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What would you want to see in a FAQ?

FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions

EDIT: NEW unofficial FAQ at http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Duolingo_Wiki

Suggestions for this discussion :

  • I suggest 1 question per comment preferably with an answer (if you don't know the answer it is ok :) someone else will reply)

  • Try to use Reply only for posting an answer or correcting a question/answer if it is needed. (try not use reply for posting additional questions, post them by leaving a new comment)

  • Be sure to read all the questions before posting your own.

  • Try to refrain from asking for a specific language. (example: When is Gibberish going to be available ???)

  • If you want to find a certain answer faster in this discussion just press Ctrl+F and this will open your browser's search function.

  • Vote :)

I hope this way we can help Duolingo a bit :)

September 4, 2013



Q: When are you going to add language [X]?

A: Duolingo will be soon allowing community members to add languages. Right now they are creating tools for that.


Q : In a lesson, I think I found a mistake in the translation of a sentence, what do I do?

A : Use the Report a Problem button at the bottom of the lesson's page. If you have already pass to another question, please use de Support bottom on the left of every pages and explain the problem with at least the following information :

  • I'm learning [language Y] from [language X].
  • The question was (in [language X or Y]) was : "blablabla"
  • Explain the problem/error and give your correction.


Instructions are also needed for how to report possible errors found while using the apps rather than the web-based lessons


I usually just send an email with a screenshot and information about the error to the feedback email address given in the app.


[Don't have apps...] Feel free to add it here!

Otherwise, I propose :
A : send you by email the discussion page's link, connect through the website then follow the above instructions.


  • 112

Q: How can I write bold, italics, lists, links etc. in comments?

Someone wrote an excellent guide on this at some point, but it's hard to find among the thousands of discussions and comments.


A: Asterisk = *

  • single asterisk at beginning and end = italic

  • double asterisk at beginning and end = bold

  • triple asterisk at beginning and end = bold and italic

use a single asterisk at the beginning to get an unordered list

for more about this check: http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/1h9hvo/dowlingo_comment_formatting/


cool cool Cool, thanks!


For the unordered list it works (also or only?) with a single minus sign at the beginning of a line, after two carriage return.

To pass to a new line without space with the last one : 'two space(bar)' + 'carriage return'

  • Use "#" to write a centered, bold and big line
  • Use "##" to write a centered, bold and big (less than "#") line

"###", "####", etc... also do something.


"> " (with space after) to indent a all paragraph:

Test indentation.

And antislash ( \ ) before a format character (asterisk, antislash, >, etc...) to avoid formatting.
\*italic text*\ gives *italic text*


Use a backtick ( ` ) to escape formatting (surrounding the text you want escaped in backticks): `*test*` gives *test*

Thank you to bchan, in this discussion: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/895821


Thanks it's really cool

  • 112

Q: is it a good idea to learn two (or more) languages simultaneously?

(Answer can be synthesized from the 800 existing discussions on this topic. I think that, apart from "new languages?", this is the question I see most often.)

  • 112

Q: How can I easily type accents and other diacritic marks in Windows/OS X/Linux?

A brief guide to switching keyboard layouts, with links to more extensive resources.

  • 112

I managed to dig out my last answer to this question -- here it is for reference:

On Ubuntu the [keyboard switching] shortcut is configurable via "Keyboard Layout Options" (I favour alt + caps lock). On Windows it's either left alt + shift or ctrl + shift according to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows7/keyboard-shortcuts . On Mac you can apparently configure cmd + space for this -- see https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3766394?start=0&tstart=0 .


The thing with switching is that you have to know by heart where the character of the new language stands on the keyboard (azerty/qwerty among other differences)...

UK windows keyboard:

french mac keyboard:

  • for spanish ´ accents (á, í, ú, ó) : ALT + SHIFT + vowel
  • for ñ : ALT+ n then n (again)

french windows keyboard:

Windows international keyboard:

See: http://symbolcodes.tlt.psu.edu/accents/codeint.html#foreign. E.g.:

  • ¡ = RightAlt+1
  • ¿ = RightAlt+?

  • 112

True, the answer should also mention diacritic-composing techniques for those who are not comfortable with learning a new keyboard layout. I'm not sure how much of this should be in the FAQ answer itself though -- DL users are from all over the world and there are hundreds of keyboard layouts. It's not practical to exhaustively list all required diacritics for all layouts, regions, target languages, and operating systems. Links to existing resources are good, but I can't help feeling that a question of this scope would be better served by a wiki than by a static FAQ.


Q: How can I easily type accents and other diacritic marks on tablets or smartphone?

A : Press and hold the letter you want to put an accent on then select your accented letter among the multiple choices.


If you have android OS and you don't see accented letters after you press and hold the letter then you should switch to English or targeted language input mode by long pressing the space key and setting up your keyboard options


Or switch to French/Spanish/[any other language with accents] :)


Q : In a lesson, I have a question about a translation or a grammar/vocabulary/idiomatic/conjugaison/... question tied to a translation. Who can help me?

A : Use the Discuss sentence button at the bottom of the lesson page. Check your question isn't already here. If not, or if nobody answered it yet, ask your question to the community in this discussion.

But you should first search by yourself within some dictionary websites (www.larousse.fr or http://dictionnaire.tv5.org/dictionnaire for French; www.rae.es for spanish; XXX for German; XXX for Italian; XXX for Portguguese; http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english or http://www.collinsdictionary.com/ for English), some reputed website as about.com or directly in your preferred web search engine (and go to a dictionary or a reputed website after to confirm with reliable sources).

We memorize better things that we have look for.


As above, instructions are also needed for app users to direct them to the relevant page etc


If some native speaker of each language con give me one or two good and reputed dictionary ?

I need German, Italian and Portuguese. Thanks


I am not a native speaker of any of these languages but I use: http://en.pons.eu/ and http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/ for Italian, www.duden.de and www.canoo.net for German. (http://www.wordreference.com/ and https://en.wiktionary.org/ for both


Q: How do I turn off the auditory portion?

A: Go to Settings and there will be an option to turn off sound. However, don't forget that your learning experience is much better with sound activated.


Q: How do I remove or reset a language?

A: Hover over the cog in the upper right hand corner of the site and click "Settings". Under "Learning Language" click "Reset or remove languages".


Q: How do I use the search engine of the discussions page?


  • [Word A] [WordB] (or [Word A] OR [WordB]) : search all the discussions where at least one of the words [Word A] and [WordB] has been used in one of the posts of the discussion.
  • [Word A] AND [WordB] : search all the discussions where both words [Word A] and [WordB] have been used in the discussion.
  • "[Word A] [WordB]" : search all the discussions where the exact sequence [Word A] [WordB] has been used in one of the posts of the discussion.


Minus sign before the word excludes it from the search. example: -word


I didn't know, thx. So you use it like new AND language AND -french or new AND language -french in combination with AND (or OR)?

  • search: new language | results: 7603
  • search: new language -start (same as: new language OR -start) | results: 7164
  • search: new language AND -start | results: 4898
  • search: new language -start -a | results: 1991

You can use it by itself which I think is equivalent of OR, or you can add AND before it.


I would have make the test, I thought you already knew the answer. So, thanks.

However, since new language = new OR language, I would have think that new language OR -start=(new OR language) OR -start=new OR language OR -start and so that it would return any discussion that has new or that has language or that doesn't have start (independently of having new or language and so it should give at least (and probably much more) the same number of results than new language (=new OR language).


@jrikhal and @dnovinc

This conversation is super nifty and I'd never come across this before. It's good to know though!

Do you want to add these search bar tips here: http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Forum_Guide:Where_to_Discuss_What_on_Duolingo%28Unofficial%29

I have a link and a comment up so far, but it would be nice to have an step by step added explanation added. To edit the page you can sign up for an account but I also think you can just do it as a guest. :)


What version of Spanish does Duo teach?


You know.... we are going to have to translate the FAQ to all of the other languages.

Maybe when we get a good list of FAQ, then, it could be uploaded to each Immersion section.


Q: I'm new to Duolingo. How do I get started?

A: 1. Start out in the "Home" tab. Here you will find your Duolingo tree. Once you complete all of the lessons in a section such as "Basics 1", other sections will become available to you. 2. Check out the following things. - The "Immersion" tab This section will really help fine tune your foreign language knowledge. It will be more helpful when you've learned more, but check it out. - The cogwheel/gear drop down menu on the right side of the menu. This contains "Help" and "Settings" Check out both of these because they contain really helpful information and options that will enhance your learning. 3. Make friends. They will encourage your learning. 4. Participate in the Discussions. Here you will find answers to many of your questions. If something is confusing you, most likely it confused someone else, so you will often find an answer in the discussions. And, if the answer isn't there, just start a new discussion.


I would add just start a new discussion in the corresponding/correct setion


Q: How many points do I have to earn to reach the highest level?

A: To get to the highest level (lvl 25) you need 30,000 points.


How to I Practice my weakest words


A: There are several ways you can practice your weakest words:

  1. By clicking "Lesson practice" button that is above your Leaderboard (weakest words from your whole vocabulary)
  2. By clicking "Practice weakest words" button that is in vocabulary (weakest words from your whole vocabulary)
  3. By clicking "Practice skill" button that can be found in every skill (weakest words just from that skill)

note that there is no difference between #1 and #2, they lead to the same page

there is also "Real world practice" that lets you strengthen words from your vocabulary by translating an article from immersion (I think this is unlocked when a user passes certain amount of skills or they are testing it)


I just started DuoLingo about three months ago, and I don't see those choices -- it appears to have been streamlined during the past year? There is just "practice weak skills" or "strengthen skills"... Or have I missed something?


Some things have changed. Practice weakest words remained the same under a different name "Strengthen skills".

btw check the new FAQ with more info: at http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Duolingo_Wiki


When in the Words section (i'm using a browser), on the right hand side is a window with the indicator key and an option to 'Review Flashcards' i ran through this a couple of times and seemed to improve on most of the words that i was weaker on. It won't cover every word but is a quick way to catch up with a varied vocabulary test.


Immersion is available as soon as you start a language, though it wouldn't be a method of practising "weakest words" per se; it's useful for practising learned words in new and realistic written contexts.


Q: How do I deactivate my account?

A: Hover over the cog in the upper right hand corner of the site and click "settings". At the bottom of the page click "Deactivate my account".


Q: Can I practice without a timer?

A: Yes. After clicking "Lesson Practice" at the home screen you can select the option "Practice without a timer".


Q: How can I help Duolingo users learning my language ?

A: In Discussion tab there are language sections which contain general questions about that language as well as questions about specific sentences taught through Duolingo lessons.

note: When answering a question try to back up your answer with dictionary or grammar references.


Q: What Duolingo actually does when a user is reported for abuse by another (several) user(s) in the Immersion part?

A: [cf. http://www.duolingo.com/comment/795393]
Duolingo uses the reports to help to identify people who are entering garbage translations just to get points.
If Duolingo sees that, it deletes those translations and takes back the points that were awarded for them.
Duolingo is careful to never take points away unfairly.
Duolingo advices to not report a user unless you think he/she is doing something intentionally wrong.
Note that right now (but it could change) you can only report someone once: once you reported him, the report will stay forever. except, of course, if you undo the report action.


Q : I want to translate articles in the Immersion section. What rules should I observe while translating?

[I'm copying/pasting the comments of olimo (that I find great) from this discussion: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/374605.]

A: For technical texts like user manuals the language has to be as precise as possible. There are usually glossaries of terms and you can't use synonyms if the word is in the glossary. You can't add anything or remove anything. Of course this does not mean you have to use exactly the same word order that is used in the source, but you have to convey every concept that is present there. Once as a beginner I translated "mp3 files" with something like "files encoded in mp3 format" and was told off for adding the words that were not there.

You also have to take cultural differencies into account. For example, Russian is much less personal than English, so we don't write "your computer" but just "computer" (in Russian). Omitting "your" is not a mistake here but adherence to the standards of style.

For articles or marketing texts like booklets and leaflets we have to use more "beautiful" style. The language has to be rich, natural and pleasant to read. However, we are still not allowed to remove any information or add anything. We can't rewrite 5 English sentences with 3 Russian ones: as a rule it is one target sentence for one source sentence, only very rarely they are split or combined.

I have never translated literature, but of course a good fiction translation is impossible if the translator is not a good writer himself. Here, the language must be as rich and vivid as possible and not only convey the facts but emotions as well.

Now comes Wikipedia. The goal is usually to make some article available in another language. This can be achieved either by straightforward translation from the source language or by collecting the facts and writing the article from scratch. It can also be a combination of both. People who use Wikipedia don't ask for exact translations, they just need reliable and accurate information in their language. However, if you translate Wikipedia in some sentence-by-sentence editor like here on Duolingo, it is the best practice to make it accurate. "Accurate" does not mean "literal", style has to be as good and natural as possible. It would be also the best for other users to learn from accurate translations.

Another point I want to make is respect. First of all, a translator should respect the text author. It is above all his or her work, the translator only acting as a means to make the original text available for people from other countries and cultures. It is not translator's business to judge if the text is good or bad, helpful or useless, reliable or false. He has to translate it, that's all.

Second, a translator or editor should respect his or her fellow translators. Perhaps this rule is not official, but it is impolite to rewrite someone's translation unless it contains mistakes or inaccuracies or is absolutely poorly phrased. Rewriting valid translations is unnecessary work for you and can create inconsistencies across many articles in the project.

For people who read the translations of others here on Duolingo, I'd like to suggest the following algorithm: Is the current translation correct (i.e. is the meaning right, is it in adequate tense, are the words translated correctly, is not something omitted or added)? If no, edit it. If yes, proceed to the next step. Is the style of the translation acceptable? If you saw this sentence on Wikipedia, would you click "edit" to rewrite the style because you can't bear it or can it be accepted as is? If it can be accepted, just confirm it. If it is absolutely bad, rewrite it.


I think some things that are mentioned here should go on the "Help" page. Like, praktical things on how to use the site, where to find certain buttons and what the different symbols (coins, lingots,..) are for.

My personal question is what's with the green puzzle pieces from immersion?


A: Green puzzle pieces represent the number of sentences that you have translated in immersion. Before changes to immersion I think number of green puzzle pieces was shown next to words learned.


Q: How do I change the voice of the person who pronounces the words and sentences?

A: Duolingo currently doesn't support that.


Perhaps 'support' instead of 'allow'. To me it sounds more natural and professional.


Obviously put in the FAQ the 6 questions of the actual Help page.


Q : How do I get lingots ?


A: If you're in the test group you can earn them by leveling up, by learning a skill, by finishing a lesson without losing any hearts, by having longer streaks, and by inviting friends that end up signing up to Duolingo. If you're not, just wait couple of weeks when they are going to be accessible to everyone.


Q: How to stop receiving notifications from a specific discussion ?

A: One way is to press "Unfollow Discussion" button that can be found in your email notification or by pressing "Following Discussion" (green button in right upper corner of the discussion you want to unfollow)


@dnovinc : it seems you should rephrase the title FAQ - What would you want to see in a FAQ? or What would you want to see in a FAQ?... :)


Q: Will I get a certificate after I finish my skill tree?

A: No, for now Duolingo is not providing language certificates.


Q: How effective is Duolingo in teaching a language ?

A: Check this http://www.duolingo.com/effectiveness-study


I added some of these questions to the Duo Wikia, http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Frequently_asked_questions. I hope you guys don't mind, I did reference this post though.


I would like to learn medical spanish, specifically -- it would be helpful if it was a specific option.


Shame that a user had to resort in making a FAQ.


Community help/work ;)


Yup, how we see an official FAQ soon. And nice question btw.


Thanks, you made me realize, I didn't put the answer that Duolingo had given to me.


Q: How does the Duolingo experience differ for users of different platforms? What (if any) features does an Android user (for example) have that an iPhone user doesn't, and vice versa?

A: I don't know! I'm just curious about what other users are talking about when they refer to "their owls," "duels," et cetera.


Q: I would like to know if I lose my streak and lingots when I stop learning for a few days/weeks or if it just freezes? I´m sorry if this is really dumb question, I just didnt see it answered anywhere so I´m asking you, thank you.


Your streak is based on how many days in a row you met your Coach goal. If you stop earning points, you will lose your streak. Your lingots will still be there though. :)

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