Some Duolingo Community Stories from 2014!
You inspire us.
Everyone has a story. Share yours in the comments below and possibly be featured in 2015. How has Duolingo helped you achieve your goals, whatever they may be?
I've loved every one of these stories. Thank you so much, to all the incubator contributors!!
Last year, my brother-in-law introduced me to Duolingo. Before I started, I knew almost zero Italian, or anything about any other language. Since then, I've completed the Italian, German and Dutch trees. I'm halfway through Spanish and French, I have a beginners knowledge in Swedish, Danish and Portuguese. I want to advance the languages I've already learned, and I want to complete the language trees for the other languages I have yet to learn. I'm starting Irish on Christmas, the only current Duo language that I'm not learning. I'm looking forward to all the other Duo courses, especially Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish, and I look forward to trying every single one of them. But those are only the ones I'm looking forward to the most. The list of languages I'd like to learn is too long to list here! I'm still a high school student, so I have plenty of time for more languages!
That's not even the best part. The best part is all the wonderful friends I've made here. There are many, but I'm especially grateful for my dear friends MaeeSafaee and AlexisLinguist. Without Duolingo, I would never have met them, or many others.
So, thank you, Duo. You've brightened my life so much, and made so many new things possible for me!
Now that I've changed my name twice, that link just goes to an Error. Better put me as the constant name changer ;)
Oh I just love stories! Here is my story... or at least part of it since my story is still being written. :)
Impossible. Yes, it did start with that word. I was introduced to German at 7 years old when a woman who lived with my family and was fluent in German was giving me and my siblings language lessons. Despite all of her effort to make it fun, I thought it was hard and boring and was learning it at an extremely slow rate. I eventually stopped having lessons altogether and gave up the idea of learning a language. A couple years later my family ended up living with a guy who was from Germany (coincidence, right?) and attempted to teach us German. The same results occurred. I had been taking Latin for a couple years at that point but found it even more dull than German and my 10 year old self thought it stupid that I was learning a language that no one spoke. I wanted to be able to speak with people in other countries in their languages and knew there must be a way to have fun while learning a language. I took a class in French one year, and Spanish the next. Aside from Latin, I was a start-and-stop language mess.
Is it even worth trying to learn a language? I then doubted it. For I didn't want to spend hours every day and many other language options were expensive. I tried out Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone, and numerous online approaches to learning a language that all claimed they had the magic touch to learning a language. But with each try I became more discouraged and I was then convinced that learning a language was a waste of time, and gave up the whole idea. Learning a language? Impossible.
In June 2013 my extended family was visiting and my uncle was telling me about a really cool app called duolingo. I laughed. I had tried every language method out there I was pretty sure, so how would this one be so different? But he started showing it to me and I was a little curious so I signed up. I was immediately hooked. Not only was it fun, but I started learning German rapidly and learned more in 2 weeks of duolingo than I had in multiple years of lessons. I practiced on it all the time, and my family joked around about how to find me, all you needed to do was listen for duolingo's famous "da-ding!".
But why is duolingo such a big deal? Why is learning a language so important to me? Here is why: I am a musician. Not a rock star, but a classical music musician. I've been playing the piano and violin as long as I can remember and music is what I have been planning to go on in since I was little. As I have been studying music my whole life, I have been studying composers too. Many of the most famous composers spoke German, and being able to read the original song lyrics and the composers' writings or even going to their cities and studying the history would be amazing. There are many tour options for a musician, and I would love to go to Europe where some of the best orchestras are and best composers lived. In fact, just this week I found out that one of my orchestras might be touring France in a couple of months! That is why I attempted to learn a language so many times, and because of duolingo I am.
So I say thank you, for giving me a life long skill that is and will continue to aid me so much in what I do. You truly have made what seemed utterly impossible for me, possible.
Seven months ago, when I was hopelessly bored with watching the "Let it Go" sequence in various languages and trying to learn Greek online, my sister, knowing I wanted to learn languages, found Duolingo in the App Store. Of course, it didn't offer Greek for English or at least even the reverse course (I think it was out, but it was only on the site) on Mobile, but it did offer French, the only language I wanted to learn, and got hooked with Duolingo immediately.
But then I became frustrated. Not with the language, but with my account. I kept making inactive accounts for some reason and couldn't get farther than the second checkpoint. But I was determined to finish French and not give up on it. I was determined to make myself an account and keep it.
Now, 170 days after creating this account, I have not only finished the French tree and the reverse (English for French speakers) but I have also finished the Spanish tree. Spanish isn't exactly a beautiful language like French, but I like it because of how easy it is and how the words sound sometimes. I wasn't planning to, but I've also given Italian, German, Portuguese, Dutch, and Danish (as well as the English for Greek course) a try and I've realized that languages are beautiful in different ways, though we may not realize it.
I've obviously gotten much farther than I had the two months before I created an account here, but my journey isn't finished yet. I'm not yet fluent in French or Spanish (though I can probably "survive" with both), there are still some grammar rules I need to master, and there are obviously other trees I want to finish (Italian! Portuguese! German! The English for Greek course!), but I am working on it. There's a long way to go, but I will take that one step at a time.
Merci beaucoup/muchas gracias/thanks a lot for being a great place to learn languages, connect others with the world, and being simply amazing in general, for sharing these stories which I will happily re-read and re-read (by the way, you forgot FrankySka!) and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. :)
Inspired by Spanish native speakers, I tried to decipher what they said. With my — extremely broken — French I tried to catch up. No way. Furthermore, a Mexican postdoc always "signed" the emails with "un abrazo". I looked up the meaning and the custom of Mexican greetings. And: I was hooked to Spanish (to say the least)!
It didn't take too long until I was searching for an online Spanish course. In the meantime, I listened to Coffee Break Spanish, which kicked-off Spanish on my side. I always felt that I needed more.
By accident, I clicked on an RSS feed's link on TechCrunch (I think), and the supposed article wasn't about what I actually clicked. Instead, a full featured article about Duolingo was covered, a complete review 'inside'!
The screenshots and the story to it looked and sounded just like that I was looking for years! I signed up immediately, never missed a day (yeah, day 8, I missed (!) — but since then I kept my streak up and running).
My "target" language still is Spanish. However, being in France (with English speaking fellows), I try to catch up with my (still broken) French. In the meantime, I do the English from Spanish course ("reverse tree") to reinforce my Spanish (and, frankly, learn new words). Also, the French from Spanish hopefully helps me to reinforce my Spanish with the benefit of regaining my French (also French from English — the trees are in sync).
So far, that's my boring story. (Sorry, too many words...)
edit 2: Looking forward to Turkish! I do really do!
Somewhere in late 2012, I joined Duolingo. Hooray! :D (It also means that I am older than the Incubator itself!) When I first came onto Duolingo, I chose Spanish for my starting language. But after months, and months, it really wasn't fun for me. So I decided to try French and guess what? I LOVE IT. It is really very beautiful.
fastforwards to 2014
This year, Swedish came out (as well as many others). So my friends nagged and begged me to try it out, so I eventually did. --- That's what happens when you have those type of awesome friends ;) Swedish is a very beautiful language!
I would like to thank the staff and moderators like Usagi, Alexis and as well as all the others for their outstanding work and the time they put in to make this website and community the best that it can be.
And last of all, THANK YOU to all my friends for making my time here awesome! I would mention all of you but that would take too long, so you know who you are ;)
And best of all,<h1>Merry Christmas!</h1>
O_o Am I considered a friend? I'm used to being excluded and not considered a friend. :P
Happy holidays! Have some lingots! Celebrate with friends! Enjoy yourself! Happy learning!
My Duolingo Story is similar to others’ however my inspiration sets me aside. It all started back in my home country of (some details may be exaggerated in accordance with Yellow Journalism 101) U.S.A.! I had just returned from France and had been fascinated by the culture, so I picked up the book, Paris at the End of the War in case you were wondering, and I stumbled across some intriguing looking words. I picked up the nearest Larousse dictionary and looked them up. Then I had this fantastic idea! The idea was that I could translate this old comic book that was in French using the dictionary (for a beginner this is long and tedious). When the going got rough I hopped on my computer and typed in FRENCH. As I scrolled through these ads for stones (some things along the lines of Rosetta, however I’m not sure) and expensive textbooks a golden word popped out at me. It read: Duolingo! From there I signed up and immediately started learning.
Because I know at least five fluent French speakers I think I am in a good position to get a firm grip on the elusive accent. Since I have been learning Latin for several years, French is easier than normal. Nowadays I spend my time watching Disney’s Frozen in French and reading Asterix et Obelix!
Hope everybody has a happy holiday and as always: Happy learning!
2014 was an eventful year for me and my linguistic goals.
January: after several months of struggle, I finally complete the Duolingo German tree. I had flown through the Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian trees relatively quickly, owing to the similarity of Romance languages, but German was a completely different league. I almost considered paying for a tutor, or even giving up altogether. But I did it.
March: I achieve the seemingly impossible 5/5 on the Spanish and French progress quizzes. I was very shocked to get a perfect score, considering I thought I'd made a lot of mistakes. But I considered it an important milestone on my path to eventual fluency.
July: Duolingo Dutch course comes out. Owing to my knowledge of German as well as some time off work, I blow through the course and complete the tree in 2 weeks. Though I still don't feel all that confident in speaking the language, I learn to love Dutch and vow to improve myself every day.
September: I finally book that trip to Europe I've always wanted to do! Over the course of almost a month, I backpack through the British Isles, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Cologne, Germany. I learned so many things while traveling, like how to protect myself from getting pickpocketed, how to negotiate the metro system in any given city, and how to be confident and comfortable with my sexual identity. But perhaps most importantly, I gained crucial field experience in speaking French, German, and Dutch
Early October: I finish the Duolingo Danish course, which I had started in early September but only took seriously after I returned from Europe. I love the similarity to English with regard to grammar, but I still to this day struggle with the pronunciation.
Late October: I start the Duolingo Irish course. I struggle to get past the first tier and understand concepts unique to Celtic languages, and decide to walk away from the course. But I tell myself I'm not giving up for good, I'm just waiting until I have more time to focus.
November: I start the Duolingo Swedish course. Because it's so close to Danish, I find it easy. But depression, alcoholism, and relationship problems cause me to lose much of my motivation. I reach out to the Duolingo community, and they are incredibly supportive. They inspire me to focus on my life goals and what makes me happy.
December: I test at the C1 level in Spanish, French, and German. I've come so far in my linguistic endeavours, but I still feel there is a long way to go.
So what does 2015 bring?
I'm coming along at a moderate pace in the Duolingo Swedish course. I expect to complete the tree in late January or early February. After I complete that, I plan to resume the Irish course.
I also expect several new courses to come out over the course of 2015. Esperanto seems to be coming along nicely, as does Hungarian and Turkish. All of which I look forward to. I've been lobbying hard for Duolingo to introduce a Catalan course, so hopefully that will happen in 2015.
I'm planning on going back to Europe sometime next year, probably in late summer. Potential destinations include Barcelona, Toulouse, Luxembourg City, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Munich. Should be a wonderful opportunity to improve my Spanish, French, and German, and maybe even a chance to get started on Catalan.
Finally, in October 2015, there will be a Polyglot Conference in New York City. I plan on going if I'm not too busy with work. Hopefully I'll have a chance to meet and converse with some of the polyglots that I look up to. My goal is to be conversational in at least 10 languages by the time the conference comes.
Happy Holidays! ¡Felices Fiestas! Joyeuses Fêtes! Frohe Feiertage! Buone Feste! Boas Festas! Fijne Feestdagen! Glade Feriedage!
I first made my account on March 15, 2014, but it goes farther back than that.
This part is kind of like a back story on why I wanted to learn Portuguese.
I used to play this game called Motor Wars and Motor Wars 2. I met a girl named Marta there and we were rivals, but we eventually became friends and started to hangout a lot. One day we were talking and then this other guy named Deto came and tried to talk to us in Portuguese. (He was Brazilian). I had no idea what he was saying, but Marta responded in Portuguese. At the time I had no idea that she spoke Portuguese because I thought that she was a native English speaker. After they had their gibberish conversation, Marta told me that she was a native Portuguese speaker. (From Portugal). This shocked me because her English was so good. Eventually another guy named Burt also was Brazilian and spoke in Portuguese with Marta and Deto. I eventually became tired of never knowing what they were saying and felt very left out, so I decided that I was going to learn Portuguese. I asked Marta if she knew any sites, and she said no because she learned all of her languages from school.
I tried many different sites which told me they were free, but eventually asked me to pay for something. The one I remember most is Babbel. I had started to give up after a month of so many sites that lied to me. Finally, on the glorious day of March 15, 2014, I found Duolingo app. It was the last thing I tried before I gave up on learning Portuguese. I did the first 3 skills and thought Now they're going to ask me to pay for something. But they didn't! I was very excited but I didn't want to get my hopes up too high so I kept going until I was sure that this was completely free. Since then I have been talking to Marta in Portuguese and let her correct me if I say something wrong. I thank Duo for letting me get closer to not only Marta, but to Deto and Burt as well! We still talk to each other a lot and I can understand most or the gist of what is being said. Since starting Duolingo I have had many who have helped me in Portuguese (although none can top Marta), like Paulenrique and Danmoller.
I have made little friends on Duo, but I think it's safe to say that Deliciae is the first friend that I made on Duo.
Thank you Duo so much for helping me learn the native language of a close friend! You are the best! I hope that you can get me closer to others by getting me to learn my other target languages.
Boa sorte todos com seus estudos! Have a good day and thank you for reading my long post! :)
Oh my! I didn't know there were such nice topics in here (i mean, the discussion part). I'm duolinging ;) since about a month and I was wondering sometimes about people contributing to this site, and poof here it is! I'm really thankful to the whole community as well, that the atmosphere here is so nice and polite. I'm off to read the stories about people sharing my passion. Oh, it's really wonderful :)
Well, I'm just going to skip my story until about two weeks ago. I take Spanish at school is by far my favorite subject. After I learned Italian, I was planning to learn Swedish. Then I thought that I would learn a language that I would use more often than Swedish. So I decided to pursue the Spanish tree. And now here I am, easily cruising through my Spanish tree and about half-way through.
I forgot how and when I discovered about Duolingo. But here's one thing, Duolingo taught me to have patience in language learning. At first, when I was still a kid, I have a hobby of collecting dictionaries of different languages, including languages that don't interest me. I thought that it's only words that matter, and I found out how complex it is. I eventually stopped learning languages. I searched for online materials/softwares that could help my hobby, and maybe I have clicked this addictive site because of hopelessness that I will never able to learn any language again, for free. Now, I'm in highschool, still learning English (taught in our school), and self-teaching Japanese (too bad not offered yet in Duolingo but I will have my hopes), French, and Swedish.
Someday I will be a polyglot, with the help of Duo.
Thank you Duolingo for helping me pursue my dream! I wish that there would be more languages to come and be able to be learned here in Duolingo!
So here's my story:
I've been learning English for almost 20 years now. At the age of 10, asked by a teacher, I had the opportunity to help a classmate who had a bit weaker grades in English than the rest of the class - and that person really improved it. English gives me pleasure, always did and has been with me everywhere - through the songs, movies, books. Being 13, I started German classes, fascinated by the contemporary German rock bands. But in the back of my head there was always that remorse going on and on: "Start learning French, you love French!". I do, I think it's the most beautiful language in the world. Going to High School was no better for learning it though - once I started a second language, I decided to continue and not start more of them, not knowing any other except English. My life as a university student didn't give me time and opportunity to begin a new language. So finally, when the studies were over, I decided it's high time I made my biggest dream come true and learn French. The beginnings weren't easy though - even though I would buy self-study guides and exercised on and on, and starting to know/understand more, I still felt something was missing. What was that? Well, maybe this awareness that I always have other things to do and I don't practise daily. Been trying to find interesting language-containing stuff on the Internet and almost three weeks ago I came across Duolingo. At first I didn't want to log in, thinking I might not be systematic - but actually, I got addicted to this site and enjoy it more and more! I Duolingo everyday, in the morning and in the evening.
Funny fact: when I took that welcoming test in French to see what level I got, it told me I have no level at all. Two weeks ago I've done French Progress Test and got a weak 1.3 out of 5.0 - and now, four days ago, got 2.49! I can say it wholeheartedly that Duolingo really works. Already started learning Italian! ;)