Ask any Duolingo user what their favourite feature is and I guarantee most will say Duolingo Stories.
It’s still a relatively new feature, only available in a few languages from English, but it’s quickly becoming one of Duolingo’s best.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Duolingo Stories, including what they are, which languages they’re available in, how to unlock them, and why they’re so good.
Let’s dive into it!
What are Duolingo Stories?
Duolingo Stories are mini-stories that “challenge your reading and listening comprehension.”
You can also use them to practice your speaking.
Each completed story is usually worth at least 14 XP, which goes towards your daily goal and league position.
The goal of Stories is authenticity and immersion. It’s all well and good revising vocabulary and grammar ad nauseam, but unless we experience the language in an authentic environment we’re never going to truly learn it.
Duolingo Stories attempt to bridge this gap by taking everything we learn in the standard lessons and presenting it in the form of simple mini-stories.
How do Duolingo Stories work?
Duolingo Stories involve at least two characters having a conversation about various (often comical) topics. Your goal is to follow along and answer questions about what they’re talking about.
The exercises include, but aren’t limited to:
- Select the missing phrase
- Multiple choice about the conversation
- Click on the option meaning…
- What comes next?
Each story ends with a Tap the pairs exercise, in which you revisit some of the main bits of vocabulary encountered in the story.
Like in the ordinary lessons, if ever you find the questions are getting too hard, you can always tap a word to see what it means.
Each story has 3 levels. The first level is the easiest, focussing exclusively on reading.
The second level takes it up a notch, focussing on listening. The written dialogue is hidden and you have to focus on listening instead.
If it gets too hard then you can always tap ‘Reveal’ to see it in written form.
The third and final level focuses on speaking. In theory, this should be the hardest of the three levels, but it isn’t actually that difficult. You basically just repeat what one of the characters is saying. You can even read it off the screen, so it’s pretty straightforward.
Once you complete all three levels the story turns gold, at which point you can practice the reading, listening and speaking levels as and when you please.
Which languages have Duolingo Stories?
For English speakers, Duolingo Stories are currently available in 5 languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Italian.
The next language to be getting stories, as announced at DuoCon 2020, is Japanese.
Stories are also available in the following languages for people learning English:
How to unlock Duolingo Stories
To unlock Duolingo Stories you have to earn at least 10 crowns in your target language, which means you only have to complete 10 levels. (You can learn more about crowns here).
This is so you can acquire the very basics of the language you’re learning. That way you can dive into the stories with the required knowledge base.
Are Duolingo Stories free?
Yes, Duolingo Stories are completely free. So long as they are available in your chosen language course, you will be able to access them once you have unlocked your first 10 crowns.
Are the stories the same across all languages?
Some language courses get more stories than others. This is because Duolingo prioritise updates and features for their most popular languages, as these have the most users.
The French and Spanish courses, for instance, have hundreds of stories and are being regularly updated.
The Italian course, however, which has only recently received the Stories feature, has just 51.
Are Duolingo Stories good?
Trying to use a new language can be really daunting in the beginning. The thought of one day being able to understand authentic content in another language can be exciting, but it can also seem distant, perhaps even impossible.
Duolingo Stories change all that. They get you engaging with your target language in an authentic way from the beginning. You don’t have to spend months or years acquiring loads of vocabulary and grammar. Once you’ve earned your first 10 crowns, you can dive straight in.
The stories are simple enough that you can understand what you’re reading with very little understanding of your target language, but challenging enough to keep you engaged and interested. If ever there’s a word you don’t understand, you can just tap it in the normal way to reveal a hint.
The questions ensure you’re understanding what you’re reading and keep you focussed. It’s so satisfying getting them right. It’s confirmation that you’re following along, and the effect this has on your confidence is enormous.
Best of all, the stories are *really* interesting. I don’t feel like I’m ‘studying’ the language when I read them. It feels more like an experience.
In fact, I often find myself binging some of the French stories because they are so well written. I’m continually amazed by how laugh-out-loud funny some of them are!
As far as I’m concerned, the only downside to Duolingo Stories is that, unless you’re learning French or Spanish, there simply isn’t enough of them. Hopefully Duolingo introduce Stories to more languages moving forward.
Have your say!
What do you think about Duolingo Stories?
Have they helped your language learning?
Do you think they can be improved?
Which languages would you like to see get Stories next?
Let me know in the comments!5