Duolingo - quick question

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Brun Ugle
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby Brun Ugle » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:18 am

The Duolingo courses vary widely and some are better than others. In general though, I’d say it isn’t that good as a stand-alone course. I’d use it as a supplement only. Another important thing to be aware of is that many courses have grammar notes for at least some skills, but they aren’t available on the app. You need to use the web version to see them.
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby -JM- » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:02 pm

lavengro wrote:I find Duolingo to be very useful for beginners in a language.

-JM- wrote:For someone who can speak English, Duolingo definitely isn't one of the best choices.


JM, out of interest, is there any particular reason you are of this view?


I used Pimsleur and Michel Thomas as my main courses and they were much more interesting and useful than Duolingo. Well they are paid courses and Duolingo is free, for someone who doesn't want to buy them or use them illegally, again, Duolingo isn't the best choice because Coffee Break French is free as well and much better!
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby lavengro » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:00 pm

-JM- wrote:
...
I used Pimsleur and Michel Thomas as my main courses and they were much more interesting and useful than Duolingo. Well they are paid courses and Duolingo is free, for someone who doesn't want to buy them or use them illegally, again, Duolingo isn't the best choice because Coffee Break French is free as well and much better!


Thanks JM. I also am a fan of Pimsleur as well as original Michel Thomas learning materials, in addition to Duolingo (and incidentally, Memrise). What I find that Duolingo provides that is entirely (and deliberately) missing from both Pimsleur and Michel Thomas is written text in addition to the solely audio-based approach of those two courses. As Brun Ugle suggests, some Duolingo courses are better than others. Also, I understand from the Duolingo comments that various of the courses are upgrading and improving the audio.
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby golyplot » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:21 am

I actually didn't like Coffee Break French much.

Anyway, Duolingo can't teach you a language by itself, but there's really nothing that can, and I think Duolingo is a good starting point. I've now studied 3 languages starting with Duolingo. I supplement it with watching as many videos in the TL as I can, but you have to get the basics somewhere, and it also teaches you grammar, spelling, etc. that you can't get from a video.

Though to be fair, I haven't tried learning a language without using Duolingo either. I'm not sure what I'd use in that case.
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby MrsStarez » Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:34 am

Thanks. If I ever start a new language, I’ll try Duolingo again, but it’s definitely not going to get me from a B1 to a B2. I’m not sure why I thought it would, other than it was just something to mess about with :-)
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby Deinonysus » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:33 pm

This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I really like Duolingo and I think it's the best way to get a lot of practice writing a lot of short sentences, and it will correct you if you're wrong. It's most effective if you check the comments to see why you were wrong.

It will not get you to B1 or B2 by itself, but no single self-learning resource will by itself. Assimil won't, Pimsleur won't, and I don't know of any self-learning resource that will. I've heard good things about FSI, but I've never used it and I've heard it's quite dry.

You need to train all four skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) and also learn a lot of vocabulary.

Duolingo will probably cover all of the basic concepts that you would need to understand pass a B2 test. So do Assimil and Pimsleur. But none of them hone all of the skills to the point where you could pass the test.

Duolingo might get you to the point where you can write individual sentences at a B2 level.
Pimsleur might get you to the point where you can speak individual sentences at a B2 level.
Assimil might get you to the point where you can understand paragraph-length written and spoken passages at a B2 level.

You will still need to learn vocabulary outside of these resources, so you'll need something like Anki, Memrise, and/or Clozemaster.

I'm currently auditing an intermediate level college German class, and I'm having a very easy time with it. The only three self-learning resources I used were Pimsleur, Duolingo, and Memrise. I never even finished any of these resources, but they got me to the point where I could read children's books and newspaper articles. I spent a lot of time doing that, and I also listened to hundreds of hours of German classical songs (and some Rammstein and Nena too), because I enjoyed it.

So that was a bit long winded, but if I could sum everything up into one point, it would be that Duolingo is perfectly fine. It won't get you to the B2 level, but no single self-learning resource will get you to B2, and in fact I would say that isn't even the point of self-learning resources. The point of self-learning resources is to get you to the point where you can toddle through native materials, and that is what will eventually get you to a higher level.
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby kanewai » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:41 pm

ILA France estimates that it takes a student 260 hours of guided study hours for a student to reach A2, and 460 hours to reach B1. These numbers seem accurate to me. DuoLingo is not going to get you there.

In general, though, I find it really hard to assess DuoLingo. Many of its fans have an insanely inflated idea of what level it will bring you to, and I find I react to that by discounting everything I read about the course game. Maybe it's useful, and I'm just so turned off by the hype that I unjustly cringe when I see it.
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby DaveAgain » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:47 pm

Deinonysus wrote: It's most effective if you check the comments to see why you were wrong
The discussion link on every question is good.

What I like about Duolingo is it's so easy to make it a daily habit. I'm currently using Duolingo + German in 30 days + tv. I've missed some days with Germain in 30 days, I've changed TV series, but I've spent time with Duolingo every day.
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby MrsStarez » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:02 pm

Agreed. I wasn’t intending to use it uniquely, but was just hoping it might be a good way of consolidating some knowledge on tenses, pronouns, etc, but it’s just a bit too basic for the level I want. I’m getting much more out of listening to Grand Reportage and other France Inter podcasts, as well as starting to write and speak more in the office.

On the plus side, I do feel like I’m learning something from using the Spanish course. It’s boosting my confidence as I actually know a lot more than I’d previously thought.
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Re: Duolingo - quick question

Postby zjones » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:34 pm

MrsStarez, you might be interested in checking out the "Stories" section of Duolingo, since you're in the B levels. It's still in beta-testing, so you'll find it under the "Labs" tab on their website (I don't know if it's on the app). I like using Duolingo Stories to work on my listening comprehension, because the speakers are recorded and speak at a natural speed. Also, the stories are funny, which is a plus!
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