What is your experience with Duolingo?

Elf
Posts111Likes 96Joined 4/10/2018Location
Native
Chinese - Mandarin, English, Chinese - Cantonese
Other French, Indonesian, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese

Duolingo makes some lofty claims, e.g. finishing up a course will be equivalent to one year of college-level language courses. After spending ~1hr a day on their French program for 3 months, I actually finished their French course, and they actually classified my skills as advanced (ha!). 


Quite frankly, it is rather fun, not too hard, but also, quite disjointed. Prior to Duolingo, I spent one year learning French at college for 1 hr/day, which gave me the foundation to actually use Duolingo. Duolingo helped with vocabulary acquisition, but not much else, really. 


I found its usefulness/uselessness, when I tried to learn Russian from scratch on Duolingo. I spent probably 1 month (~30 min a day) on the app for Russian, advancing to level 7 (whatever that means). A lot of time was spent learning Cyrillic, which was very useful to my survival when I was in Central Asia (I ended up eating a lot of пицца/pizza, because that's one of the few words I could read. Also, I like pizza). Beyond that, I realized that its basics really has some oddballs that makes it hard for jumping into basic conversation. Like why would I want to know the words for man, woman, girl, boy before learning something like "Where are you from?" or "What is your name?"


If you use Duolingo, how do you use it?

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#1
Ranger
Posts230Likes 120Joined 16/9/2018Location
Native
Spanish
Other English, Italian

I agree, not to good for conversation, but for vocabulary. I also feel that you get stuck with the same words for too long. 

-Ari-

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#2
Ranger
Posts416Likes 211Joined 4/9/2018LocationCaracas / VE
Native
Spanish
Learning German, Italian
Other English

You know, I love duolingo because it helps me with my vocabulary and if I feel I'm rust with it I can practice right at the topic I want. However, you can't learn a language using duolingo. Duolingo doesn't teach grammar rules or how to conjugate verb, it shows you hints that you are supposed to catch, it is a great tool to practice what you are learning (writing, speaking and listening).

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#3
Ent
Posts760Likes 466Joined 18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Korean
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai

I tried it out; reached level 2 in Swahili quickly in order to unlock the rest of the website. I don't find it terribly useful, but I look at it as more of a game than a serious language learning tool. It's something that's sort of fun which you can do in your free time and feel like your making a little progress. Beyond that, I think we are kidding ourselves. The claim that finishing a duolingo course is equivalent to a year of a college course sounds pretty far-fetched, although I've met language majors with unimpressive levels after graduation too.


Even though the game-players want it to be, language learning doesn't lend itself very well to being learned via games. Wouldn't it be cool if real life language use was like duolingo? Say something nice to someone and get awarded a badge. Hear a loud triumphant chime every time you say a sentence correctly, etc.  

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#4
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

Hi! 


I like all responses and agree with most of it. I have used Duolingo for some time for Italian, didn't stick to it long, and I agree with what was being said above, that since it doesn't teach grammar rules, you can't really learn a language with it. As well as the fact that many formally certified language learners are not as good as their degree says it. I think Duolingo is easily approachable and many people love it because of that. 


In addition, I need to say that even when you learn a language with a certified teacher, you do start by learning the terms for words like mother, father, son, instead of learning most common expressions. These are your own preferences, and you can always find a list of most common expressions used in daily life in your target language on the internet, but you won't learn the gender of mum, (if you encounter mum), or its plural version, or what is the gender of the noun "name", (since you're interested in "What is your name?"). Or have all question words enumerated, not just one (that is usually the order, when you reach the moment to read and construct sentences, or questions, you dive into the entire syntax and morphology analysis, something that Duolingo doesn't do, but getting familiar with only expressions, doesn't help either). 

So I find the introduction of groups of nouns is good, before getting into sentences and using them. That is one of the orders when studying a language. 


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#5
Ranger
Posts298Likes 150Joined 10/7/2018LocationBinan City / PH
Native
Tagalog
Other English

Have tried it also, but I got impatient with the levels. Though I still visit it once in a while to refresh or add up to my Spanish vocabulary. It's really more of only having fun while enriching your vocab, not a big help in sentence construction and all. 

Edzky-18

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#6