Recommending Books Based On Weird Duolingo Sentences

Happy Friday, everyone!

Today, we have a cause worth celebrating: Because as of last Sunday, I have finally achieved my long-time goal of reaching a one-year streak on Duolingo!

For those of you who don’t know, Duolingo is a free learning app that allows you to dabble in a whole bunch of different languages. And I’m a huge fan! Not only because the app’s mascot is an owl (though that is definitely an added bonus πŸ˜πŸ¦‰πŸ˜), but because I genuinely think Duolingo is helpful!

While I would never recommend it as your sole source if you’re serious about the language you wish to learn, I think Duolingo is a great way to familiarize yourself with the basics or make sure you at least get a few minutes of target language input every single day. Whenever I go to a country that speaks a different language on holiday, I use Duolingo to learn some basic small talk. Whenever I’m starting out in a new language, I use Duolingo to ensure I see those very basic vocabulary words over and over again. Whenever I want to revise vocabulary on a certain topic in languages I’m already fairly comfortable in, I like to do the corresponding Duolingo lessons just to feel good about myself!

And I’ll just go ahead and admit it: I am insanely competitive. So the fact that you can get a special Duolingo badge for using the app 365 days in a row – a badge that I did not have – seriously irked me!!! I have been trying to obtain this badge for literally ages and have come frustratingly close several times. But then I spent a weekend in the Alps and had no Wi-Fi. And then my phone died and I didn’t get a new one until about a week later…

During the past 371 days, though, there were no phone deaths or spontaneous Alp-trips. Which means that I have finally achieved the impossible!!

And of course, I have been preparing to commemorate this historic moment on my blog πŸ˜‡ If there’s one thing Duolingo is known for, then it is the fact that every once in a while, its sentences are … well … a little strange…

So back in January, I had the marvelous idea that, to celebrate reaching 365 days of Duolingo in a row, I would recommend books to you guys based on the weirdest Duolingo sentences I encountered!

This post is the product of that idea. After two months of intense screenshotting – which inexplicably seemed to lead to the totally strange Duolingo sentences disappearing almost altogether 😭 – I hereby present you with my results. Be prepared for a lot of slightly strange utterances and an abundance of book recommendations to go along with them!

(Also, in case you’re wondering: My current Duolingo usage is split at about 60% Swedish, 30% Russian, and 10% Spanish. What I’ve been looking at in Russian is very all over the place, since I only use Duolingo for revision purposes, but I am currently learning a ton of animal- and food-related Swedish… So if any of this overwhelms you with cuteness or makes you extremely hungry, I apologize in advance! 😁)



Human Rain

Ummm… I’m really sorry, Duolingo, but I have absolutely no clue what you mean sometimes… πŸ˜…πŸ™ˆ Like, what the heck am I supposed to picture here?! Actual men raining from the sky? Just a whole bunch of rain, like in the cats and dogs sense? An overabundance of men, like we have in Kiera Cass’ The Heir???

Since I would never recommend The Heir to anyone, we’re going for the first option. Ann Halam’s Dr. Franklin’s Island literally begins with people dropping from the sky after a horrific plane crash, so I guess that’s as close to raining men as we’re going to get. Oh, and we also have a mad scientist experimenting on humans in an air/earth/water-relevant way, which is kind of rain-related! Right?


Lots of Sweets and a Bit of Fat-Shaming

I mean, I guess this sentence isn’t weird per se. At least it actually makes sense, compared to the first one. But still!!! Like, what if you were really insecure about your weight and then Duolingo told you to translate this? Wouldn’t that come across as a bit insensitive, maybe? πŸ€”

However, I can’t deny that this sentence fits perfectly with Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers and Dog series! Because Frederick Algernon Trotteville, the head of the Five Find-Outers – who, due to his rather unfortunate initials and chubbiness, is known to his friends only as Fatty – loves nothing more than to spoil his fellow detectives with lots of candy and ice cream. SERIOUSLY, GUYS, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HUNGRY THIS SERIES MADE ME AS A KID!! And I also positively adored it πŸ₯° It is by far my favorite Enid Blyton series, even ahead of Malory Towers and The Famous Five!


Lacking Love and Dog Food

Should I be worried about that eventual visit to Sweden? Because the kinds of sentences Duolingo apparently thinks I’ll need certainly suggest so!

If they got you in the mood for something truly dark and heart-wrenching, though, I highly recommend you check out A Child Called ‘It’ by Dave Pelzer. The first book in a three-part autobiography, it recounts the author’s experience living though one of the worst child-abuse cases that has ever been documented in California. This book is eye-opening in the harshest way possible. It will utterly destroy you. You will lose faith in humanity. Because Dave being hated by his parents and forced to eat dog food is, unfortunately, only the beginning.


Disappearing Walls

As a German, your thoughts tend to go in a very specific direction when you read Russian sentences about walls that once used to be here… However, I could not for the life of me think of a good GDR-related book to recommend to you guys πŸ˜…

(Although if you want a movie, I can deliver! Nothing has ever made me sob quite like The Lives of Others; and let me tell you, I am not alone: My class once watched this at school, and it was thoroughly embarrassing because everyone was a red-eyed wreck afterwards. The film deals with some super heavy topics, but it’s so, so good!!)

Instead, you’re getting a different kind of unsettling “there used to be a wall here” recommendation – Sleeping Murder, one of my favorite books by the Queen of Crime herself! After buying a house, newly-wed protagonist Glenda Reed keeps having these eerie feelings that things don’t look the way they should. Shouldn’t there be a different wallpaper in this room? Shouldn’t there be a door here? And then, to her horror, Glenda figures out that she’s envisioning exactly what her house used to look like – many, many years ago…


Pizza Stealers

You know those friends who are always taking advantage of you? The ones who you’ve been super close to since childhood, whom you’ve always shared everything with, and who have absolutely no qualms about stealing food from your plate because they think it is basically theirs anyway?

Well, Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything features a friendship like that. It also features:

a) lots of dogs,

b) family trauma,

c) politics, and

e) the most cinnamon-roll-y fantasy writer character you’ll ever encounter,

so what’s not to like?


Cereal Meals and Writing in Books: The University Experience

In Duolingo’s defense: At least it only describes making cereal as “cooking” and doesn’t say anything about it being soup! Nevertheless, any platform that praises the culinary skills of someone who knows how to dump a bit of milk into a bowl of cornflakes and tries to force you into hurting your precious bookish babies immediately makes me suspicious! 🧐

But does Duolingo have the university experience down to a T? You bet! Honestly, guys, cereal with milk got me through countless study days during which I was simply too lazy to cook, and my literature professors reduced my fear of annotating things quite considerably! (I still like to keep my fiction books in pristine condition – annotations annoy the freaking crap out of me during rereads – but have I gone over to the dark side that scribbles into textbooks? Maybe… 😁)

So obviously, I had no choice but to pair these sentences with Elif Batuman’s The Idiot. This book nails the feeling of being a university student unlike anything else I’ve ever read – you get the full package: struggling with academia, failing at adulthood, and feeling like a lost sheep with absolutely no clue how to get the happy, fulfilled life you’ve always dreamed of, causing you to aimlessly meander through your days and decide to study a random subject like Russian.

Do I love The Idiot? NO. It hit way too close to home and probably wasn’t the best reading choice at the time I read it. But do I think it’s a book that many others might benefit from? 100% YES.


A-neigh-nymous Alcoholics

Does Harry Potter need a recommendation? Well, no. At this point, you’ve probably either read it or you’re never going to.

However, do you know how freaking difficult it is to find a book in which there are horses drinking alcoholic beverages?!? 😫 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was literally the only thing I could think of!

“My steeds require – er – forceful ‘andling,” said Madame Maxime, looking as though she doubted whether any Care of Magical Creatures teacher at Hogwarts could be up to the job. “Zey are very strong….”

“I assure you that Hagrid will be well up to the job,” said Dumbledore, smiling.

“Very well,” said Madame Maxime, bowing slightly. “Will you please inform zis ‘Agrid zat ze ‘orses drink only single-malt whiskey?”

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire – Beauxbatons and Durmstrang

And since I felt like you needed to see this Duolingo sentence – especially after I myself was forced to see it about fifty million times because my brain refused to accept that a word that meant “oil” in German could somehow mean “beer” in Swedish and I therefore kept translating it wrong πŸ™ˆ – you’re getting it!


Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

If you see people other than yourself in a mirror, it’s probably time to start running. In all likelihood, it means that person is standing way too freaking close to you!! There’s nothing that gives off creepy-stalker-vibes quite like spotting people in the mirror who aren’t meant to be there…

Unless, of course, you live in a fantasy world where mirrors are used as communication devices. Although this trope might be a bit overused – seriously, from Cinderella to Tamora Pierce’s Immortals Quartet to Harry Potter, magic scrying mirrors are everywhere – it tends to be my favorite stories that use them, so I’m more than willing to forgive! And Margaret Rogerson’s Sorcery of Thorns is no exception πŸ₯° It, too, features communication by mirror. More importantly, though, it features books! And a hate-to-love romance! And Silas!


Resisting Those Turtle Cravings

Naemi, didn’t you just read The People in the Trees and say you hated it? Why yes – I did! πŸ˜…

However, I also said that it was a deeply thoughtful, provocative, and well-written book that I just wasn’t the right type of reader for. If you’re a huge fan of unlikeable narrators and don’t mind an extremely slow-moving plot, this one might actually be right up your alley!

More importantly, though, the plot is actually centered around eating turtles. Or not eating them. The eating or non-eating of turtles sparks quite the controversy in The People in the Trees, so I couldn’t not use this book here!

“I could be wrong, but – he says that anyone who touches an opa’ivu’eke brings a great curse upon his family. One of the wrong-doer’s family will reach sixty o’anas and will get to eat the opa’ivu’eke, but after a period of time that person will slowly lose his ama and will become a mo’o kua’au.”

The People in The Trees – The Ninth Hut

I’m “Definitely Not” Gonna Date Him

Who discusses their plans to NOT date someone??? Like, if I did that, you’d be here for a very long time… (I’m sorry, all you people out there who were hoping to date me, but I kind of have this thing where I don’t plan on ever dating the majority of the people I know. I assure you, it’s nothing personal 😜)

So yeah, if you keep telling me how you’re not going to date someone, or that all you’re doing is fake-dating this person to make your relatives happy and not always be the lost-looking single at family parties, I’m going to be like, SUUUUURE. Of course you’re going to end up eventually dating the freaking person!!!!! Especially if you’re the main character in a romance novel!

No matter how utterly ridiculous and trashy it gets, though, I am an absolute sucker for fake-dating scenarios in books (and horrible Netflix movies)! I love that moment when the characters go from being awkward partners in crime to realizing they actually like each other. I love when they’re so scared that the other person might not feel the same way that they end up becoming all broody any annoying. Things just get so wonderfully cheesy! And Kasie West’s The Fill-In Boyfriend is a fun example of the fake-dating trope done right 😊


No Eating in the Lab!

I’m completely with you, here, Duolingo – DO NOT EVER EAT IN A LABORATORY!! This sentence actually isn’t weird at all; rather, it’s kind of scary because of how many people I’ve seen casually breaking this rule. The math department at the university I studied at shares a building with the physics department, and, look, physicists: Just because you guys don’t usually work with as many toxic substances as the chemists do, it doesn’t mean you can just eat in your labs! You still use chemicals in there! You could contaminate something! Stick to scientific etiquette because it exists for a freaking reason!

Honestly, the mere idea that anyone could want to eat in a lab fills me with horror – maybe because my physicist parents made sure to drill this rule into my head starting pretty much the minute I was born. They obviously sometimes had me in the lab with them, so I needed to know how to behave there. Which means I grew up thinking everyone was taught rules like this!

Similarly, I also thought it was normal to have a ton of books around the house featuring “physics adventures” for children and was so disappointed when my friends had never even heard of them. Especially George’s Secret Key to the Universe, which is about a boy who travels into space using his neighbor’s super cool computer, Cosmos. Together with the neighbor’s daughter, Annie, he gets to study black holes!! He gets to learn about string theory! How freaking cool is that?! πŸ€—


Women with Bears

Women – or any people for that manner – having bears is not something I run across a lot in everyday life. But Duolingian characters seem to have a whole zoo of exotic pets at their disposal! They don’t just have bears, they also have lions, elk, elephants, wolves…

But of course, I shamelessly had to choose the bear sentence. Because that gives me the opportunity to push the Winternight Trilogy at you once again!!! It’s so beautiful, and lyrical, and Russian history inspired, and political, and atmospheric, and fairy-tale-esque πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° And the protagonist Vasya captures a bear! At least, kind of…

So saying Vasya has a bear is not too far-fetched, right? People who have read these books, please tell me I’m allowed to recommend them here! And everyone else – go read them!


Even More Bears – Only This Time, It’s Food-Related

This bear sentence, on the other hand, seriously creeps me out. The bear likes the vegetarian? In what sense?? Does the bear like the vegetarian because vegetarians are a particularly tasty type of food? Or because he can be sure the vegetarian won’t get a sudden craving for bear-meat? Somehow, neither possibility sounds particularly reassuring πŸ€” Especially since the only people with a craving for bear-meat that I know of are the “vegetarian” Cullens….

So, to keep us well away from the horrifying interpretation lane, we’re just going to assume that the bear likes the vegetarian because the vegetarian throws a ton of tasty vegetable scraps into his trash can, where the bear can then steal them from. And this way, the sentence also goes really well with Erin Hunter’s Seekers series, which follows a group of bears in search of a place where they can live in peace. I wasn’t quite as obsessed with this one as I was with Erin Hunter’s Warriors back in the day, but I still really liked it and would particularly recommend it to preteens interested in environmental protection and Native American mythology!


Strange Pants and Non-Bird-Eaters

I’m not gonna lie – reading the sentence “The pants are not mine.” gave me intensely traumatic London flashbacks πŸ˜…

(In 2018, my sister and I spent two weeks travelling through the UK together, and, thinking we were being extremely smart and saving a ton of money that we could then spend on sightseeing, we booked a hostel for Β£7 a night. In London. Sure, the reviews were bad, but some people simply had lofty standards! For a room that cheap, you can’t expect a hotel! What we had not bargained for, however, was for our door to have a gaping hole where the doorknob was supposed to be, for insects to be crawling all over the bathroom, for our Australian roommate to have to stealthily sneak to the window armed with a book in the middle of the night because someone started screaming behind the dumpsters, or for our Italian roommate’s bed frame to break apart, leaving us to discover a five-centimeter thick layer of dust and a mysterious pair of pants that belonged to no one and smelled like it had been urinated on months ago… It was definitely the worst place I have ever stayed at, but hey, it was super affordable and made for an extremely effective roommate bonding experience!)

However, I suppose “The pants are not mine.” could be normal enough in a family discussion about laundry. My parents never remembered whose clothes were whose, and I was constantly ending up with my sister’s jeans by accident… So the weirder sentence is definitely “The women do not eat the birds.” Why would they even consider eating THE birds??? What birds? Why is there a definite article?

Still, I have decided not eating the birds sounds close enough to a vegetarian situation that we can roll with it. Which means that we need a family story involving laundry and vegetarians! And Dawn’s Wicked Stepsister perfectly fulfills that requirement. We have stepsisters excited to move in together and share clothes, only to be disillusioned by the reality of having the other person’s clothing strewn around everywhere. We have the vegetarian part of the family clashing with the non-vegetarian part, and each refusing to eat the other’s cooking. So it fits! And even as an adult, you can have so much fun revisiting the Baby-Sitters Club books that I will never stop recommending them 😁


Lots and Lots of Elephants

See – I told you Duolingian people always have a ton of exotic animals!!! This dude doesn’t even stop at one elephant, he has several!!!

And so does Elephant, Elephant. This may be a picture book primarily meant for children, but I assure you, it is absolutely genius. Even as an adult, you’re going to get a kick out of having opposites like “solid” and “liquid” or “plugged” and “unplugged” explained to you through elephant pictures, and I guarantee you, if you have a child that hates reading, it is still going to love this book. Elephant, Elephant is hilarious!


Mysterious Wardrobes and Hopeless Battles

I’m sorry, but it simply isn’t possible to have nothing in a wardrobe… Do you know how many things I stuff in there??? Not only is my wardrobe filled to the brim with clothes, it is also my primary hiding place for Christmas and birthday presents. It stores my hiking backpack. And all of my swimming gear. It simply cannot be empty!!

Also, in light of the current political situation, “Π­Ρ‚ΠΎ ΠΈΡ… послСдняя Π±ΠΈΡ‚Π²Π°.” just seems horribly macabre 😒 Why are you telling me stuff like this, Duolingo; I am freaking out enough as it is!!

So yeah, I guess we’re just going to have to assume these sentences are talking about The Chronicles of Narnia. Because then, they suddenly make a whole lot of sense and don’t seem anywhere near as ominous anymore! When Peter opens the wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that first time Lucy goes on and on about having been to a secret country, there is nothing there. (And, unfortunately, I never found any entrances to Narnia while checking wardrobes as a child, either 😭). The final Narnia book is literally called The Last Battle. That must be what these sentences were getting at! So if you haven’t read the whimsical children’s fantasy series that are The Chronicles of Narnia yet, take Duolingo as your motivation to do so!


And that was it for today! I hope I got a wide enough range of recommendations in that there was something amongst them for everybody, and that you enjoyed seeing a bit of the nonsense Duolingo spouts every once in a while! Do let me know what your favorite sentence was down below, and whether or not you agree with my pairings!

Also, do any of you use Duolingo? Have you ever run across any true sentence gems? I would love to hear about them down in the comments!

70 thoughts on “Recommending Books Based On Weird Duolingo Sentences

  1. Anoushka says:

    THIS POST WAS ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE obviously) while also accomplishing the tasks of convincing me to use duolingo and simultaneously increasing my TBR (WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME NAEMI??)

    I now need Dr. Franklin’s Island ASAP (I mean MAD SCIENTISTS???? Yes please!) The Lives of others and Sleeping Murder both sound amazing – CHECKING THEM OUT RIGHT AWAY! ALSO THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING!! You got me completely at friendship AND ALSO A FANTASY WRITER CHARACTER?? Don’t mind me if I come to you screaming about it after reading it, okay? I’M EXCITED NOW. Also how do I not remember that dialogue from harry potter?? 😱😳😳 is this a sign that I must re-read?

    AHAHAHAH THE TALK ABOUT MIRROR AND RUNNING IS MY FAVORITE PART OF THE POST OBVIOUSLY! LOVE IT!!

    Choosing a favorite sentence is SO DIFFICULT! I could like name half of them and call them favorites. THEY’RE ALL HILARIOUS. But I love the mirror one and β€˜the bear likes the vegeterian’ OH AND ALSO THE PIZZA ONE!

    AND I AGREE WITH ALL OF YOUR PAIRINGS OBVIOUSLY!! How could you, the Queen, ever go wrong??

    (also also also I’m so sorry for not commenting on your previous posts, I’VE BEEN READING THEM AND LOVING THEM but I didn’t get the time to comment 😭😭 so don’t think me weird if I randomly leave comments on your 3 month old posts in the following week okay? THANKS!)

    And did I mention I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH?

    Liked by 1 person

      • abookowlscorner says:

        Well, one lesson only takes a few minutes, and since I’ve allowed Duolingo to send me reminders, I get a creepily energetic owl telling me off if I’m in danger of forgetting my daily practice… AND IF YOU THINK THESE SENTENCES ARE WEIRD, YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE CONFRONTED WITH A DISAPPOINTED DUO!! 🀣🀣🀣

        Like

    • abookowlscorner says:

      MUHAHAHAHA, THAT MEANS I HAVE ACHIEVED MY GOAL OF OVERLOADING EVERYONE’S TBRS AND MAXIMUM DUOLINGO CONVERSION!! 😈 Why would I not do this to you, Anoushka? 😁

      But I’m thrilled to hear you liked the post! I am of course eagerly anticipating your thoughts on all those books now – Dr. Franklin is seriously creepy! And so is absolutely everything about Sleeping Murder! And The Unexpected Everything is just so, so good in every way possible! πŸ€— – and will be waiting to hear how many tears you shed over The Lives of Others. I honestly don’t think it’s possible not to cry while watching that movie 😭😭😭 And of course you should reread Harry Potter!! Harry Potter should be reread even when one remembers all the dialogue, after all πŸ₯°

      (Also, I welcome you to the fold of darkness, fellow super-busy blog stalker who reads way more posts than they comment on 🀣 LIKE, AFTER STARTING A NEW JOB, I’VE JUST BEEN SO BUSY! When am I supposed to respond to all of the blogosphere’s greatness?! So then I’ll read the post, think I’ll respond once I have a few spare minutes and then a) never do it, or b) creepily return months later 😁 SO I FEEL YOU! And I’ll gladly take those late comments and not be the only weirdo around here… πŸ˜œπŸ€—)

      Like

  2. Suhani says:

    HOW ARE YOUR IDEAS SO GOOD NAEMI?? HOW?!? Like this is such a fantastic post ahhhh!!

    AND YAY CONGRATS ON YOUR STREAK!! As someone who can barely manage the few languages she learns in school I have so much respect for who willingly love learning other languages (could never ever be me 😭😭)

    And Dr. Franklin’s Island sound so perfect for that prompt -it’s basically an almost exact representation πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ but on a side note it also looks like such a fun read!!

    And ahhh I really want to read Agatha Christie’s books someday!! everyone I know has read them AND I WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING 😭

    UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING it was such a cute summery read!!easily my favourite Morgan matson book ever( I still have to read amy and roger’s epic detour but shhhh no one needs to know about this🀫🀫 in everyone’s eyes I’ve read all of her books so don’t reveal my sinister ways *evil laugh*)

    horses drinking alcoholic beverages is such a weird sentence ahahah I wonder why duolingo would want someone to translate that πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€” but omg I completely forgot about that scene in goblet of fire!! I would’ve never been able to guess that πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    sorcery of thornsss I feel like I should give that book another chance ahh😭 I mean I read enchantment of ravens afterwards and really did enjoy it so maybe I was just in a bad mood reading sorcery of thorns hahah.

    Loved this post so much!! It was absolutely hilarious πŸ’–πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Honestly, I probably just spend way too much time on Duolingo when I could be doing more productive things… THAT OWL HAS A CREEPY WAY OF WARPING YOUR WAY OF THINKING! I wouldn’t be surprised if it was entirely Duo’s fault that my brain was damaged enough to come up with this idea 🀣🀣🀣

      And thank you! πŸ₯° Don’t be too impressed, though – as much as I adore math, I have always loved learning languages, too, so that definitely helps keep my nose to the grindstone. I just start getting restless when I don’t have some new language to dabble in πŸ˜‚

      And I would definitely recommend Dr. Franklin’s Island and retrying Sorcery of Thorns! Dr. Franklin’s Island is perfect if you want a bit of sci-fi that’s on the creepier side, and aaaaahhhh, Sorcery of Thorns has Silas!! πŸ₯° I love it so much more than An Enchantment of Ravens that yes, I totally agree. It must have been your bad mood that led to your skepticism πŸ˜‡

      And yesss, Suhani, jump on the Agatha Christie train!! Honestly, that woman was a genius! Nobody writes mysteries and mind-blowing plot-twists quite like her! 🀯

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m glad you think so, Meena! Seriously, some of these sentences are beyond wild!! 🀯 (If I ever know enough Swedish to communicate with you and say something totally bizarre, I guess you now know what to blame it on 🀣🀣🀣) And I’m glad you enjoyed the book recommendations, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. brittabenson says:

    I love your weird Duolingo sentences and what they have inspired. I tend to do something similar with closed captioning during Zoom meetings. I often attend events related to Scottish Gaelic and the closed captioning algorithm cannot quite compute the change in language. So when attending a lecture about the Gaelic goddess the ‚Cailleach‘, the subtitles kept referring to ‚Coca Cola‘, ‚Canada‘ and all sorts. Good luck on your Duolingo adventures. I used to use the app, then got bored, but now that you’ve highlighted the fun purpose of those often strange sentences, I think I’ll give it another go. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      OMG 🀣🀣🀣 That sounds beyond hilarious!! Maybe I’ll have to turn on the closed captions next time I watch something in a foreign language and see what shows up there… I usually have them turned off because reading loads of text distracts me from what I’m supposed to be watching, and, as you pointed out, language changes in particular can lead to a whole bunch of nonsense. But Coca Cola godesses seem too good to miss out on! πŸ˜‚

      Anyway, I’m so happy you enjoyed this, and good luck with any future Duolingo endeavors you may attempt!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Maria @ The Character Study says:

    What a brilliant and fun idea for a post!! Duolingo truly has some of the most bizarre sentences ever… Also, it’s impressive that you managed a 1-year streak. I use Memrise instead of Duolingo, but I’ve never managed to stay consistent more than a few months πŸ˜… Isn’t the “it’s raining men” a reference to Geri Halliwell’s song? πŸ€” Anyways, all of these were so much fun, and despite you not liking it, this has made me want to pick up The Idiot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Sometimes I think coming up with Duolingo sentences must be the best job ever 🀣 It’s like, “How much can you possibly weird people out while still making sure they learn a few language skills? ” πŸ€”

      Though trust me, I get where you’re coming from! I’ve been using Duolingo for ages, but it’s only this year that I finally managed to get that streak. (And I must say, it was quite motivating knowing that I wanted to write this post – my last month was so busy that I might’ve failed again otherwise 😁)

      And you might be right about that Geri Halliwell reference! I had honestly completely forgotten about the song despite its chorus being one of the most catchy tunes ever… Whoops 🀣 Still, I’d argue that sentence was plenty strange in the song as well!

      Also, I hope you enjoy The Idiot if you read it! I wouldn’t necessarily say I didn’t like it – it just made me so uncomfortablely aware of certain things that I didn’t love it, either πŸ˜… It was very much an “I read this at the wrong time” type of situation!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rachel says:

    OH MY GOSH NAEMI THIS IS SUCH A BRILLIANT IDEA! i’ve recently started using duolingo again to learn Spanish, and i kid you not, i had sort of a plan for a duolingo-based post too (i was thinking of using the sentences as things fictional characters have said?? something like that yeah) but i didn’t have the brain cells to execute that lol.
    all those sentences are extremely weird and some are just downright creepy (read: the mirror one. and the women eating birds. sorry, NOT eating birds) and makes me incredibly suspicious about the brain behind the cute little duolingo owl.
    find outers, hp, narnia and george’s key to the universe are all childhood favourites of mine as well!
    AND FINALLY CONGRATS ON THE ONE YEAR STREAK i cannot even imagine the dedication that must have taken BUT being the competitive person i am, i hereby resolve to try and break that record. GAME’S ON!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      OH MY GOD, RACHEL, YOU HAVE TO WRITE THAT DUOLINGO POST!!! 🀩🀩🀩 I mean, I’m obsessed with Duolingo, I’m obsessed with books, and I’m obsessed with everything you write, so I desperately need it now that you’ve mentioned the idea!!! I’m sure those brain cells are around somewhere! πŸ™ƒ

      Oh, and tell me about it!! I am positively convinced that that Duolingo owl is EVIL 🧐 There are just way too many of those downright creepy sentences in those lessons for it to be a coincidence!

      Also, I love that child-you obviously already had amazing taste in books! πŸ₯° And as for that challenge – YOU’RE ON!! I WILL HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE FOR THAT SPANISH PRACTICE! I FULLY INTEND TO MAINTAIN MY STREAK AND MAKE SURE YOU WILL NEVER SURPASS ME, MUHAHAHAHA! 😎

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Haha, thanks, Emily! And gosh, yes, that sentence does sound a bit… disturbing 🀣🀣🀣 I don’t even want to know what horrible prison conditions I’m supposed to picture the speaker in! πŸ˜…

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you! Also, I’m thrilled to hear you loved the Five Find-Outers, too! πŸ₯°πŸ€— I feel like they’re so often forgotten next to the Famous Five, even though the books are at least as good. Honestly, I went through quite the disguising phase thanks to Fatty… 🀣 And I’m glad you appreciated the Goblet of Fire pairing – it was so perfect that I just had to use it 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Markus + Micah says:

    What a fun post! I also use Duolingo to learn German and find some sentences strange like “where is the holy potato”. I do not know when I will use this sentence but at least I am ready. Congratulations on your streak!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Hmmm – even as a native German speaker, I don’t think I’ve ever had to make use of the sentence “where is the holy potato” in my life 🀣🀣🀣 But it might make for a very interesting conversation starter! At least, if the person you say it to doesn’t run off first… πŸ€”

      But, anyway, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for sharing that amazing sentence! πŸ˜‚

      Like

  7. Lay @ bookshelfsoliloquies says:

    This might be my favourite post of the month, it’s such a funny idea! I’ve tried learning Russian with Duolingo once but only lasted about 2 weeks so your full year of learning is really impressive! I would’ve had such a hard time finding books that fit these strange sentencesπŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Awww, thanks, Lay, I’m really glad you liked it! πŸ₯° Such praise from the person who wrote the most ingenious D&D-inspired Martian post is very high praise indeed, so I’ll take it πŸ˜‡
      I do have to admit that simultaneously using other sources to learn a language does help me stay consistent with Duolingo, too! I try a new Duolingo language every once in a while, just to get an idea of what’s out there, but I also abandon them fairly quickly once the Duolingo sentences get too repetitive or difficult πŸ˜… But sprinkling a bit of Duolingo into my regular language learning routine is something I absolutely love! It’s such a quick way to feel accomplished, I guess 😁

      Like

  8. Corrie.S.P. says:

    Wow! These are some weird sentences! Congratulations on studying everyday!!! I know how dedicated you must be to get that!
    I read A Child Called It. What a sad book! I almost cried in it.
    I love Agatha Christie and am slowly working through her mysteries. I am reading her autobiography: Come Tell Me How You Live.
    Yes! SEEKERS! I read all the first series and I really loved it!
    I ofc have read as many BSC books as I could get my hands on. I actually own Dawn’s Evil Stepsister!
    And Chronicles of Narnia were my favorites books for years! Still are some of my faves!
    I have read all 7 books like 7 times or something. My favorite is: The Horse and His Boy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I think I did cry while reading A Child Called It! It’s been a while, so I don’t fully remember, but yeah, it was definitely horribly sad 😭

      Also, I’m thrilled you’re a fellow Agatha Christie fan, Corrie! I’ll have to take a page out of your book – even though I have read the majority of her novels by now, I’ve never touched her autobiography. So maybe I need to try that; I do know Agatha Christie had quite the interesting life!

      And you’ve read so many of my other childhood favorites as well! πŸ€— I agree, The Chronicles of Narnia in particular tend to stay with you πŸ₯° Though my favorite will always remain The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, closely followed by The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

      Like

      • Corrie.S.P. says:

        The voyage of the dawn treader is my second fave.
        The Agatha Christie I’m reading now is about when she went on archeological digs with her husband. Actually my Grandma and I love murder mysteries and pretty much other mysteries. So after I watched Murder on the Orient Express we started talking about her books and now I check out 5-10 of her books every month from the library and then when I finish the books I give them to Grandma to read, since it has been a while since she read them. I can get through 2-4 a week depending on the time I have and what other books I am reading.

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          I’ve always thought those archeological digs Agatha Christie went on sounded fascinating! 🀩 So I hope the autobiography is as interesting as it sounds and that you’re enjoying it!

          And it’s so cool that you and your grandma are enjoying Agatha Christie’s books together! My whole family are huge fans, too, so I’ve definitely experienced the whole “passing the book on to the next person” thing 😁 And the movie versions are some of our family favorites as well! If you haven’t already seen them, I’d highly recommend the Miss Marple adaptations starring Margaret Rutherford and the BBC Poirot series starring David Suchet – those are the best ones, in my opinion! πŸ₯°

          Liked by 1 person

          • Corrie.S.P. says:

            I love the Margaret Rutherford movie ones! Although Joan Hickson is much more like the Miss Marple in the books. I had not watched any David Suchet yet but I want too. I really love the movies with Peter Ustanov.

            Liked by 1 person

            • abookowlscorner says:

              Yes, I agree that the Joan Hickson adaptations stay truer to the books – but somehow, I still love the Margaret Rutherford ones more! πŸ˜‚ I like being able to see the books and those movies as two separate things, I guess… The David Suchet adaptations are very true to the books, though! 😊

              Liked by 1 person

              • Corrie.S.P. says:

                I like her version a lot. She is so funny to watch and the movie is entertaining all while being a mystery. I watched a David Suchet last night for the first time. He was pretty good but I still like Peter Ustanov more. But hey, I have only seen two episodes so he might grow on me. I also like the newer Poirot (from the Murder on the Orient Express & Death on the Nile)(actually the first film is the one that started me on her books.)

                Liked by 1 person

                • abookowlscorner says:

                  I actually don’t like the newer Poirot as much πŸ˜‚ But I guess it’s a good thing there are so many different adaptations so that there’s something among them for everybody! I’ll still keep my fingers crossed that David Suchet will grow on you more, though 😁 He’s pretty much exactly like I imagined Poirot while reading the books, so I think that’s why I love him so much!

                  Liked by 1 person

  9. Line @First Line Reader says:

    This was such a fun idea and so you!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Congrats on the streak! I can usually only do a few months each time before I give up/become bored, so I think a year is deeply impressive!
    My favorite kind of sentences is the ones that are obviously a reference to something very popular like a TV show or movie. I’ve noticed Duolingo likes to pick the sentences that are the most hurtful to suddenly read again and I always feel so attacked!

    I’m very glad you included “The horses drink beer” one because it was so fun to realize that we have the same problem but in reverse. How many times do you think I’ve translated the German ‘ΓΆl’ to ‘beer’? πŸ˜‚ I’m thinking you have a pretty good idea πŸ˜‰

    Also, I said I might read The People in the Trees but then I read that quote and understood very little so now I’m kinda scared again πŸ˜…

    I’m also a bit worried about the sentence “Vasya has a bear”. I appreciate the effort to get Winternight into this post, but it’s disturbing to read about Vasya having close relations with that particular bear. So not sure I’m buying it, but okay πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’ve definitely noticed that using Duolingo for multiple languages at once comes in very handy once the boredom threatens to gain the upper hand – I just switch over to a different language focus every few months, and that way, I stay interested! 😁 Because I did have the same problem when I first started using Duolingo. Back then, I was only using it to learn one language (Russian), and even with the additional motivation of going to St. Petersburg soon and actually needing what I was learning to communicate, I eventually became super lazy… πŸ˜…

      But I have vowed those days are behind me! (Plus, I have since converted my mom to a very enthusiastic Duolingo user as well, and it has brought out my competitive streak even more. I can’t just sit there and watch her get too far ahead! 🀣)

      Those pop culture reference sentences mostly go over my head, though, I guess πŸ™ˆ I either rarely get any, or don’t notice them much… Although I did have the occasional “winter is coming” In Russian and Spanish! But the only thing that made me feel attacked in was my non-Game-of-Thrones-fanness πŸ˜‚

      Honestly, though, I don’t know what our Germanic tribe ancestors were thinking regarding the “Γ–l” thing – HOW THE HECK DO YOU GET OIL AND BEER FROM THE SAME WORD? 🀯 That literally makes no sense at all, especially when everything else is so beautifully related! Did some idiot confuse the liquids in a drunk stupor because they were the same color, and then somehow pass it on to the rest of his people?? I think I will have to do some reading up on the etymology of this… I’m extremely intrigued, especially since English apparently has both variants, “ale” and “beer”. That suggests the split must have happened pretty early, before Old English was even a thing! (Sorry for going into full on nerd mode here, but I figured you might appreciate some language theories that were not Aanden-related 😜)

      I assure you, though, that The People in the Trees passage makes perfect sense in context 😁 And, in my defense, Vasya having a bear was the closest I could get to that stupid sentence! She does capture him and gets him to do what she wants, so she kind of has him… as a sort of servant who is bound to do her bidding… maybe? πŸ˜… Though yeah, you’re right – mostly I just wanted to squeeze Winternight into a recommendation post again 🀣

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line @First Line Reader says:

        I do think it sounds like a good idea to switch between languages, although I tried that and it didn’t really work for me. Maybe because I was trying to learn both French and Spanish and they are a bit too similar so I confused myself and got frustrated instead. Tried to switch to Swedish instead actually but turns out I know just enough of that for it to be boring to do all those Duolingo lessons. Having that person to compete with though sounds like great motivation πŸ˜„

        Lol, there were a lot of Game of Thrones references when that show peaked and I probably miss some references to other shows too. Who knows? Maybe some women has a bear in a show we both haven’t seen πŸ˜‚

        And I don’t mind language nerd mode that isn’t about Aanden! It’s crazy that there’s such a big difference in meaning so I’m actually thinking that theory of your isn’t all that weird. I could totally see that as something that happened πŸ˜‚ All I have been able to find is that our ΓΆl/ΓΈl is from Old Norse so it’s from about the 8th century but maybe that explains the English ‘ale’ since they adopted quite a few loanwords from Old Norse. How the German came up with ‘oil’, I don’t know πŸ˜…

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          I do tend to switch to totally different languages (like Korean or Arabic) when boredom threatens, so maybe that’s why it works πŸ˜‚ But I return to my main ones rather quickly, too, so I have no idea whether the tactic is useful if you actually want to remember what you’re learning. So far, all I’ve achieved in those other languages is the ability to read the alphabets, and even there, I am SUPER SLOW… πŸ˜…

          And sure, maybe the bear is from some show πŸ˜‚ I do remember the villain has bears in The Golden Compass from watching the movie, but since I have never read the book, I couldn’t recommend it…

          And now get ready for extreme nerdiness – I have done my research 😁 Apparently, your “ΓΆl/ΓΈl” is the older one that all Germanic languages used to have (the common root is Protogermanic *aluΓΎ ) – but then in the 6th and 7th century, German monasteries came up with the ingenious idea to add hop to the brewing process, making a new type of beer that is now the prevalent one all over the world. To distinguish this beer from the other type without hop, the monks came up with a new word, which etymologists assume is either derived from Latin “bibere” (to drink) or Protogermanic “*bhe(u)” (to swell, to foam). And as the new beer became popular within Germany, the old word was lost, while Old Norse retained it and just used it for the new beer as well.

          As for German “Γ–l”, that has been around since about the 8th century, too, and is a loan word which was probably derived from the Latin “oleum” or Ancient Greek “έλαιον”, both meaning “oil”. It probably arrived in Germany with the advent of Christianity and was originally only used for the process of anointing people with oil in religious ceremonies – the application to machines and foods came much later, in the 17th and 18th centuries. English “oil”, however, actually did not enter English through German, but was borrowed from French when the Normans invaded. It goes back to the same Latin root, though πŸ˜‰

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Riddhi B. says:

    Also, I’ve a lot more to say, but I also have to turn in some homework and have little time left, so that’s all I am saying, but this really is a great post idea!

    Also, CONGRATULATIONS ON 500 FOLLOWERS THAT IS AWESOME, YOU GO NAEMI!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Ahh, no worries, Riddhi – I totally get it! In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been super on top of things this past week, either πŸ˜… Sometimes, life just gets in the way, so don’t feel like you have to apologize! πŸ’™ (Though I am, of course, thrilled you liked the post! πŸ₯°)

      And why did I already have a feeling you would be first to notice this? 🀣🀣🀣 BUT THANK YOU!!! I will probably be doing a Q&A to celebrate, so keep your eyes peeled for that announcement coming to you very, very soon πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • Riddhi B. says:

        Aah, thanks for understanding, sorry to hear you haven’t been on top of things either!

        Duh, I would be the first to notice it- you knew cause you just know me well now haha!
        Oooh awesomee!

        Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Honestly, if I knew where I got my ideas from, it would be a life-changer – because then I wouldn’t be in constant danger of running out of them! Inspiration just randomly strikes me, I guess, and there’s nothing I can do to control it… πŸ˜…

      I’m really happy you liked the post, though, Marta, and I’m looking forward to hearing about your own Duolingo struggles! After all, what’s life without a bit of challenge to it? πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Divya Vartika says:

    You have a way with words (apparently in several languages) and can make anything absolutely hilarious. Congratulations on your Duolingo Badge. I got one for 365 days back in 2017. Then I missed a day and lost my streak just before 400 days. I got so upset that I deleted my account and haven’t gone back to Duolingo yet. Might have overreacted just a tad!!!

    Good to know that Duolingo has kept its set of weird sentences.

    Your book recommendations are so awesome! You have read a wide variety of books. Seeing Famous Five made me so nostalgic. I think I am going to re-read them now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you, Divya – I’m so happy you enjoyed this! πŸ₯° Seriously, all of you guys are given me a swollen head by putting this much praise in the comments… 😁

      And lololol, I don’t think your Duolingo reaction is that extreme at all – when I lost my 262 day streak that one time I was away in the Alps, I got so mad I didn’t touch Duolingo for months πŸ˜‚ But then my competitive eagerness to obtain that badge eventually got the better of me again, so return I did! But almost making it to 400 and then losing your streak sounds even more frustrating. Even when you know it’s all just in good fun and meant to give you consistency in language learning, you can’t help but despair when you see all that hard work go down the drain! 😫😭🀣

      Also, the Famous Five are always worth rereading πŸ€— I hope you have fun dwelling in all that nostalgia!!

      Like

  12. Nehal Jain says:

    Omg first off congrats to u coz you worked really hard πŸ˜‚.
    Second off excuse me that i wont be able to comment something really long, my blogging slump is getting worse and worse. But i loved reading this post lmao. i canr believe Duolingo made such error, i mean raining men?! What even πŸ˜‚.
    And for you to actually go ahead and make note of all of them to make this beyond amazing post is just wow inspiring.
    And yay to Enid blyton being the queen of food 🀩
    The word a-nwigh-nymous reminded me of someone name neigh-me …u know her? (:
    And ooh the fill in bf is in my tbr!

    Awesome recs and hilarious post πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Neigh-hal! I’m glad you liked this despite your massively evil blogging slump that you most definitely need to get rid of soon! πŸ₯°πŸ˜‚ Seriously, Duolingo sentences can be the absolute weirdest! I mean, yeah, the raining men and the beer-drinking horses were just beyond weird… But it does make the learning experience even more fun to discover such gems every once in a while! 🀣

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Kal @ Reader Voracious says:

    First of all HOLY MOLY congrats on the 365 Duolingo streak! That’s been my goal but my longest is still like 37 days ahaha.

    Secondly this is such a fun post idea and absolutely hilarious because duoloingo sometimes can be so unhinged depending on the language you’re learning. These sentences and recs were great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thank you! And don’t worry, it took me several tries to get this far as well, so I feel you! πŸ˜‚

      But yeah, I absolutely love the unhinged Duolingo sentences 😁 Like, yesterday I got “I am walking through you” in Swedish, and I immediately started wondering what sort of scenario I was supposed to picture here… Like, am I a ghost? Is the other person? I suppose we will never know πŸ‘» But I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Lesserleaf says:

    Bei den Schweden geht Bier wohl runter wie Γ–l.

    (Das konnte ich mir nicht verkneifen).

    Now that I have a new smartphone that doesn’t freeze up all the time (or lose my photos), I might look up Duolingo too, except that I’m not sure what language to tackle. Revive my French that I dropped after 11th grade? Or try something else…?

    Very funny post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      🀣🀣🀣 Und da behauptet man immer, wir Deutschen wΓ€ren die SΓ€ufer…

      I very much relate to the smartphone thing, though – my previous one had a tendency to swipe everything to the left, which made trying to write or open apps an absolutely wonderful experience πŸ˜… Using Duolingo with this phone is definitely better! And personally, I love a good mix of trying to revive old languages and dabbling in a bunch of random new ones, so I’d say experimenting a bit is the best way to go! πŸ˜πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ash says:

    ooh, I LOVE the concept of this post!! book recs based on weird Duolingo sentences?? yes pls omg!
    also CONGRATULATIONS on your 1 year Duolingo streak!!
    ‘it’s raining men’ made me laugh so hard, lol and i really want to read Dr Franklins Island and Sleeping Murder now!

    vasya doesn’t *technically* capture a bear in Winternight 🀣🀣 BUT it’s a recommendation of WINTERNIGHT- who am i to say no to that lol!

    i adore this post so much! i don’t use duolingo, but the bird is so CUTE!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed, Ash! Seriously, Duolingo can be the absolute weirdest, which means I had way too much fun writing this post! πŸ€—πŸ˜‚

      LOL, I love how all my fellow Winternight fans are roasting me over how bad the Vasya and the bear parallel is but still love that I snuck Winternight in somehow 😁 Validation of my choice was exactly what I was going for, so even though it might be **a tad** farfetched, I’m counting the recommendation as a success! πŸ’ͺπŸ˜‚

      Also, definitely let me know if you do end up reading Dr. Franklin’s Island or Sleeping Murder, because I’d love to hear your thoughts on them! πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s