The Bugcast Does Duolingo

For those who have dabbled but never really grasped Duolingo this post is a guide.

What Is Duolingo?

It’s a free app and site used to learn languages. You do need to join. It uses a blend of verbal and written, multiple choice questions. It’s a framework that you add on the language courses you want to learn. You can have as many as you like, and switch back and forth between them.

Each set of 10 questions counts towards your daily goal. This can be set to 10, 20, 30 or 50. As long as you hit your daily goal between midnight and midnight, your streak is maintained. You can do so much more, but at midnight your daily target is wiped back to 0. You can spread that daily goal over multiple languages or just one. It’s up to you.


Duolingo has a free club feature. Each club is focused around a single language. It’s limited to 15 members, and 1 admin. I’ve created a German club. These are private clubs. The codes are not published anywhere. Let me know in Telegram, and I’ll get you the code.

There are no rules to the club’s as such. If there comes a time where there are more people than slots, we’d need to create something along the lines of “last place 3 weeks in a row and you’re out”.

Whoever creates the club is it’s only Admin. If that Admin leaves the club, the Admin role gets passed automatically to the next person who joined.

How To Create A Club

  1. Click on the shield icon on the bottom row
  2. Click “Create A Club”
  3. Name: I opted for “Bugcast Does Germany”
  4. Description: I left this bank
  5. Public: toggle this off
  6. Select any one of the pre-set badges
  7. Create

How To Join A Club

  1. Click on the shield icon
  2. Click “I have a club code”
  3. Enter the code

You can only be a member of one club per language module. When that language is selected, the shield icon is your club stuff. It shows updates, the leader-board etc. It is a closed club, in that you can communicate with others but only the handful of pre-set words or emojis.

How To Leave A Club

  1. Click on the shield icon
  2. At the top, click on “Members”
  3. At the bottom, click “Leave Club”

Why Would You Leave A Club?

I am learning multiple languages. My native tongue is English. I’ve learned Spanish and French. I am currently very advanced in German. These clubs are for people who actively seek to learn that language. Right now, my focus is German. After that I’ll want to keep my hand in with French, German and Spanish. Time will tell as to whether these justify taking a slot in the club or not. If not, I’ll bow out, leaving the slot open for someone more worthy as I concentrate on other languages. I plan to return to Portuguese, Italian and Dutch over time.

My Set Up

I took a lot of trial and error to find this combination. It takes a few minutes to set up, but the results are well worth it. I use Android.

  1. Go to the Play Store and install GBoard
  2. In Settings, go to “Languages & Input”
  3. In “Languages”, add whatever language you’re learning. I have British English (the default), French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch.
  4. In “Spell Checker”, ensure it’s on, and set to use system languages.
  5. In “Virtual Keyboard”, click on “GBoard”
  6. In “Languages” make sure “use system languages” is enabled. Scroll down and you should see the additional languages are enabled.
  7. In “Preferences”, ensure that “Show language switch key” is enabled.

I also remember disabling the default keyboard but I can’t remember how. It was probably in the Virtual Keyboard part of the Preferences. I use GBoard for everything where I have the virtual keyboard. It is customisable, feel free to play with the themes etc. Now look at the SPACE BAR. The little globe icon to the side toggles through each language you have installed. The first two letters on the Space Bar show what language is currently on. There’s also a little keyboard icon on the bottom right. That brings up the menu to switch languages too.

The beauty of this set up, is that the spell checker is language contextual. On the surface the keyboards only look like they’re laid out differently. Hold down one of the keys to see the variants ie accents and acutes.

While the courses are lenient on many of the accents, all you get is a “pay attention to the accents” etc, German isn’t like that. When you need the oomlaat ie “GroB” there is NO other way than to enter that from a proper German input. Hold the S down and it’s the default option above it. It has a “sch” sound when spoken, so that’s why it’s on the S.


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