Successfully communicating in a new language means being prepared to express your own unique ideas and needs and also having the most common phrases and expressions on hand and ready to go. Our silly sentences sure help you prepare for the creative (and unexpected!), and now there's a new tool in Duolingo courses to help you learn some of the most common conversation patterns. In this post, we'll be introducing you to new conversation lessons and explaining how they build up your speaking skills!

Duolingo's new conversation lessons

Our new conversation lessons work in two ways to prepare you for the real thing: you'll get practice with the kinds of questions, vocabulary, and grammar you'll be hearing from other speakers, and you'll get used to piecing together words and phrases yourself. Each new conversation unit focuses on a particular situation or kind of conversation, like making hotel arrangements or talking about what you do for a living. You work through the conversation, step-by-step, until you're ready to speak and respond as though it were the real thing!

You'll find new conversation lessons in skills marked with a character--that's whose lines you'll be practicing in the conversation! In the first lesson, you'll go line by line, listening and repeating as you practice putting familiar vocabulary and grammar in the context of a realistic interaction.

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The kinds of conversations you'll practice become more advanced as you work through the course. One of the first conversation lessons helps you introduce yourself with short, direct sentences, and in a much later lesson you'll explain how you're feeling and why, using longer expressions.

Scaffolding conversation skills

The best learning happens when lessons are scaffolded: they take into account what you've already learned and build upon it to help you learn more vocabulary and new grammar. We use scaffolding in all our lessons--in the main part of the course, and also in Stories, Audio Lessons, and Grammar Skills--and it's guided the development of our new conversation lessons, too.

These new lessons focus on getting you speaking the words and grammar you just studied in previous lessons and adding realistic context around them. You'll also see the most common expressions in a variety of sentences, so that you too can start using these phrases in lots of situations. For example, in English "I would like" might be used frequently in a restaurant conversation, with different kinds of food and drink--"I would like a soda," "I would like more fries, please," "Yes, I would like dessert!"

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We also scaffold how you interact in the conversation, so that you start out by reading and speaking in the language, and build your way up to a fully spoken conversation in the last lesson. This helps you remember the appropriate response to different questions and situations, just like you'll be doing when you use the language with other speakers!

Duolingo helps learners prepare for the expected

Our new conversation lessons help you build speaking skills for some of the most common interactions and conversations you'll be having in your new language. Right now you can find these lessons in our French course for English speakers on iOS, starting right in the first unit of the course. They'll be growing and changing as we continue to learn about the best ways to get Duolingo learners speaking!