Hard Truth: Duolingo Will Not Teach You to Speak Spanish

Everyone and their mother has the Duolingo app. Everyone and their mother brags about how long of a streak they have in Duolingo. Yet, everyone and their mother still can’t actually communicate in Spanish. A long streak does not correlate with being able to actually speak Spanish. Let’s find out why!

Reason number 1 why Duolingo won’t teach you to speak Spanish: it’s not a person! Imagine for a second that toddlers only learned English through an app. They didn’t have mom or dad in front of them teaching them to say words; they just had an app that taught them where words went in a sentence and graded them on short sentences spoken into it. What would happen? Children would not learn how to hold an everyday conversation. Let’s be honest. Duolingo is an app, and like all software-based tools, there are limitations; you can’t learn the nuances of everyday language. Duolingo can teach you the basics of Spanish grammar, but it cannot teach you how to communicate as “normal people” do.

Reason number 2 why Duolingo won’t teach you to speak Spanish: consistency is good but it needs to be on the right things. Duolingo puts a lot of emphasis on not losing your streak to encourage consistency. However, if you’re focused is not balanced on the right things, does it really matter? Most Duolingo users aim to speak Spanish, but Duolingo does not promise to help you speak Spanish. Duolingo promises to help you LEARN Spanish. If your goal is to learn Spanish, you’re good to go, but if your goal is to learn to SPEAK Spanish, it is vital to converse in Spanish consistently.

Reason number 3 why Duolingo won’t teach you to speak Spanish: there’s no accountability. I should clarify. There is no progress accountability. I think this is the most compelling reason of the four. Duolingo gives users a false sense that they are improving and if they keep putting their time in, eventually, they will be able to go into a room of Spanish speakers and suddenly be able to speak. Unfortunately, this is not how it works. Before Duolingo, if someone was serious about learning to speak Spanish, they got a tutor. And the same is true today. Serious learners hire their accountability, whether that’s a tutor, a program, or an immersion experience. This accountability ensures that speaking progress is indeed made.

Reason number 4 why Duolingo won’t teach you to speak Spanish: it really isn’t as easy as it looks. Duolingo makes learning to speak a new language look easy. But unfortunately, that is just not true. Learning to really speak Spanish is challenging and hard. Yes, learning comes easier for some than it does for others, but everyone who has learned how to effectively converse in Spanish would say that it isn’t a cake walk. Learning to speak any new language requires intentionality, discipline, and stretching of your comfort zone. I’m not saying that it isn’t fun, but I am saying that it’s going to take more than 5 minutes a day on the Duolingo app.

To be honest, relying on Duolingo to speak Spanish is like relying on Bumble to get married. Yes, both are helpful tools, but it is still up to the individual to take steps in the real world to reach their ultimate goal. So? Do you really want to learn Spanish? It will take some heavy lifting, but it’s totally doable. And, it’s totally worth it.

Interested in learning Spanish with us? Book a complimentary language coaching session and we will help you plan out how you can learn to speak Spanish.

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