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What percentage of people are learning German, French, Italian, etc.

What percentage of people are learning German on Duolingo? What about the other languages? What language is most learned on Duolingo? What about least? What percentage of people are learning more than one language?

I have a lot of questions, but I'm interested to know this type of information! :)

July 20, 2013



Would be interesting if the site's experts could enlighten us. I'm enjoying learning all of the languages on here - how many other people are up for giving all of them a try?

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Same here. My friends think I am crazy going for all 5 at once. :) I imagine it would be better to do one at a time, but don't actually know what is better/worse.


Do one at a time or you are wasting your time! Also, when you get about half way through the course start watching films and listening to to music of the language you choose, try and translate the lyrics. You need to engross yourself in the culture of the language or you will just be a translation robot. Another trick is to attempt to simultaniously translate everything you are hearing into the target language, when you are watching a film or something. You won't get a lot right but you will activate and 'exercise' those neural paths which are long term memory.

It took me several years to learn your first language besides my mother tongue. Those people who tell you about fluency in 3 months from only knowing one language are taking liberties with the definition of "fluency"...

That said, once you have one language I bet you could learn another related language in 3 months (you ain't learning Chinese in 3 months though :)). Choose one and stick with it. One of the Latin languages would probably be best as they are all quite similar. I learned Portuguese to degree level, as an English speaker, as an adult so I know how hard it is to learn even one language to the level where I can pick up most books and read them and have a simple conversation with someone who doesn't have a strong accent.


I disagree that Pepe is wasting his or her time learning multiple languages at once. Your way of learning languages sounds pretty traditional. Pepe is trying something different. I applaud such a change.


Maybe "wasting your time" is a bit strong,... I guess it depends what your goals are. If you are just going through the exercises as entertainment than it's fine, but if you are actually trying to learn the languages I can not see how you are going to get anything out of spreading your efforts on so many languages. You are at an early stage of the learning, wait till you start learning the conjugations of all the irregular verbs in all the languages at the same time, the case system in German and the subjunctive mood in the romance languages then reassess whether more than one at the same time is a good idea.

I think that English speaking people get the wrong impression as to how hard it is to learn another language because we see so many foreigners speaking our language so well. Let me assure you those people who speak well have been learning English since they were children in many cases.

I don't think that people who haven't learned another language know the amount of effort required just to learn one to a reasonable standard. What I mean by a reasonable standard is so you can comfortably have a conversation in that language about various topics or read a novel without needing a dictionary 4 times a page or write a simple letter to an official body. I just think, knowing what I know, that it is pointless trying to learn more than one at the same time, because you will just end up knowing a smattering of words in a lot of languages which will get you nowhere if you decide to visit the country where it is spoken.

I'm not trying to be a **** but I am just trying give a sense of perspective at what it means to be fluent in a language. My advice, take it or leave it, pick one language, visit that country, make friends with native speakers, force them to speak their language to you and not practice their English on you. Study hard and a few years down the line you'll be fluent. Pick 5 at the same time and you'll memorise some words in each get bored when it starts to get complicated and then give up.


I'll get back to you when I'm fluent in all 5 then ;-) ... I hear what you're saying, but still think that using your approach, most of us would be too perfectionist to event consider learning more than one language. My philophophy is we only have one life, so why not aim high?


How do you keep them all straight in you head. I started with French and then tried Spanish but went back to French only. I write my lessons in a notebook, but am concerned that I will mix the two up. How do those of you who do two or more languages at the same time keep them straight?


I think the romance languages (all about 90% latin)- which include french, portugse, italian and spanish aid each other and even help you remember words and phrases that are common between them


I completely agree, the one thing that I found though as someone who speaks French fluently and has a pretty strong grip of Spanish is that Portuguese is extremely different pronunciation-wise. For writing it helps a ton but with speaking I was completely lost because I had assumed it was extremely similar to Spanish

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Yeah, I am not sure how I keep them in my head. I undoubtebly mix them around, but I seem to see patterns across the 5 and as sigmacharding said, there are similarities between them which allows you to somehow distinguish them apart (and perhaps in a way, allows you to reinforce them in your mind). For example:

We - English Wir - German Nosotros - Spanish Nós - Portuguese Nous - French Noi - Italian

So the 4 latin originated languages share similarities in that sense which are all deriving from the latin 'Nos'.


I agree with sigmacharding and Pece, there are many similarities between the languages which can reinforce the words.

Starting with English as my first language means a lot of German is familiar and once you start one romance language like French, you soon find similarities between the other romance languages.

The key is to not be frightened of making mistakes but to embrace them (the philosophy of Benny the Irish Polyglot who runs the blog www.fluentin3months.com).

I figure if I want to be fluent in many languages in the long term I need to get comfortable with mixing them up occasionally so I might as well start by mixing them up as a beginner. Otherwise we'd only ever learn one language.

So in essence - use the other languages to strengthen each other and embrace mistakes!


Thanks for that blog link! I think it's awesome that people are doing that—where else can you learn five languages at a time? Duolingo is like Suduko for polyglots...helps exercise your brain.


The guy at this blog you mentioned recommends that one should learn only one language at a time. See here: http://www.fluentin3months.com/not-mix-up/


I'm trying them all, too. Just going at it one at a time though. Maybe when I get comfortable with one, I'll try another.


Ok, well best of luck with it :) You certainly have ambition.

Maybe I lack it, I'm just here trying not to lose the one second language I have, as they fade over time (it's called 'language attrition') if you don't use them.


Thanks. It's great you can say you have a second language. THAT'S the point you can say you're fluent! I can only say I'm learning a few so far, but here's hoping... :-)


Haven't they said in the past that the vast majority of the user base is non-Americans learning English, despite Duolingo being a Pittsburgh-based company?


Yes, would love to know! Though I imagine the stats are always changing. For me, I need to try to focus on one language at a time (German), as my goal is to get close to fluency (I have German relatives and am very highly motivated to communicate in German with them).


Yes, apparently very motivated. Congrats on your 44 day streak! Keep it up!


Thanks! Since I started in February I've only missed 3 days, and even with those there was some mixup at midnight....It's an obsession! And I think I know how to handle the midnight bit now.


How is it working for you? How much German did you know in 2012? Are you speaking with confidence now?


I've been to Germany a few times and had some passive knowledge already. But now I am beginning to have fairly simple conversations with confidence, and I can understand other speakers much better. I have studied French and Spanish in the past and am always someone who catches on to the reading/writing side of things before I feel confident speaking. But I am working on that piece and am willing to make lots of mistakes. With German there are so many small annoying mistakes you are likely to make for a long time, having to do with the articles and cases. With Duolingo I am consistently moving forward (since February 2013) and I am much more confident now. I do dedicate 1-2 hours a day to this, so that's key, too.


If it makes you feel better, most german native speakers make small annoying mistakes themselves ;) Congrats for making it to level 25!


I'd like to know this as well.


I'm learning German. Ich bin eine Madchen!


Ich bin ein Mädchen! ;) It's das Mädchen.


Sorry! I only started yesterday.


First thing a young Mädchen learns, often to her surprise!;-)


One of my HS German teacher's sayings was "The first word every good German girl learns is Nein!"


Interesting questions. I do not know answers, too.


I'm learning italian, but I think I go to learn german too!


Looks like you're doing well with your German too! Well done! :-)


I don't know the answer. If I had to estimate it would be:

1 Spanish
2/3 French and Portuguese
4 German
5 Italian


Don't forget there's many people that doesn't speak english, so english should be the first for sure. And i'm agree about the rest. :B


Yeah I believe that's true. There's a huge community of people learning English here.


hey... I'm currently taking french but i would probably say that people who are taking french are probably going to be taking spanish as well because they're quite similar languages (this might be the case) so that would probably be around 50% of people so 25% each. I'm guessing only a few people might be taking Portugese and german would probably be quite popular beacuase it's like english. Italian might be also taken as well as french because there's only a tunnel seperating France from Italy. Hope this helped! :)


Lol I just have one focus, French.


I just started learning more german, but I feel like I'm cheating because of my dutch I seem to know heaps of the words already just that they are spelt real weird and stuff o.O. Do any of you who know french and learn spanish or something find this too? (as in, french mother language)? Or something similar? (Dutch is my first language, but english my best)


That's great that it's easier—not cheating, just linguistic proximity—Lok op! Drempels! (my favorite Dutch sign).


"Let op! Drempels" ;) Probably my least favourite sign after "Controle", but that's because I sometimes drive in the Netherlands.


But "Drempels"—gotta admit, such a great word!


i'm learning spanish


Making my way through Italian right now, but I am considering learning the other languages as well. I'm just trying one at a time so I don't get overwhelmed.


When you click "inmmersion" button you can see how many files are being tranlated in that particular lenguage, that could give you an idea how many people are learning some particular lenguage. Based on those numbers I should say.

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