In which I talk about my experience using Duolingo to learn French.

40 days and 40 nights, with Duolingo

551 words about review — 17:00 · 10th Dec 2013

Or, 40 jours et 40 nuits, avec Duolingo, as I would say if I spoke French well enough to do so. Which I suppose I actually kind of do. I say “kind of” because I did use Google Translate for that translation but that’s mostly because I have yet to learn how to say the word “day” in French. Everything else, I totally knew.

And according to statistics—believing Duolingo’s own “34 hours”—I should now have completed the equivalent of one semester of French.

So, what’s my experience been like? Honestly?

The famous scene from Titanic where Leonardo DiCaprio's character Jack is drawing Kate Winslet's character Rose as one of her french girls. Except we see that his drawing is a terrible stick figure with boobs.
This picture has nothing to do with this post.

Words can’t begin to describe how incredible awesome their whole service is. The fact that they offer it for free, with no ads, well that’s just a crowning cherry on top of their already unbelievable Ice Cream Sundae.

I still find myself surprised at what my subconscious picks up when I think that I haven’t learned anything for a few days but then I’ll notice myself understanding something in French that I haven’t understood before.

Is it flawless?

Of course not. Sometimes I wish I could go more in-depth and read about specific grammar rules but instead Duolingo offers me a—sometimes too simple—“You’re incorrect. Moving on”. Though I suppose this isn’t really a critique of the service itself but rather a testament to how learning should target every aspect

I also feel like I should mention that the Android app got a complete overhaul recently, bringing it up to par with their iPhone and iPad app, giving it some much appreciated profile viewing abilities, something it lacked prior to the update.

Yesterday’s stats.

Another thing that seems to be possible from their website but not from their app is to practise your weakest words. I would really like to be able to do this from my app but who knows, maybe it will be a feature in the future. I imagine this is only the beginning of where they are taking Duolingo, but it’s already an incredible service. Je suis impressionné.

So, if you want to start learning a language I would highly recommmend They currently offer the following languages: Spanish, English, French, German, Portugese and Italian and they’re incubating more languages constantly. I’ve thought about helping them add Swedish at some point.

I’ll do another post, another 40 days from now, on the 19th of January and we’ll see how things are going then because I am determined to stick with this and continue to use it everyday.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with I was recommended their service by a co-worker who uses it to learn Spanish and I only wanted to express my thoughts of the service.

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In which, 6 years ago, I wrote 551 words about review and I covered topics, such as: duolingo, and languages.