Celebrating my 2nd time through the Italian tree!
Tonight I finish my second run through the Italian tree. By that I mean I finally got it to a point where all the lessons are 'gold' (at least for a day or two). The first time I went through, I had never reached a point were everything was gold all at once. It took me a lot longer the second time around because I was more fastidious about keeping the lessons topped up. That was a GOOD thing because I finally feel like Italian is becoming more natural....with the possible exception of passo romoto and past subjective! Maybe on my third time around (and some supplementary verb drills) even these will start to flow more easily.
Duolingo, as much as we sometimes gripe about the little quirks here and there, I want to say that you actually changed my life. A year ago, I only knew a handful of words of Italian. In no way shape or form could I make whole sentences. When listening to Italian, I probably caught every 50th word, with only the barest gist of what was being said. The same for reading.
So how did you change my life? Well, nearly 100 years ago, my father was born in northern Italy (Trentino). Last year, for the first time I was reunited with long-lost family there. Not one of them (except some of the younger people) speaks a word of English. I was completely dependent upon a translator during that visit. It made a distance between us.
But this summer, after studying Duolingo EVERY day (and continuously challenging myself to read Italian books that were way too hard for me), I went there and discovered I could understand EVERY conversation, and even hold my own without anyone's help. My cousins were very patient and if I made mistakes, they just corrected me and kept talking. As a result, I have developed close relationships with many, many people -- both within my extended family and in the small villages in which they live. As I am also working on an ancestry project, people are giving me stacks of old photos, telling me stories, giving me books on local history (all written in Italian) so I can do my research. Even the archdiocese and the historical centres in the region are helping. I have become an expert in deciphering and translating 500 year old Italian parish records (which are actually in Latin, but still...).
I don't think any of this would have happened without Duolingo's help. Furthermore, they are all so impressed that I have come so far on my own, using an App on my mobile phone.
I am only a few lessons away from hitting Level 19 (too tired tonight to do any more, so I'll take up that challenge tomorrow). I intend to continue to do Duolingo Italian every day, to keep my skills polished and to make fewer and fewer mistakes. I'll also start doing more with the translation challenges.
Thank you Duo. I actually cannot express to you just how much I value what I have received from you. I will be around for a lot longer, I am sure.
P.S.: Keep making MORE Italian lessons!
Grazie a tutti per i vostri tanti complementi gentili! Sono appena arrivata al livello dicianove. ;-)
To answer the questions about supplementary materials, I have several supplementary grammar books, but I only use them for reference when I get stuck, especially when it comes to verb rules. I really dislike working through workbooks. I find them messy, and have learned MUCH more easily on Duo. Nontheless, they have been a great source of information.
The other things I do to supplement Duo are:
I bought several cheap readers on Kindle of Italian 'novels'. The stories are usually pretty silly, but they repeat the language over and over, and after a while you realise you are reading them without actually needing to translate them in your head.
I have a mountain of Italian history books, on the area of research I am doing. At least once a week I sit down and try to make it through a chapter. Sometimes I just read the best I can; other times I actually sit down and write out a translation.
When I was in Italy, I just spoke ALL the time with my cousins. I had no translator. Even when speaking with the youner cousins who could speak some English, I tried to stick to Italian. What I found was that there are a lot of key words you tend to say regularly in daily conversation (ho detto, ho scritto, sono andato, siamo arrivati). This made everyday conversation easier in the beginning, and gradually I started using more complex sentences and more vocabulary. The important thing is to do it all the time, and stop worrying about if you make mistakes. In my experience, people in Italy are so impressed when an English speaker takes and interest in their language and their culture, they are happy to help you learn.
I also found that whenever I was talking about genealogy to other historians or researchers, there were also many recurring words: l'albero genealogico, lui era nati, lei è morta, lui aveva settant'anni quando è morto, nell'anno mille sei cento venti, etc. Having these at the front of my brain (dates, for me, are the hardest!) made it easier and faster to communicate intelligibly with these scholarly people.
On Facebook, I set up a group for our extended family. Of course, half of them speak only English, and half speak only Italian. I am one of the only ones who speaks both languages. As a result, I am constantly having to translate back and forth, so family members understand each other, and so that everyone understand what I am posting (which is usually old historic photos or stories about our family).
I hope that gives people a few ideas. Coming onto Duo every day has become part of my morning ritual (as well as my lunch breaks). It really makes a difference.
Wow! As someone who's intending to spend several months in Italy next year, this is really inspiring. I spoke no Italian before starting on here just over a month ago. I'm starting to feel like I understand a lot more of what I'm encountering in Duo and I want to try some other source.
Any recommendations on what you've used outside the site that's been good?
Something I've started doing is following Italian newspapers on Facebook. Il Messaggero, while not being a very high-brow newspaper, publishes lots of short (~4 paragraph) write ups that are good practice and contain lots of useful vocabulary.
Great suggestion. My Italian cousins also post a lot of local news and recipes. It can sometimes be challenging to follow the comments stream, especially as they mix in local dialetto!
Congrats doing it twice. This tree seems so long compared to the Spanish and French. I needed the motivation.
That is amazing. I'm working my way through the Italian tree a second time and a lot of it makes more sense. Not able to keep a streak as well as I did before because I am working on Chinese as well at the moment, but I hope to be able to go back to Italy some day and spend the trip speaking Italian the entire time. Same with China and Chinese.
Great post. Congratulations. I have been keeping my Italian tree all golden for a while not... It gets easier and the lessons stay gold longer the more you work on them. So, you are not far from that point. I would love to one day have the opportunity that you did to spend some extended time in Italy immersed in the language. I am sure that that experience more than anything else has gotten you to the point where you are today..... Oh.. and the "past" lessons never get any easier :-)
That is a great post, really positive and encouraging. I am just working my way through Italian and enjoying it. Thank you.
Bravissima ma, avresti dovuto scrivere la tua esperienza in italiano. Comunque brava
Sì, davvero! Ho anche pensato questo dopo l'ho scritto. Non ho ancora abbastanza confidenza per scrivere così idee complesse in italiano.
forse qual che giorno. I was trying to say "maybe some day". Complimenti a te. I will try to do that also once I finish my first tree. I've been doing Duolingo for about 14 months. At times, it gets frustrating but I continue as I will be in Italy in a few days for one month. I also do the reverse tree (Italian to English) which I find helpful.
That's interesting, ssebast438. How are they different from each other (It>Eng and Eng>It)?
One is for those who speak English and want to learn italian and the other is those who speak italian and want to speak English. The first few levels are easy, but a good review but after level 6/7 it gets harder. I only do it maybe once or twice a month.
How long did it take you to complete your first tree?
I'm not sure. Probably a couple of months, but it had LOADS of 'non-gold' lessons. Then, I started over again, painstakingly making sure that every previous lesson was gold before I did a more advanced one. So the 2nd tree took a bit longer because I was being very thorough. It's still all gold, as I come to it every day. I need to do more work with translation, though.
As you can see from my statue, I tried out the reverse tree. I am not sure I want to do it very often, as there are so many questions just asking you to write the English of what you hear (in English). I want to hear spoken Italian every day,
Thank you so much for sharing your journey so far! This is truly inspiring and motivating!! :-)
Wow, great post! Your story is very inspirational. I love Italian and I really hope to be able to speak it fluently one day. I don't know if I'll ever get there, but I think that your accomplishments are amazing and definitely something to be very proud of. Thanks for sharing your experiences and keep up the great work!
I've given everyone who leaves a comment a lingot, to thank them for the encouragement. :-)
you have right! it is very import read, read and read but out loud. I learn english and i read many books of the series Penguin.
Questo è un esempio perfetto della differenza tra inglese e italiano, Franky. In italiano diciamo 'tu hai giusto' ma in inglese diciamo 'you ARE right', non 'You have right'. ;- )
thank you very much for your correction. Yes, i made a mistake but the right translation is not "Tu hai giusto" but " Tu hai ragione". Ciao e da oggi sono anch'io al diciannovesimo livello. Now even i'm to the level 19. Bye
As we say in English, "DUH!" (meaning, in this case, "Oh! I should have remembered that!"). I frequently forget "Tu hai ragione". Grazie per la correzione. Complimenti per arrivare al diciannovesimo livello. :-)
Your italian is very good . I understand that my language is very difficult for english people but your language is no less. You have many exceptions in your grammatical language. About your last post i have a little correction for you: Complimenti per essere arrivato al diciannovesimo livello.... Comunque sei molto brava
What a great experience. Thanks for posting. I'm only level 8 in Italian and 10 in Spanish but I'm hoping for a similar result. Ciao!
that's so great !! congrats lynnserafi :) I have seen this myself, how languages open doors to places that you wouldn't have ever opened without them.
Wow, I hope to improve my skills to the same point! I think it would be really amazing if you would contribute to the Italian lessons for english speakers too. It sounds like you are more then capable and a history lesson would be molto bene!!
I hadn't realised it was a different course, Megan. I will have to find it here on Duo.
Congratulazioni Lynn. Vuoi avere il coraggio di passare attraverso l'albero di nuovo per la terza volta? Sto per finire il mio primo tempo sull'albero con tutto l'oro e poi questo è successo ... Qualche consiglio?
Non ho mai sentito come smettere di nulla fino a quando ho avuto modo di le ultime lezioni di Duolingo italiano per gli anglofoni. Ho bisogno di aiuto. Sono le ultime elezioni e ho bisogno di un grafico o un codice per la costruzione le condanne per il congiuntivo imperfetto ..... Qualcuno ha un indizio di come farlo?. Io sono un livello 14, ma penso di essere in sopra la mia testa su questo. Chiunque lì per darmi una mano? Devo gettare la spugna? Mi appeso da un albero? LOL ... Prometto che non lo farò ... Ma ho bisogno di capire questo ...
adamyoung97 ..... sei stato di grande aiuto per la guida congiuntivo. Qualsiasi cosa per questo? Grazie amici .....
Salve, Jorge Toba! Grazie per le tue parole gentile. Sì, sto lavorando verso l'albero di nuovo per la terza volta! Anche sto fare alcuni traduzioni, per migliorare le mie abilità.
Permesso, sto capendo correttamente che si desidera capire il congiuntivo imperfetto...in inglese o italiano?
Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing. I hope your journeys and experiences grow more meaningful.
Lynn, I loved your post very much.I am new here and very excited to learn more and more. My native language is Spanish, I am from Argentina,South America. We speak Spanish but 'Rioplatense' which is a bit different from the language spoken in Spain . I signed in here as English speaker though I am not because in this way I can practise both English and Italian . L'anno scorso sono andata in Italia con mio marito e mio figlio.abbiamo visitato alcuni parenti e la comunicazione era molto difficile. Spero di parlare meglio la prossima volta anche se , come un oratore spagnolo ho trovato la lingua italiana molto difficile per me. My grandmother was born in Bari , she moved from Italy to Argentina as a youg girl and she never spoke italian to us , she died a long time ago and now I realize that part of my roots are there. I wish you the best in your research work and hope to go on hearing from you .Lilian
Cara Lillian, Capisco esattamente come stai sentendo. Credo che i discendenti di immigrati spesso si sentano così. Davvero, è un molto potente emozione. Alcuni della mia famiglia anche sono andati al Argentina. Ma non so i loro nomi o dove hanno vissuto.
The book "Inferno" by Dan Brown inspired me to learn Italiano and I'm enjoying learning the language =)
Very encouraging post. I'm in a similar position at level 19, and done with my Italian tree for the second time. I just noticed my fluency level dropped from 41% to 38% though. I can't figure out why! I'm still highly motivated to keeping the tree golden. But that takes me over an hour or two a day and it’s hard to find time to do anything else. I was looking forward to starting the reverse tree but keeping the original golden seems to take priority. Is there a trick to the tree that I’m missing? Does everyone else have to do 12 lessons a day to keep it golden? Should I just let it go? Suggestions?
Well I just finished my Italian tree for the first time but the system reports that I'm on 7% proficient despite having all sections 'gold'. Until a month ago I was only doing 3 lessons a day and the amount of revision required was increasing every day. I increased the lessons to 10 per day and was able to keep on top of it. This last week I increased again to 11 per day and finished it, all sections gold. Now it's a case of where next. I was hoping that completion would open up a completely new section but I got that wrong :-/
Thanks for sharing this. I'll try not to get too discouraged. However, I had to do 15 lessons today to keep my tree golden!
at-rq - I tend to do about 3 lessons every morning, and then come back later in the day (after dinner) to do one or two more. Whenever I'm travelling on trains or waiting in an office, I'm workingon Duo (with the sound turned off). On weekends, I often work a bit more.
To keep the tree gold (which mine has been now for a few weeks), try this: start from the beginning of the tree, and do as many exercises as you can in the easier lessons, and get them as close to 100% correct as you can. The reason why gold lessons can lose their 'goldness' is due to the percentage of wrong answers you had when you did the lesson the last time. The next day, come back to Duo, and AGAIN scroll all the way back to the beginning, and see which lessons are not gold, and work on them to get the highest score possible in them. Don't be tempted to leap ahead just before the lessons are simple.
If you do this every day, aiming for 100% on each lesson, eventually you'll get to the end of the tree with all gold lessons. Then, when you log in, you'll see only maybe 2 or 3 lessons that need 'topping up' each day. If you stay on top of it, you won't need to spend hours and hours on it, and you can do other language skills like translations.
There's one other thing -- I just bought a book called 'Top Up Your Italian' by Clelia Boscolo. It's NOT a beginner's Italian book, and was intended as a review for more advanced learners who are preparing for exams. It's a really good book to help iron out the most common mistakes for English speakers. Obviously, I haven't learned the whole book yet, but so far I think it's excellent. I also have a couple of verb tense books, including a book called 'Verbi' by Garzanti, which is JUST a book of conjugations.
I hope that helps. This strategy is working for me so far, except I really want to improve on my SPEAKING in conversation.
Grazie mille per il tuo consiglio. Questo è esattamente di che cosa ho avuto bisogno. Tipicamente, vado veloce fra le mie lezione e faccio molti errori. Anche tu, io ho parienti in L’italia e viaggio ogni anno per vederli. Come te, la traduzione realmente rinforza l’apprendimento. Sono fortunata avere una amica che parla italiana perfetta e ci incontriamo ogni settimana per leggere ad alta voce. Io leggo e lei aiuta a tradurre. Ti darò una lista dei libri che abbiamo avuto letto: Il Piccollo Principe The Little Prince Il Ragazzo di Berlini The Boy from Berlin Il Richiamo Della Foresta Call of the Wild Don Camillo di Giovanni Guareschi Il Visconte Dimezzato di Italo Calvino Il libro seguente sarà Dalla Parte Sbagliata: La speranza dopo Iqbal di Francesco D’Adamo
Grazie un altra volta per la tua risposta. Oggi, cominciare l’albero d’ inversione.
Ciao, Andi! Grazie per la bella lista di libri. Ieri ho comprato il classico 'I Promessi Sposi' -- ma una versione facile! Avuto iniziato leggere questo libro in inglese (è più di sette cento pagine!) e ho pensato che sara bene di leggere anche in italiano, anche se è molto abbreviata. Sono contenta che io lo possa leggere senza troppo difficoltà. :-)
Il Piccolo Principe è il mio libro preferito di tutto di tempo! Guarderò su Amazon oggi per lo trovare in italiano.
Che buona fortuna che hai un'amica chi parla la bella lingua con te ogni settimana. Davvero, parli molto bene.
Fino alla prossima volta, Lynn
That is a good question... i have been switching back and forth between the Italian and reverse trees.. trying to keep both of them golden while I finish up the reverse. I had switched to the English (reverse) tree last Thursday, so my Italian tree has been untouched for five days. I just switched back to Italian and I only have five lessons that need polishing. So, it would seem that the more you do keep them golden, the longer they stay that way.
I wonder if the lessons lighten up each day as you level up. You're almost at the end (level 25). Bravo! Have you seen your fluency increase?
Yes... Some days I don't have any lessons to review at all. I am at level 24 but it takes another 4000 points to get to 25.. I should make it there in a couple of months. One thing that I want to do is to do as this thread suggests and run through the entire tree and do all the lessons again. Fluency? I wouldn't say fluent.. some days I do seem to "get it" and just fly through the lessons without even thinking about what words to use... it just come naturally.. other times I still struggle. What I do find now is that I am much more able to infer words that I don't know based on the context of a sentence. So, if I am reading a news article, I don't need to know all the words to be able to figure out what they are trying to say. If that makes any sense.
I think at-rq is referring to the fluency percentage DuoLingo puts on your profile in the online version (for some reason it's not included in the phone app).
OH that.. I have never seen it go above 60 percent. It will drop down a few points if I don't practice for a couple of days. Then it will go back to 60.
Ciao, Lynn. Congratulazione!
Sono brasiliano e ho finito il mio albero due mesi fa. Besides Duolingo, I used and still use material from this site I found some months ago. I suggest you to try it: http://www.italianoautomatico.com Actually I've been recommending to many Italian students, since It helped me to reach a good level. We are always learning but I feel more confident now and I'm getting better every day by listening to his nice podcast. Hope you like it.
Saluti dal Brasile!
Buonissimo, Marcelo! Grazie per l'informazione! Sono tanti italiani in Brasil, si?
Ci sono molte persone con origine italiane. Con parenti, genitori o nonni italiani. Però pochi parlano la lingua adesso. Purtroppo io non conosco nessuno qua nella mia città. Davvero un peccato, perché non ho ancora trovato qualcuno con cui parlare. Spero di poter farlo subito. Ti auguro il meglio con il tuo apprendimento.
Si, davvero un peccato, Marcelo. Sai dove in Italia i tuoi genitori vissero?
è il mio sogno, un giorno, che potrò aiutare i discendenti degli immigrati italiano per trovare i loro antenati, usando ricercare genealogico.
Now, my goal is to keep the tree "gold" every day. :-) Ora, il mio obiettivo è sempre tenere un albero d'oro!
Io penso che Duolingo sia molto importante e deve essere usato sempre come riferimento per l'autoistruzione ma, come ho già detto, per chi avanza diventa un pò restrittivo ed è necessario allargare i propri orizzonti verso cose più specifiche . Come ad esempio leggere libri ad alta voce, ascoltare news o dialoghi preregistrati ed accompagnati dal testo ma, molto più importante è dialogare con altre persone originarie della lingua studiata. Perchè il listenig, reading lo si può imparare ma, il parlare spontaneo richiede molto allenamento e conoscenza. I'm luck because i have an english friend which i speak almost every days. Duolingo is very good but is not everything. If someone wants to speak italian and exchange his english, i'm here.
Davvero! Quando ero in italia, fra tre settimane ho imparato più italiano di quanto studiando a casa per sei mese.
A little correction for you: Quando ero in italia, tre settimane FA ho... You are right. The better condition for improve a language is to be forced to comunicate with another person.
Thanks, Franky1970. I thought 'tre settimane fa" meant "3 weeks ago", which is not what I was trying to say.
I was trying to say "after 3 weeks" or "within 3 weeks". Can you please let me know how to say this properly?
Ok Lynn i have understand. You would have to say: IN tre settimane ho imparato più italiano di quanto studiando a casa per sei mesi. You wanted to say that you have spend three week in italy. Right? If you have question about the italian language i'm here. Ciao, comunque il tuo italiano è eccellente
Yes, I wanted to say that I had spent 3 weeks in Italy, and that I had learned more in those 3 weeks than in 6 months of study at home. :-)
So, it's actually very simple: "In 3 weeks" = "In tre settimane". I was making it hard for myself!
Don't worry. The italian language is very difficult but the exercise always helps. However thank you for your correction: i have written "spend" instead of "spent". I have develop my knowledge of english verbs.Ciao
Whenever I go to Italy, I check out the young adult literature section in bookstores. This is where I found Il Piccolo Principe. It was not easy as expected! My next book: Dalla Parte Sbagliata: La Speranza Dopo Iqbal di Francesco D’Adamo is written at the 12 yr. level. I think Il Ragazzo di Berlino is read in some Italian high schools. These are about contemporary issues so the language is not remote.
at-rq - Ho comprato Il Piccolo Principe. Tu hai ragione! Non è così facile! Tanti anni fa ne leggevo parecchi capitoli in francese originale. E anche l'ho leggo molti tempi in inglese. Leggendo in italiano è più difficile, ma almeno conosco già la storia. :-)