Does Duolingo make you fluent? This is the question that we are going to answer in today’s discussion. But before we move forward with this question, let’s see what “being fluent” means.

What is the true meaning of Fluent?

Fluent means different for different people, but in general, fluency means that you have a firm grip and understanding of a foreign language. You can read and write it very well with ease and accuracy. 

Can Duolingo Make You Fluent?

In my opinion, I don’t think Duolingo can make you fluent just on its own as there are a lot of other things associated with it. For someone to get fluent in a language, one must be speaking it with a native speaker of that specific language or putting hours and hours of practice into it. Duolingo can provide you with aid in this journey of becoming fluent. 

Still, if you are not actively putting in the hours to talk to a native speaker or listen to some journals by a native speaker, you may never be able to get fluent in a specific language. I recommend that you use other apps such as Netflix and iTalki along with Duolingo to get your grip on the foreign language.

How Much XP is Needed To Be Fluent in Duolingo?

There is no specific XP that is needed to be fluent in any language by using Duolingo. However, you can use the Duolingo feature “Duome” and the language levels to determine how many vocabulary words you have learned so far, which indicates how far you have come to obtaining fluency in the language. To check the number of words you have discovered on Duolingo, type duome.eu/youusernameonduolingo. 

According to the universe of memory, you should know around 4000 words to hold a conversation and around 8000 words to be called a native in a language. 

You should have around 13,000 XP to be thought of as fluent in Duolingo.

Do crowns determine fluency?

As different amounts of crowns are needed for every course, the decision is hard to conclude. It is much easier to calculate your growth by using XP or the number of words learned. 

Does finishing a Duolingo Course makes you fluent?

I would suggest that if you finish a Duolingo tree, you are getting closer to fluency. Finishing a Duolingo tree is not easy at all, and if you finish it, there is a high chance that you are fluent in it. That also means that you have been giving Netflix and iTalki a lot of time too. But do not think that the only way to get fluent is by finishing a Duolingo tree. You should always keep checking your progress in between too. 

Benefits of Using Duolingo

Masterful Gamification

After using hundreds of language apps and programs over the years, I have deduced that the gamification features provided by Duolingo are the best. The company’s designers and programmers probably know a lot about psychology and behavioral change along with habit loops. As the design of the app is as such, it makes the user come back for more. 

Power of “Reverse learning.”

If you are a newbie in learning a new language, the primary speakers’ course is a good start as it allows you to understand the language accurately and fast. For example, if you are a fan of anime, Japanese is a must-learn for you. For that, you can look at Duolingo’s English for Japanese speakers course. This approach fascinates me more, maybe because of the grammar explanations for each lesson written in Japanese but for English. 

Some Downsides of Duolingo

It does not offer much “authentic input” or “true output.”

We as humans acquire a new language when they are understandable, meaningful, and have a lot of practice communicating with a native speaker. While Duolingo provides listening, reading, typing, and pronunciation exercises, this is far from authentic input or true output (e.g., reading manga or watching anime). These factors- authentic input and true output are the keys to reaching fluency in any language. The most beneficial aspect of authentic input and true output is that learning a new language is fun and entertaining. 

Duolingo relies on Translation and Indirect Learning.

A lot of exercises in Duolingo seem like they are exercises of “direct learning,” but they are, in fact, “indirect learning” and accumulation of passive knowledge instead of active learning. 

Problem with Translation:

Mostly someone who is learning a new language thinks that we learn a new language by systematically translating each word and phrase until we have matching sets of equivalent terms in our native and target language. This seems logical, but there is one major problem: This is not how our brain functions, and we cannot grasp the new language properly. True acquisition proceeds more quickly and effectively when we develop subconscious and instant associations between sounds and deep meaning.

But translations add an unnecessary step that slows cognition and increases the work. Many learners fear that they will get addicted to translations, and this habit will be tough for them to break when they progress. Apps like Duolingo normalize and reinforce this behavior as translation is very much within Duolingo’s DNA since the app’s origin was created to teach both learners and gather crowdsourced translations on the internet.

The problems with matching, filling in the blanks

Matching words, answering multiple-choice questions, dragging words into the correct order, and filling in the blanks have one thing in common. They are comfortable, easy, and useless when it comes to reaching conversational fluency in a language. These exercises are easy to design and implement, but they have no direct relationship with the actual skill that the people need to master, i.e., speaking with real people. When you are having an actual conversation with a human being, you cannot guide letters in front of a screen. You need to speak with a real person to get fluent in a language originally. Therefore learning with the help of actually talking with someone is a skill that should be focused on.

Tips To Get The Most Out Of Duolingo

These are some tips that can help you learn more from Duolingo and get more out of it. 

  1. Try to listen to sentences first before reading them. This helps to develop your listening skills and show you how much you have understood as yet.
  2. Before you click on “Check” for a particular exercise, tap on the speaker icon and listen to the sentence one more time as it’s easy to forget something when you try very fast. 
  3. Suppose you do get an exercise or an answer wrong, no need to worry. Just tap on the speech bubble icon in the bottom right corner and check the forum’s discussion. You will learn from the mistakes that others have made and explain why that mistake was made. 
  4. Access your leaderboard tab by clicking on the shield icon. Here you can view your leaderboard position. The top ten positions are promoted to the successive league, while the bottom ten are demoted to the previous league.
  5. Although the Duolingo mobile app is efficient, working through lessons is much quicker and easier to use using the desktop version. You get a full keyboard to type in your answers and use the shortcuts available only on the keyboard. Another significant advantage of Duolingo’s web version is that it provides free tests if you want to jump to the next level, while it charges you 200 gems in the mobile app.