I'm a native German speaker and my girlfriend is a native French speaker. Right now, she is using Duolingo to learn German.

She is very motivated and often spends several hours trying to do as many lessons as she can. Even after 4 hours of learning, she tells me that she believes she didn't do nearly enough.

I'm trying to convince her that she is actually going too fast and that her brain needs time to actually process the information. She however seems to interpret this as "being lazy" or me not wanting her to learn.

Is there anything I can do to help her without demotivating her?

  • 5
    There is nothing wrong with 4 hours per day if you are sufficiently motivated. That said, 4 hours per day with JUST Duolingo doesn't seem like the best use of time. Instead of trying to decrease her study time, you might consider pushing her to diversify her study techniques. Spending time speaking with you in German would be a good use of time, assuming that you are supportive during the speaking sessions.
    – AML
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 14:39
  • I'm trying my best to support her as best as I can, but I am not a teacher, so I don't know if my techniques are good
    – James L.
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


Here is a nice article with many excellent tips for you and your girlfriend. Some key takeaways that I think are relevant for your case (my comments in bold):

  • If there’s a “secret” or “hack” to learning a new language, it’s this: hours and hours of awkward and strenuous conversation with people better than you in that language. An hour of conversation (with corrections and a dictionary for reference) is as good as five hours in a classroom and 10 hours with a language course by yourself. You can really help your girlfriend with this aspect. Try to talk as you normally do with each other, aber auf Deutsch.
  • Intensity of study trumps length of study. Your girlfriend is motivated to study intensely right now. That's fantastic and should be encouraged.
  • Keep practicing in your head. Suggest to her that when she's not speaking to you in German that she should talk to herself in German.
  • Aim for the brain melt. The fact that her brain isn't melting after four hours of Duolingo suggests that she should use some additional techniques that really challenge her more.
  • One-on-one tutoring is the best and most efficient use of time. This could be you or someone else, since you're not a teacher. But you are certainly a great asset for her learning.
  • Date someone who speaks the target language and not your native language. Done. Just stop speaking to each other in English, or whatever common language you're currently using.
  • TV shows, movies, newspapers and magazines are a good supplementation. Hopefully you two watch German shows and movies together. You can help her understand.
  • Find a way to make it fun. Her motivation will stay high as long as she's having fun. Perhaps plan a trip to Germany so that she can use the language in many every-day situations.
  • Finally, suggest to her that she aim to take a German language certificate from Goethe-Institut. It may provide additional long-term motivation.

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