Ask any Duolingo user what their favourite feature is and I guarantee most will say Duolingo stories.
They’ve been around for a few years now and are available in several languages for English speakers.
And now, with the rollout of Duolingo’s new learning path, they’re fully integrated into the learning experience.
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!
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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.
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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 2 levels. The first level is the easiest, focussing exclusively on reading.
The second level focuses on speaking. It’s not 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.
Back in the day, stories had a third level — listening. The written dialogue was hidden so it was pretty good for your listening comprehension.
Once you complete all of the levels the story turns gold, at which point you can practice the different levels as and when you wish.
Check out this video to see a story from the Spanish course!
Duolingo new learning path – 2022 update
With the launch of the new learning path, Duolingo have made a few tweaks to stories.
As far as I’m aware, the stories themselves are basically the same. But the way in which you access them is completely different.
Before, stories were kept in a tab at the bottom of the screen. You could review them at any time.
On the new learning path, however, they’re included as lessons along the path.
If you’re on IOS you’ll be able to go back to stories you’ve previously read at any time.
Which languages have Duolingo Stories?
As of April 2022, Duolingo stories are available in 6 languages for English speakers:
Stories are also available in the following languages for anyone learning English:
How to unlock Duolingo Stories
This depends on which version of Duolingo you’re running.
If you’re on the old tree, then you’ll need to earn 10 crown levels in your target language.
If you’re on the new learning path, then you’ll usually get stories from the very first units.
Are Duolingo Stories free?
Yes, Duolingo stories are completely free. So long as they are available in your chosen language course, you’ll be able to access them without charge.
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 Italian course, however, only has 51. The characters also sound a lot more robotic and lifeless in the Italian stories than they do in the French and Spanish ones.
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 engaged 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. You can dive in pretty much from the outset.
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 focused. 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. You rarely feel like you’re ‘studying’ the language when you’re reading them!
In my case, I often find myself binging the French and Spanish stories because they are so well written. They’re genuinely hilarious!
As far as I’m concerned, the only downside to Duolingo stories is that, unless you’re learning one of the popular language courses, there simply isn’t enough of them. Hopefully, Duolingo will introduce stories to more languages moving forward!
Have your say!
What do you think about Duolingo stories?
Have they helped your language learning?
Which languages would you like to see get stories next?
Let me know in the comments!