Thursday, 11 May 2017

One Year of Duolingo

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A Duolingo post on Facebook today claims that
“You can learn as much in 34 hours of Duolingo as in one entire semester of university language classes.”
(According to an Effectiveness study from 2012

As I’ve been spending about an hour a day with Duolingo over the past year – does this mean that I can add twelve more university semesters to my CV? (I seriously doubt that, but couldn’t help suddenly feeling rather impressed with myself…)

Anyway, it is about a year ago now that I first got started with Duolingo, and it may be time for another progress summary – for my own memory rather than with intention to brag. (I have previously posted after six weeks, 100 days, and 8 months.)

My current Duo/multilingo status is as follows:

Flag of Spain
Spanish – Level 20, 43% fluency (started in May 2016)

Flag of Wales 2.svg

Welsh – Level 13 (not yet finished; and no fluency will ever be achieved!) I first tried a few lessons last summer, but gave it up as being too difficult. However, I later picked it up again, and have managed to advance a bit. It is a very difficult language, though. For one thing, they don’t even seem to know themselves how to spell it! (For every word or expression there seems to be at least two different alternatives.) I don’t actually have all that many lessons left to get through now – but endless repetition will be needed if I shall ever get any of it to stick in my memory. (Why I would want to use my memory to store bits of Welsh remains a mystery even to myself. It’s just one of those things…)

Flag of Turkey

Turkish – Level 15. No fluency rating. I have advanced two levels since I finished guessing my way through the first round, though. (It’s a close call which is the most difficult, Turkish or Welsh. Probably Turkish, because there is even less to relate it to, in my brain.)

Flag of France

French – Level 13. Continuing to use the Duolingo app for repetition of what once upon a time I learned in school, I have advanced from my initial 31% to 41%.

Flag of Germany

German – Level 13, and mysteriously I have dropped from ~50% to 41% fluency. The more I learn, the more I forget?? (I’m afraid the Duo app only knows what goes on within the Duo app, though…)

Flag of Netherlands

Netherlands (Dutch) – Level 14 (no fluency given).
Started in January and had worked my way through the Duo lessons before the end of April. Guessing at the meaning of written Dutch is not all that difficult when one already knows German, English and Swedish (or Danish, or Norwegian). Spelling & pronunciation on the other hand...!!! Alas there are no speaking exercises included in the Dutch Duo. (So far I’ve only found those in Spanish, French and German.)

Danish – Level 7 (6%). (Started just recently.)
Much the same kind of challenge for me as with Dutch. Swedish, Norwegian and Danish have a lot of common ground. Swedes and Norwegians usually understand each other without much difficulty (each speaking our own language). Swedes and Danes – with a bit more effort… My only ambition is to add a bit further to my understanding.

Basically, I’m just doing it all for fun, and brain exercise…


  1. That's amazing! I haven't done any Duolingo in a while. I was doing German and doing pretty well, except the der, die, das just won't stick in my head. I played with the Spanish, but it was pretty easy, I minored in Spanish at college and was a bilingual teacher. Lately I've been doing a little Italian, we may be going to Sicily later this year. Turkish I haven't tried, but lived there 2 years and took some classes in it.

    1. Janet, I studied German at university and still find the der/die/das the hardest part to remember :) I may try Italian some time in the future too, but I'm a little afraid of mixing it up with Spanish...

  2. This is truly unbelievable to me. How can anyone fit so many languages in their brain? I have come to the conclusion that you are a lingual genius.

    1. No Ginny, I'm sure I'm no genius. I always liked languages though, and I too am curious about how many one can handle. And Duolingo provides the opportunity to explore... ;)

  3. This is a wonderful thing, haven't heard about it before.

    Mersad Donko Photography

    1. You should give it a try, Mersad - with all your travels, you might find it useful! :)

  4. I am impressed to the max since when you started this I tried it on one language, Spanish and after a few times I quit. it was making me crazy. this is really a great acoomplisment for you

    1. Thanks Sandra. Because I can do it on my smartphone and in a resting position it really feels more like a game than "work" to me ;) (I get a lot more frustrated trying to play games like Candy Crush...)

  5. I would love to have the enthusiasm to stick at improving my French (being the second language that I use most frequently) but life has just too many other things to tempt me away from what I actually find rather difficult.


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