Duolingo for German - EVERYTHING You Need To Know - duoplanet (2023)

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.

It’s got a lot in common with English (they share roughly 60% of their vocabulary!) and is the most widely spoken mother language in the European Union!

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.

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The tree is broken up into a set of units

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Each unit has a set of skills

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Each skill has up to 6 crown levels

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And each crown level has a set of lessons

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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)
  • Translation
  • Tap what you hear
  • Fill in the blanks
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*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.

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.

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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.

Solid course

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!

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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.

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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.

Super motivating

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.

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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.


Is Duolingo enough to be fluent in German? ›

Yes, but it does not work alone. Duolingo provides a degree of understanding of German vocabulary and grammar, but only to basic level.

What level of German does Duolingo get you to? ›

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 long will it take to finish German in 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.

What Duolingo level is B2? ›

Upper Intermediate

Is Duolingo better than Babbel? ›

The biggest difference between Babbel and Duolingo is the approach to language learning. Babbel is a better option if you want traditional language instructions through modules and lessons. By contrast, Duolingo works great if you need a playful, gamified experience.

What type of German does Duolingo teach? ›

Standard High German, Standarddeutsch: Over time, German writers tried various forms out until eventually it evolved into Standard High German, and you'll recognize it as the variety you're learning on Duolingo.

How many hours is B2 German? ›

The B levels in the German language is when you really start to use the language independently, requiring little to no help in keeping the conversation going. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) suggests that you need about 750 hours to get to the B2 level.

Do German universities accept Duolingo? ›

Duolingo test is helpful in securing admission to various international schools. Duolingo English test is accepted in Canada, the USA, China, Japan, Germany and many more countries. Duolingo English test is easier than and is equivalent to IELTS or TOEFL.

Can you pass A1 German with Duolingo? ›

Each resource will tach you a bit about different topic, in different way ( solid news channel VS slang chat with a friend) and together with studying grammar you will be able to achieve fluency overtime. Duolingo alone will probsbly not get you past A2, maybe even A1.

Has anyone finished a language on Duolingo? ›

There is no such thing as a “finished” language course. So at Duolingo, we're always working to make our courses better!

What is the best way to learn German? ›

Best Way to Learn German: Practical & To The Point Tips
  1. 1) Take a German language course. ...
  2. 2) Download a German language learning app. ...
  3. 3) Listen to German podcasts. ...
  4. 4) Watch German movies and tv. ...
  5. 5) Take German Classes Online. ...
  6. 6) Speak German with Native speakers. ...
  7. 7) Experience German culture by traveling.
Nov 16, 2022

How long should I be in Duolingo a day? ›

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.

Is B2 considered fluent? ›

Level B2: Basic Fluency

Reaching B2 is generally considered by most people as having basic fluency. You'll have a working vocabulary of around 4000 words.

Does B2 mean fluent? ›

Level B2 corresponds to independent users of the language, i.e. those who have the necessary fluency to communicate without effort with native speakers.

How fluent does Duolingo make you? ›

Duolingo can't make you fluent by itself

But there are two sides to any learning process: Active and Passive. Duolingo nails the active but offers very little in respect of the passive.

Is Rosetta Stone better than Duolingo? ›

Yes. After thoroughly testing out and reviewing each language learning app, we found Rosetta Stone to be a superior program to Duolingo. While we like Duolingo's gamification of learning, Rosetta Stone is simply more comprehensive and effective.

Is there anything better than Duolingo? ›

Rosetta Stone

Unlike Duolingo, Rosetta Stone offers a platter of 24 major languages, penned down by experts & teachers together. It offers a comprehensive study material to give you the best of what your chosen language has to offer.

Is Duolingo worth it? ›

Duolingo is the most well-known language-learning app. But, it is only meant to teach some beginners level skills. Don't expect any meaningful proficiency. It is not worth it.

Is Duolingo enough for German B1? ›

So when you reach level 25 on Duolingo, yes, you could publicly say that you've reached B1.

How do I know my German level? ›

For internationally recognised proof of German language proficiency, we recommend taking our official Goethe-Zertifikat exams, which are available for levels A1 to C2.

How fast can you learn German? ›

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) estimates that learning German will take about 30 weeks, or 750 classroom hours, as it is rated as a category two language similar to English.

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.

How difficult is C1 German? ›

The Level C1 in German requires a very high language level and is therefore correspondingly difficult. For many students, the C1 level in German is a great challenge. However, there are also many resources to prepare for the exam. With the right motivation and the will to pass the exam, anyone can pass the C1 level!

Can you learn B2 German in one year? ›

I have taught many students throughout the years. Even though most of them learn relatively fast and achieve B1/B2 level in about 12 months, just a few of them get to B2 level in 4-8 months. Some character traits make them unique.

Does Harvard accept Duolingo? ›

We do not accept diplomas alone as proof of English proficiency.
Meeting the Requirement.
TestMinimum Approved Score
International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic*7.0
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTEA)70
Duolingo English Test (DET)125
1 more row

How long is Duolingo test valid? ›

You'll receive your results within 48 hours, and those results remain valid for two years. Duolingo has strict testing rules for all test-takers to follow.

Which country prefer Duolingo? ›

Foreign universities in countries like the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and other countries use Duolingo scores for admissions or counselling.

Is German A1 beginners? ›

Level 1 is a course designed for beginners, someone who has had no previous experience with German. It covers basic vocabulary, verbs in the present tense and the German sentence structure.

How long does it take to learn German from A1 to c1? ›

How long does it take to learn German?
Assess your current level & test your German online!Intensive course (20 lessons/week)
A1beginner8 weeks
A2elementary8 weeks
B1intermediate8 weeks
B2upper intermediate10 weeks*
2 more rows

Can I get a job in German with A1? ›

With a A1 German you can start to start at a German university (English-speaking studies). Also you can become an Au pair in Germany or start an FSJ or BFD. If you are an EU citizen with German A1 you can directly work in several jobs. As a student you may work for up to 90 days a year in Germany.

What is the hardest language to learn on Duolingo? ›

It means they've gotten the word right every time it has been shown. Anyway, based on this linear regression, French is definitely the hardest language, insofar as it takes more instances of seeing a certain word before reaching the same number of correct productions as one of the other languages.

What percentage of Duolingo users finish their course? ›

Duolingo doesn't release completion rates for its courses, but a report last year said American users ranked 68th out of all countries in the number of lessons completed. A separate informal study put the overall completion rate for Spanish at less than 0.01 percent.

What happens when you finish all of Duolingo? ›

The guidebook can be accessed any time, even when you complete the unit. NOTE: Guidebooks are not available for all languages. Once you complete all the levels in a unit, you'll complete a challenge to earn your unit trophy. You'll also have the option to earn the Legendary trophy for each unit.

Is 1 year enough to learn German? ›

It is estimated that a total of 30 weeks or 750 classroom hours are necessary to learn German. But you could complete those 750 hours in a matter of months or over the course of many years.

Can you 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.

Is German considered hard to learn? ›

It's much easier for an English speaker to learn the Romance languages or other Germanic languages such as Afrikaans, Danish, or Dutch than to study German. However, according to the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) of the US government which ranks languages in terms of difficulty, German is a tier II language.

What happens when you reach 100 days on Duolingo? ›

Reaching certain milestones (such as 100 day streak) can earn the user 3 days free of Super Duolingo.

How quickly can you become fluent with Duolingo? ›

Putting in ten hours of study and practice per day, this equates to two months for “easy” languages and four months for “difficult” languages. How do you get started? Web sites such as DuoLingo can teach you 27 languages for free.

How do I get the best out of Duolingo? ›

Here are our top tips for learning on Duolingo:
  1. Study a little bit each day. This makes learning more manageable, it's easier to fit studying into your schedule, and it leads to more effective learning.
  2. Set meaningful, short-term goals. ...
  3. Use your lessons as a starting point.
Feb 16, 2021

Is Duolingo enough for B2? ›

Duolingo claims users can reach B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. B2 is upper-intermediate level or basic fluency. It is considered sufficient to live and work in a country.

How much of a language do you need to know to be bilingual? ›

A bilingual person is someone who speaks two languages. A person who speaks more than two languages is called 'multilingual' (although the term 'bilingualism' can be used for both situations).

Can you get C1 from B2? ›

B2 First – Level C1

If you achieve a scale score of 180–190 (grade A) in your exam, you will receive the First Certificate in English stating that you demonstrated ability at Level C1.

Can I get B1 in German with Duolingo? ›

So when you reach level 25 on Duolingo, yes, you could publicly say that you've reached B1.

How close to fluent can Duolingo get you? ›

Basically, if you can get to B2, then you can get by in a language with minimal discomfort. You won't be perfect, but you'll be more than capable of functioning. This pretty much marries up with my definition of fluency. And so, if you subscribe to my definition, it could be said that Duolingo aim to make you fluent.

Is Duolingo enough to learn German A1? ›

Each resource will tach you a bit about different topic, in different way ( solid news channel VS slang chat with a friend) and together with studying grammar you will be able to achieve fluency overtime. Duolingo alone will probsbly not get you past A2, maybe even A1.


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