how to start a new language?

I'm new to Duolingo & am hooked. I'm doing French which I took for several years in school (long ago). it's been great & brings back much that I'd completely forgotten. When I get farther along in French, I'd like to try German with which I'm totally unfamiliar. The French lessons seem to assume some familiarity with the language. I've wondered several times how someone could start cold without saying the alphabet and accented letters, numbers, some pronunciation phonetics, & much more very basic stuff. Is there a section with this kind of very basic info for different languages?

July 26, 2013


Hi! When you start off, you'll enter a basics skill where you can jump right into the language (no prior knowledge needed). When you hover over words 'hints' will surface. They are there to help you understand the concept or word. In the beginning, those will be your best friends ;) You'll be able to figure out what the sentence means with these hints. Right from the start, you'll be building a basic vocal and then we'll progressively increase the new vocab you see within the context of the basic vocab. So, first you might learn for example: "boy + apple + a boy + an apple" then you learn "I eat, He eats, etc" and then you learn "the boy eats an apple".

You might be interested in reading this post on our approach to education that appeared on our blog recently:

Also, I just started learning Italian on Duo with no prior knowledge, and I'm picking it up! Give German a try. :)

July 26, 2013

Google "learn French free" and you'll get lots of hits. I'd go to a used book store and get a used text/grammar book and a decent dictionary, too. If French is anything like Spanish here, I encourage you to supplement Duo with other resources.

July 26, 2013
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