Je parle français

Jacek Laskowski
3 min readAug 12, 2019


I speak French. Not really. But I will soon.

I wish I could write “I learn French” actually, but that’s something I haven’t learned yet during my lessons.

I use Duolingo mobile app and I enjoy it a lot. It gives me all I wanted for a French novice like me with basic words and sentences as well as leagues where you compete against others. Gamification at its best!

My profile at Duolingo

I’ve long been thinking about learning a new speaking language (I said “a speaking language” since I’m in IT industry and have been learning quite a few programming languages already). I needed something new and challenging. I was considering one of the Asian languages. They’re far different from what my brain, eyes, tongue, ears could understand, but there was this issue of me not really knowing which one to pick.

I considered Japanese as I’m a great lover of Japanese green tea (shincha, sencha, gyokuro, bancha, kukicha, and a few others). I don’t like Chinese green tea. It is simply too bitter and dry.

I considered Korean as I’m a great lover of high kicks in Taekwondo. I wanted to read books about Taekwondo by their ancestors.

I considered Chinese (Mandarin) as the number of people speaking the language is enormous and chances are I could speak this language more often than the other Asian languages.

I picked French instead.

There are many reasons for this decision, but the following are the main ones:

  1. Most of my clients speak English and we’re fairly comfortable learning new skills using this foreign language. I must admit that those who are fairly poor at speaking English are…French people. Sorry to say it, but that’s how I see things (in my very narrow perspective of the current situation).
  2. Since I have more and more French-speaking customers who invite me for Apache Spark and Apache Kafka consulting gigs and French is hard enough I considered French a sweet spot to be good enough for my brain to learn and for my clients.

I was told to start with books for kids. They told me to start with “Les Monsieur Madame / The “Mr. Men and Little Miss” book series. I wanted to buy one when I was in France, but couldn’t decide which one and bought none.

I needed a mobile app and remembered Duolingo which I used to use for English without much excitement.

This time Duolingo gave me more than I wanted. I have the mobile app and the online (traditional?) version. And what surprised me a lot is that the online version offers Duolingo Stories that are pretty much the books I wanted to buy.

I’m at 10-day learning streak of learning French with total of 2104 XP.

I’m serious with my goal of speaking French with 30 XP per day level.

Just yesterday I scored the second in a Silver League and was promoted to a Gold League (which ends in about 7 days).

I found leagues an excellent learning aid to get better at French while competing with others. I enjoy it a lot!

I am considering Duolingo Plus as a way to say Merci beaucoup for such amazing app. I haven’t decided yet.

I’m at Leave a comment down below or follow me at Duolingo so we could learn languages together!



Jacek Laskowski

Freelance Data Engineer | #ApacheSpark #DeltaLake #Databricks #ApacheKafka #KafkaStreams | Java Champion | @theASF | #DatabricksBeacons