With over 300 million users, Duolingo is one of the most popular language-learning apps in the world. But are you using it, right? Excuse the accusatory tone of this video’s title, but there’s a good chance you’re not getting the most out of Duolingo. I’ve been using Duolingo 2014, and I’ve completed two trees, a German tree, and the Spanish tree. Right now, we’re going to dive into my best tips for learning with Duolingo.
Tip # 1: Understand a Concept Better With Tips
Duolingo has implemented and removed many features over the years. But one thing that has remained consistent is the tree. This is where you’re going to start when you’re learning a language with Duolingo. As you progress through the tree, you’ll pick up new vocabulary. But sometimes, you miss some connecting parts that you might otherwise get in a class. That’s where the tips function comes into play.
Be sure to use the tips function when you’re entering a new course because this will give you a little bit more explanation about what you’re about to get yourself into with that class. Often, they’ll cover some grammar and just a bit more context about that class’s topic.
Tip # 2: “Discuss” When You Have An Issue
One often overlooked function in Duolingo is the discussion tab. It comes in handy if you think you got something right, but Duolingo marked it wrong. You can click this option and see a discussion about that question or that part of the class. And you can see the rationale about why Duolingo may have marked it wrong. It’s also possible that your answer was correct. So definitely check that out to get a little more insight into why Duolingo may have marked your answer as incorrect.
Tip # 3: Use The Forum
This next feature is only available on the desktop app, but it’s invaluable. It’s the community tab.
Here you can post questions for discussion or get a little bit more feedback and encouragement from other Duolingo users to help keep you motivated. If you question a specific topic, there are always tons of people willing to help you understand a subject a little bit better. Many users will share even more resources where you can further hone your skills.
Tip # 4: Repeat Everything Out Loud
It’s best to repeat the phrases you hear in Duolingo out loud. I recommend reading each word out loud three times. And this is because Duolingo doesn’t give you many opportunities to speak, which is an essential component of becoming fluent!
Keep in mind, though, that speech recognition isn’t great. So what you want to do is repeat what you hear within a lesson as accurately as possible. It will improve your accent and pronunciation a ton.
Tip # 5: Use The Desktop Version
Using Duolingo on a desktop computer is better for several reasons. But it also ensures you won’t lose hearts for answering incorrectly. It can prevent you from paying Duolingo to refill your hearts or to use Lingots from the store to fill up your hearts. There are also fewer matching games and more having you type in actual sentences on the desktop version. It will be more difficult, but you’re going to retain a lot more doing it this way.
Tip # 6: Duolingo Stories Are A Game Changer
My favorite feature in Duolingo is the stories. And although a lot of them are kind of cheesy, it’s so rewarding to be able to listen to a short story and answer some questions and feel like you’re actually getting somewhere with the language. I think it’s crucial to listen and repeat everything you hear in the stories. And that’s because you’re getting actual voice actors on each level. So you know that you’re copying a native Spanish speaker or native of your target language. And after you do it a few times, you get used to the rhythm and the intonation from the narrator in each story.
Tip # 8: Step Up to the Podcast
Once you’ve built up some confidence by going through the Duolingo stories, you should start listening to the Duolingo podcast and even from there listening to other podcasts. One good thing about the Duolingo podcast for Spanish is that the narrators in each podcast episode speak slowly, and the producers have created the podcast in such a way to be able to scale you up little by little with each new episode.
If you enjoy the Duolingo podcast and you understand most of that, I encourage you to check out our podcast Learn Spanish and G, available everywhere you listen to podcasts. We even have transcripts and breakdown audio and PDFs available for each episode in our podcast membership.
Tip # 9: Dedicate Enough Time
Be sure to spend at least 15 minutes a day with the app. That way, you’re investing enough to get something out of it, but not too little to where you feel like you’re trying to keep up a streak or trying to make sure that you did at least one lesson that day.
Another thing that helps is taking classes at night. Studies show that you’re more likely to remember something if you learn than towards the end of the day.
Tip #10: Type What You Hear
One way to be fluent enough is to type what you hear. You are not just practicing the grammar and pronunciation but also how it is written.
Tip #10: Duolingo Is Just The Beginning
We don’t talk about Duolingo a lot on our channel because it’s a high resource on the fun side of things but not necessarily the most effective. So I like to couple learning a new language with other resources. I don’t know anyone who has become fluent in a new language, only using Duolingo.
If you want a comprehensive program that includes audio, grammar, and cultural lessons, I recommend checking out Rocket Languages. If you want to mainly focus your efforts on listening comprehension and speaking, definitely check out Pimsleur or our Podcast Membership.
To be fluent enough, spend more time learning or using the app. Which tip is familiar to you? And what strategy do you think you’ll spend time with first? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions. I hope this article helps you find your way to Duolingo.