Learning German with Duolingo


I’ve only spoken English my whole life, but there was a time when I did learn to speak in sign language to communicate with my first boyfriend who was deaf. I didn’t know every word, but I knew enough to get by.

When I found my brother and learned that he was living in Germany, I knew that one day I would want to meet him and that would probably mean I would have to fly to Germany. I also have an uncle who is German, and when I visit my aunt and uncle, sometimes they only speak in German, and I always feel like when people switch to another language, they are talking about me. I know, it’s stupid, and they probably aren’t, but you just feel that way.

So I decided that if I was going to learn a new language that I would have to buy a course from Rosetta Stone or something else. I searched “Learn German” on Google and saw that Rosetta Stone was the first thing on the list, but I know that they are very expensive, so I just scrolled and saw Duolingo, so I thought I would give that one a try since it was free, and it said “Learn German in just 5 minutes a day for free.” Free is a wonderful thing, and 5 minutes a day is even more wonderful because I could learn a few words a day and practice those few words and remember them.

I have a learning disability, so I know it’s going to be difficult. I did learn a few things that first time that I thought was easy enough to remember. They taught me things like Mann is man, Frau is woman, ein mann is a man, eine frau is a woman. Ich is I, du is you, er/si/es is he/she/it. Ich bin is I am, du bist is you are. They also taught me Mädchen is girl, Junge is boy, kind is child. These are all things that I expected would be easy to remember, and I kept practicing for several days. I’ve pretty much mastered those words and moved on to “The”. Der Mann, das Mädchen, die Frau, die kinder,


Ok so these are a few things I’ve almost mastered, the “The” words are still a little confusing, but I will eventually get them. I finished the first 3 lessons while still doing practice because there are some things I’m still confused about, but I will eventually master them. Remember, I have a learning disability, so these things take time for me. If something is easy for a smarter person to learn and remember in a few minutes, it might take me a few days, or longer. I don’t expect I will ever learn the entire language, but I will certainly try as hard as I can.

I did basics 2, and that was a bit challenging, but not as challenging as Common Phrases. Holy crap they added so many phrases that I literally had to write them all down as I was learning because I knew it was a lot harder. If they had broken this down into 3 or 4 lessons, it would be easier, but they aren’t thinking about people with learning disabilities, they are thinking regular people will get this.

I already knew a few of them thankfully, but the ones I didn’t know are hard. I knew Guten morgen, which is good morning. Guten abend my brother taught me is good evening. Gute naught is good night which I already knew, Guten tag which I’ve heard, but I didn’t know it meant good afternoon. Hallo is hello, so that one is simple, Tschüss is bye, holy crap! That one is hard to remember, and even harder to say. Nein is no which I knew, Ja is yes, and that’s pretty easy. Auf wiedersehen is goodbye, Es tut mir leid is I am sorry… Holy… crap… Ok and there are many more words in the list that I have to really work on.

So my road to learning German is going to take a LONG time, but I am determined to learn because even though mein bruder (my brother) and my uncle can speak English, I still want to learn another language because I’ve always wanted to learn a new language. I think it is exercising my brain even if it only takes 5 minutes a day.

I’m happy I went with Duolingo because I heard Rosetta Stone is very expensive. Two levels cost $279, three levels costs $379, and if you opt for the full five-level set, the software costs $479. Free is very good. I’m living on disability, so money is an issue for me. And if I don’t learn, then I’ve wasted no money. I literally have nothing to lose.