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In my subcontinent, English is thought to be a subject to get marks on exams rather than a language....we all give our lives to memorize grammatical rules, text books, guide books and notes, we go to tutors and mentors but, we can'n even talk English for more than 1 minute straight yet, we expect 90+ marks in the exams. It's a terrible situation here....we usually start learning English at the age of 3 and continue the lessons for up to college graduation and we can't speak it properly or even understand a native English speaker....isn't it funny?

When I started learning a different language on this platform, I realized that I was not memorizing or doing bunch of other crazy stuff and surprisingly I was understanding every single phrase and sentence like, it was my own language, which doesn't need grammar or vocabulary for me to understand.

Thanks to team Duolingo for teaching me the difference between a language and a subject. Wish you success!

March 22, 2020



Yes, it is funny, and I wish I knew then what I know now. I was required to take at least two semesters of a foreign language in school. At the time, it frustrated me immensely. Why do I have to waste all of this brain power learning a language I'll never use???

Now I live in a foreign country. Who knew?? :-) Duolingo has helped me a great deal and gave me a great start. I'm very thankful for it.

Best of success to you, as well!


Thanks for your kind appreciation.


Dam, never thought a free site can change one's life. I suppose that's the impact Duolingo actually makes one people's lives.


So astute and so true! At school they were always "subjects." That's until you grow up and decide you want to "learn a language."
Of course this is not true for everyone. I remember there were only about 3 of us who continued learning their chosen language after they left school!


And the idea of forced "learning" vs DESIRED learning hits home even harder for some of us. I grew up in Arizona back in the 50s and 60s, where Spanish was a required language in all high school years (and encouraged even earlier). Of course, that made some sense, as Spanish was a language that we actually needed and could use in a border state with Mexico.

But I was a stubborn kid, and I absolutely REFUSED to let anyone force me to learn a language when I was much more interested in German and Chinese. After 6 years of Spanish, I had learned almost nothing compared to just 1 and 2 years each of those other languages that I wanted to learn! Now I am back working on Spanish every single day, wishing that I had not been so stubborn all those years ago. Over the years I have tried many other apps and classes, but Duolingo is absolutely the best I have found.


That's how I felt about French in school. It was about as enjoyable as math for me. I had an exasperated teacher who had to focus more on the children who were misbehaving in class rather than the course itself. Kids like me sat there as if it was one more hour we had to go through in our usual full day of school.

Even then, as children we didn't really get why we had to be there. It was just like other mandatory classes like science, social studies, gym, and math. We didn't question why these subjects were taught. We just sat and got through them to pass the subject, and increase our chance of passing the grade we were in. That's it.

This is why I wonder if adult, self-interest methods should be implemented in schools for language. Those types of classes are very different from grade school. Also, why not have more options for the children? Where I'm from, it was French or bust. We didn't have an option for Spanish or German. Given the choice, I would have selected something else because it would have been my choice, something kids really didn't get a say in.

I think that's the difference between children learning in school as opposed to adults learning for self-interest. When you take something up as your own choice, you invest more into it because it's something you chose to do.


Your words are very true.


So far I've found duolingo to be much more effective than school classes too. In school you get stuck behind people who are uninterested


How interesting! Being a speaker of a tiny and obscure language (Finnish), studying English was never questioned at school. Sure, it was a compulsory subject like all the others, but everyone seemed to agree that knowing English, at least understanding it, will be necessary in the future. Maybe it was so evident because everything on TV etc was in English? We don't dub things in Finland, mostly everything comes with original audio and subtitles.

Weirdly, for kids these days things have turned upside down: their Finnish skills are constantly getting worse because all their entertainment is in English. Maybe for them Finnish is just a subject that will never be used in real life, as all working life is switching to Bad English? Saddens me to think of it.


I don't know if it is so bad! Maybe an advantage!

You have no idea how difficult it is to learn a second language in my country, for many reasons, even English.


Indeed. What we learn under our own steam, in a practical way that works for us, is often quite different to what we learn in school.

The purpose of some exams is simply to show that a student is capable of organised study over a sustained period. Exam results are often used, rightly or wrongly, as a general indicator of character and background, rather than applicable knowledge.

That often seems to be the only real function even of some university degrees. Many organisations will only ever consider applicants who have a university degree, but that degree could be a degree in any subject, completely unrelated to the prospective role.


You all deserve lingots but I'm running out of stock (._.)


google the difference between intensive and extensive learning. Relying on tests and grades... regurgitating rules and being unerringly dilligent so that not a single written word nor audible utterance is missed is INTENSIVE study... and it's no wonder so many fail at it.

There's a point where you have to accept that you aren't going to get every word. A native speaker may be in a conversation in their native tongue and hear words never before heard or understood. You don't need to be fluent before you start using the language. You can learn and be quite devoted to learning without worrying that you didn't get every syllable ... that you neglected neither accent nor cedilla...this is called extensive study... and it's how you learned to speak your first language.And You were speaking your native tongue before you learned to read and write it...

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