's different than being able to afford something. With all of the volunteers doing a lot of work for free, it generates labor that passes the savings forward and keeps Duolingo free. I've donated over $100,000 worth of labor. If people are out there genuinely able to easily afford Duolingo but are just using it for free, I'm definitely giving them a side-eye for free-skating off my work. I donated all of these hours to give someone access who would otherwise be unable or struggling to access Duolingo. It's not really that it's free. All of the server space and paid staff costs around $70,000/day. Duolingo mainly raises money to cover those costs with advertisements (that do not generate revenue if someone uses an ad blocker) and Plus accounts. Meanwhile, donated labor keeps costs for the company lower than it would be otherwise. (We have about 1,000 volunteers.) If I could afford a yacht, I'd create a plus membership fund instead. What puzzles me is that there is a market for yachts, but no Plus membership mega funds! The world is on it's head. :P (I have strong feelings of wanting Duolingo to succeed and continue to exist lol.)

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ash.Purple

I have an answer.

Because polyglots have developed a unique way of memorizing. Normies like us don't/can't do what they do. What takes us months takes them days to do, because they have the brain capacity and function to do it fast without much repetition.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Actually as in most of Europe and China (for example) most people speak several languages, being a polyglot is not super human. That said, some people do have brains that can learn languages faster and easier than others. But very, very few don't still put in the long hours (the FSI's figures of 1000 hours for the easiest languages assumes "that the student has above average aptitude for classroom learning of foreign languages").

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usernamehere1234

it's worth mentioning that in most of these places (India coming to mind as a country with many polyglots), they begin learning multiple languages from a young age. It's easier to pick up a new language when you are a child or teenager.

Obviously your main point is still correct though, that's just some important context.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ash.Purple

That's not what I meant. I was refering to the speed at which polyglots learn languages. Duolingo is not designed for people who learn languages as fast as polyglots do.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Ash.Purple, I think there is some disagreement because you are not using the word "polyglot" the same way. A polyglot is simply a person who knows multiple languages. It does not imply that they learned them quickly or slowly. If a person learns 3 languages after studying continuously for 80 years and only at the end of the 80 years were they able to accomplish the feat, they would be a polyglot.

There are some people who learn very quickly. My late partner absorbed languages like sunlight. Within a couple hours of exposure to a new language, they were able to start speaking it haltingly. After a couple of days they were intermediate. After a few months, they were composing documents in it. They were a "hyperpoliglot". But even that had to do with them knowing very many different languages, rather than them being able to learn them so quickly. So, I think you are thinking of something other than the word "polyglot" and it is causing misunderstanding. :)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jasonsudana
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I am a polyglot.

I was born in a Chinese-Indonesian family. Since I was young, I was taught speaking Chinese. I was admitted to a school which put heavy emphasis in English education (English is the mandatory language for speaking there). This background gave me 3 languages - Indonesian, Chinese, and English....

...but I still use Duolingo for my Russian and German, LOL.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Maybe that's true. Maybe they're just superhumans who sneer at the regular source that is Duolingo.

I'm just saying I don't think that's likely.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lorel90
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I think everyone has a different way of learning and these people have learned a lot of language with their method and they like it. Duolingo has improved a lot and I am not sure if anyone of them has completed any tree, without that it is difficult to really evaluate Duolingo. However some of them have conflicts of interest and some may be sincere and they do not like it. I think duo is not the most efficient way to learn a language, but as Luis (the CEO) said that is not the objective, the objective is to keep people from quitting language learning, because most people start to learn a language and find it boring and quit.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sam.y.gato
Sam.y.gato
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So can I have some radishes ?

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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It's only 4.3K for a delivery of radishes to fill your chimney and hearts this holiday season.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Multi0Lingual4
Multi0Lingual4
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Can I pay you in lingots instead?

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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I accept payment only in the form of cash and Icelandic phrasebook sacrifice.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FireHeadHyper

Will a blood ritual be sufficient to pacify the radish gods and get me thousands of my beloved radishes? Also live in an apartment in mexico city. No bathtub, no chimney. Can you stuff my closet with them? Much obliged. The blood ritual is ready when necessary.

2 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Of course, but there must be three bags of chips and a copy of Skyrim in the center of the pentagram.

2 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FireHeadHyper

How about the "Shadow of War" videogame? Don't have an Xbox, only PS4, so I have no Skyrim. Also, what's your favorite type of chips? I need to know so you look upon my sacrifice with favor.

2 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Any first person with a decent plot will be accepted. I personally enjoy dill pickle flavored chips of any brand. Though, at this point, you might just need to get the radishes yourself.

1 day ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Keikou_
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You are hilarious

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Hey, thank you. You, on the other hand, have excellent taste. ;)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chance545553

Duolingo has significant difficulty curves. It also gives little to no feedback whether or not you get the answer wrong, making the lesson discussion threads a better resource for learning a language than the lessons themselves. That is, if it isn't full of posts from a year ago complaining about problems that are still present.

From my experience so far, this site appears to be a vocabulary memorization tool, designed to create the illusion of progression in understanding, as well as to utilize escalation of commitment to maintain a consistent user base.

It's free though, so whatever.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

I think it is more than just a "vocabulary memorization tool" (at least in the Hungarian course - not far enough through French yet to really comment). Memrise is more for just learning vocab, DL makes you translate random sentences using the vocab and grammar learnt. That said, it is definitely just a start. It won't take you to fluency.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
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Indeed. But vocabulary is what I find to be hardest in a language, and if there is any way that I can get out of using flashcards but make actual progress quickly and conveniently, I will.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Aileme
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I love radishes, but I don't have a chimney. Is it possible to get them delivered into my bathtub instead?

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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As long as it's artistic and way overpriced.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
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Eh, I can see where they're coming from. Duolingo is made to get you to a certain point in your language learning, and even then should not be used in isolation. It's not going to get you anywhere close to a C1 level. So if you're a master language learner, you will have fun with Duolingo for a little while, get out of it what you can, then quickly move on to something else. It's naturally going to take them less time to get to a point where Duolingo is no longer useful, and it's likely that it will challenge them less than the methods they are used to, so I can see how they would perceive it as boring or useful only up to a certain point.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
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Yes, I know. My issue is that they were telling beginners that it wouldn't help them, and, from what I have seen, it almost always does. I don't like it when people with influence spread info that can be detrimental to the success of some of their fans.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Beau861
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There's no way to prove it, but I feel that had any of these polyglots had Duolingo at their disposal when they learned their first new language, they would have seen it as a god-send. Sure, perhaps they would have eventually ditched it as their go-to when starting a new language for more advanced methods. But I really think they have lost sight of what it's like learning your very first new language and how intimidating and frustrating it could be, where it can take years just to find your groove and get a handle on really learning.

My first experience was taking a college course to learn Russian. That was always the language I wanted to learn, for some inexplicable reason I've been fascinated by the country's history, culture and language. And I absolutely floundered trying to learn in a classroom. The curriculum had a very steep curve and I barely learned anything. This was in 2005, and in the following years I made attempts at learning that didn't last long due to frustration. I thought maybe I just wasn't the type of person who could learn a language. It was about 3 years ago that I found Duo and my learning has taken off. Between Duo, the Assimil series (which I recommend) and watching "pep-talk" videos on YouTube (mostly Steve Kaufmann) I really know now that I can succeed.

I actually briefly avoided Duo after first hearing about it, because so many people were saying that it'll only teach you useless sentences like "The cow drives a car" or "The spider is playing the piano", but I find these sillier sentences comprise a very small fraction of the content that Duo actually teaches you (but I find them to be entertaining on top of being helpful as examples on grammar usage), and I find it sad to think how many people are avoiding Duo because a polyglot wants to sell them their own method.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mmseiple
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True. I guess I just don't see that in what you said here. I don't really follow the celebrity polyglots, so maybe they come down harder on it that it seems here. It seemed more like they were commenting on the limitations of the program, which do exist, than dissuading people from using Duolingo altogether. I think it's important to recognize the limitations of any language-learning method, but of course people should be encouraged to take advantage of any resources they have at their disposal.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TinyKitties
TinyKitties
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Love this post! (My husband wants to know if the "Radishes by Prussia" radishes are organically grown?)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
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Of course. Nothing but the finest for our loyal consumers.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/UFaruqui
UFaruqui
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I love this post. It really defines the true meaning of hate and chases it away! It's deep, meaningful, gorgeous, and hilarious all the same!

I love you! Definitely consider starting a blog post in the future! And Your sense of humour is awesome!

I say GO for those radishes! You can do it!

Please continue to post like this in the future as I could use a good laugh every now and then!

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Thank you for saying those things, it really means a lot to me.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FireHeadHyper

I'm fairly certain we're one of the only online chats in the world with people actually being friendly with each other instead of saying a bunch of curse words and asking for nudes. This is all the social life we'll ever need, people.

2 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/.Spartan117

what is a polyglot

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/merkavar

Poly = many Glot = tongue or something

Someone who speaks multiple languages

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/merkavar

odd :D

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Merkavar, it's what popped into my head reading that line of your comment. xD

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
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I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Plazation
Plazation
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That's a quality pic! Did you make this in Paint? And do you post pictures to the forum?

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Yeah, MS Paint. (Minus the rabbit. Im not that artistic with a mouse. All I did was remove the background and make the eyes look alarmed and add a lil grey to the ears.) Thanks! It was fun to make.

How to post:

! [Write description of image here] (image url goes here)

Remove spaces ^ and please make sure your pictures arent huge and that they follow the Guidelines. :)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Yes, an aspiration of many of us here. :D

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/.Spartan117

I speak English slang as do most of the people in the USA. I'm trying to learn actual correctly grammared english.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Plazation
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Someone who speaks loads of languages

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daniel589120

Aujourd'hui, l'araignée vit entre la radio et la girafe en plastique.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
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I wonder why. I would never want to be driven to live between those two things.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ken482461
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I don't know either Steve Kaufman or Benny Lewis. What I do know is that I have been studying French and Portuguese since July 12th, 2018 on Duolingo and I am sure that my knowledge and fluency in Portuguese and French is much more than any one of their students studying the same amount of time. It is a real pity that there is not a way for Duolingo students to talk with someone on this forum, to be able to test one's ability and fluency in the respective language. I may not be grammatically correct always, however I am at a place now, where I can hold my place in both languages. Most people are afraid or shy to express themselves in a new language, because they don't like to make mistakes or are afraid for others to laugh at them. My standpoint is: laugh however much you want, my focus is on learning to communicate in a new languages and everyone creeps before they can walk. In any case whatever, whomever says about Duolingo, I for one am very grateful and I appreciate this language learning platform.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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This is very true. If it works, it works.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulEres1

i think duolingo is terrible to use alone, but great if it's part of a larger system where you use many different resources. i think a big problem is that duolingo tries to bill itself as the only thing you need to learn a language, when that's untrue. i see people trying to get 5 crowns on every lesson, and then do the reverse tree, while not touching any other resource other than duolingo, which seems like an extremely bad use of one's time if one wants to learn a language. the way i'd suggest using duolingo is -- just get to level 2 or 3 for every lesson, then move on to something else (like anki or something), don't spend forever on duolingo because it can go very slowly and it will take forever to get through a tiny portion of your target language's vocabulary and grammar compared to other systems.

basically, duolingo will never hurt you or make you worse at a language. but, at a certain point, it may take more time, and be less effective, than other things. it has opportunity cost in time expense. people can get addicted to keeping their streak or leveling up or whatever, they can care more about the gamification than about learning their language better, which may cause them to avoid using other resources besides duolingo. and duolingo alone will only teach you about 1000-3000 words (depending on language), even if you get to level 5 in every lesson (which would take a year or more for most people), whereas you can learn maybe 5000-10,000 words in anki during the same amount of time.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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But at least it keeps you going. No progress is worse than little progress. Anki bores me to death. I gave up using it after several weeks. But I've been around here for much longer, and the fact that I am still going means I'm learning something. I wouldn't be learning Swedish especially were Anki my only option.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulEres1

have you tried clozemaster? it's more gamified, like duolingo, but has a much larger vocabularly. perhaps if you found anki boring you might enjoy it. it also uses native sentences rather than sentences written just for it the way duolingo does. though it isn't perfect either, its multiple choice option is often too easy. but i find it good for light-level / easy exposure, and use it in conjunction with reading native materials.

in any case, with the new duolingo stories option, and duolingo's tinycards, i think duolingo itself recognizes that its current base system isn't enough. duolingo stories even seems to get some ideas from kaufmann's lingq system. and of course tinycards is basically like anki (though i find it harder to use than anki and more annoying, so i stuck with anki over tinycards).

also, it is true that it keeps people going. but i think that if someone already has a burning desire to learn a language, gamification isn't needed, they'll spend every spare moment trying to learn their target language. duolingo seems like it's aimed more at casual language learners who aren't making it a priority in their life, who would be just as happy taking 6 years to learn a language as 2 years. and for them it's good. so i think duolingo is good for some, but bad for others, and can delude some into thinking they are making progress when they aren't, which wastes their time and effort. like getting all the levels from 4 to 5 in duolingo, even though it's more fun than anki, won't teach you as much as anki, even though it'd take the same amount of time and effort.

so i think some of the hate may be due to that. duolingo is a fun and easy way to casually learn a language. but hardcore serious language learners, while they can benefit from it, often find it too slow for their purposes. and to me nothing is sadder (within the realm of language-learning, i mean) than to see someone who does 100+ points a day on duolingo, with a streak of 1000+ days, and does nothing else besides duolingo, and they think they are learning a language effectively when they could be learning so much more by doing things outside of duolingo. and you might think cases like that are rare, but i've seen plenty of them on these forums (and on places like duolingo facebook groups). i try to suggest they do things besides duolingo, but they are very resistant to that, because those things won't get them points. so i think for a minority of users, who have 'addictive personalities', they may get addicted to the gamification elements of it, just like people can get addicted to things like online games like world of warcraft.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
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Clozemaster frustrated me. Its method of filling in a single unfamiliar word into a sentence felt less like a game and more like a horrible test I wasn't prepared for.

I like Duolingo. Of course, I also use flashcards, and take courses, and speak to natives, but for the languages I am taking now Duolingo is good for little skills, vocabulary, and review. I wasn't looking for a personal tutor, just something to keep me invested in certain languages.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Beau861
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I agree 100% that it shouldn't be used alone and other sources and methods should be tried when learning a language. But I myself have never sensed that Duo bills itself as the only thing you need. In fact I feel that most other brand name language products do that and always admired Duo for not trying to pull that crap. But maybe I've just never noticed? shrugs

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulEres1

that is fair, though i was specifically thinking of how duolingo used to give us a % fluent rating, with the implication that if we keep doing it, we'll reach 100% fluent eventually. obviously that was deceptive so they later removed it. there is no way duolingo alone can take someone to fluency.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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PaulEres1,

The percent fluency was a mess. It was supposed to be a measure proficiency in one's Duolingo course. But, it was really confusing because it never went to 100%. I'm really glad they removed the feature. It was confusing a lot of people.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kobnach
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I don't follow the internet polyglot community. But Duolingo is, amazingly enough, not perfect, just like everything else that humans have made. I'm sure most of Duolingo's competitors have some specific thing that they do better than Duolingo, just as Duolingo will have things it does better than the competitor.

It's not a bad thing for people to point out specific issues. It's hard to know about opportunities to improve if you never hear about them, and it's good for people looking for ways to learn a language to have a clear idea of the strengths and weaknesses of whatever's available.

I'm sure there some flamage and general "Buy My Thing! It's the only good one! Buy Buy! Buy!" Plus there will be fan-children incapable of critical thinking, trumpeting the magnificance of the One True Method that happened to work for them, and trying to silence those who disagree - that's part of human nature.

But beyond that, I'd say that if Duolingo is more unpopular than other equally available methods that are equally well known, it's likely that there's fire as well as smoke. But if it's just the best known method out there, at the right price (free), then it's going to be the one most talked about, for good or ill.

And heavens knows, most people give more negative than positive feedback - about everything. It doesn't mean that things are more bad than good - though they might be. It means that human beings, on average, like to complain more than they like to say good things.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SteveMoss65

I don't think Duolingo will make me fluent. It will, however, give me a basic understanding of language. And as all I'm looking for are tools to expand my mind (the brain is a muscle- use it or lose it) on my schedule, it more than serves its purpose.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nattristis
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the only flaw that duolingo has is that it can't influence us to actually use them verbally and frequently like schools can, that's on our part.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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I wouldn't say that's the only flaw. It's true, though, that you need to take responsibility for your learning outside of Duolingo.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Plazation
Plazation
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I'm also aware some polyglot YouTubers such as Langfocus aren't a fan or DL either, but as long as you don't "just" use DL you should be alright.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Beau861
Beau861
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I thought the Langfocus guy liked Duo? He posted a glowing review about it a while back. I remember him posting a second video called "Duolingo is the devil" or something like that, which I remember to be a hilarious and good-natured spoof on the aspect of Duo's sillier sentences that involve animals acting like humans and Duo trying to blur the lines of reality. Perhaps he's changed his mind on Duo since, but I remember him being positive towards it.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ExpiredVenom

From what I'm aware of, I'm fairly certain he hasn't changed his mind on it, and he said that it was a good language learning tool in his review, even though he used to get sponsored by iTalki.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkToo2
MarkToo2
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You deserve a Lingot for that post!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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I appreciate that! :) You deserve one for reading it.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ExpiredVenom

Brilliant. Read it all. You deserve a lingot from everyone that read it, including myself. However, sadly I don't have enough to afford your radishes, and I think I may go with another company, so a donation will have to suffice.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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It is unfortunate, but understandable. And thank you for the compliment.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew213489

Who knows! Maybe they have watched the platform go from a learning tool to a full blown game environment.

Don't get me wrong, I find that Duolingo is a very valuable tool in supplementing my learning. And for the greatest price on Earth... (Yeah... I mean FREE!) How can't I be happy with what I'm getting.

Just my two cents worth.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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I agree. I mean, maybe if they payed me to use it- but anyway, free is a pretty solid deal.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ExSquaredOver2
ExSquaredOver2
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1 Lingot = 1 Radish by Prussia

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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I appreciate that. All radishes earned will be donated directly to a rich person who doesn't need or want them.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FireHeadHyper

Let's be honest here guys — what other frickin' site that teaches languages can claim to teach you Klingon or High-watchamacalit? Not a lot, I'd say. Until they can have their own creativity and community put together, back the Hell of my Duolingo, punks. (No offense intended to Kaufmann, who I agree is awesome.) Being a TCK (Third Culture Kid) who was born in Spain and now lives in Mexico, I can tell you for a fact that there is no way you can learn a language well in three months. It's almost physically impossible (forget that people with photographic memory exist for a second here, peeps.), and what's more, very few people have the patience or resistance to stand intensive language courses for three months. Our missionary team is obligated to take semi-intensive courses for 4-5 months, and they all look like zombies at the end. Sure, duolingo might have frases that sound ridiculous when translated, like "The children drink the wine" but have you guys been to Spain? For Spaniards, that can be a very normal phrase! (No not because they're all drunks or anything. They do the same thing in Spain as in Texas.) Sorry for the ranting, but I'm coming out just to say that I'm sticking with my green owl buddy, Duo. Hope you do too — A fellow Duolite. P.S. Yes I know Duolingo is not perfect. None of us are, the world is crap as well, so maybe just let me slightly idolize one thing in my life, k? I'm sure some other sites can do stuff better than Duo, but after trying many places, Duo just feels like the most well rounded. Duolingo isn't perfect, but it fits right into my chaotic days.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Three months? I do 4 weeks a year and am totally wrung out at the end. As for "Klingon or High-watchamacalit" - most sites don't even have Hungarian - or if they do (like Pimsleur) it is a basic, cut-down course.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FireHeadHyper

This is what I mean by well rounded. Other sites may have a deeper French course, but Duolingo offers such a variety of languages — while being immediately accessible at almost any time, and the lessons are fast and simple enough for my daily metro ride. Also, the forums are a nice touch. It's hard to find many people in this world with as great a sense of irony and sarcasm as I do in this world, and Duolingo hosts most of them. Special shoutout to Prussia, you got that irony humor to a 100% my friend. Respect. You get a radish in the form of a lingot. Enjoy it, even if ya can't eat it.

2 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luke110762

I really like Duolingo and I think it's the tool that I have learned most of my German with. I don't think it's enough to be the ONLY tool you use but it's given me a great foundation. I'd recommend it to anyone.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HeelAdamS
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Well said good sir! For me personally, Duolingo is my main provider of lessons in Dutch, and to say it doesn´t help is a direct lie, I can feel it, I can see it. I also watch Dutch TV and Dutch movies, trying to immerse myself as much as I can. With regards to the silly translations that you often get, how can the ´experts´ not see that it makes you think on your feet more, when you´re expecting a normal translation and you get a rediculous one, you question yourself more beforehand, leading to a better control of your vocabulary..... Also, there are very few apps that I haven´t tried in language learning and NONE are as fun, helpful and effective as Duolingo.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CWKCA
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I think Duolingo is great for certain kinds of learners, and terrible for other kinds. Ultimately it's up to individual people to decide which kind they are.

It's unfortunate that other peddlers of language-learning products are a bit unfair to Duo, but it's not surprising either. I've never seen a soap commercial that allowed the competitor to put their best foot forwards, either. For better or worse, that is how capitalism works, and people have to learn how to cut through the BS and decide for themselves what product works best.

I haven't read every last word Benny said about Duo, but I actually share some of the frustrations he voiced. His approach is based on making language interactive, and putting yourself in a position to make as many mistakes as possible, so you can learn from them. I find it really compelling for developing spoken fluency, in a way that Duo isn't. Duo emphasizes getting everything right, down to the last word, from the beginning. Both approaches work - and to Duo's credit, they don't go bashing other language platforms. They know that their product speaks for itself.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert.Paulson

gave you a lingot because it's the colour of radishes, and therefore, of your wealth <3

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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Why thank you ;)

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManningBar
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OK, the amount of Internet hate for the Mandarin course is pretty intense. And I have to say, I am close to joining that group of people.

I do not sell anything, but I do run a "Chinese Learners" Facebook group with 35,000 members.

The biggest problem with the Mandarin course is that the English sentences are so regularly incorrect. Hence you spend more time trying to guess whatever garbled English sentence it wants than you do actually learning Chinese.

Furthermore you cannot report the problem as "The English is wrong" is almost never an option on review.

I have emailed support. I have messaged Duolingo on Facebook. Always zero response.

I would be happy to promote Duolingo to the members of my Facebook group, but to be honest the experience is becoming so unpleasant for me I am on the brink of quitting Duolingo (even though the Chinese content by itself is very good).

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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Manningbar,

There isn't a big enough budget for Duolingo to hire customer service that can respond to every message sent by 300,000,000 users. It costs around $70,000/day for Duolingo to exist. That would add significantly to the overhead when at present we're in need of a bigger budget already to hire dev staff to fix the existing errors.

This is not an official diagnosis. I'm not a member of the Incubator but rather a different branch. But, if I had to guess based on the bits of info I've learned over the years, this is possibly what's happening with the errors in the Chinese course:

If the exercise has been closed to error reporting, it likely means that the error cannot be fixed yet due to a bug in the Incubator interface itself. The course team would have to wait for the Incubator to be allotted dev time for a big update to fix the things that are wrong with it. (So not just one thing at a time. The incubator is tricky. One update a few years ago resulted in the accidental loss of half the Vietnamese course material. So, updates are usually big, time intensive, and costly.) If they locked the sentence, it means they've noted it contains an error and it's slated to be fixed once that option becomes available to them. Japanese has at least one bug related to the Incubator's not 100% compatible interface with the kanji.

If I'm right, the good news is that, once there is room in the budget and the Incubator design can be adjusted, the errors in the course can be corrected.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulEres1

i think duolingo shouldn't offer a language if it's full of errors and they don't have the money to fix the errors though, right? like it's a reasonable expectation that if a course is listed as finished / available, that it be at least up to the average quality of the other courses. otherwise the least they could do is return mandarin to 'beta' or something, and give a warning that it's unfinished, rather than displaying it as a finished course.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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PaulEres1, I invite you to post a new discussion suggesting:

i think duolingo shouldn't offer a language if it's full of errors and they don't have the money to fix the errors. like it's a reasonable expectation that if a course is listed as finished / available, that it be at least up to the average quality of the other courses. otherwise the least they could do is return mandarin to 'beta' or something, and give a warning that it's unfinished, rather than displaying it as a finished course.

Staff regularly reads the forums looking for suggestions. They also note the community's response to suggestions.

However, I want to add that all courses are supposed to be below a certain error threshold before they are released from beta. If that remains true, Mandarin's rate of errors was not atypical. Maybe your new discussion would yield answers I don't have.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Linda7Italian

It has absolutely nothing to do with hate. Be well. L

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
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I apologize. ;) They just certainly don't like it.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Merakiulus
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honest. is shook.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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agreed. am glad.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sock06555
sock06555
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НЕТ НИЧЕГО ХУЖЕ МОЕЙ КОШКИ (there's nothing worse than my cat)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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  1. えーーー?!うそ! 猫は最高ですし、それは最終的です!

Offended looking black and white bunny with it's mouth open. Text says "Attack"
Image source

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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!とんでもないです。私のいぬの名前はCharles Lambで、私はCharlesが好きですよ!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Wait, is the bunny in my pick named Charles Lamb?? :O

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Davey944676

It certainly looks like Charlie to me.

I'm not entirely convinced, however - it's been a while, and he always used to wear a bandanna and those ridiculous sunglasses...

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/miss_angel22

I was just reading about internet polyglots, and apparently they are websites very similar to Duolingo.

"Internet Polyglot is a free web-based tool featuring lessons in a wide variety of languages. ... The range of languages offered by Internet Polyglot is one of the widest among the learning tools I reviewed."

Internet polyglots according to learn.org.

I think it's that Duolingo is much more popular than internet polyglot, so it's probably just digital rivalry.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carbsrule
carbsrule
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It seems you've misunderstood the discussion completely :/

It's about polyglots (people who speak multiple languages) who promote themselves to celebrity status via the internet.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PapaJoker
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Personally, the Japanese speaker is waaaaay too fast, i can't mentally differentiate the syllables :( am dum

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulEres1

there is no japanese speaker (or speaker for any language). these are computer generated voices that they use. very good ones, but they are still computer generated voices rather than recordings or natural voices, not too different from stephen hawking's voice program, or things like alexa etc.

it's worth remembering that so that you don't rely on them for learning how to speak or pronounce words too much. you don't want to sound like a robot. this is yet another reason why one should not rely only on duolingo, and use a variety of learning resources.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/miss_angel22

Okay, I'm so sorry, but I can't seem to post, so I'm doing it now... my posts seem to be getting deleted!

Yesterday, I posted something about my want for a Latin course, and it's been randomly deleted!!! Any solutions?

I know this is not at all about this conversation... but I legit can't post! This is really starting to confuse me, and I need help!

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Hi miss_angel22, I looked through your Activity to see if I could find out what happened. I found your post here. It is not deleted. It got down voted. Once a post reaches -5 it disappears from view of the forum. hughcparker has commented there. If posts are repeated too often then the community down votes them. Requests for a Latin course have been numerous. What you can do since your post has been hidden is visit the link hughcparker posted and add your upvote to the pre-existing request for Latin. It is never fun to have a post one put genuine time and effort into hidden. I hope that collecting all of the up votes into a single request for Latin can someday accumulate into a Latin course though. Good luck! I know many people want to see it. :)

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nikhil3
Nikhil3
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I won't say that they hate it.

But they tend to criticize the cons of Duolingo's approach.

That is because they want learners to do more start from the beginning. They want learners to use even other resources including theirs.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ionasky
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Duo will not make you fluent.... it was not intended to and it never promised otherwise. It will give you a basic grounding in another language from where you can leave the safety of the game, armed with the essential rules and a fundemental understanding and go off into the wider world to improve... constantly.... I have done four trees completely this far. I can understand and read basic spanish and french now, a blog post or a mid range newspaper. I can puzzle stuff out in german... sort of... and my esperanto is pretty good, i can watch a film, read a book or converse in a basic fashion for a few hour with other speakers ( making mistakes but still communicating). I am very happy with what duo has done for me ... is it perfect? No! Is it complete? No! Is it a great start... YES! And it is free.... so the celebrity polyglots ( with products to sell) can ... go away.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mememememe420

CAN YOU GIVE ME LINGOTS

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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CAN YOU GIVE ME A BETTER REASON TO

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
garpike
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I can.

I'm glad I was able to answer your question, and that you didn't ask for any.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Giovanni0604
Giovanni0604
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@garpike Brilliant!

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FireHeadHyper

I AGREE WITH PRUSSIA (dang it... does that mean I'm now an Axis power? Food for thought...). I WANT LINGOTS TOO. I WRITE THOUGHTFUL COMMENTS AND YET I GET LESS LINGOTS THAN YOU. STOP MAKING BLASPHEMY OF THE SYSTEM, DUDE.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prussia1525
Prussia1525
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It doesn't make you an axis power. ;) More a Teutonic Knight.

4 days ago
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