Duolingo users - Are there any?

I used it back when learning hiragana and katakana i think and for this use case it´s fine. Did´nt like the order in which Kanji were taught, though. Can be a fun little entry into languages to see how they “feel” i guess but there are just too many better alternatives to Duolingo.

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I’ve used duolingo on and off over the past few years but never made any progress with it. It did reinforce some things I had previously learned from being in class, but other than that, I didn’t find it that useful for learning from scratch. I don’t think it’s the most efficient way of learning, but I guess it could be a decent resource for putting in a little practice.


Everyone seems to not to be very pleased with DL, so even I’ll give you my view of it.
I use it mainly as a way to practice listening and reinforcing things. A tool to put things together into a language. It has sessions that can be made in short spare times that I feel comfortable with. I don’t think it is a tool that I would pay for to use. I am lifetime at WK and Bunpro. And the facts and explanations I find in other places. But for for controlled sentences it is in a way ok. And I admit that there are some unnatural translations sometimes.
So if you have the time to set off for reading other things it is probably better. But for short practice sessions I feel it is useful for me.

Why would you go for 400+ days in a row using an inefficient app? Did you find out it was inefficient when you switched to something else, or was there some other reason to keep going?

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Probably the game like nature of Duolingo where it rewards users for doing ‘lessons’ everyday. On the surface it looks like a good thing because people are enticed to always diligently do Duolingo, however it also serves to restrict them from better language materials. I fell into this trap when I started learning Japanese in January last year lmao

I have been using Duolingo regularly for more than 4 years. Whether Duolingo is useful or not depends on the purpose and language.

  1. It is really good at forming habits. Even the best language app in the world is of no use if people don’t use it. Duolingo had gamified language learning. People are using it and they start learning a language.
  2. Duolingo adds a lot of features to its languages and their primary focus is on French, Spanish and Italian because they are the most used languages on the app and therefore has a higher chance of testing successful features. (I spoke to a Product Manager at Duolingo about this). Mandarin and Japanese are of secondary preference. And in the last one year they added a lot of stuff to the Japanese tree. There will be more additions in the future.
  3. They explain “stickiness” as the reason behind using quirky sentences. And this should be of no surprise to us considering the quirky nature of WK mnemonics and sentences. While there are some really weird sentences, there are plenty of sentences that can be used in real life. (I am 5/7 through the Japanese tree) I personally don’t expect to use every sentence I read in Duolingo.
  4. They add a wonderful variety of scenarios and I find them helpful.

Would I recommend Duolingo as a primary source for a serious learner? No.
Would I recommend Duolingo as an auxiliary source for a serious learner? Absolutely.

Would a person learning Japanese (or any other language) through Duolingo make them less than a serious user? “No”

Everyone’s mileage varies. Not everyone likes SRS, not everyone likes Duolingo and not everyone likes Lingodeer. The easiest thing to do is try each one of them for a bit and stick with one source as a primary.

Effectiveness is not the only measure of learning. The number one thing is having fun. And if we look down on anyone using a certain source when they are trying to improve themselves, we need to take a long and hard look at ourselves in the mirror. :slightly_smiling_face:

TLDR: Learning is fun, whichever path you chose :grin: Do not hesitate to pick and try various options and go with whatever fit works for you :raised_hands:


Daym, guess that guy who came up with the idea to make achievements in videogames was an evil genius. I’m glad that barely works on me, cause I waste too much time just stalling no matter what I do.

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What’s there not to like about srs? Revising material with optimal time intervals, because it makes the most effective use of your effort. How can anyone dislike that? When it comes to grinding to learn kanji or anything else that requires memorization, I find this method far superior to anything I know of.


I use Duolingo and WaniKani. I orginally started learning Japanese with Duolingo, and later added WaniKani because I wanted to crack the Kanji code. I feel like it’s a complementary tool to WaniKani - where WK focuses on vocabulary, DL looks more at assembling sentences. Is it the greatest tool out there? Don’t know, haven’t use many others - it’s way better than Drops, anyway, and about as accessible as the far more expensive FluentU. I’ve tried textbooks, workbooks, and audio recordings in the past for other languages (Russian, Spanish), and found DL to be both more pleasant and more productive for me. If nothing else, you can try DL for free and see if it does anything for you.

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I’ve personally noticed the substantial upgrades in the Japanese sections of Duolingo over the past year - and I appreciate them. They hadn’t done much with them in a long time, so it was nice to see the new vocabulary and scenarios.


Russian? Are you good?

No, I’m terrible - and I even have friends from Belarus to practice with! :slight_smile:

Have you been learning for long? With a tutor or on your own?

I really don’t like Duolingo. It might be the thing that motivates you to start learning a language, and if that’s the case I’m happy for you. But they have explicitly said that their priority is getting people to keep coming back and using the app over actually learning the language. In order to do this, it makes you feel like you know the answers by making them so easy that you have to do well, when the best way to learn something is to actually have to struggle a bit to recall the answer. It’s not a great tool for language learning.

Also, on mobile the activity where you have to make sentences with cards is absolutely trash. I don’t know any other language where they split words randomly in the middle across multiple cards, or have parts of two words on a a card. They’re not even split on morpheme boundaries, which might make sense in Japanese, but again, it’s not something they do for any other language I’ve seen on Duolingo.

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I would recommend using a book, personally. Teaching methods are incredibly expensive to develop, and Duolingo is kind of the McDonalds of learning languages: it’s mass-produced content to satisfy your desire to learn something quickly. Language however, is best learned through the four disciplines (speaking, listening, reading and writing), and Duolingo fails on two of those fronts.

Genki is a generally great book, but there are other good options out there.

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Honestly, I find Duolingo very useless.

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Haha - no, I tried to learn Russian when I was in High School - about 30 years ago. I remember a handful of words and I say them around my Belarussian friends to make them laugh. :slight_smile:

Hehe I see. That’s similar to what I do to test whether we have real finns on our team when playing cs:go. I say a really goofy sentence in finnish (ppl used to tell me my pronunciation is pretty good) and real finns always laugh. :slight_smile: Not too impressive after 6 years of finnish though.

Most of my streak was for Chinese which I just couldn’t find a better app for. When I gave up learning Chinese, I defaulted back to Spanish which I had to learn for school anyway. Duolingo is actually not that bad for Spanish and it has the stories which I actually really like. I switched to the Japanese sometimes but it just sucked so I kept on Spanish for a while. They had promised a bunch of features like dedicated pronunciation/listening practice and stories for Chinese & Japanese which I was excited about since that may be actually useful at their last con by “soon” but they never came. When I decided to start using WaniKani for Japanese, I didn’t feel like using excessive energy on Duolingo for anything so just stopped.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s a bit frustrating on Duo is they will have fun with a sentence like すみません。私はリンゴです。 and translate it for learners (not even far into the course) as “Excuse me. I’m an apple.” While it can mean that, it just reinforces the perception of 私は meaning “I” that many new learners develop. It’s a missed opportunity to show how the sentence really is working, and how it can mean other things.

Duo doesn’t really have a mechanism for properly annotating lessons. People could go into the forum and read what other people say… but a lot don’t.