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.
They all follow what is commonly referred to as the lesson tree.
The tree is broken up into a set of units…
Each unit has a set of skills…
Each skill has up to 6 crown levels…
And each crown level has a set of lessons…
The basic goal is to work through the tree by completing every lesson… in every level… in every skill… in every unit.
As of April 2022, Duolingo’s German course has a total of 9 units, broken down into a total of 160 skills. That means there are 800 crown levels in Duolingo’s German course (or 960 if you include the legendary levels).
As of September 2022, Duolingo’s German course has a total of 6 units, broken down into a total of 137 skills. That means there are 685 crown levels in Duolingo’s German course (or 822 if you include the legendary levels).
At one point, the German course had a whopping 9 units. However, Duolingo ultimately decided to condense it. I’m not entirely sure why, but my understanding is that much of the content remains the same, it’s just organised differently.
The German course also has a couple of bonus skills you can buy from the Duolingo Shop. These focus on idioms and flirting.
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
*Duolingo are switching up their courses to a brand new format known as the learning path. It’s only been rolled out to a handful of users so far, so the majority of users will get the traditional lesson tree above. However, if your German course looks different to the above, then you’ve probably got the new lesson path. Check outthis postto learn more.
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 include stories, audio lessons and podcasts.
As of April 2022, Duolingo’s German course has 187 stories, but doesn’t have audio lessons or podcasts.
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. So once you’ve earnt enough crowns to unlock the first set, you can feel free to jump in whenever you feel ready.
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.
The conversation mode is pretty useful as well, as it gets you to take on the role of one of the characters in the story.
So this is a great opportunity to start speaking some German — regardless of what level you are!
If you want to speak German FAST then you should definitely check out this book on Amazon. Benny’s ‘language hacking’ strategy is an absolute game-changer!
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 and crowns aren’t the only things 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, bonus skills, Timer Boosts for timed challenges, and some costumes for the owl.
- 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 tip sections, 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 units worth of streamlined German skills and lessons, the German tree 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 learnt 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 a bespoke tip section 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 their 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 — Duolingo Plus — but this isn’t something you need in order to complete the course. The whole thing is completely free; Plus 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, 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 units of the tree. 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.
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.What level of German will Duolingo get you? ›
At the end of the Duolingo German tree, you will have learned approximately 2000 words, putting you somewhere around A2-B1 for listening and reading skills, using the CEFR levels (not quite intermediate).Is Duolingo German certificate valid? ›
Ans. Germany is one of the popular countries that accept Duolingo scores alongside USA, Canada, Japan, Germany and Australia.Can I pass German A1 with Duolingo? ›
Can we learn enough German language in Duolingo to clear A1 and A2? Yes you can. Duolingo is a great tool for vocabs and basics learning, if you use Duolingo web version you can read grammar reviews written by contributors and there is a discussion space for each exercise.What level is B2 German? ›
The Goethe-Zertifikat B2 is a German exam for young people and adults. It certifies that candidates have acquired advanced language skills and corresponds to the fourth level (B2) of the six-level scale of competence laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).How close to fluent can you get with Duolingo? ›
When it comes to listening and reading, they found that 5 units of Duolingo is comparable to 4 university semesters. As for speaking, they found that at least 50% of learners that had completed 5 units of the French and Spanish courses reached at least an A2 level of speaking.Can Duolingo get you to B2? ›
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.How many hours is B2 German? ›
It takes about 450 to 600 hours to learn the German B2 level. With B2, speakers can converse fluently with native speakers without speaking slowly or using simple words.Can I reach B1 with Duolingo? ›
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.Is B2 German enough for university? ›
As a rule of thumb, German universities require you to present a proof of upper intermediate to advanced German language skills (level B2/C1) to study in German.
Duolingo Accepted Universities in Germany
Bard College Berlin. Berlin International University of Applied Sciences. Brand University of Applied Sciences.
Most universities in Germany ask for at least a B1 level, so undoubtedly, B1 can be the ultimate test for students to get admission to Germany. The B1 level is designed for independent, young, and adult students aiming for Bachelor's and Masters's degrees in Germany.Is German A1 and A2 easy? ›
According to the Goethe Institute's standard format, there are six levels of the German language: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. The first level is A1, and many people believe that it is a very simple level in which there is nothing much difficult to learn.How many hours is A1 German? ›
These first two German language levels are very elementary, and they're the bare minimum needed for communication. Reaching the A1 level (from a point of no previous knowledge of a particular language) has been estimated to take between 60 – 80 hours of instruction by both Deutsche Welle and Alliance Française.How many months does it take to learn A1 German? ›
6 months, taking the intensive course, or - if you want to invest less time - ca. 4 months taking the super intensive course.Is B1 German hard? ›
The B1 level is the third level in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages. It is certainly a step beyond the A1 & A2 exams. Passing the B1 level German exam means that you are on the intermediate level of your journey.Is C2 level German hard? ›
The C2 level exam: Think “very hard” & multiply that by a thousand. The Common European Framework of References for Languages level C2 is one of the hardest possible examinations you can do in any language.How long does it take to get B1 German? ›
The German B1 level, also known as the intermediate level, It will take you at least 80 hours per week (a total of 4 weeks) to finish your German B1. According to Goeth Institut, you'll take at least 350 and 650 45-minute units of teaching depending on what you have retained from your previous A1 to A2 level.Does anyone actually learn a language from Duolingo? ›
Research shows that Duolingo is an effective way to learn a language! But the truth is that no single course, app, method, or book can help you reach all your language goals.How many hours a day should I do Duolingo? ›
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.
Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn.Can Duolingo get you to C1? ›
No. Completely out of the question. The scope of grammar and vocabulary on Duolingo isn't anywhere near enough to get you to C1, and the emphasis on the four skills (reading/writing/listening/speaking) isn't uniform, either. Is it possible to learn German or any other foreign language completely by using only Duolingo?Which is better babbel or Duolingo? ›
Although the two companies are similar in several respects, I just think Babbel is the better overall language learning program. I do like that Duolingo offers a free version and how they try to gamify learning, however, if you're serious about learning a new language, I think Babbel is the better bet.How long does it take to become fluent with Duolingo? ›
A note from the Fluent in 3 Months team before we get started: You can chat away with a native speaker for at least 15 minutes with the "Fluent in 3 Months" method. All it takes is 90 days. Tap this link to find out more.Can I learn B2 German in 6 months? ›
You would on an average need 7-9 months to reach at B2 level and get good rating or they call it “Noten” . The real catch is how intensive are those months. How many hours you are putting every day, how much you are speaking, reading and writing.Can I learn German B2 in 4 months? ›
B2 also takes around 3 months if you spend around 8 hours a week. P.S.: There are some people who are good at learning languages and remembering stuff who finished it all in 3-4 months. It all depends on how easy this comes to you and how much time you're spending on it.What level of German is fluent? ›
C2 (Upper Advanced/Fluent)
This is close to native-level German fluency.
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.Does Duolingo get you to C2? ›
At Duolingo, we use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to set goals for different language proficiency levels when we design our courses. The levels are labeled A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2, and they cover increasingly complex language needs.Is duolingo test accepted in Harvard? ›
Meeting the Requirement.
|Test||Minimum Approved Score|
|Duolingo English Test (DET)||125|
German has different levels from A1 to C2. Basic A1 to A2 – Attending an Intensive course takes A1 in around 60 hours and A2 in 120 hours. Intermediate B1 to B2 – German level B1 takes 200 hours and B2 takes approximately 300 hours to become fluent.How long does it take to learn German B2 with Duolingo? ›
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.How long does it take to go from A2 to B2 German? ›
A2 (Basic German): 150 – 260 hours. B1 (Conversational German): 260 – 490 hours. B2 (High Intermediate German): 450 – 600 hours. C1 (Advanced German): 600 – 750 hours.Is Duolingo acceptable in USA? ›
Ans. Yes, Duolingo English tests are accepted for USA student visa applications. There are over 100 universities in USA that accept DET. Even after the pandemic, the universities are still accepting Duolingo as proof of proficiency.Will Duolingo be accepted in 2023? ›
Universities accepting Duolingo Test scores for Fall/Spring 2023 | YMGrad.Which countries accept Duolingo 2023? ›
Duolingo is accepted by over ten countries, including the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, China, Qatar, Japan, Thailand, Ireland, and the European countries (Spain, Germany, Austria, France, Hungary, Italy).How long does it take to go from B1 to B2 in German? ›
However, moving from B1 to B2 level in German typically requires six to twelve months of intensive study.How difficult is A1 German? ›
German A1 exam pattern is quite simple. As it's a language, there are 4 modules- Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. It is 60 points exam and you have to score 36 points (60%) to pass the exam.Can I get a job with B1 German? ›
B1 is one of the central requirements for non-EU-citizens to start working in Germany directly. With B1 you also may apply for an apprenticeship in order to learn a German profession in Germany.How long does it take to reach C2 German? ›
Learners reach C2 at different rates depending on the other factors we'll discuss here, but expect nothing less than three years (and probably several more years). The Goethe Institut says you need to have studied German for at least 750 hours to get to this point.
We also have structured the course in a way that you are able to go through the course and finish A2 just in 1 month, given that you spend around 6 hours a day, which you would if it is really important to you.How long does it take to become fluent in German? ›
So, how long do you need to learn German if you want to reach this level of fluency? 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!How difficult is German A2? ›
German A2 exam pattern is quite simple. As it's a language, there are 4 modules- Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. It is a 60 points exam and you have to score a minimum 36 points (60%) to pass the exam.How much German can you learn in 3 months? ›
You need more than 3 months to be fluent. But even with such a short time, if you adjust your strategy, you can actually learn German and get really close to being fluent. And I don't mean being able to say, 'I'm doing fine' in German as fast as a native speaker or being able to combine words you learned on Duolingo.Can you learn German A1 in 3 months? ›
How long does it take to become fluent in German A1? According to the Goeth Institut and as mentioned earlier, it takes at least 2-3 months of learning German A1 on a daily basis. Although some of their courses have a weekend option or 3-day weekday lessons.Is it possible to self study German? ›
German is very closely related to English. They're in the same language family called West Germanic. The two languages share common words, sentence structures, and an extremely similar alphabet. So, since you already know English, learning German by yourself won't be hard at all.What level of German is required to work in Germany? ›
Depending on the German federal state, level B1 or B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is required.How long does it take to reach C1 in German? ›
B1 (Conversational German): 260 – 490 hours. B2 (High Intermediate German): 450 – 600 hours. C1 (Advanced German): 600 – 750 hours. C2 (Near Native Fluency): 750+ hours.How long does it take to be fluent in German using Duolingo? ›
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.Can you reach B1 with Duolingo? ›
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.
At the end of the Duolingo German tree, you will have learned approximately 2000 words, putting you somewhere around A2-B1 for listening and reading skills, using the CEFR levels (not quite intermediate).Can you become fluent in German in 3 months? ›
You need more than 3 months to be fluent. But even with such a short time, if you adjust your strategy, you can actually learn German and get really close to being fluent. And I don't mean being able to say, 'I'm doing fine' in German as fast as a native speaker or being able to combine words you learned on Duolingo.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.Is Duolingo B1 or B2? ›
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.