If you’re thinking about learning German, then it stands a chance you’ve come across Duolingo’s German course.
Known for its harsh sounds and crazy long words, it’s spoken by around 130 million people as either their mother tongue or second language.
I spent several years learning German at school and I’ve poured a fair few hours into Duolingo’s German course, so I’ve come to know it pretty well.
The course has improved A TON over the years, to the point that it’s now probably one of Duolingo’s best!
So does that mean Duolingo is good for learning German?
Well, in this article, I’ll give you all the need-to-know details, including:
- How Duolingo’s German course is structured
- Whether Duolingo’s German course has any special features
- Other features you need to be aware of
- The pros of Duolingo’s German course
- The cons of Duolingo’s German course
Shall we get to it?
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What you’ll find in Duolingo’s German course
If you’re new to Duolingo, then it’s worth pointing out that all of Duolingo’s courses are structured in pretty much the same way.
There might be one or two slight differences depending on which platform you’re using. However, for the most part, they all look and work the same.
The below represents what you’ll currently find on Duolingo’s IOS app!
The German course follows what is referred to as thelearning path.
The path is broken up into a set ofunits…
Each unit has a set oflevels…
Each level has a series oflessons…
And all of this is organised into a set ofsections…
The basic goal is to work your way along the path by completing every lesson… in every level… in every unit… in every pack.
As of April 2023, Duolingo’s German course has a total of 114 units, spread across 6 different sections.
As you move through the path, you’ll get opportunities to complete sometimed challengesby tapping on the adjacentcharacters…
Once you’ve completed a level, you’ll then get the opportunity to tackle an extra-hard challenge to make it legendary…
The exercises in the German course are basically the same as in all the other courses. Some of the common exercises you’ll come across include:
- Complete the translation
- Mark the correct meaning
- Picture flashcards
- Select the missing word
- Sentence shuffle
- Speak this sentence
- Tap the pairs (standard and audio)
- Tap what you hear
- Fill in the blanks
Does Duolingo’s German course have any special features?
Although English speakers can learn nearly 40 different languages on Duolingo, it’s important to point out that not all of the courses are created equally.
Some courses have special features that others don’t.
Some of these includestories, theMatch Madnesstimed challenge, and AI-powered features (exclusive to Duolingo Max).
As of April 2023, Duolingo’s German course has 187 stories and Match Madness, but doesn’t currently take advantage of Duolingo Max’s AI features.
Duolingo German Stories
Duolingo’s German stories are designed to improve your reading, listening and speaking. They’re entirely in German and most of them are only a few minutes long at most.
They’re written for learners of all levels and come with the usual hints you find in the normal lessons.
Every now and then you’ll have to answer a question to make sure you understand what’s going on, which is a great way to measure where you’re at with your comprehension.
Match Madness is one of Duolingo’s main timed challenges.
It’s basically a fancy match-the-pairs exercise, where you have to match the German word with its English equivalent.
However, in Match Madness, you have to do this against the clock, and the time you have to complete it gets shorter and shorter in each round.
It’s a great test of your comprehension speed and has quickly become one of the German course’s best features!
Other features in Duolingo’s German course
Duolingo’s German course is built on the same stuff as all of Duolingo’s other language courses.
We won’t go into too much detail here, but some of the features worth knowing about include:
- XP – As you work through the Duolingo German course, you’ll earn experience points, which are more commonly known as XP. You’ll earn XP for pretty much everything you do. Some lessons, tasks and exercises will earn you more XP than others.
- Leagues – Every week you’ll be entered into a league with other Duolingo learners. There are 10 leagues to work through, starting at Bronze and ending at Diamond. The leagues are basically leaderboards — simply earn more XP than others in your league to have a chance of winning.
- Gems – XP isn’t the only thing you’ll earn as you learn German. You’ll also earn gems, which you can spend in the Duolingo Shop. There isn’t really much you can buy here, but you can use your gems to pick up things like Streak Freezes and Timer Boosts for timed challenges.
- Friends – Duolingo is a social experience, so you’re able to follow other users and compare your progress. The guys at Duolingo reckon you’re 5 times more likely to finish your course if you follow people! To get you started, feel free to give me a follow — my username is DCiiieee!
- Duolingo Plus/Super – This is Duolingo’s premium membership. Pay for Plus/Super and you’ll get access to some useful features, including unlimited hearts, no ads and Practice Hub.
Is Duolingo good for learning German?
Now it’s time for the main event:
Is Duolingo good for learning German?
To answer this, let’s weigh up some of the pros and cons.
Learning a new language can be pretty intimidating, especially if you only speak the one language.
This is why one of the nicest things about Duolingo is just how accessible and welcoming it is.
Regardless of the language you’re learning, Duolingo presents its courses in a really warm, vibrant and inclusive way. So whether this is your second language or your tenth, you can feel at ease straight away!
This is just as well for the German course. Although German isn’t anywhere near as difficult to learn as some of the Slavic or Asian languages, it certainly isn’t as straightforward as some of its European cousins, like Dutch or Italian.
Things like sentence structure, conjugations and cases (just to name a few) can be really difficult to get your head around.
Sometimes no matter how hard you study, some of it just never makes sense!
However, Duolingo makes getting started with German a lot easier, thanks not only to its fun and friendly design, but also thanks to its bespoke guidebooks, stories, lesson variety, and structure.
Duolingo’s German course also comes with the usual placement test when you first start, so you can rest assured you’ll start your tree from a place you find comfortable.
Duolingo’s German course has received a lot of updates over the years, to the point that it’s up there with French and Spanish as one of Duolingo’s best courses.
With a solid 6 sections worth of streamlined German units and lessons, the German course is easily one of Duolingo’s most polished.
This will take you a good amount of time to work through. And that’s a good thing!
Some of Duolingo’s courses are really short, so you can breeze through them pretty quickly but not come away feeling as though you’ve learned much.
But rest assured, you’re unlikely to experience this with the German course. Not only is it jam-packed with vocabulary, each skill comes with bespoke guidebooks to help you get your head around the tricky aspects of German grammar.
Duolingo have also totally redone the voices of a lot of their characters, making them sound alive and engaging.
This is one of Duolingo’s standout features and it’s only available in a few of its courses.
Fortunately, German is one of them!
Duolingo’s German stories are genuinely some of the best on the app.
The library’s absolutely HUGE, with over 180 stories to work through. These will keep you occupied for ages!
And unlike the stories in some of Duolingo’s other courses, the voices sound totally authentic and engaging.
They’re also hilarious — definitely one of the biggest selling points if you ask me!
This doesn’t just go for Duolingo’s German course, it’s the same for ALL of them!
One of the best things about Duolingo is that it’s more than just a language-learning tool.
It’s also a game. And although this isn’t to everyone’s liking, it’s a big part of why so many people show up every day to do their daily lessons.
For everything you do in German, you’ll earn XP, which contributes towards your position in the weekly leagues.
Now this isn’t something you should take too seriously (you can read more about why here) but if you take it lightly it’ll definitely make your German a lot more enjoyable.
Because ultimately, the more you enjoy something, the more likely you are to do it. And given learning German will require you to show up regularly for a very long time, Duolingo could be the perfect solution.
Another great thing about Duolingo is that the German course is 100% free.
There is a premium subscription, but this isn’t something you need in order to complete the course. The whole thing is completely free; Plus/Super just adds a few features that make things a bit smoother.
This is great if you’re just dabbling with German and aren’t ready to commit just yet. But also if you’re keen to get started with the language but don’t want to fork out on special software or tuition.
I take it you’ve seen the owl memes?
Yes, the owl can be *a bit* of a stalker at times, pestering you at all hours to do your daily German lessons!
But relax, contrary to popular belief, he’s not gonna kidnap your family anytime soon!
Jokes aside, Duolingo is brilliant for keeping you motivated.
Learning German takes time. It’s not something you’re going to pick up overnight.
According to the US Foreign Service Institute, it takes roughly 900 “class hours” to reach “Professional Working Proficiency” in German.
So yeah, if you’re going to learn German, you’ve got to be in it for the long haul!
That means creating an unbreakable habit. And Duolingo’s amazing for doing that.
Put it this way — my current streak (i.e. the number of days in a row I’ve used Duolingo) goes all the way back to May 2016.
And that’s not just because I’m a bit obsessive! It’s thanks to Duolingo being such a great way of keeping me motivated!
Not great for speaking
This is the case for most of Duolingo’s language courses.
Duolingo is brilliant for getting to grips with the listening and reading side of a language. You even get opportunities to practice your pronunciation.
But when it comes to speaking in a real-life scenario, Duolingo’s German course won’t get you there by itself.
The problem is the speaking exercises aren’t conversation exercises. You get a little bit of practice in the conversation mode on the stories (if available), but this just involves reciting what the characters say. You don’t actually come up with your own responses.
Speaking is a skill in its own right and to learn it you’ll need to practice it regularly, ideally with a native speaker, or at the very least using a program that has conversation scenarios (such as GermanPod101).
If you’ve read any of my other articles then you’ll know one of the things I dislike most about Duolingo at the moment is the heart system.
Hearts are basically lives or chances. You start off with 5 then lose one every time you make a mistake.
If you lose all your hearts then you’re not allowed to progress through your course until your hearts replenish.
You can either watch an ad to get one back, do a practice session, spend some gems or wait 5 hours.
It’s far from ideal as it does the unhelpful thing of punishing you for making mistakes.
Which, as far as I’m concerned, is ridiculous as mistakes are absolutely essential and unavoidable when learning a language.
Whether you’re a total beginner or you’re looking to brush up, Duolingo’s German course is definitely one of the best options currently available.
The course is now hitting the same heights as the French and Spanish courses — which Duolingo reckon can get you to a B2 level on the CEFR.
You’ll learn the most important aspects of the language, get to grips with the pronunciation, pick up a nice chunk of useful vocabulary, and see the language in action in over 180 mini-stories.
You’ll also have a blast working through the course as you compete in the weekly leagues and alongside your friends!
By the end of the course, you’ll definitely be more advanced than when you started.
However, if you want to reach fluency, you can’t just rely on Duolingo alone.
A good tool to use — either alongside Duolingo or after you’ve completed the course — is GermanPod101.
GermanPod and Duolingo complement each other beautifully, as they both target areas that the other misses. Duolingo is great for reading and typing things out, whereas GermanPod is brilliant for improving your listening and speaking.
With GermanPod you’ll also get essential resources like grammar packs, cultural insights, and learn the 2,000 most common German words — so by the end of the course, you should be able to understand as much as 80% of all German conversations.
If you’re new to German…
I’d highly recommend taking Duolingo’s placement test, figuring out what level you’re at, and then working through the first couple of sections. This will get you familiar with the basics of German.
At the same time, I’d recommend taking advantage of GermanPod’s free trial to get familiar with how the language sounds, pick up some useful phrases and cultural insights, and practice speaking as soon as possible.
Once you’ve worked your way through the Duolingo course, I’d recommend coming back to it daily to keep the streak alive (habit is SO important when learning a language) and start to move through the intermediate to advanced packs on GermanPod.
Finally, make sure you’re getting enough passive exposure to German as well. It’s really important to experience the language in an authentic environment — so things like TV shows, music, books, real-life conversations — so you can see how everything you learn on Duolingo and GermanPod works in the real world.
At Duolingo, we're developing our courses to get you to a level called B2, at which you can get a job in the language you're studying. Reaching that kind of proficiency requires dedication, varied practice opportunities, and a lot of time.Can you actually learn German with Duolingo? ›
The world's most popular way to learn German online
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day with our game-like lessons. Whether you're a beginner starting with the basics or looking to practice your reading, writing, and speaking, Duolingo is scientifically proven to work.
How long to learn German on Duolingo. German learners say that it will take at least 6 to 8 months of learning at least more than the basic A1-B2 level of sentences. However, progressing with your German skills on a popular language app shouldn't be your only choice in learning.What Duolingo level is B2? ›
Standard High German, Standarddeutsch: Over time, German writers tried various forms out until eventually it evolved into Standard High German, and you'll recognize it as the variety you're learning on Duolingo.How long does it take to learn German fluently? ›
According to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute (FSI), you'll need about 750 hours of study to become fluent in German. This means that if you study 12-15 hours a week, you'll be able to speak like a pro in just a year!What is better than Duolingo for German? ›
LingoDeer might not be as well-known as other language learning apps but is considered to be an alternative and even superior to Duolingo. Crafted by language teachers, LingoDeer's curriculum and exercises train your reading, listening, speaking and writing skills.How long should I use Duolingo per day? ›
You don't need to spend hours on Duolingo each day. However, you must put a reasonable amount of time into learning. If you log in to complete one lesson and sign out as soon as you've reached 10XP, you won't get very far. To optimize your learning, aim to spend between 15 and 30 minutes on the app each day.Has anyone finished a language on Duolingo? ›
There is no such thing as a “finished” language course. So at Duolingo, we're always working to make our courses better!What happens when you finish Duolingo? ›
The guidebook can be accessed any time, even when you complete the unit. NOTE: Guidebooks are not available for all languages. Once you complete all the levels in a unit, you'll complete a challenge to earn your unit trophy. You'll also have the option to earn the Legendary trophy for each unit.
Level B2: Basic Fluency
Reaching B2 is generally considered by most people as having basic fluency. You'll have a working vocabulary of around 4000 words.
The biggest difference between Babbel and Duolingo is the approach to language learning. Babbel is a better option if you want traditional language instructions through modules and lessons. By contrast, Duolingo works great if you need a playful, gamified experience.Does B2 mean fluent? ›
Level B2 corresponds to independent users of the language, i.e. those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers.What level of German is required to study in Germany? ›
Depending on the German federal state, level B1 or B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is required.Does Duolingo test your level? ›
So if you manage 10-55 on the Duolingo English Test, your level would be considered Basic. If you manage 60-95, your level would be considered Intermediate. Score 100-125, and your level would be considered Upper Intermediate. And if you manage anything above 130, your level would be considered Advanced.Do you prefer to run alone in German Duolingo? ›
"Läufst du lieber allein?"What percentage of Duolingo users finish their course? ›
Duolingo doesn't release completion rates for its courses, but a report last year said American users ranked 68th out of all countries in the number of lessons completed. A separate informal study put the overall completion rate for Spanish at less than 0.01 percent.How long does it take to become fluent using Duolingo? ›
Putting in ten hours of study and practice per day, this equates to two months for “easy” languages and four months for “difficult” languages. How do you get started? Web sites such as DuoLingo can teach you 27 languages for free.Is Rosetta Stone better than Duolingo? ›
Duolingo vs Rosetta Stone, which is better for travel? If you are going to be travelling and want to learn a language at a beginner to intermediate level, we believe Rosetta Stone is a better option than Duolingo. Their lessons are more comprehensive and you will learn more quickly.How long does it take the average American to learn German? ›
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) estimates that learning German will take about 30 weeks, or 750 classroom hours, as it is rated as a category two language similar to English.
The German language has 6 CEFR levels – starting with A1 (absolute beginner), and ending with C2 (completely fluent).How many hours a day should I study German? ›
Language students who practice a method of complete immersion, with eight hours of practice per day, could learn German to a high level in a matter of months. Those who dedicate at least one hour per day to language learning can achieve an intermediate level within two years.How many German words does Duolingo teach you? ›
DUOLINGO German VOCABULARY LIST IN PDF FORM. Here you can download the Duolingo German Vocabulary List in PDF form, which comes out to be about 2600 words and 62 pages. The best part about this list is that it is organized in order of the subjects on your Duolingo tree.What is the most useful language to learn on Duolingo? ›
According to Duolingo, the most popular and most studied languages on the app around the world are: English. Spanish. French.Can you learn German on your own? ›
The short answer is, you can, and with free online resources at your disposal, there's really no reason you can't learn German from home. Here's how to get started.What happens after 365 days of Duolingo? ›
You reach the first tier once you hit a 365-day streak. After that, it goes up every year, and this will be reflected on your weekly leaderboards and profile page. So if you keep the flame burning for 3 years, you'll have a little 3-year badge underneath your username.What happens when you reach 100 days on Duolingo? ›
Reaching certain milestones (such as 100 day streak) can earn the user 3 days free of Super Duolingo.How do I get the best out of Duolingo? ›
- Study a little bit each day. This makes learning more manageable, it's easier to fit studying into your schedule, and it leads to more effective learning.
- Set meaningful, short-term goals. ...
- Use your lessons as a starting point.
Casual is one lesson per day, Regular is two, Serious is three, and Insane is five lessons in a day. I have my daily goal set to Serious, which requires completing three lessons daily, but I'll often do more lessons if I have the time, typically around five or six.What to do after Duolingo German? ›
- Continue to Use Duolingo, Even After You've Finished. ...
- Try Babbel to Focus More on Learning Grammar Rules. ...
- Try Learning with Materials Created for Native Speakers. ...
- Chat with Native Speakers on the HelloTalk App.
- Frisian. ...
- Dutch. ...
- Norwegian. ...
- Spanish. ...
- Portuguese. ...
- Italian. ...
- French. ...
- Know Your Goal - And Plan How to Get There. ...
- Study Daily. ...
- Prioritize Key Words. ...
- Start Talking from the Beginning. ...
- Study Vocabulary Daily. ...
- Use Free Apps and Tools. ...
- Develop Activities That Target Your Learning Styles and Schedules. ...
- Treat Mistakes Like Free Lessons.
- Listen in. Every good conversation starts with good listening. ...
- Learn the genders. German has three genders, so it's important to learn nouns along with their gender. ...
- Hack your memory. ...
- Turn up the volume. ...
- Record yourself. ...
- Create a personal phrasebook. ...
- Speak up.
German for Kids: Toddlers (Age 2-5)
Three years is said to be the optimal age to start learning a second language. This is because younger kids are better at mimicking new sounds and learning new pronunciations.
A streak freeze on Duolingo allows you to pause (or in this case 'freeze') your streak. This means that if you miss a day — i.e. you don't login and complete any lessons — then your streak won't reset to 0. A streak freeze is basically a safety net that gives your streak that extra bit of protection.How many times can I take Duolingo? ›
You can take the Duolingo English test as many times as you like, but you can only take it twice within 30 days.Does Duolingo expire? ›
Test Results Expiration
Your DET Certificate is valid for two years from the date you take the DET. After two years, your DET Certificate will be marked expired and you will no longer be able to share your DET Certificate with third parties.
Yes you can. The A1 level is the most basic level and is simple but then do not fool yourself into believing that German is a piece of cake. The grammar and words can be tricky.Can I get B1 in German with Duolingo? ›
Immersion is definitely the best way to learn useful phrases and words. So when you reach level 25 on Duolingo, yes, you could publicly say that you've reached B1.Is B2 German fluent? ›
Is B2 German Considered Fluent? It's generally considered that reaching B2 is having basic fluency. You'll have a vocabulary of about 4000 words.
By reaching the end of Unit 5, Duolingo learners have completed all the lessons in the beginner sections of our courses, called A1 and A2, and are starting intermediate B1 material.How long does it take to learn B2 German? ›
|Assess your current level & test your German online!||Intensive course (20 lessons/week)|
|B2||upper intermediate||10 weeks*|
B1 (Conversational German): 260 – 490 hours. B2 (High Intermediate German): 450 – 600 hours. C1 (Advanced German): 600 – 750 hours.How difficult is German B1 level? ›
The B1 level is the most difficult because of the lot of grammar and vocabulary knowledge that you need to grasp. No matter, how difficult or lengthy it looks, learn things slowly and reinforce all you have done as you may go through.Is Duolingo enough for B2? ›
Duolingo claims users can reach B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. B2 is upper-intermediate level or basic fluency. It is considered sufficient to live and work in a country.Is Duolingo German certificate valid? ›
Duolingo score validity will be the same as that for any other exam, 2 years from when you appear for it.How fluent is B1 German? ›
|Rate of Speech||Pronunciation and Grammar|
|100 WPM or less||Frequent errors with new or complex words Express yourself simply and coherently on familiar topics and areas of personal interest|
Intermediate B1 to B2 – German level B1 takes 200 hours and B2 takes approximately 300 hours to become fluent.Is B1 more difficult than B2? ›
B1-B2 is easier because you don't learn as much vocabulary, it's more about idiom."How long does it take to become fluent on Duolingo? ›
Putting in ten hours of study and practice per day, this equates to two months for “easy” languages and four months for “difficult” languages. How do you get started? Web sites such as DuoLingo can teach you 27 languages for free.
Frequently asked questions about CEFR
They are grouped into three broader levels: A1-A2 (Basic User), B1-B2 (Independent User), and C1-C2 (Proficient User). What is the most popular CEFR level? The B2 level is the most demanded level when employers require “active command of the English language”.