Duolingo on the test: This is my experience with the language learning app


Writer Madeleine Kamrath has been able to learn languages ​​with Duolingo for 1,000 days in a row.
Madeline Kamrath / screenshot / Business Insider

With the Duolingo app, you can learn a language in a fun way – with levels, experience points and ranking lists. Our author used it to learn Korean and French.

After a 1,000-day streak, she said she had not reached her goal of mastering the language. It obviously lacks the app in the conversation.

Perseverance in this 2 and 8 month streak came less from a desire to master languages ​​and more from a desire to win and be rewarded – and this can become a drain.

1000 day streak. This is 2 years and 8 months. When I reached this landmark, the air disappeared. Why did you learn a foreign language anyway? For me or for the application? Or for a sense of accomplishment after 1,000 days? Realistic realization: For me this was definitely the last – because I still couldn’t speak the language fluently.

When I started learning Korean using Duolingo language learning app in late 2018, I was filled with excitement. Only at first I ran through the lessons. The rules were not an issue. After all, I actually struggled through Latin in school and later through English and Spanish. So I chose the English-Korean course because there is no German-Korean. Languages ​​are relatively easy to learn as long as I don’t have to memorize much. And for memorization, Duolingo offers a sufficient number of repetitions for each lesson. Later it got more complicated and my line was cut off. At the same time, my fighting spirit awakened.

Lessons in the app are color coded according to their success.

Lessons in the app are color coded according to their success.
Screenshot / Business Insider

Duolingo takes gamification to the extreme

Learning a language with Duolingo is like playing it. This is called gamification and it seems to work especially well for ambitious people like me. Each circle means a new lesson of 5 repetitions with new grammar or new special vocabulary. If I can complete a unit each day, which often takes no more than 5 minutes, my streak will continue. When the whole lesson is over, it turns into gold. In addition, experience points, called “XP” just like in the gaming world, are accumulated, and you are ranked among other anonymous learners. Whoever tops the list at the end of the week enters a higher league. I’ve always wanted to be the first.

Various elements in the app keep you motivated

Various elements in the app keep you motivated
Screenshot / Business Insider

After the last coach in Korean, we continued French

My motivation: play the thing through! Just like I spent hours playing specific RPGs on Playstation 2 as a teenager, I wanted to turn all the lessons into gold and master the language after the end. About a year and a half later, the last coach of Korea was defeated. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t help but fathom the lyrics of my favorite TV drama on Netflix and my streak was just over 500. And too close to 1000 to give up.

In order not to have to repeat the same Korean for the next year and a half, I looked for a new game: Japanese. This did not work out well. Problem: My topic with memorization. Alternatively: French. Much easier. My vocabulary now goes far beyond “Voulez-vous” and “Baguette”, but there are also many lessons and opportunities to learn here in the app. The audio stories are there and I’m supposed to be on the phone all the time. The pressure is great.

It is useful to keep checking for completed courses: there may be news.

It is useful to keep checking for completed courses: there may be news.
Screenshot / Business Insider

My tolerance with the application is not a sustainable tolerance. It is based on the desire to win. If I had to read and practice the lessons in a book every day, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Firstly, it takes a long time and secondly, it is too bad to share the results here on Instagram. I can be proud of the streaks – and so am I. In the future I will write “Korean: Basic” on my resume.

He clearly missed the goal of “language proficiency”.

However, I clearly missed the ‘Language Proficiency’ result in the Korean language course. Especially with languages ​​that are very far from your own, it is necessary to put it in your mouth and form sentences that are not provided by text units. Or write it down – my Korean spelling is awful. My current French lessons are going better. Again, I need to practice speaking a lot, but I find it much easier to form sentences in my head. However, if at some point my streak broke, I don’t think I would check the app regularly.

There are many mobile apps that work with Streaks and games in particular. The higher the streak, the higher the rewards. It is an addiction. I remember once I had a short streak and the game hasn’t been a part of my daily routine since then. It was an incredible release. So when do I let the Duolingo streak explode? Let’s see – I still hope to be rewarded for my incredible ambition.

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