Learning French with Duolingo

Want to learn French but not sure how to begin or only learned a foreign language during high school and forgot everything already? If English is the only language you know, don’t let it deter you from learning a new language! English was the only language I knew growing up, but I learned Spanish in high school and college. Now I’m learning French and Chinese!

There are many amazing language apps available on iPad and various smartphones that will bring you to a conversational level in only a few months! Today we will be discussing Duolingo.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Duolingo is easy enough that you don’t need any prior experience with the language to start learning it. The app is split into various vocabulary and grammar topics with each topic containing anywhere from 3-10 lessons. Vocabulary is always easier because it’s a matter of memorization. However, once I got to harder topics and more complicated grammar tenses, it started becoming difficult (and frustrating!) to complete the lessons.

What I wished Duolingo did better was giving a mini lesson about the grammar concept, but I can’t complain too much since Duolingo is free! Duolingo’s main way of teaching is through repetition and having the user do many examples in a row. A user could do as many as 25 examples in one lesson depending on whether or not they understand the concept.

There were times when I had to do the same lesson 3 times in a row because I wasn’t understanding the grammar concept. It got to the point that I’d refer to a French grammar book or French grammar website to learn about how the concept worked. Once I understood the concept, then I was finally able to complete the lesson. Struggling when studying a language is inevitable, but struggling so much with one lesson that it creates anger is what we want to avoid. Studying the tense beforehand will help you with lessons that prove especially challenging.

Several good French language websites to learn tenses are:

Here are other tips for making Duolingo work for you!

  • Use a verb conjugator website, such as WordReference! Sometimes it’s hard to remember how to correctly conjugate a verb and Duolingo will mark the question as wrong if you conjugate the verb incorrectly.
  • Be consistent and do Duolingo every single day. Duolingo has a great option called “Coach Mode” where the app will send you a notification to do Duolingo for that day. You can start building a streak and gaining Lingots (Duolingo currency) to buy clothes for your owl or other lessons.

Have fun learning French with Duolingo! Let me know how your Duolingo experience goes!


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