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In November of last year I wrote the following blog piece about my continued “(mis)adventures ” with Duolingo:

In earlier posts, I shared my initial explorations with Duolingo. I have completed a 672-day streak and think I have a reasonably good idea of its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some other things that I learned during those 672 days.

  1. For me, there was value in upgrading to the $60 per year version of Duolingo Plus. I prefer not to be distracted by ads, my investment helps keep it free for others, and a number of the additional options are helpful as my motivation for a while moved away from relearning the language and instead to “gaming.”
  2. I will add the Spanish keyboard to my machines if I continue using it.
  3. I noticed quite a few differences in my learning experiences when I was using my MacBookPro laptop and when I was using my iPad or iPhone. The latter allowed my dictating my responses when translating Spanish to English faster and with fewer errors.
  4. I enjoyed “following” and being followed by other Duolingo users (and “competitors”). I chose to identify myself with a photo of me and my dog Rollie and my “professional identity” ( i.e., a former university professor).
  5. By regularly monitoring competitors’ progress on the “Leaderboards,” I could “engineer” winning first place for two weeks and 2nd place for one week. That last competition was fascinating because I suspect the winner may have been a “bot” programmed to make me spend more money (one can buy additional minutes on Duolingo Plus in timed competitions).
  6. The “stories” exercises are clever,  engaging, and often quite funny. Alas, I have exhausted them.
  7. Letting this program seduce you into gaming rather than focusing on language learning is very easy.
  8. It is more “fun” than its competitors.
  9. I’ll probably continue using it.
  10. I have a good sense of how it works and how I can make it work for me.


Tonight as I conclude an  812 Day streak and my 47th week in the “Diamond League, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to spend less time on Duolingo and to devote more time to other learning tools.  

I plan to spend no more than half an hour a day with the Duolingo app and I am no longer interested in maintaining my position in the Diamond League. This will free up time for other intellectual pursuits- especially, writing.

Hasta la vista. Or, as we used to say in Mrs. Bode’s Latin class, “alea jacta est!”