Jeg er færdig med træet! Opinions on the experience and some wishes for the tree 2.0
After a little more than one year I'm done with my first tree ever, the danish one! And "coincidentally" tomorrow I'll start the course for Module 3 (the A2/B1 level, if I understand the system correctly).
Being immersed since September helped me a lot with it, and coming here in Denmark with a head start was extremely helpful: I managed to start at Module 2 and my new friends here sometimes asked me to translate stuff even though I knew little more than them, but just enough to understand basic meanings. I have to really thank the Danish Team as a whole for this experience, I'm sorry if I might have over-reported sometimes and made your life a tiny bit harder, but it was really an awesome and at times enlightening experience overall.
The tree is very well structured and I came here being halfway done with it, just shy of the last shortcut. It helped me with most shopping, some of the bureaucratic procedures I had to go through (all the emails you receive by the government are in danish, I still struggle a lot with those!) and even with striking up conversations with locals. That last bit happened only halfway through the Module 2 course, but that's a known duolingo problem: if you only do that you rarely get speaking practice (even if I forced myself to speak out loud every sentence).
Also I have to say I really enjoyed some of the last lessons, where the sentences become longer and more articulate, much like what one would expect from real life danish. In particular the very last skill was a super nice surprise, much appreciated. Hopefully I'll be now able to do what its description suggests ;)
I (obviously) adopted a slow pacing, but also I wanted to challenge myself to learn new things, so I tried to review everything before progressing and still trying to do one new lesson at least a day. Inconsistency while still in my home country made it difficult to stick to the plans, but eventually all was worked out.
I can now understand basic conversations, read basic texts, hold a conversation asking for help for words I don't understand that are fundamental and I did manage to play an entire game of trivial pursuit with danish only friends!
What I feel could be useful to include in a new iteration of the tree that is now missing:
- The difference between the different kinds of "you're welcome", maybe in the Phrases skill, because even right now I don't know where to use "det var så lidt", "værsgo", and "selv tak" (I think I nailed "velbekomme" down to only eating-situations, and that should be it);
- The two ways to say the word "receipt" which I eventually got a cashier to teach me since I was all the time not understanding any of it, even though the pointing fingers would have made it pretty obvious;
- "lige præcis", "i lige måde", "på gensyn", "vi ses" and other extremely common sentences with daily usage would be nice to know beforehand, even more so because most of the vocaboulary is already in the tree itself;
- The extremely helpful sentences "hvordan siger man x på dansk?", "hvad betyder x?" and "hvad er forskellen mellem x and y?" where the lexicon is already in the tree and it's just a matter of having the sentences in some of the initial skills... they make the difference between being curious about something and knowing how to satiate such curiosity in a nice way;
- In the Politeness skill, I feel like there's not enough pushing on the "er du sød at ..." as it seems to be the only proper way one can ask people to do stuff here without seeming to be too hard on others;
- This one is just out of personal curiosity since I've been told I'll eventually get the hang of it, but small words should get more space than what they get in the modality skill, they're hard to get used to and they really do seem to show a more native-like usage if you know how to use them properly.
Other than this I'll continue with my danish education in real life while trying to keep the tree gold and switching to another language...I still have to choose if I should actually learn some french, spanish, or russian (the latter of which would make no sense, but it seems so interesting!)
Tak for hjælpen med dansk og held og lykke til alle andre elever derude!
Oh, wow! Here in nice summary form are all the things that everyone who finishes the tree--myself included--finds themselves wanting! That one about a unit on helpful phrases in learning ("head betyder x") is just so obvious and could be done within the existing structure. I have seen a lot of work from our wonderful Danish Duolingo team on deepening the present materials which is wonderful as I use practice on tree as review. But I do not quite understand the barrier to adding such things is this. Is it that there is a standard across Duolingo for the length of a tree and the Danish one is maxed out? Is it lack of volunteers (let us remember with gratitude and amazement that all this is created mostly by volunteers.). I can tell you that somehow there seems to be some sort of policy against getting into such discussions of development priorities with users. Kind of like Apple on release dates for and details about their new products: active passionate discussion of it online AND anyone officially connected with Apple disciplines themselves not to join in. I return always to my gratitude for what a wonderful tool Duolingo has been for me but the wisdom about how it develops or does not develop is a profound mystery to me.
Nice job finishing the tree!
Regarding your first point about phrases you're unsure about: I've spent a good bit of time in DK (Danish girlfriend), and my sense is that "det var saa lidt" is synonymous with "no big deal" or "no problem", said to someone who thanks you after you do something for them (e.g., hand them something they dropped). And "vaersgo" is synomymous with "here you go", said to someone as you give them something (a piece of paper, a meal, etc.). But maybe you know all of this and your usage questions are more specific. (And yeah, I've only heard "velbekomme" in the context of eating (a meal, a piece of candy, anything), said in response to "tak for mad" or "tak for kage" or "tak for boller" or whatever food it is.)
Natives, feel free to correct me if I've said something wrong.
Ok, now værsgo makes a lot more sense, so also det var så lidt makes sense correspondingly. Thanks!!
Great summary, I agree! Thank you. I finished the Danish tree a couple months ago. I think it took me about 8 months total to complete. I think I had a bit of an advantage in that I have studied Old Norse and Icelandic before, so a lot of the vocabulary was familiar (and the grammar seemed so simple in comparison). Now I'm about to move to Denmark for work and I'm hoping having done the course will give me an advantage in Danish lessons there, and in basic everyday situations. I do agree with all your suggestions as well, especially regarding common phrases, ways to ask about words you don't know, and small words. I also found it strange that I wasn't learning basic pleasantries on this course – how are you doing?, I'm ok how are you? – I had to look these up separately and asked a Danish friend. Anyway, the course has been really helpful and I look forward to using my skills in real life!
So we kind of shared the expectations for the course (having a head start with the courses here) but I was much slower in getting there, basically :) Still, I think that's the right spirit and mind frame with which one should go!
Held og lykke med arbejdet og sproget!
Russian's cool and refined-sounding but quite difficult because of the alphabet and the non-latin basis of the words. It does have some borrowings from German and french. (kartoffel) I find mostly that Russian is super impressive to non-speakers of Russian.