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Feeling a little intimidated...

Gosh, I'm just scrolling through some of the posts on here and I see so many people with three rows of languages and streaks so long they can bridge continents. I have just gotten back to Duolingo after almost three years and I have so much respect for those people but I feel like I need to step it up. Am I alone with that feeling?

EDIT: holy cow everyone on here is so lovely. Thank you all so much!

March 24, 2020



My father once said to me when I was a young boy: "Son, how are you focusing on what YOU need to be doing, if your eyes are focused on what your brothers are doing? Or what your friends are doing? Or what anyone else is doing? Focus on yourself. Keep your eyes focused on what you need to be doing. Do not worry about what others are doing."

That's some of the best advice I'd ever gotten in life. Maybe it'll help you?


That is an excellent piece of advice that I've also gotten from my father. Thank you for the reminder! :D


Many years ago, I ran a 5K race with military personnel and I finished "second". What I didn't mention was that I finished "second to last", but, guess what! I crossed the finish line and that was the most important thing for me to do! Just compete with yourself and your individual aims, goals and objectives and that will be enough.


One of my proudest school sports' day achievements was in the cross country run.

4 "houses", 15 lads from each. I finished... 63rd. I wasn't even last.


strange math. four times 15 equals 60, so you had to add four more to not end up last. ;)

no offense intended


Yes, exactly.

Hence my pride in the achievement!


That's awesome...

When I was a boy I raced my brothers to the mailbox once... I got 1st place!

What I didn't tell you is, I rode my bike while those losers ran, haha! =)

Hey, we never discussed rules... We'd only made bets on who would get there 1st... My Dad winked at me and said, "smart kid."


Sorry, this literally had nothing to do with anything lol

I guess the lesson to learn from this is: read the fine print... [?]


I think it's funny that there are all these stories of dad's on here, and I'm just thinking, "My dad was NOT like that!"


He didn't get the memo


That is very inspiring and well-said. Thank you.


I did cross country and I was definitely not the best runner on my team but I got better and beat MY personal goals.


That's one of the best feelings in the world, I think. I'm really proud of you!


I wonder if that's one of those things all dad's say to their children...lol


I wonder...


They might teach it in Dad school, LOL!

But seriously, good for you for mentioning it here.


Some variation or other of "You are not competing against others. You are competing with yourself." It's good advice, if a little hard to remember sometimes.


I bet it's in the instruction manual XD


my dad hasn't said that to me, he should


That's what we're here for! We're all your dads now.


Maybe he hasn't had to tell you this Matthew. Maybe, he thinks you're doing just fine with focusing on yourself.


Lingot for you! Excellent advice


Don't feel overwhelmed by other people's progress. I decided to only do one language because I just wanted to do one! I also feel like I'm not very good at learning a ton of different languages at once. I've decided to take French slow and easy. I don't want to crowd myself with a billion languages.

Why compare yourself to others? I've learned the hard way that comparing yourself to others in any situation, will only lead to unhappiness.

Be proud of what you can do! Because that is the only thing that matters! Who is to decide how many languages you do? You! It's not so and so who is learning 10 languages! They do not decide! YOU DO!

Be proud of what you can do and remember that you don't have to do what so and so is doing! We ALL learn differently!


You are not only absolutely right, but your enthusiasm is very encouraging and made me smile! Thank you!


Only engage with Duo's status symbols if you find them actively encouraging. And either way, take it one day at a time.




Thanks, Ashlee. Funnily enough, 900 days ago I was completely monolingual.


Probably a little off-topic, but WitlessBittern seems, to me, like a dog sniffing every bush he comes to - no offense intended because I have been tempted to sample all the languages offered too. I have a lot of trouble with languages, so I need to focus on just one and go at my own speed.


Not wholly untrue, I suppose. I figure if someone's willing to go to the trouble in making a course available to me, the least I can do is sample it.


"...checking his peemail"?


don't worry about it! everyone learns at their own pace. don't feel stressed or rushed. learning takes time :)


Well said, Willa.


I wouldn't worry. I personally don't really care about streaks, so long as I'm learning and enjoying it. Maybe you should do the same?


Don't worry! Lots of people (me included... me especially, actually) can only learn a few languages at a time. I've just finished Spanish so now I'm moving on to French and am thinking about learning either Japanese or Hebrew at the same time.. but I believe that if I tried to learn more than two I would get all the new words mixed up... which may just be me, or may be a feeling shared by many!
Anyway, welcome back!


Japanese and Hebrew are excellent languages to learn! At first I was intimidated to learn Japanese because you have to learn new characters, but it was well worth it!


Look at the sound advice you are getting on the comments so far - never feel intimidated. You go at your own pace! Look, you've already achieved a week long streak.

I'm not a fan of having rows of languages, you can only seriously learn a language or two at a time, surely? I think a lot of people like to dabble with a few skills in each language - to test.

Focus on the language you want to learn. Spanish, French and Italian will tie in fairly well and you will notice strong similarities.

Best of luck and happy learning :)


Thank you! This is what I love about Duolingo. Everyone is so supportive! It's heartwarming.


Salve Sammccarthy1995!


I have worked on several languages, but one thing that I learned the hard way was that it really does work best if you focus on one language. I decided to focus on Italian for this month and the next month. It is working out so much better than when I tried to do two at a time. I'm working on only Italian lessons, reading extra material in books, listening to Italian songs, and my progress and how much I am retaining surprises even me. Personally, I'm not impressed with streaks. You can still be learning your language and not be on Duolingo. I recommend Memrise to help cement those words in (its a free site). Libraries usually have section of Spanish language books, even in the children's section. Also, Amazon had used books in any language that you would want. Once I was able to read children's books in French, I knew I had really made progress.


That is very good advice. Thank you!!


That's really cool! I might try that!


No, You are not alone, I just came back today and im like wow i missed a lot haven't I. Its okay we will get through this together lol. Just need to work harder.


Don't worry at all! I came back here after a 2 month break! Much has changed! You for sure are not alone!


Never compare yourself with others. Just be you, go at your own pace, be happy.


Very true, Linda.

And not only about language learning, but about life in general.


Jimmy. Yes, particularly true in life. This belief is serving me particularly well at the moment. Being single means I only have myself to annoy during "isolation" :-)


It is good to have you here, especially during this period of isolation.

Thank you for being you.


Jimmy. Your words are a gift. Thank you!


That is so reassuring. Thank you! And thank you for being here, too. You help the isolation feel a little less isolated.


Mine is not as impressive when you consider that I'm doing most of them for fun, just to be able to have short conversations, greetings, introductions, weather, food, etc. Also, I've tackled about a dozen of them before to varying levels (even Klingon!), so there's plenty of review.

I've only been doing Duolingo for just over a year now, and I'm still on my first main focus, namely Mandarin. Presuming I stick with it, I'll probably only complete a handful of the courses, maybe a dozen at most, while keeping the rest at roughly equal experience.

All that said, I don't recommend trying even half as many courses as I'm doing for the average person. I've just been a language-lover since childhood, even majored in linguistics, so I have a head start on the average person. "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." ~Albert Einstein


It's a process. You're impressive for tackling so many languages, including Hebrew! Do you have experience with it from before your Duo days?


Very little, I've often heard Hebrew spoken, and tried learning the alphabet many years back, but never really put the two together, so my vocabulary was virtually nonexistent. I have more experience with Arabic, which helps when the vocabulary is similar, e.g. kelev versus kalb (=dog).


The thing to remember with Hebrew (idk about Arabic, I don't know it at all) is that there are no vowels like in Latin-root languages. It helps to speak the language and know the alphabet to be able to guess what a word is. For example kelev would be spelled basically as "clb". Which makes words with similar spelling a pain to learn. So I'm really proud of you for learning it! Have you grown up around Hebrew speakers? Or just heard it in the streets?


Just heard it the streets mostly, I live in a multicultural city, so I've been quite lucky to hear many languages all my life. And yes, Arabic writing works the same, so I'm already finding the Hebrew script rather intuitive.


Don't worry!! Everyone is different and it takes people different time to learn different things. And anyway, in my humble opinion it is better to take a long time and be good at something instead of doing something quickly and not be as good. :)


Look at the first person to reply's achievements... when I see double digits behind all but one and I see a streak of more than 2 years... I am greatly impressed and I would probably push to add more flags to my collection, but as it is I will probably be focussing almost entirely on 1 language of my 3 if I took on more there would just be more that I would need to start over with...

Everybody's different...study to achieve your goals at your pace...


You're absolutely right. Thank you and best of luck!


Just ignore it. You’re perfect, just the way you are.


Thank you!! You are too!


Don't feel that way! everyone learns at their own pace! this way, it gives you a better opportunity to improve the languages you are learning and maybe you can even be perfect at speaking those languages :)


That's the goal! Thank you!!


I've been here for years...but there's so much more to go


Do you WANT three rows of language? Do you NEED three rows of language? Look at the numbers behind the flags. Count only those with level 15 or more. All the others are just sneak peeks. Then drop ne flag entirely because that's the native language of the guy. Stick to your own targets, because you are doing it for yourself, not for the flag collectors. And if all fails, you can still say that one day you will have as much flags as they have.

Until then, stay sane, stay healthy


This is brilliant advice. Thank you. I do want three rows, but maybe I don't need that yet. Thank you and take care!


I have a hard enough time with one at a time!!!!


you also are not alone :-) lol. I'm just starting the 4th grouping of skills with 15 months of studying and I'm not even at 50% of all of the skills.


I agree with these - one is hard enough! Just being here and doing this at all is an accomplishment. Kudos to you for trying to learn a new skill. Hang in here, and just keep picking away at the one you like or want, and soon you will see progress! Also find a few others who inspire you and follow them, and hopefully some of those can help inspire you to keep going!


As many have already stated, don't compare yourself to others. Just do your own pace and move the ball down the field, so to speak. Learn something each day, it was a good day. You are doing great and congrats for being on Duo and trying to learn and improve. Best of luck Nina.


Thank you so much for the encouragement! Best of luck to you too!


No way. I've just got back after a good four years and feel far out of depth, though it is encouraging me to try harder.


I wish you the best of luck!!


I am doing just one language because that's all I want to learn.

You should do the same: do as much or little as you need or want, and not feel pressured.


"Comparison is the killer of joy"


no, ur not alone. I personally want to learn one language at a time (i'm bad at english still). but anyways, you should learn at your own pace that you're comfortable with, also, good luck!!


Don't worry! The only way to get long lists of languages or streaks that last years is by staying strong with what you want to do. Take it one day at a time, and you'll soon be surprised. Have fun, as well. Nothing is worse than forcing yourself to do something you hate.


You're right. Thank you!


You are here for you. Don't worry about what other people are doing.


i just started last week so ur not alone


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Also, think of it this way, that's what our profiles could look like one day if we stick at it.


Well said. Thank you.


same... but i focuse on my own goals.


Hello Nina, you are right - Duo has a great community as is so apparent by all the encouraging feedback they've responded with. But for me personally, I want to commend you and thank you so much for being brave enough to come out and voice this feeling - which I totally relate to but would't have had the courage to acknowledge. Without You. And while what everyone is saying is true and you've got to appreciate your own progress - it stills feels really good knowing you're not alone. Want to give you a Lingot but really you've taken my respect and admiration. Wishing you much success. Thank You.

Edit: Also after reading some of your responses - I can't help but say how much I love your Positivity! You are a real breath of fresh air (all too rare these days :/ ). Please Stay Awesome! :)


That is so touching. Thank you so much. I feel the first step to anything is to bring the problem to light so that it can be addressed.

The respect and admiration is mutual. Your words will stay with me for some time.

I do try my best to uplift at least one person. These are not the best of days and I'm certainly not the most eloquent person, but if I can make these not the worst days for someone, then it's worth it.


Yeah, I feel the same way too! I'm stepping my game up also!


just keep working at it


the difference between the novice and the master is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried


that's an anime quote, assassination classroom, Koro-sensei


Oh isn't that the one with the murderous octopus teacher?


he isn't exactly murderous, he's actually a great teacher, but if the students don't kill him by the end of the year, he will blow up the earth, like he did the moon


ah, my bad. High stakes, then.


I just got back 2


As long as you continue learning and enjoying what you do, keep going. There are zillions of ways to follow, some may look very attractive, shiny or simply easy that make us wish to walk them instead of ours. However, each one has their own, and no matter if we go step by step or running as heck, we go at our own pace. And that is ok. :)


Nope! But take your time try using an element blocker to hide the things that make you feel that way.


Well, one thing I think is important to remember is that just because they have all those rows of languages and stuff doesn't mean they're retaining it all....I mean, I'm not trying to assume that they're not! That's not what I mean at all. I just mean that, in my opinion, you never really know how much, or how well, a person is learning, based on that stuff. Maybe they raced through it, and hardly retained any, for all I know. Maybe they're playing it more as a game, instead of wanting to learn, and are more focused on that than on learning. Who knows.

And if they are retaining it all, and have learned a ton, that's cool too. As others have mentioned, I'm not in competition with them, but with myself. I just want to learn.

Also, just because a person doesn't have a lot of languages and such here doesn't mean they don't do other things that help them learn, and maybe they know a lot more than what their stuff on Duo reflects. I am doing my French course super slow here, in order to try and retain it all, but I do a lot of other stuff, too, that helps me learn...listening to French music, interviews, translating song lyrics just because I enjoy it, etc. Next, I want to start reading a French Newspaper such as Le Monde. So when I look at my Duo, I know I'm doing more than that.

And of course, like I think others have said, it's all about what you want. Maybe they want to know a little bit of everything, and that's cool of course, but, me, for now at least, I'd rather just delve deep into one language. I stopped doing my Spanish and stuff to just focus on French, because I love the idea of getting (hopefully!) good at it one day.

Kind of unrelated - I can no longer see that stuff. I mean, for months now, when I'm here on the forums, on a discussion, I can't see any flags, or anything beside peoples names. All I can see is their streak. I tried clearing my cookies/cache, I tried a different browser, and, nope, still can't see a thing. I even asked for help from Duo on Twitter, and they suggested clearing my cache and when that didn't work they didn't say anything or offer anymore help, so I guess they were out of solutions. I actually kinda miss seeing what folks are learning.


That is very good advice and thank you for putting in the time and effort to answer me so thoughtfully. You're right about the question of retention and Duo reflecting an accurate depiction of a person's learning.

If you're interested, there's a beautiful French movie called Les Choristes, which I adore. I think you can find it on Youtube. There's lots of beautiful music and the plot is interesting, from what I remember. It's been a few years.


I will look that movie up, thank you!


:D I'd be happy to hear what you think of it, if you want to share!


you're not alone, i feel the same, dude


Nope! all we can do is start over and move on. Aim to inspire like others have inspired you! :)


Definitely not alone xx


Well I think it's ok to feel scared but keeping pushing at it. I've started learning french FOUR TIMES and I would stop everytime because it was really difficult and frustrating but I really wanted it and I did not give up. Now on my fifth attempt I'VE GOTTEN IT. Long story short, do not give up!


Your username reminded me of my friend Nina that moved to England a couple of years ago, made my day to remember some good times, Thanks :D


Oh! Glad I could brighten your day a little!


Absolutely not. I only have one language and I broke my 4 day streak yesterday. Gurl your NOT alone ;) I feel the same way. But I believe in myself and know that I can do anything I put my mind to. Surround yourself with the ones who love you and believe in yourself!!


Hell yeah. Thank you for the encouragement!!


Hell yeah is right!! No problem!


I hope that by saying this I don’t offend anyone learning lots of languages, but realistically, almost everyone learning more than 5 languages is fluent in less than 5 of them. If you were to ask one of them how to say “hello” in every language they have got they might be able to say them all, but once you get significantly harder than that it becomes much harder to distinguish between the languages. Besides, I would respect a person much more with, for example, level 25 in one language than level 3 in 9 languages.


That's a fair point. I must say though, you combine a dedication to a language with many languages. Very impressive.


I understand your point of view, though I wouldn't trust the levels here that much. You can technically be lvl 25 and only master the 5 first lessons \o/

And even at lvl 25, I would say that most of the lvl 25 are not even fluent in that language.

So anyway Nina, don't feel intimated by those numbers because it might mean different things, your only priority is what you really want to learn and what you are able to keep in mind ;)


"Level" is just a measure of XP. And we know from the leagues how they can be gamed.


Very good point. Thank you!


I can’t accept your compliments- I am definitely not dedicated to my languages. Of French, I don’t believe I could even name 10 different words, and only started it because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Italian was the language I was asked to practise at the point at which my account was set up, and I now don’t know a single word of it. My Japanese and Latin are so bad until recently I had forgotten I had even added them to my subjects (although I know some phrases from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books- I don’t think I’ll forget the motto ‘Quanti canicula ille in fenestre?’, meaning ‘How much is that doggie in the window?’). My Klingon is reasonably bad, I gave up on it once it got hard to remember everything, and the English was from the time after I finished the German course and did some of the English course for Germans. On the other hand, I have been trying to get somewhat better at my other languages.


Hey, woah. Your LOWEST level is higher than my highest. You've practiced every day for more than 1000 days. French is a difficult language to learn, and I say this after having studied it in school since I was 5 years old. It's such a good idea to learn French and I'm so so proud of you for continuing to tackle it. Italian is similar enough to Spanish and Latin that you can piece together an idea, if not a complete sentence, I'm sure. My knowledge of Japanese is limited to attacks and defenses, but if you find little connections (geri aka kick has two syllables, like a leg extending and then retracting), then you can retain words a lot easier. I have 0 knowledge about Klingon, but 100 respect for you for learning it, so that's a plus. Come back to it when you're ready. I'll be cheering you on. English is. Well. I'm glad I grew up in an English speaking country, let's put it that way. German is hilariously close to English (antibabypillen, anyone?) and I want to learn it once I'm better at Spanish, so...

If you need, I'd say pick 2 or 3 languages to really hone in on, master them, then move to the next set. I'm currently doing Hebrew, French and Spanish. Next on my list are Italian, Hungarian and Yiddish. My plan is to be fluent in more languages than Thomas Jefferson. :D


You're not alone! I can only handle learning two languages at once, compared to your three! Go at your own pace, don't feel intimidated!


That is very encouraging! But I'm near-fluent in French, just making sure I don't lose it. I'm verbally fluent in Hebrew but at the reading and writing level of a 5 year old. I am not 5 years old. Only Spanish requires as much attention.

I wish you the best of luck with your learning!


i feel this way every day


Why? Do you; don't think about what other people have!


everyone here is so nice dont worry and we're all on your team! <3


Once you're progressing, you're doing fine, no mattter how many languages you're doing at the moment. That's all that counts ...


don't expect duolingo to be enough to learn a language, I don't think it would be that's useful to only use that one: you will finally just become better to fill up a questionnaire...


You should try to be motivated, not discouraged by others achievements. (you are doing great!):)


Well, it's awesome to have you back in the community!!


There is no reason to be intimidated. Also the streak doesn't correspond to the real effort nor does the number of flags show how much of a polyglot a person is.

I have started Duolingo because I needed to learn one specific language at that time - it was Dutch. I didn't even complete the tree, but over the time my situation has changed kind of enforcing me to change my picks - going after Spanish and then German. Now I learn just one language (German) and practice others only not to forget them completely (rule out English and Polish, I have learned English outside Duolingo a long time ago and i did some only to have a language indicator, probably at some time I will improve my results doing a reverse tree and Polish is my native language so I did a tree to have a benchmark how much can I really learn and how close/far is Duolingo in terms of language accuracy - grammar and pronunciation). Nut I have an ambitious plan to change that and implement regular learning of two other languages, just at a slower pace.

But it is up to you what do you want to learn and at what speed. The main goal should be learning here and having at least some fun at the same time. It's not a competition and you are the one to benefit from the learning. So you should also set your goals and embrace achievements, be it one language or more.

As for streak, for me it has one benefit - it makes you keep persistence. It is true that learning 10 minutes a day is better than one hour once a week. Streak can help you with that and I believe it is really worth to keep it. But don't worry if you don't. Streak is not a goal in itself - the ability to speak a foreign language is what actually should matter to you.

Keep it up!


Thank you very much for the advice and sharing your story! I wish you the best of luck with your languages!


I don't think you should feel intimidated for learning a new language. It is a long process. I find the more you learn, the more you find you have to learn. Just keep at it and it does come together. Think of how you learned your first language. Remember what you knew at 1 year old and what you knew in 12 th grade. How did you do that? And it is hard if you don't have a native speaker. I have run into Russian speaker and they are surprised that I even know a little. Of course to me they speak so fast but they have learned English so I think I will learn Russian as well. My view, keep laying bricks one by one and one day you will have a house. Keep at it my friend.


You came back to Duolingo with a purpose. Do what you wanted to do. What other people accomplish can be an inspiration, but it should never be a discouragement.


Whether you learn at this pace or that pace does not matter. You will reach your goal eventually and that's your own personal achievement that you can be proud of! Don't let others put you off, look at it as a way to know that these goals are very possible to reach for you


Don't worry, you have more languages than me. Besides, these people stay on Duolingo longer than is healthy for them. Slowly but surely.

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