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Supplement to duolingo

Hi, I ready that many users think one should use some supplements when learning a language with duolingo. Now I am very curious what you think are the best supplements. I would really appreciate if you would write what you are using besides duolingo, and what are the advantages of the combination.

Thanks ! And keep the owl happy =D !

September 25, 2013



Hi! I suggest doing Pimsleur with Duolingo. Duolingo doesn't do all that many speaking exercises, and Pimsleur is very good if you want to be able to speak the language you are learning well. I do Pimsleur with DL, and I have found that it is a very good combination! :)


I did Pimsleur last year and I liked it a lot (I wasn't doing Duolingo at that time). I don't know why I stopped this year. The problem for me, is that it frustrates me not to be able to see the spelling of the word. So I always had to look it up and make sure I knew how to spell it. I think it would be easier for me now that I know a lot more words.


Yes, that was very annoying. Now that I do Duolingo with it, I'm much happier. :)


I like to use memrise.com for Spanish sometimes. You could try the "Basic Mexican Spanish" course or the "1500 word intro" course. That's good, but if you want to get good at understanding spoken Spanish, just watch some movies in Spanish on Netflix, or on one of your dvds. If that's too hard, try Extr@, it's a tv show in Spanish that is slowed down a little bit and made easier to understand. You can find them on youtube. And, I would also recommend listening to music in Spanish.


Yes, I agree with Samsta, that Extr@ is a really fun tv show for learning. I am learning a lot from it! :)


lol, I was about to link you to my memrise list, but then I realized that you're possibly the only person other than me who's seen it. :) Still, for the benefit of others reading this thread, I'm making a memrise list with selected DuoLingo Spanish vocabulary. You can check it out here: http://www.memrise.com/course/127529/duolingo-spanish-vocab-3/


I use memrise.com as well. Then I have tons of Youtube channels that I have subscribed to that teach german. I like the Extr@ videos and easy german videos. They are also starting Easy spanish if you want to check that out. They go on the streets and film conversations with native speakers on various subjects. This exposes you to how fast the natives speak and how they use their vocabulary. This also exposes you to colloquial terms or slang that you don't see on duolingo. I encourage you to subscribe to a lot of channels on youtube. There have been many videos that I have found that explain grammatical rules and sentence structure in a way that I could understand it. Duoling does explain grammar as you go a long but not in a very detailed way. Videos can really help paint the picture better for you if you know what I mean.


I am using duolingo and lingq.com at the same time. There are a lot of dialogs and stories (text+audio for 11 languages) on lingq.com. Unknown words are highlighted and you see the translation just by hovering over with your mouse. You can also speak with a native tutor and download apps for Android or iOS.


Thanks, this is helpful. I like duolingo. I also like other avenues to practice. I also use pandora and search for artist that sing in the language that I'm learning. I also watch youtube clips/movies with well translated subtitles.

Also, in regards to the audio voice recordings of the words, lingq does a much better job than duolingo, currently. I find it difficult to understand what sounds like the female google voice, the enunciation is sub-par.

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Anki on Android (Ankidroid) for vocabulary drills; Michel Thomas audio courses for speaking practice; target-language podcasts for listening comprehension; talking to natives for conversation practice; about.com, wiktionary, and anything else I can find online for grammar reference. I think that this covers all the aspects that I care about. The nice thing about podcasts, Michel Thomas, and Ankidroid is that they don't require a desk or computer, so I can use them whenever I have a spare moment.


  • 3041

I've been using the Babbel app, and it seems to work well in combination with Duo. It's similar in many ways, but I find it explains the grammar a little more simply and crucially uses recordings of native speakers, which I find very helpful. It also sets the lessons in real world situations so there aren't any of the surreal (but entertaining!) sentences that Duo tends to come out with.

Also recently downloaded the Pimsleur course from Audible, so I'm going to give that a go too, as well as watching TV shows like Extr@. I think (hope!) the more exposure I have to my new language the better I will be at getting to grip with it.


Do you pay a sub for Babbel and do you think its worth it?

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Yes - I paid for a 6 month sub through iTunes - easy to cancel in the future that way. Price was just under £27 (UK) for the 6 months. Definitely worth it in my opinion - access to a huge range of German (for me) resources and also to the website (which I don't use much as it isn't as good as Duo). You can download the app for your chosen language(s) and try the first lessons for free - once you pay, everything for that language is unlocked and you can skip between lessons or courses as you wish.

One thing though - you have to pay separately for each language and I think the app may be rather limited on Android.


I really like the free lessons on the iPad but am a bit worried about paying as I've seen a lot of people complaining that it was difficult to cancel. The Italian app on the iPhone is not so good though. I also feel like I shouldn't pay for something else when Duolingo is a free resource and very good. It's just that Babbel seems to provide more explanations and actually shows you real life conversations which is where I feel like I'm missing out with Duo. I have the Paul Noble Italian course which I downloaded on Audible which is very good for explaining some things, but I think it could only get you so far. It's quite intuitive though which I like. There seem to be far fewer resources for learning Italian than for Spanish, French or German. I might return to my French when I have finished the Italian skill tree, but I have loved taking Italian holidays in the past and would really like to try conversing when I next get the opportunity to go (which won't be for a few years now I have a one year old son!).

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I had also read about the potential difficulty of cancelling the Babbel sub, which is why I did it through iTunes rather than directly with Babbel. Once you cancel an active sub through iTunes then that's it. For me, £26.xx for six months access to their material (ipad app) seems a good balance with Duolingo. :)


I've begun using Lang-8 and adore it so far. You submit sentences, or paragraphs, or a grocery list in your target language and native speakers will correct them for you. In return, you can correct works in English for them. The people are incredibly helpful and will often suggest more natural-sounding phrases or vocabulary. This doesn't help with speaking, but it helps with translating your thoughts from English to another language, which is the most difficult thing for me.


I've been using ielanguages.com and french.about.com, mostly for grammar.


Guys, I'm really impressed by the mentality of the duo community! I didn't espected to get any answer in the time of 2 days. And I thought that there wounld be a few people replying in the end. Well, I thank you so much for discussing here so lively! I will test some of your supplements, and after a phase of testing I'll update this post with my experiences.


Yea, it's cool. I'm appreciating the vibe here as well. BTW, check out: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/873546 for some ideas on other modes of learning a language. Right now I'm employing comedy and also music.


Fish oil pills, the best supplement I've ever used. I also have recommendations for language learning:

  1. From the very beginning (or as soon as possible), listen to video or audio of native speakers and also try to imitate their sounds to practice the language phonology. You may be able to pick out some words or phrases, but you are not listening for comprehension. After the final checkpoint, you should start looking for easier material to listen to for comprehension, which should then increase in difficulty until you can now understand the videos that you previously watched.

  2. From the very beginning (or as soon as possible), make flash cards of the vocabulary you have already studied. You can make physical cards or use free online software. They will become especially important after you finish the language tree, for reviewing old and also learning new vocabulary.

  3. After the first or second checkpoint, complete grammatical exercises to learn the rules in a more formal way. I use the old FSI courses (because they're free), but there are lots of these on the web. I especially recommend completing these exercises in a physical workbook due to the research showing that you remember things you've written better than things you've typed.

  4. After the final check point, you should find beginner or intermediate level reading material, specifically designed for language learners. Once you are comfortable with these, then you can begin to read more advanced material, such as news articles or fiction.

As you progress, Duolingo should take up proportionally less of you regular study time until you finish the tree and these four methods then take over. There may be other things that you should do once you finish the tree (like conversing with others in your target language), but I lack the expertise to comment on that.

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