https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi

My polyglot experiment - update - October 2015

[To read about the background to this experiment, see this post - https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10564890]

In the last month, I have accomplish much in my languages. Thus far, I have only really been working on Spanish, German, and to a lesser extent French. Specific to DL; I just finished my German tree in the past week, soon it will be all gold, in a few more days I will get level 25 in Spanish, and within 3 weeks I will be done my French tree. Around that time, the Russian course will be release (hopefully), so I will jump on that.

Regarding my methods, I wrote extensively about them in the link at top. That was a system entire devised by myself, pieced together from resources found Online. However, since that time my research led me to a book entitled How to Learn Any Language by Barry Farber (review and commentary here - https://www.duolingo.com/comment/11117174). This book has helped my iron-out my learning methods, so I changed a few things. Many of them I wrote about in the review link; the most important differences I will talk about here.

Start with a grammar book Farber recommends only covering the first 5 lessons, before jumping into all of the other methods. I like this idea, because you will probably be introduced to the basic sounds, rules of pronunciation, sentence structure, and a few other essentials in those initial chapters. Additionally, you don't really need to worry about the drills/activities within the grammar book, because you will be using the language with the other tools (which follow).

Duolingo is still a great resource for any language learner I recommend using it instead of the phrasebook in Farber's method. It is superior for the following reasons: 1) It is progressive. Concepts are introduced gradually, and build as you go. Phrasebooks, not at all. 2) There is integrated SRS. DL will remind you when you should review something. Not only specific points of grammar, but also specific words. Phrasebooks, not so much. 3) Greater variety. You will be exposed to tourist phrases, working phrases, emergency phrases, and cultural phrases. Phrasebooks, maybe.

Use real world texts to learn To paraphrase Farber, you want to use real texts, 'because the language will never get more difficult that that real world document.' Plus, you can learn specific words based on what you like. Travel or history books, classic novels, religious works - all are unique, and require unique vocabulary. Use them along with Online dictionaries to learn what you need to know to do what you enjoy. Also, I highly recommend using Learning With Texts (http://lwtfi3m.co/index.php) to computerize the entire process.

Audio courses are more useful than you thought I always felt they were useless. Maybe they are on their own, but when used with all of the other tools, they are great! I have been using "Deutsch - warum nicht?" podcast series, and they really solidify the German grammar, and improve my ear for the language.

That is all I want to write this month. Since Russian should be released in the next couple of weeks, I want to leave my next update to talk about scheduling it all, and continuing to make progress with multiple languages at the same time. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Take care all, and all the best with your language-learning adventures!

2 years ago

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lahure
Lahure
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I agree with you that Duo is the best language learning resource available. Struggled for a couple of years to get a basic grasp of Portuguese via textbooks and eventually gave up. I noticed an article in a magazine about this site and a few months later, thanks to Duo, I finally gained a fairly good understanding of that language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi

DL is absolutely an amazing tool for learning languages. However, I have found that it cannot be the only tool. Since it doesn`t teach you about grammar at all, you still need to learn that somewhere - hence the need for a grammar book (or lesson book). Plus, it only teaches you phrases in isolation, and they can be very confusing if taken out of context - hence the need for real-world materials like books, magazines, etc. Ditto for listening - so use audio materials.

Nonetheless, flashcards are like punches and kicks in martial arts, which must be practiced on their own, while DL is like kata, short combinations which you should drill to proficiency. However, you will not have any real preparation until you spar; those are the real-world written and listening materials. After those, you will be ready for any fight (or conversation) that comes your way.

Trust me on this - I am the Polyglot Ninja.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lahure
Lahure
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I find that I am quite capable of replying in Portuguese to written questions posed by Portuguese speakers learning English here on Duo. And am quite able to speak to the large Portuguese community we have here in my country in their language.

And that is entirely due to Duo, so I guess we have different outlooks here.

Thank you Polyglot Ninja. At times there might be exceptions to your theory.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi

Just to be clear, I am not saying that you cannot go from DL straight to conversations. I just think that you would be better prepared if you also included some real-world material, written and spoken, in your learning.

An extremely frequent comment I read on these forums is that people still feel very underdeveloped in their listening skills, despite all of their use of DL. Again, DL drills you with reading or listening to phrase after phrase, but what about paragraph after paragraph? Reading magazines, listening to podcasts, or watching TV would greatly help with this, because you get useful language in context. This would likely ease the transition into conversations, or full-on combat.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dooted

All my lingots are going to you.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi

I appreciate the generosity, but I already have over 1000 Lingots. Unfortunately, I can't convert them to real currency and buy a car, so I don't know what I'm going to do with any more.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dooted

Gesus!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dooted

So... Can I have my 8 lingots back? Maybe interest?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/magdmaj
magdmajPlus
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Lol, here's one for you for making me laugh :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dooted

xD Thanks!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Master.Albert

Do you happen to know any worthwhile French podcast series? My level is intermediate, I'm doing B1 course at my uni.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi

I have not done them yet, but I have Coffee Break French, and Learn French by Podcast lined up on my iTunes. There are nearly 200 episodes of each. They have gotten very good reviews, and I look forward to starting them after I finish the tree. They should comfortably assist you through B2 level, used with all of the other tools.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lorel90
Lorel90
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Very interesting, congratulations. I will try to read that book. For how long do you study eache language every day?

Just a comment, I just started the DW interactive course and I think it is very good, the audio is more useful than Deutsch Warum Nicht, but it also has exercises to make sure you understood the material.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dooted

Thanks!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
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Do you have a back up plan in case the Russian course is delayed? I suppose you don't have much time in your schedule to just wait for it to be ready.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi

Honestly, I have no problem with a delay (although many others in the DL community are getting restless). I will just continue with my 3 current languages, and maybe start going through a Russian grammar book. I have studied Russian for nearly 14 years, but have done little with it in the last year. Nonetheless, DL is little more that just practice. But daily practice is so important!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
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Oh, ok, I didn't remember that Russian isn't a new language for you. I think it's good to not depend too much on Duolingo (or any other one system). Duolingo is very good, but there are other good ways to learn languages when one can't use it.

Oh, and congratulations on your progress :) You have really been working hard. It's the kind of project I'd like to do if I didn't have a lot on my plate already. Two languages at a time is enough for me.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SpracheShinobi

I agree, two languages at a time is plenty. But you can introduce one more at a time, slowly, and still make progress. I plan on writing a little more about this next month.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
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True. Despite my levels here on Duolingo, my skills on both Swedish and French are more advanced than what it seems. I mostly focus on Swedish now and I hope to be able to stop actively working on learning it and starting to just use it (reading, writing). Then I can add German, hopefully in January.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
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Well, good timing :) It seems my pessimism was unnecessary, they actually finished the Russian course!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/halek10
halek10
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My suggested sequence is this:

1) Pimsleur - Pricey, but a great way to get a basic ear for the language. 2) Duo - Good introduction to vocabulary, great testing capabilities and portability, but it only really gives you the tip of the vocabulary iceberg. 3) Teach Yourself - Get Anki and make the dialogues and exercises into flash cards. Practice translating from your native language into the target language. TY gets very fast very quickly, so it's also a good place to practice listening. Practice transcribing the dialogues and then checking them against the texts. I thought I was doing all right with Swedish listening until I listened to a few TY dialogues and got completely lost. 4) Native Texts - If you're confident with the upper levels of TY, you're probably on solid enough footing to start tackling some news articles.

Side note: Don't worry about trying to consciously memorizing grammar rules, or even vocabulary. Instead, focus on exposing yourself to and testing yourself on representative sentences as much as possible. Your brain is great at figuring out the rules by itself over time, but you need to constantly feed it with comprehensible examples. By all means, buy a grammar book, but focus more on the examples and exercises than on the explanations. Your goal is to make it all automatic, and it'll take as long as it takes.

2 years ago
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