I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (2023)

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I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (1)

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Many often count learning a new languageamong theirNew Year's resolutions, and given how we live in the digital age, many require an app for such atask.

(Video) Everyone is FURIOUS at the new Duolingo Update. Here’s Why

Enter Duolingo. The platform is one of the most popular language-learning apps in the world with 23 languages available and several more in the works.

After getting several recommendations to useDuolingo for learning a language, I embarked on teaching myself French in 2016. Just over one year later, I may not be a master at French, but I've learned a lot about the language, and the app itself.

Here's a bit about my experience with Duolingo and some advice on how to tackle learning a new language using the app.

It took me a little over a year to complete the entire course

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (2)

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I started learning French on Duolingo in October 2016 and completed the entire course about two weeks ago. I am currently at 66% proficiency, according to the app.

I chose French because Czech wasn't available

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (3)

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I decided to start using Duolingo ahead of a trip to Prague. I'd hoped to learn a few Czech phrases before my trip, but Czech wasn't available at that time.

Having already downloaded the app, I decided to study French, which is the language I studied in college. Like many, I didn't remember anything from my college study.

Duolingo added a Czech course in September 2017, which I may investigate at a later time.

My level of study is currently set to "Serious"

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (4)

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Every lesson in the Duolingo app gives you experience points (XP). You get 10 XP per lesson, but you can choose how many lessons you want per day. Casual is one lesson per day, Regular is two, Serious is three, and Insane is five lessons in a day.

(Video) I Learned French to Fluency on Duolingo

I have my daily goal set to Serious, which requires completing three lessons daily, but I'll often do more lessons if I have the time, typically around five or six. At one point I had my daily goal set to Insane, but I found I'd slack off when I knew I was on the hook for five lessons a day.

I most often use Duolingo while commuting to work on the subway

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (5)

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I've found the easiest way for me to get my lessons in is to use Duolingo during my morning commute on the subway.

Duolingo requires an internet connection, but now that there's WiFi available in most NYC subway stations, it's easy to load a quick lesson while I'm on the go. (Pro tip: You may be able to access lessons that you haven't yet completed when you're off WiFi.) You'll know you can load the lesson if you can select its icon and it appears in full color, rather than grayed out.

Before I started my morning commute study routine, I typically used Duolingo before bed. This routine wasn't ideal because I'd often be racing the clock to finish my lessons before midnight so I could sleep, and when I was rushing, I found I wasn't actually absorbing the information. Overall, I recommend studying in the morning.

Duolingo does have a paid option that allows for offline study

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (6)

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Duolingo's subscription options get rid of ads (which are a bit annoying) and let users download levels for offline study.

I've avoided purchasing Duolingo Plus thanks to my subway WiFi trick, but there have been other situations, like long airplane rides, that made me consider subscribing.

I especially don't see a need to purchase Duolingo Plus now that I've completed the French course. Perhaps I would subscribe if I started another course.

Users can find details about Duolingo Plus in the ads in between levels or at the Duolingo Shop (the bottom right icon in the app).

The Duolingo shop and currency can make the app fun

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (7)

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Duolingo has several in-app purchases that can be fun and very helpful. Duolingo's in-app currency is called a "Lingot." They are easy to collect and nothing in the app is particularly expensive.

You earn Lingots when you complete a level and can collect Lingots in a relatively new treasure chest game that comes up after you complete a lesson. You must select one of three treasure chests and get to keep the number of Lingots saved inside — there are typically between one and five Lingots in each chest. You'll get the option to open a second chest if you watch an in-app ad.

Lingots can be used to purchase in-app power-ups, bonus skill levels, and do fun things with the app's owl mascot, Duo.

I’ve attempted a few of the bonus skills — including lessons like local idioms and flirting lines. They’re hard, but may come in handy for those who are using Duolingo in an attempt to learn a language before traveling.

(Video) Can Duolingo Make You Fluent? I used Duolingo everyday for a year to find out

I’m currently on my longest streak of 40 days

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (8)

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I typically make it to about 20-something days before missing a day and losing a streak, but I am currently on my longest streak since I started using Duolingo.

I had one slip up at about day-26, where I completed only two levels for the day. The app allowed me to test to regain my streak and I passed. Had I not used that option, however, I would have had to pay a fee or lose my streak.

If users lose a streak due to an entire day of inactivity, their only option is to pay a fee to regain their streak. The cost to repair a streak starts at about $2.99 and increases to as much as $19.99.

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (9)

Users can purchase a streak freeze power-up from the Duolingo shop for 10 Lingots, which holds their progress for 24-hours of inactivity from the time purchased. Often, when I studied late at night I would purchase a streak freeze before starting in case I finished my lessons after midnight. That was my little cheat.

I highly recommend using the Weekend Freeze amulet, in case you get busy and forget to do your lessons on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. I’ve found I’m less likely to forget my lessons once I’ve purchased the amulet.

I was stuck at about 45% proficiency for most of 2017

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (10)

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I got stuck in a rut where I was simply redoing lessons to keep my levels completely full.

Each level has a bar which fills up as you complete a skill. Once you complete a level, you must return to old skills to maintain strength in the words you've learned or the level bars will drop, indicating a drop in proficiency.

While it can be nerve wrecking to see proficiency levels drop, its good to move forward to new levels. You can always come back later and fill up your levels.

I had to force myself to move forward to other lessons and found doing a few new lessons and a few old lessons helped me continue learning while maintaining proficiency in what I'd already learned.

Using the strengthen option lets you keep your proficiency without going into individual levels. You can select the dumbbell icon at the bottom right corner of the app to load the strengthen option that tests different language skills in one lesson.

My proficiency level

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (11)

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Though I am at an "advanced" level in French according to Duolingo, I very much still feel like a beginner.

I can read in French, identify words and phrases, and I have a basic understanding of the language; however, I don’t feel confident speaking French out loud.

Still, I remain committed to learning French and plan to continue usingDuolingo to assist my goals. In-app, I plan to do the listening and speaking exercises more often. So far, I've mostly relied on the typing lessons.

(Video) I Studied French For 405 Days with Duolingo

I hope to maintain my streak as long as possible and use the strengthen option more often.

Other tidbits about Duolingo

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (12)

Screencap: Fionna Agomuoh/Business Insider

— Autocorrect on smartphones will make you get things wrong, and you'll never get used to it.

— Reminder notifications and emails often won't help you remember your lessons.

—I turn off the motivational messages from Duo, the owl mascot. He’s super annoying.

— Duolingo lets you add friends to the app and challenge them in language study. You can also join clubs on the app for the same purpose. I personally don't have any friends on Duolingo, nor am I apart of any clubs.

— It’s funny when the options in lessons appear to match what is going on in real life. After attending an event discussing the implementation of robots into daily life, Duolingo came up with the following phrase.

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (13)

— You can access additional study options when signing into Duolingo on a web browser. These include stories and podcasts in various languages.

— There are supplementary apps that work with Duolingo to help users study. Tiny Cards is a separate flash card app that works with Duolingo. Users can study with available cards and also create their own cards and decks for study.

— Memes about being upset at losing a Duolingo streaks are a thing, and they're hilarious.

I've been learning French on the Duolingo app for over a year now — here's what it's like to use the app (14)

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Duolingo Language App


(Video) Learn #French for Free via #Duolingo: Beginner-Level Audio Lessons I on Basics: It’s Fun & Easy!


Can you fully learn French from Duolingo? ›

French is probably one of Duolingo's best courses for speaking thanks to features like audio lessons. However, it still falls short in terms of getting you to a solid conversational level. At least by itself, anyway. The main problem is that (audio lessons aside) the speaking exercises aren't conversation exercises.

How long does it take to learn French using Duolingo? ›

How Many Hours Does 1 Language Take to Complete on Duolingo? Sooooo, on Duolingo French there's 155 modules. At 2.5 hours per module, that's 387.5 hours to complete one language.

What happens when you finish Duolingo? ›

Once you complete all the levels in a unit, you'll complete a challenge to earn your unit trophy. You'll also have the option to earn the Legendary trophy for each unit.

What level of French after Duolingo? ›

By learning French with Duolingo, you might expect to reach an A1 or A2 CEFR level (Common European Framework Reference), which is a beginner or elementary level. But that is all depending on how seriously you will take your lessons and how much effort you are willing to put in them.

Which is better Babbel or Duolingo? ›

Is Babbel better than Duolingo? After thoroughly testing out and reviewing each language learning program, we feel that Babbel is better than Duolingo for multiple reasons. Based on the strength of their curriculum, teaching style and delivery, we rate Babbel as the superior app over Duolingo.

How long would it take to become fluent in French? ›

French is a Category I language, so it's relatively easy to learn for native English speakers. It will take approximately 580 hours or 23 weeks of study to reach complete French fluency.

Can you become fluent with Duolingo? ›

Plus, many users noticed that they would study and keep their streak up for days and days, and still not be able to speak the language or could only speak at an intermediate level. And this comes from a lack of human interaction and real speaking practice. So, no, you can't become fluent with Duolingo alone.

What to do after Duolingo French? ›

Try Babbel to Focus More on Learning Grammar Rules

If you liked Duolingo but are looking for something a bit more challenging, then consider trying Babbel. Duolingo has mainly just exercises and you have to teach yourself the grammar, but with Babbel, they teach you along the way while also using exercises.

What is the success rate of Duolingo? ›

The effectiveness measure showed that on average participants gained 8.1 points per one hour of study with Duolingo. The 95% Confidence Interval for the effectiveness is from 5.6 points to 10.7 points gained per one hour of study.

How long does it take to become fluent on Duolingo? ›

A note from the Fluent in 3 Months team before we get started: You can chat away with a native speaker for at least 15 minutes with the "Fluent in 3 Months" method. All it takes is 90 days.

What are the consequences Duolingo? ›

If you violate any of the rules of the Duolingo English Test, Duolingo reserves the right to not certify your test results, or to invalidate any previously certified results, without providing a refund.

How many levels are there in Duolingo French? ›

At Duolingo, we use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to set goals for different language proficiency levels when we design our courses. The levels are labeled A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2, and they cover increasingly complex language needs.

What level of French is fluent? ›

C1 – Proficient User

Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.

Which is better Duolingo or Rosetta Stone? ›

Yes. After thoroughly testing out and reviewing each language learning app, we found Rosetta Stone to be a superior program to Duolingo. While we like Duolingo's gamification of learning, Rosetta Stone is simply more comprehensive and effective.

Is learning French in Duolingo worth? ›

The answer is yes, but mostly in the early stages. Duolingo French can be a game-changer if you've just started your learning journey. The bright, intuitive interface lures beginners in and quickly expands their vocabulary.

Is anything better than Duolingo? ›

Busuu offers a language learning experience that compares to Duolingo. They have a structured curriculum that you can progress through involving audio, vocabulary, and other gamified experiences.

What is the best way to learn French? ›

10 tips to learn French fast
  1. Watch films. Watching films in French with French subtitles is one of the best ways to learn. ...
  2. Learn with songs. ...
  3. Read. ...
  4. Find a partner. ...
  5. Don't be scared to try and make mistakes. ...
  6. Listen! ...
  7. Practice. ...
  8. Sign up for an intensive course.
Aug 12, 2016

What language learning program does the government use? ›

The DLIFLC is under the Department of Defense. It is regarded as one of the finest foreign language learning institutions in America. Located in Monterey, California, this premier language provider considers its mission deadly serious.

How fast can the average person learn French? ›

How long does it take to learn French? According to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), French is a category 1 language. This means learning French takes 23 – 24 weeks (575 – 600 hours) for most English speakers. This makes French one of the easiest (and fastest) languages to learn.

How many words should I know to be fluent in French? ›

However, it is estimated that a truly fluent French speaker knows around 3,000 words.

What is considered intermediate French? ›

Intermediate level French (B1 or B2 level in CEFR) means you can already communicate your ideas in French and understand conversations and jokes. But you may still have a bit of difficulty in understanding and expressing complex topics and nuanced ideas.

Does anyone actually learn a language from Duolingo? ›

Research shows that Duolingo is an effective way to learn a language! But the truth is that no single course, app, method, or book can help you reach all your language goals.

What is the hardest course on Duolingo? ›

Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn.

How much time should I spend on Duolingo a day? ›

You don't need to spend hours on Duolingo each day. However, you must put a reasonable amount of time into learning. If you log in to complete one lesson and sign out as soon as you've reached 10XP, you won't get very far. To optimize your learning, aim to spend between 15 and 30 minutes on the app each day.

How advanced does Duolingo get? ›

By itself, I think Duolingo can bring you to an A1 level of fluency. This means that you understand basic greetings and have learned a bit of vocabulary. If you use Duolingo religiously, you might be able to get to an A2 level.

Why has Duolingo changed 2022? ›

Anton Yu, Duolingo's product manager, said the app's redesign was shaped by feedback: Users wanted more guidance and content with less complexity. All new features except the Practice Hub, unlimited hearts, legendary status and no ads will be available to both free users and Super subscribers.

Who uses Duolingo the most? ›

Learners around the globe take up multiple languages

The countries where the most learners study three or more languages on Duolingo are Finland (#1) and the U.K. (#2).

Can you reach B1 with Duolingo? ›

By reaching the end of Unit 5, Duolingo learners have completed all the lessons in the beginner sections of our courses, called A1 and A2, and are starting intermediate B1 material.

Who has the longest streak on Duolingo? ›

Congrats to John Arnold, who has the highest-ever Duolingo streak of over 2000 days! He's a horse farmer and chemist.

What happens if Duolingo is too easy? ›

If you have previous experience with a language and feel that lessons are too easy, you can scroll to the next locked unit and tap the circle that says “Jump here?”. If you pass the test, you'll unlock that unit! NOTE: This will complete all levels up to that point.

What are the target skills of Duolingo? ›

Duolingo lessons include several activity types targeting learning and practice in vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening, and speaking.

What happens if you don't do your Duolingo lesson? ›

Get a streak freeze to make sure you don't lose your streak when you forget to practice for a day. A streak freeze must be purchased in advance of a day of a missed lesson to protect the streak. You can equip up to 2 streak freezes at a time. You can purchase a streak freeze via the app and web shop.

Is Duolingo French certificate valid? ›

Does Duolingo provide certificate? And if yes, is Duolingo certificate valid? Well, it does, and the certificate is valid for two years. It takes around 48 hours to generate this certificate, and it contains the student's scores.

Can Duolingo get you to B2? ›

At Duolingo, we're developing our courses to get you to a level called B2, at which you can get a job in the language you're studying. Reaching that kind of proficiency requires dedication, varied practice opportunities, and a lot of time.


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