Bonnie Eisenman bio photo

Bonnie Eisenman

Software engineer, author, knitter, Esperantist. Member of NYC Resistor and author of Learning React Native.

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I finished Duolingo’s German tree last week. After some months (9? 10?) of slow but steady progress, it felt really rewarding to finally get to the end!

##Aber kann ich Deutsch sprechen???

Ich weiß, dass du willst das kennen. Aber das ist mir nicht klar…

OK, so I can read quite a bit more than I expected (functionally, most signs, and simple pieces of children’s literature). I can write a small amount. My listening isn’t terrible, either. But I really can’t speak German. Which isn’t surprising, considering that Duolingo doesn’t force you to speak in any meaningful way! (I had to turn off the microphone exercises anyway, because the speech recognition is so bad.)

I took a few private lessons in Berlin and was told my German was roughly at the level it would be had I taken two college semesters. Not bad for a free website.

I really can’t stress enough, though, that my speaking ability is complete and utter shit.

Worth it?

Totally. I never would have started learning German if not for Duolingo’s easy, approachable, free course. And while I’m not a German master, I did learn something, and I had fun.

What’s next?

For me, I want to actually learn German. That means I’m currently listening to German music on Spotify, limping through Der Keline Hobbit, and also taking a few private German Skype lessons. (At $17 Euro/hr, Skype lessons are actually pretty affordable.) In other words: language learning, as usual, but at least Duolingo helped me jump-start the process. It’s even inspired me to try reviving my terribly rusty, generally pretty meager Japanese skills.

Thanks, Duo!