Sunday, March 9, 2014

Testimonial from Duolinguo

 I hope this story motivates many of you to practice using this amazing free program! -- rsb  

PS  zbdbzPeremptor, and sakasiru your tips and discussion regarding gender-survival are a hoot. 

My story of learning German... !For some it is just a hobby, for me it wasn't.  :-)

Hi everyone,I am Laertis and I am from Greece. I just want to tell a short story about how important Duolingo is to me.

As everybody know things in Greece are going bad and in the near future i can assure you that it will go even worse.As a result i wanted to move away and try to make a new life (I am 25 years old). My brother lives in Germany (but doesn't speak German, international work) and it was a good option although i wanted to go to London first because of the language. Whatever...

I came here (Lübeck,near Hamburg) at 20/11/2013 with no idea of German language. I thought that my English skills would save the day BUT BELIEVE ME,IT DID NOT. Many people here don't speak English because  1) they don't know or  2)they are shy or  3) THEY ARE EGOISTIC. So i spent Christmas looking everyone in the mouth trying to understand what they say.

After a month here i realised that without knowing German language is difficult to make progress on my career(sound engineer) despite the fact that i really don't need it in my field. I searched the net and THANK GOD I FOUND DUOLINGO. At the beginning i thought how someone can learn from that???

After the first week of using Duolingo i could go to the super market and talk basic German. After a month using Duolingo i was enable to Enrol to a morning school for learning German language from Level A2.And now after 2 months of using Duolingo(level 10),school and extra Grammar-Vocabulary sites i am able to send CVs (already have found some part time job at Mc Donald's) in German Language.


P.S. sorry for that big story, just wanted to write these things that happen in real hard life.
Best wishes to everyone
2 days ago


  • Luis
    Awesome story! Duolingo just tweeted about it :)
  • ColbyStein
    It's so good that Duolingo has achieved its goal, of teaching people a new language to improve their life. The dev team should feel proud, as now they can read actual proof that their creation has helped a real persons life become much better.
  • Paulo.Guedes
    Now that's something really worth of note. Great story, nice to see that it helped you so much. We learn what we need. The more we need, the faster we learn. You needed in order to survive, make a living. Use the language and learn the culture (they are completely tied together). Keep going, one step every day and you will go a loong way. Good luck!
  • hana_yo
    Congratz for your achievement =) German is quite tricky and even native speakers do many mistakes. (I'm German myself ;)) I think one of the most important things i case you go to live in another country is to learn the language or at least try to learn it. About Germans speaking English... since it's mandatory after 3rd grad in school, most understand German (of course not the older generation). Many people are simply unsure of their skills, because in school you're often reminded to "Not dare to use a language you can't speak properly. Mistakes are unforgiveable." I had 11 year of English at school and a semester at university, but when someone asked if I could speak English I started to be embarrassed and said "Oh, only a little bit". Fortunately it changed now, because one of my flatmates was english ^^
    • sakasiru
      I think you can get along with English if you visit Germany for a vacation or a semester pretty well, but searching for a job is a different matter entirely. Germans will be glad to talk English with a guest, but no boss will talk English just for you but expect that you speak German as everyone else in his company.
      • hana_yo
        True! I talked with friends about it (no native speakers) and they told me the only jobs, they could get until now where in the kitchen of a restaurant or cleaning hotel rooms.
  • Cam_31
    Well done, and keep it up. Good luck!
  • RickAndMorty
    Congratulations. I really want to move to Germany once I graduate college (which is in a very long time) but luckily I am going for the summer. I cannot wait to test out my German skills on natives. Man, if there was an exchange student opening I would be in Germany faster than you could say Gänsenblumechen.
    • nateVONgreat
      Amen brotha! same thing for me! I SOOO want to go to germany!
    • PANDALUVA1234
      Gänseblümchen, it has the ü thingy
      • RickAndMorty
        bah, gets me every time.
        • Peremptor
          Lol! I would like to know how you are writing this ä ü ö ß :)
          • BinarySplit
            If you're on a Windows PC and you're unwilling to change your keyboard layout (multi-language on Windows is quite a pain to deal with for me), it's possible to enter them through key combinations on the numpad. Simply hold down the Alt key, enter one of the following numbers (MUST be done on the numpad) then release the Alt key.
            ä is Alt+132 / Ä is Alt+142 / ü is Alt+129 / Ü is Alt+154 / ö is Alt+148 / Ö is Alt+153 / ß is Alt+225
            I'd only recommend this if you've tried Windows' multi-language input method support and are unhappy with it. After about 10 uses each, you'll remember the keys quite easily, though the lower case letters are obviously much more important and useful to remember.
            If you've got a laptop where the numpad is overlaid on the letters part of the keyboard, you can try e.g. hold Alt then hold Fn then type the numbers, then release Alt and Fn.
            • Peremptor
              Thanks, I think I've tried about everything and nothing was perfect. So I'll just have to train for ñ etc.
          • SerdarCengiz
            maybe his keyboard is different
          • RickAndMorty
            for me on Mac it is option+u for an umlaut and option+s for a ezsett
  • wantyu
    That is great. Wish you have fun in Luebeck, that is very beautiful city. I think your story will encourage more people use that awesome app.
  • Sysoy
    Wow! What a fast progress! Congrats! In one thing you are absolutely right - there's nothing to do in foreign country without a language. Many people says that "English will open all the doors for you", but no, it's not true. And you are going through it :)
    By the way, in Germany, as I see, not so bad with English compared to Spain or Italy, for example :)
    And the last question, what else has you use to learn except Doulingo?
    • laertis1989
      As i said i am using other sites for grammar and vocabulary especially when it comes to articles.I have found the sites from here(when i made a mistake always looked in the discussion to understand).I can post you in your profile if you want
      • zbdbz
        About the articles: learn them. BUT - my German teacher told us, if you don't know the article, just sort of slur it to "de" The Dutch only have two articles, de & het, & apparently that's a pretty typical thing for them to do when speaking German. When I was in Germany etc, people knew I wasn't a native speaker, but they couldn't tell I was American as soon as I opened my mouth. I was proud of that. A lot of people asked me if I was Dutch!
        • Peremptor
          There's another one: "Hast du'n Schraubendreher?" (Do you have a srewdriver?) Many of us are too lazy to speak proper German, so instead of asking for a/an something, just ask for "n" something, works every time ;-) In this example, the "du" and the "einen" are pronounced together the way I wrote it.
        • laertis1989
          that is a really good advice.Thank you very much :D
  • nateVONgreat
    Sehr gut! It was extremely brave of you to get up and move from your home to germany! kudos to you! I love how you use CAPS to EMPHASIZE THINGS!
  • KrzysztofS26
    congratulations and thank you for motivation. I like to read such stories. I think that things like Duolingo are the proper utilization of the great human invention - the Internet.
  • HACKALI000
    thats amazing best of luck in germany guten morgan
    if u read this in the morning
  • Yana001
    Keep it up! It's a great story, and give us an update when you master it :) Best of luck!!
  • RoniG
    Thank you for taking the time to write your big story. It's scary to watch Greece, Portugal and Spain these days. So glad Duolingo can give you a hand on your way.
  • duchessjohanna
    I'm of German descent and I'm really interesting in my heritage. So, obviously when I heard about Duolingo, I automatically wanted to learn German! My mother is slightly fluent in German I already knew a few phrases. But now that I've ben using Duolingo for months now, I'm so much more confident. I'm going to Germany this Summer to see where my family originates. I'm hoping that my new profound skills with this beautiful language will come in handy. Thank you Duolingo! :)
  • kimeraweb
    Same to me! But I'm international busdriver working in Germany :)
  • helenvee
    Well done. I hope things continue to go well for you.
  • MostafaFischer
    this is inspiring , keep going man ;)
  • sherifalaa55
    That's a realy good story ... best of luck :)
  • luojieli
    Thanks for writing your story, I really appreciated reading it. I'm glad that Duolingo helped you--I just wish they would add languages, like Greek, that are not all from Western Europe!
  • Barb7
    Well done! I am English but lived 10 yrs in Germany worked in English but lived in German, so learned the language well to speak but many years later I am so unsure of genders and cases so must learn them properly confidently etc... DL is an amazing help. May I add you can't love and country and it's people unless you learn the language and culture I hope you will be as happy there as I was......Viel spass..
  • Snoopinia
    Willkommen in Deutschland! Ich hoffe, dass du dich hier an der Ostsee wohl fühlst und viele liebe Menschen triffst. Wir sind fast Nachbarn! :D (Ich lebe in Kiel.)
    • laertis1989
      wirklich?schreibe mir deine E-mail oder FB name so ich kann suche dir!
      • Snoopinia
        Tut mir leid, aber solche Informationen schreibe ich nicht gerne öffentlich. Vielleicht bekommt Duo irgendwann eine "Private Nachrichten" Funktion.
        Ich füge bei Facebook auch nur Menschen hinzu, die ich im realen Leben kenne. Aber wir sind ja jetzt Duo-Freunde, das ist doch auch okay. :)
  • GutierrezIgnacio
    Espero que sigamos creciendo.
  • junair
    Herzlich willkommen in Deutschland! Gut, dass du zielstrebig bist , mit DL schaffst du sicherlich die Sprache.
  • antonioj
    well done
    congrats <3 p="">
  • innerwestwomble
    What a great story laertis1989, thanks so much for sharing it with us! I'm not sure what I love more, that you were brave enough to change your life or that Duolingo was able to help you change it.
  • hayagami
    Such a great story to read... Now I wonder if I could have the same achievement as you did, since I'm actually crossing the same path.. Will soon move to Germany actually it isn't for good but at least I should be accustomed to some of their traditions and cultures especially their language spoken. I've been referring on online resources till now, and Duolingo is the best so far, not until today.. I'm experiencing problems with the site. Like while I'm on my activity, I know I translated it correctly but the system says it isn't a German translation that I entered, then whenever I hit the Skip button, the whole thing just collapse and I'm like okei what should I do from here? Ended up hitting the quit button more than 5 times of trying it over and over again.. How am I suppose to move another step if I can't even finish the stage where I'm at... somebody help?
    • echomiao
      Do you mean the part that asks you to speak in German? I have experienced the problem before when it keeps on giving me the feedback that my voice was unclear or I was not speaking German. Luckily, there is an option where you can delete practicing oral skills, so that questions that ask you to speak won't appear. Hope this help~
    • Paulo.Guedes
      Can you be a bit more specific? Many people here can help, by first we need to properly understand what's going on. Before solving the issue, you need to explain it very clearly and in a specific way so we (and you) can understand it. Several times, the simple exercise of explaining something aloud and understanding it correctly is enough for me to solve it without external help. About the learning method of Duolingo, I think it is great. But learning a language takes a lot of time. So, just like any other method, it only works out if you have a lot of discipline and patience. Furthermore, this method is particularly difficult on the very beginning because we need to get used to the basics. Doing it by trial and error is tricky. Perhaps you are in this stage. Perhaps is a software issue. Anyway, don't give up. Stick to it. I study languages for about 20 to 40 minutes every day. It is not much, but consistently and for months, so far. After a while doing this every day, your mind magically "snaps in" and things quickly start to make sense. The more you try and practice, the faster you get used to it. So, keep trying. Over and over... and over again, that's the way it works. Good luck, Paulo
  • J.DavidCR
    Keep doing your best Laertis, my motivation to learn German is similar to yours, I am from Latin America (Colombia) and things here won't be better soon. The further education here is expensive as heck and it would be cheaper for me to get academics and jobs opportunities in Germany rather than in America. For me learning German is not just a hobby, is a goal and if I had the chance to get better a life by learning a language, then I am willing to become fluent in German, and I really thank Duolingo for giving us a useful resource as this website is. Germany will remain strong as the leader of the EU (to the heck UK with its selfishness and its USA wannabe egocentricity...). Certainly economy ist hard in Europe, nonetheless Germany is aware that must prevail strong and it will be. Keep doing your best that everyone just as you should be allowed to strife and work hard for a better quality of life.
  • Peremptor
    I wish you all the best and hope more people will have the courage to live in another country when they think they can speak "a little bit" of its native language (most time, it's more than just a little bit and as you pointed out, about nobody in Lübeck had the courage to speak it with you).
    And really, there are only higher grades Germans who really know how they have to write what and where and many also can't speak properly German ;-)
    And if you still need help on the street, I think it would come from pupils and students that are younger than 20. Many of them will look forward to train their English and normally chemists and doctors are also willing to speak it. I know there are a lot of people that won't. And I also think they are egoistic.
    So here is my kick in the butt for all you lazy Germans (I'm one too, but I'm willing to help everyone and everytime!): If there's someone needing help, please TRY to get it done!
  • buffalump21
    Many congratulations! Felicitations!


  1. I just heard about Duolingo shortly before reading this article and now I have to say that I think I might look into this to boost my German learning.

  2. Wow that's awesome! I would love to try Duolingo to help improve my German. I think we should look into this in class.

  3. I use Duolingo almost every day! I love the app and it definitely helps me improve my German vocabulary. It has a great set-up an makes the learning really fun and easy. We should definitely use it in class!