1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Taking notes on Duolingo


Taking notes on Duolingo

Hello Duolingo community!

Over time, I've seen much talk in the community about not using Duolingo as one's sole source for language learning, so I have begun using other resources such as listening to songs, using Memrise, trying to read as much as I can, etc. However, I've also heard mention that keeping a notebook alongside is also very helpful. Are there any recommendations you can give me in organizing my notes, be it by word forms (in that I might have tabs in my notebooks titled "Nouns" or "Prepositions")? by Duolingo lessons? simply jotting down sentences as they come? word charts? I know that each individual has their own unique way of learning, but I hope you all can give some insight!

Thank you!

March 26, 2020



All my life I have taken two level notes (not just for languages but maths and engineering as well). First I note down new info as it comes through - just in whatever order it comes. Then I return to it later - the next day or the next week. This allows ideas and new concepts to sort themselves out in my head. Then I take a topic and write my own notes from my rough scribbles - organizing them in a way that makes sense to me.

Vocab I handle a little sooner. I go through my notes looking for new words or phrases at night and copy them (checking spelling, cases etc) in the back of my notebook. This forms the basis of my flashcard deck.


What is the longest time between noting down and rewriting when you can still remember the original information when you look at your first notes?


Notes are essential. Check this link for recent discussions on this topic. And it includes link to others as well. Notes is a very personal thing. You have to do what works for you based on your learning style. Good luck. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/37045904


i keep my notes in a binder so it's easier for me to change the organization if i want to. A general thing I do is have separate sections for grammar and vocab lists, but depending on the language I might separate grammar into other catgories - like nouns, verbs (tenses, moods, etc), cases if the language has them, etc.


I simply write all the important things and new words down on paper so I can come back to it later if I forget something. Most of the time it's not organised well, what matters more to me is making sure it's written somewhere. Either way, it's a good idea to take notes as it's proven to help you remember more.


For sure, it's different for everyone! :-) Me, I do have a hard-cover notebook, and I just write down things as they come along. Organizing it into sections like 'verbs' and such doesn't work for me, because I'm going to be learning for a long, long, looooong time, so I wouldn't know how much space to leave for each section. So I just write as I learn, without sections. I know I could use a binder and add paper to sections as I go, but for some odd reason I hate binders, and love notebooks. Binders drive me nuts and I hate loose-leaf paper, so that would drive me bonkers.

What do I write? Oh gosh all kinds of stuff. Any new verb that comes up, I write the full conjugation out for the tenses that I know. I write out all the adjectives, too, because I'm learning French, so, instead of there being, say, 1 word for 'old', there 6 words. I also jot down single words, just to have my vocab written down. Not all of them, just ones that I feel like writing down or have a reason to write down - like if it's something I struggle with, I write it down, and this helps me remember. Basically, I write down whatever I feel like. Sometimes it's cause I just think its neat. Sometimes it's because of the structure of the sentence, where it's a structure I want to remember. All kinds of reasons.

I also use that exact same notebook for jotting down things I learn from other sources. Again, no sections, I just started on page one, and write as I learn. I have a friend from France, sometimes I'll write down something he said in an email, because it's a cool phrase or slang I didn't know. I write down the French lyrics to French songs from this ahhhhmaaaazing French rock band I love, just because I love it, and because as I write it down, I look up any words/phrases I don't know, so I learn a lot that way.

Because I don't make sections, but I sometimes want to look back in my notebook and find stuff, I have a system - I mostly look back to find a verb conjugation or an adjectives so I put all the verb conjugations in a box drawn with black maker, and I put a little green-marker dot next to the adverb sets. Really easy to flip back and find them.

My notebook looks a lot like a scrapbook. :-) Little bit of this, little bit of that. Some here, some there. Plus my doodles. :-) Works for me. One thing I never, ever do is translate. I mean, I only write French down in my book, I never in a zillion years would write down the English translation. This is because of my very strong belief that if you insist on translating, you'll never be anything near fluent. I mean, I get that you have to translate when you first learn a word, you have to think, oh that means desk or lamp or whatever, but after a while you have to let go of that, I think, and just let the word stand on its own two feet. It has to just mean what it means, without a middleman, if that makes sense...

...it's like reading music. If I stopped to think about what every written note translated into - 'that dot on the second space means a sharp' - I never be able to play a song. It has to be more automatic than that. Likewise, you can't speak another language if you're stopping to think of what each word translates into...it has to just mean what it means, and be imbued with that meaning, not translated into that meaning.


PS Do you think that was a long enough reply???!? Yikes. Sorry 'bout that.


I use memrise and also take notes from everything I learn. I find it really helpful to use the app "Hellotalk". I usually base my notes on each lesson I learn and write them all down in a note book then I colour code the sentences breaking down what each word means within the sentence. It's very helpfull for me and I find writing down I just learned helps me retain the knowledge better.

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.
Get started