Who here has learnt, using DL, how to converse in a language without any previous knowledge of the learnt language? and how long did it take?

So i am curious to see how long it takes to actually be able to converse (not just translate text) with a native speaker of the language one is learning, I dont mean fluently but enough to be able to understand what someone who is fluent is saying then being able to respond well enough to be able to have a real conversation. or maybe even just understand when people are talking, for example watching a foreign movie without subtitles and being able to understand most of what they are saying.

So without any previous knowledge of the language how many hours per week for how many months or how many DL points did it take? also previously did you know one or more languages before learning one on DL?

at what point did you know you had learnt a new language from scratch using DL?

April 28, 2013


I only tried talking to a French person once, and it happened after 2 or 3 months of my studies on Duolingo. I could understand what he said and could make some simple answers, but of course he knew that I was no fluent speaker, so he adjusted his speech for me.

I could use a text chat with the French-speaking people after about 2 months of learning French. I understood almost everything they wrote, but sometimes I still had to use Google Translate to understand them faster. It took me some time to write an answer, but the conversation was quite possible.

During that time, I spent a couple of hours every day learning French, sometimes more. I used a lot of resources and enjoyed it.

As for my previous experience, I've been learning and practicing English since I was 8 and I also learned German for 5 years at school (but forgot most of it). For a Russian, French and German are definitely easier to learn if you are fluent in English. These languages are much closer to English than English is to Russian, so I was delighted to see how easy it can be to learn a second or a third language.

If you want to communicate in French, my advice is: don't wait for any specific time to pass, just give it a try from time to time. You can start with text chats that are easier. If you need to say something in the past tense, just search for the grammar and try to use it even if you have not learned it on Duolingo yet. Don't be afraid of using multiple resources. Listen to podcasts for French learners, they will help you to improve your listening comprehension.

I've been learning German on Duolingo for 4 months now, but I have not tried to talk or text in German yet. I don't feel confident enough for it, but from my previous experience with French I know that I will never be until I try. Practice makes perfect.

I'd be too overconfident to say I "have learned" any language. Learning a language is a life-time process, you can never be done with that. Besides, I think I'll never be able to limit my language learning to Duolingo only. I'm too curious to wait for the past tense for a couple of months :-)

April 28, 2013

I've been learning German for years, on and off. I am not in Germany very often, but when I am, I get really anxious about trying to use the language!

I have occasionally used it successfully to buy things, and sometimes I have failed.

I think Duolingo is helping a lot, though. It's easy to do, which helps a great deal with motivation. I can do it in work at lunch time without lugging a big package of books and tapes around.

April 29, 2013

I went out into Spain for a school program after only 72 hours using DuoLingo... yet I understood a lot and was able to order food all thanks to DuoLingo. I have never studied Spanish with anything but DuoLingo, and yet it helped me a lot. I haven't been using it for very long but I can already tell that I'm approaching fluency. ^_^

April 28, 2013

Is that 3 days before you went to Spain, or 72 hours of studying DuoLingo before you went to Spain?

April 29, 2013

72 hours of studying with DuoLingo :)

April 29, 2013

Part of me has always kind of wanted to test the theory of starting a language from scratch and only use Duolingo at least until I am finished with the Duolingo tree and then maybe add on things from other sites. I learned German well enough to speak it and be somewhat understood with LiveMocha and Memrise in one year. But I watched a video in German after EVERY lesson. If I did a lesson, a video in German came next. I would often be surprised at all the words I picked up after the lesson.

Since I have already studied Spanish and German without the aid of Duolingo I will have to try a different language. I was immersed in French when my mother used to speak in it and sing it to me when I was little so I am not going to use French for my test. Portuguese is fairly close to Spanish so I guess I will have to use Italian which I have had very little exposure to in my life.

I will report back here and let you know how it goes.

April 30, 2013

There is no way: it doesn't have enough listening and no real oral testing. Every language that I do are languages that I already learned and just get on here from time to time to do. I've been around for the major problems in French and Italian Beta. The ongoing translation theory problem for all of the languages here (refers to professional translation practices).

April 29, 2013

You cannot exactly learn to converse using duolingo, but you can use the knowledge and piece words and phrases learned from duolingo to start learning to converse and understand your target language. In other words, you will have to go to another medium as duolingo's emphasis is grammar and reading. Experience in actually conversing with natives is irreplaceable, having learned languages both ways. Learning a language is a continuous experience, you do not just learn a language and you are done. Even in my native language, I am learning new things. So in that case, it would be hard to measure, it all depends on the person and what do they do along with duolingo.

April 29, 2013
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