Our personal account on how much German we could speak and understand after using Duolingo for 4 months for at least 30 minutes everyday (+60 hours).
Why we started learning German with Duolingo
You may have read from our last post that we recently relocated to Berlin. We've been loving the change in environment and embracing all the new experiences of this dynamic city, including learning German. Yes, we know what some of you are thinking... Berlin is probably the worst city to learn German in, given that it has a huge expat community and the fact that most locals here can speak English. Nonetheless, we decided to learn the language anyway since Berlin has become our new home.
Is it difficult to learn German as an English native speaker on Duolingo?
How to use Duolingo to learn German
How much German could we speak and understand after four months of Duolingo
After geeking Duolingo for 4 months, we were super excited to come test our newly acquired skills in Berlin. We were quite thrilled when we could decipher some written signs and adverts we saw around the city. However, when it came to listening to announcements on the train or an attempt at eavesdropping on the bus, we realised we couldn't understand anything except for a few words here and there. We were able to ask short questions or order coffee at a restaurant or cafe, but could not understand when the person responded to us in German. It was then that we realised that we knew a lot of vocabulary, but that we couldn't string together a sentence or understand the German spoken language.
As true adventurers, we didn't give up of course. Instead, we did some research on German schools and decided to sign up for classes to see whether that would help improve our German. Upon signing up, we had to do an online placement test to see which class we should start at. Michael was assigned to class A1.2 and I was assigned to class A2.1 (can't beat an Asian). That was when we realised that maybe Duolingo's claim that 34 hours of learning a language on Duolingo equates to a semester course may be true to some extent.
Now that we've experienced both Duolingo and attending German language school, we are able to share its advantages and disadvantages.
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Advantages of Duolingo
Disadvantages of Duolingo
Special and FREE features on Duolingo
Obviously being able to attend German language school would be ideal, but we completely understand that it is a big investment and not everyone will be able to afford to attend classes. We have therefore compiled a few tips and tricks you can use to help improve the Duolingo learning experience. You may not be aware of these features if you've only used Duolingo on your phone.
Basically you listen to a short story narration and answer some questions as you progress through the story. We love it because you can easily see the English translation by hovering over the word. It also helps bridge the gap between the written and spoken language. This is a great tool and we hope it becomes a permanent teaching tool.
Grammatical explanations on Duolingo
Skipping lessons on Duolingo
Is Duolingo Plus worth it?
Duolingo vs Language School
If you're finding German difficult to learn, don't be discouraged. Even locals admit the language is tricky. Just keep going at it and eventually you'll start getting a feel for the language. If all else fails and you need some German language humour, look up some of Mark Twain's quotes on the German language. That should bring a smile to your face.
Have you tried to learn a language on Duolingo? We would love to know your experience! Leave us a comment below.
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We're Michael & Chloe!
An adventure travel couple from South Africa. We've hiked up mountains, dived the depths of the ocean, free-fell through the sky and finally walked down the aisle together. We love exploring the adventurous outdoors and discover hidden gems. Our dream is to inspire others to travel more consciously and responsibly while having an adventure of a lifetime.