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https://www.duolingo.com/Restermen

365 days, still not fluent!

Restermen
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I can hardly believe that I have completed a whole year non stop on "Duolingo". It is true, that I'm by no means fluent but without the help of good old Duo, I'd be a lot worse than I am that's for sure.

I have heard many people asking how far Duolingo can take them, will it make them fluent? I'm not sure that any one method could claim to do that and I should know, I've pretty well tried them all! I first started learning (albeit with not a great deal of conviction) about twenty years ago. Since then I imagine that I have read just about every book that was ever written, listened to endless tapes, I even had a record at one time.

Nothing comes even close to the progress I have made with Duolingo! I can now hold a fairly simple conversation, can read a considerable amount of text and believe it or not, can even understand much of what French people say to me!

Duolingo isn't an easy option! there are times when you will feel like giving up. I've enjoyed the challenge of building up "streaks" almost cried myself to sleep when I lost loads and have said some pretty stupid things to unsuspecting French people (Sorry) but I'm still here and still improving. I've completed the French tree and I'm now trying to maintain the "Golden Owls" still not easy, I have tried "reverse trees" and even attempted learning French from Italian!

For the moment I'm just going to enjoy the fact that I have reached a whole year without a stop! Woo Hoo! I am very proud of that. Must go now, I've some points to get. Have a great day.

2 years ago

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/MS_Genius88
MS_Genius88
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To reach fluency, you have to use the language in various ways extensively. By that I mean not just reading, writing, and listening, but also SPEAKING--an aspect of language learning that Duolingo does not emphasize. Speaking with natives of your target language and building listening comprehension through various methods like movies and music helps.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Restermen
Restermen
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You are of course very right in what you have said, fluency requires much more than exercises and grammar. Luckily, I now live in France and I am able to practice most days. I am also just about to get French TV so can't wait for the next chapter in my learning. Thanks for your comments.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Xefjord

I think the best thing Duolingo can do for a person, is help them get to a point where they can develop skills on their own. Where they can learn all the basics of grammar they will need to get by, and how to inquire and read within that language to learn more. I really think Duolingo is one of the best grammar tools you can use for starting a language, and it also lets you hear what some of the language sounds like. I think Memrise is good for the memorization of phrases and vocabulary. After you get far enough in Memrise and Duolingo. I imagine the main way you would improve your language skills further is just to "Use" the language. make active attempts to talk to people in that language and read in that language. And I feel you will naturally reach fluency eventually.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Restermen
Restermen
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I am already using the new skills to communicate, which is pretty important now as I'm living here in France. Without Duolingo things would be very different! I have used Memrise for some time too and again, it does help for the memorization of phrases and vocabulary. I hope one day to be able to class myself as fluent or at least "semi" fluent!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BrookeLorren
BrookeLorren
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Congratulations! Think about how much better you'll be in another year!

No, Duolingo will not make a person completely "fluent". I don't think that any one course will do that. To get to fluency, a person has to actually get out and do as the natives do. But Duolingo will get you pretty far.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Restermen
Restermen
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Thanks for your comments. I'm pleased already so I think you are right that I will be better in another year.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrankKool
FrankKool
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"I have heard many people asking how far Duolingo can take them, will it make them fluent? "

No.

It's simply impossible to become fluent by only using DuoLingo. People tend to have varying definitions of the word "fluent", but I'd say it's impossible to become fluent without actually having lived in an environment where you speak your target language all the time.

I consider DuoLingo to be the springboard that will allow you to take your first steps in a language, to learn to read, write, and speak a little. But you'll never be fluent because of it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Restermen
Restermen
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I totally agree, many people do expect too much from Duolingo but it is the TOP learning package that I have ever used and what a springboard it is!

So if anyone is reading these comments, is new to Duolingo and genuinely wishes to learn another language, I really don't think you will be disapointed with your progress. I have experience of several totally new learners (to French) become very competent very quickly. They have certainly surpassed their expectations. So go on, give it your best shot and see for yourself!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BirthePRy

Congratulations. Hard work pays off - keep it up! :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Restermen
Restermen
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Thanks BirthePRy, I have no intention of stopping!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BugraBeyaz
BugraBeyaz
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Duolingo or any other course cannot make you fluent in any language. You need to use the language. Even if you know the entire grammar rules of a language perfectly, you need to practice it to achieve fluency.

Being fluent doesn't mean you know the rules, it means you absorbed the rules into your subconscious. When you are fluent, it automatically feels weird when you see wrong grammar and you don't think how to form sentences when you speak. To achieve the former, do a lot of reading/listening. To achieve the latter do a lot of speaking/writing practice.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmuevalRan

From my experience of learning English: I can only classify fluency as a point you reach when everything, including unknown words are understood through context and conversation is effortless without at any point considering what sentence/grammatical structure should be used.

I like what BugraBeyaz said: "Being fluent doesn't mean you know the rules, it means you absorbed the rules into your subconscious. When you are fluent, it automatically feels weird when you see wrong grammar and you don't think how to form sentences when you speak.", that's a fairly accurate depiction of what I think feels like to really be fluent in another language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/44767mt

Stop worrying ! Think back to your childhood; At what age were you expected to be a fluent speaker in your native tongue? Maybe at age 8 or nine years, this after 8 years of total immersion in the language plus formal lessons in grammar at school. Now you are worrying about lack of fluency after 12 months !!! If you can now carry out a simple conversation with a Spanish friend, give yourself a pat on the back. Life is one long learning curve.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmuevalRan

I agree with most of this post except for the part about the grammar. Being a native speaker doesn't require grammatical knowledge, it's a nice complement but it's neither essential nor required to speak a language. An intrinsic characteristic of being native is subconscious (regardless of training received) knowledge of the structure of the language.

I totally agree with the rest

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tristen.perkin

thats ok

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fernew
Fernew
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You have a great day too! I commend you.

Fern

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Restermen
Restermen
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Thanks Fern. (it's like a birthday!)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LoveK1969
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Totally agree that many people can get their expectations wrong when the concept of "fluency" is not well defined. I usually distinguish between:

  • Native: born into a language, subconscious knowledge of 25,000 words, even if less than 5,000 are used on a regular basis.

  • Fluent: have mastered grammar and most colloquial forms, with knowledge of 10,000 words.

  • Advanced: knows most of the grammar and approximatively 5,000 words.

With 2,000 words in Duolingo, we're shouldn't expect to become truly fluent. But it's by far the best website around that helps to build the basics. So congrats to the Duo team for a great job.

Still, I would suggest to increase the tree to reach at least an advanced level: more vocabulary; longer, more complex sentences, entire paragraphs even; and cultural references. It would take much, much longer to complete the tree, but the "Fluency" bar would perhaps become a bit more meaningful. Just an idea...

Oh, and Félicitations and Bon courage to you! Hope you can make a second year!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Restermen
Restermen
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I'm stunned b all the amazing replies. Thanks to you and to everyone else. It really does feel like a birthday! I'm looking forward to see what can happen in another 365 days!

2 years ago