Russian course: the level we can reach?
When we finish the Russian course on Duolingo, then what is the level that we can speak/read? A2, B1, B2 , C1?
It's going to help more with reading than speaking, but I think most of the courses now get you to A2/B1, although Duo has stated in the past their goal is to get people to B2. With how much effort I know the Russian team has put into the course, I imagine you'll be able to read at about a high B1 level.
The hardest part of learning a language would be the beginner/intermediate stages, in my opinion. Once you have a general grasp on the language, you'll be able to reach out and learn at a faster and less frustrating pace :)
That's what has been driving me crazy. I was taking an informal course but the instructor can be very...disorganized, so the gaps in the instruction really ended up frustrating me. I am hoping to resume that with a combination of Duolingo and Memrise to help me fill in those gaps.
You'll understand a lot. There is no course that can get you to speak at a high level by itself, the best a course can do is teach you everything you need to know, and then you just have to immerse yourself and practice and your brain will start to understand more and more and you'll be able to express yourself better and better until you feel comfortable speaking. But Duolingo is definitely the best course to start that process with.
AFAIK, Duo will take you to A2 to B1 but mainly in reading/writing. You would need other resources to get to that level in speaking/listening.
NB I have heard that some students have reached B2 with Duo but I suspect they were exceptional students.
I've chatted with a person (Spanish speaker), who obtained B2, and his extent of grammar knowledge was exceptional, however, he lacked the necessary vocabulary requirements (I would say 3000-5000 words known), and an ability to comprehend native speakers. If I remember clearly, after this you jump to C1 then C2, which is a level similar to what native's scores are.
I agree with you. Duo will help you to reach a B1 level in reading and writing. But the website is not well designed for listening and speaking, The user needs other resources and a lot of immersion for that.
It seems that the Russian course is going to be enormous, so if you complete the whole thing and keep it gold, you might have a chance at B1. This should be good enough for visiting the country and having conversations without relying on English, but you'll definitely need to practice speech outside of the site. It should be a very good base for learning the more advanced stuff, though.
The Dutch course is much smaller, and it's pretty much the only method I've used to study Dutch, yet I can chat with Dutch speakers I meet. My sentences are choppy and I often need to talk around vocab I don't know, but I can say from experience that Duo alone CAN teach what you need to get around!
Like anything on Duolingo, it won't really help you with speaking. To do that, you actually need to interact with people that have a good knowledge of the language and are willing to correct you.
You should get a pretty decent understanding of the grammar and good reading skills (B1?) though, I guess.
I do the same question about the others courses on Duolingo. Well, try to use the Commom European framework to languages as a reference.
I'd be pretty surprised if just a Duolingo course could actually get you to a solid B1 (A2 seems much more realistic) but with some extra vocabulary on the side, eg. from a Memrise course, I'm sure that combined with the grammar learned here could easily push you up to a B1 or beyond.
I did not check our overall current coverage but the most likely outline is as follows (using my estimates from several months ago):
- you can easily pass for an A1 speaker with some work on your part to learn the vocabulary we skipped.
- probably A2, with more work on catching up the vocabulary (about 200 words)
- if you are aiming at a B1—then yes, your overall grasp of grammar will be about B1. But your vocabulary will be nowhere near the requirements, having huge lacunas everywhere. You would need to address this (probably in the last stretch, after the 4th chekpoint).
If Russian has the same amount of vocabulary as the other courses (especially German) I would say that A2 / B1 is easily reached. I have the feeling that users and contributors seem to underestimate the courses. Even with 2000words and we assume that the user know them all by heart, your level is near B1. But I am not a contributor like you so I cannot affirm that. But I sincerely think that 2000words + a fair knowledge of the overall grammar = B1 level.
At least I can affirm that for the German and Spanish courses provide you this level (B1)
Why isn't there a word list in the Russian course? The old trick of opening 2 courses in 2 tabs, one with the word list, no longer works. Can a word list tab be inserted in the course as part of an improvement process?
I feel like Duolingo got me solidly in A2 territory for German, but it's hard to get higher just by drilling grammar and using a 2000 word vocabulary. Unfortunately, as I tell my students who are learning English, there just is no way around the hard work of using the language in everyday situations.
I am probably a B2 (speaking/listening) in Russian, but that is after two years of living in Russia and studying every single day. I have used the Live from Russia textbook series, quizlet, memrise, the Pushkin Institute, and a private teacher for conversation practice. I'm going to be using the Duolingo course to practice the grammar stuff that I still screw up regularly, but it is a supplement to my regular lessons and regular use of the language. I think this site is an excellent tool for that, but it is not a complete curriculum.
Honestly, I don't find Russian pronunciation that difficult, but again, I'm immersed in the language and have developed a comprehensible accent through a lot of trial and error. Many of the sounds are not natural for native English speakers (I still feel like I'm swallowing my tongue on Ы), but you pick it up. Accent-less speech is not a goal I encourage any language learner to strive for. Unless you are going to be on the radio, your goal is simply to be understood.
If you want to speak Russian at a B1 level you are going to have to spend enormous amounts of time immersing yourself constantly in the language. Duolingo is just a tool, although a good tool. I skipped straight to my college B2 German class after the Duo course, but only because of more than 600 hours spent, in a period of 4 months, on Duolingo, flashcards, youtube, blogs, books, music, etc. If you simply "do" the Russian course you might pass for A2 at best...I've taken the Ukrainian course and from my experience there I can tell you that memorizing and speaking slavic words with the correct pronunciation is incredibly hard. I had to look up almost everything on Forvo everytime I went through my flashcards; much much different than German. If you go through this course slowly, work hard, and use it as a spring board into books, music, youtube videos, etc, then you'll reach a B1/B2 level of speaking and understanding(: It requires enormous amounts of motivation and time, but if you really want to speak Russian, Duolingo is the perfect start. Best of luck.
I agree about pronunciation of Russian words. Very hard. It's duoble ;-) though, with practice.
Around a low B1 I would think, though unlike all the other languages I have learned to date this is language I have easy access to eager native speakers for so I imagine my progress will be off the charts
I have to disagree with a lot of you. All you need is a friend who also does Duolingo that you speak to on a normal basis, it could also be a relative, or a sibling. Duolingo can be very effective if you have someone to speak to in the target language.
I definitely recommend visiting places in your town where a lot of Russian people go, look up slavic markets, slavic churches, anything like that. I have immersed myself in a lot of their culture by attending a slavic church in my town, and have gained friends and language learning along the way, you just can't be scared to speak, if they know you're learning their language, they will understand if you make mistakes. Also, many Russians (at least in my experience) have thought it was extremely cool that I was taking the time to learn their language, and they appreciated it.