Yay! French tree completed!
Thank you Duolingo! You managed to actually get me interested in (= addicted to) learning French, and I have now completed my French tree in 43 days. I've spent more than two hours here most evenings during this time, but it was well worth it.
Being generally interested in languages (I'm fluent in five, and attending a course in a sixth), I'd tried learning French before. However, neither studying on my own, successfully attending a few courses, nor a couple of years of living in a mainly French-speaking city did it for me -- only gamification did!
Thanks also to everyone contributing to the comments in the lessons; especially the (impressively patient and polite!) comments by sitesurf and Olimo have been incredibly useful to me.
Now I will be trying to keep my tree golden and do the reverse tree to strengthen what I've learned, as well as taking a stab at reading books in French. And then maybe Spanish next...? Or Russian, when it hatches?
Thank you all for your kind comments!!!
Re: the five languages: it helps of course being born into a bilingual family / community and then marrying a person whose mother tongue is yet another language... Also more generally, simply being exposed to different languages through media, everyday life, your work environment, etc. makes a big difference, compared to for example just hearing and reading English all day every day. (And of the five, although I can hold my own in most verbal situations, my writing is not that good in one or two.)
Besides exposure, I do think I also have both an aptitude for learning languages, and an interest in figuring out how things work in a language. Liking grammar helps with learning any language! However, I'm not someone who's going to take the first few words I know in a language and strike up a conversation with a native speaker. I'd rather methodically work through some novels and newspapers, using a dictionary when needed, slowly figure it out for myself, and only start applying what I have learned later.
This is why I also really don't feel ready to do immersion translation -- I feel I have no "sense" of French yet, I just know a bunch of words and expressions that will enable me to read (but not yet translate) real texts. Romance languages often feel quite poetic and "frilly" to us boring and unromantic Northeners, even when the text is factual, and I think I need to read a lot to get over this feeling.
I'd like to be able to give back in some other ways, though! So far, I have given a lot of feedback on the English in the French lessons, and am looking forward to helping out in the incubator with those languages I feel I know "properly".
I think you're overestimating the difficulty involved in translation in the immersion section here. You get lots of help from duolingo and your fellow translators. And our translations into english don't actually 'go' anywhere; there are no commercial contracts for english translation yet. So it's a big friendly sandpit where we can all fall off the jungle-gym and slippery-dip occasionally without hurting ourselves too badly :)
A lot of us feel that the immersion translation system is the best feature of duolingo, so we'd be sorry to see someone with your strong interest and natural talents in language 'missing out'. Anyway, this is just gentle encouragement. Of course you should do what feels right for you.
OK, thanks for the gentle nudge! I'll have to take a closer look at the immersion section.
If you want one to start on, here's an article that I recently uploaded from Wikinews:
I am currently the last translator on all sentences and I can reassure you that I will not be at all fussed by any edits or corrections you see fit to make.
Wow, a dedicated immersion encouragement service! :-) I did have a look at the text, but even with such a short and factual text I get more tangled up in doubts than actually having something to offer... So for now, I think I'll have to keep practicing just by reading and learning more grammar. But thanks anyway!
Which five languages do you know and what are you studying? I'd love to know multiple languages one day.
I am bilingual in Finnish and Swedish, and went to school in English for a few years. I also learned German (and bit of Italian, but that's all gone now) at school, and later studied in both English and German. With the three Germanic languages I had, learning Dutch was a breeze. I then thought the same would work with Estonian, a close relation to Finnish, but have been finding out that they are farther apart than I thought... Oh, and I tried learning Russian for a bit many years ago, but despite passing the exams of the courses felt I learned nothing. Russian was the other language, besides French, that I had given up on...until now.
Of these, I have dabbled in professional translation and editing between Swedish, Finnish, and English. My Dutch is fluent (C1 in the European Framework of Reference), but my writing is probably only at B2-level. My German used to be C1 verging on C2, but I hardly use it anymore (I tried practicing it on Duolingo, but in a language I actually know the idiosyncracies of Duolingo's more difficult and "creative" sentences were too annoying).
My new goal is to be at least near-fluent in eight languages in about four years' time! So that's my spare time filled with Estonian, French, and Spanish until then...
Wow! That's amazing! Well, good luck on your language goals! I can't say I'm jealous or you're lucky, because it sounds like you put in a lot of hard work. I just need to up my language game.
Congratulations, annikaaker! Well done!
Two hours every day... Wow, it makes me jealous...
Wishing you lots of success with other languages.
Congratulations! I hope you find many ways to enjoy your new knowledge. :)
By the way, I have a doubt. How fluent are you after this? I wonder if I will be able to speak and understand French someday.
Congratulations! Someone started a thread the other day asking about books in French that were suitable for beginners, so maybe you could look there if you want ideas.
Thanks, I hadn't noted that thread, I will be sure to look it up! I have just bought "an old friend" in the original language: Camus' L'Étranger, which I analyzed to death (in translation) back in school. I hope I might remember any bits I will not understand...
so im pretty new to this. After you completed the tree, how confident do you feel in French? Fluent?
Nope, nowhere near fluent, but ready to start reading easy books and to try my wings (about level B1 in the Common European Framework). I also have plenty left to learn from the tree -- now I have just gone through it, sometimes using dictionaries and verb tables, so there will be lots more repetition needed before I really know everything it in.
Then there is the reverse tree: doing the "I know French and want to learn English" course. I have started it, and it's both fun and surprisingly good practice. I also hope Duolingo will expand the existing courses, so that there will be more branches and/or lessons in the current trees.
Mes félicitations. Je rejoins les autres dans leur interrogation quant au niveau que tu as pu atteindre en utilisant uniquement Duolingo. Seras-tu capable de me répondre en français? ;-)
Congrats. What's the level you actually reached using only Duo? I'm curious. Besides, what other languages do you speak? What is your level in those?
PS: Somehow, 5 has always been my target. I'm at 4 now; if I manage to add German, that will be 5.
Merci! Je peux lire ton message, mais écrire en français est encore beaucoup difficile, dans mon avis... Je pense que mon niveau est plus ou moins B1 maintenant. Mais la plus importante est que je veux vraiment apprendre plus après cette expérience!
Quand tu as appri l'allemand, je veux toi recommender le néerlandais -- connaissant l'alleman, l'anglais et le français, ça va être facile!
(Disclaimer: Several online resources where used in putting together those few sentences. I do not consider it cheating, merely using aids for learning :-)
Without auto-correct, I'd barely be able to speak my own language... I'm joking. Nice, my ex knows that many languages. I always wondered if it was just easier for women, but there are men that are.. uh, superlingual also. Congrats on completing the tree. I fast-tracked the Portugues to English tree and missed a lot. I keep meaning to return and make up for it, but that might have to wait until I'm done.
What level do I feel am I now I French? Nowhere near fluent! I had a look at the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and I think I'd place myself at about B1. Maybe A2 for verbal production, but even B2 for some contexts. I can read factual texts and understand formal speeches quite well, but am completely lost at a lunch table conversation.
Note, however, that I have had quite some exposure to French before (many years ago). Looking at the tree, I have even gone through a lot of the grammar before in classes. The difference being that Duolingo has now actually made me interested in the language, not just learn it because it might be useful. Also, with Duolingo I have been able to spend as much time as I wanted to on particular lessons and points of grammar, and whiz through others which I didn't find interesting of challenging, something that is a clear plus in my books. (I am not that interested in learning touristic vocabulary for visiting Paris, translating recipes of French food, or reading about old men playing petanque, which are all themes most French courses seem to be full of.)
So really, what Duolingo has done is refresh and build on the existing (but largely dormant -- it took me a couple of tries to get through the first shortcut test...) skills I had, and really help me build a foundation where there was just random bits of knowledge before. And I keep learning: I just practiced some skills to get them up to gold again, and am pretty certain I learned a few new words and expressions that didn't come up the first time.