https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

Celebrating my 1000 days streak...

I don't normally write posts like this, but I accidentally saw these 3 zeros on my banner today, and they just looked too nice to keep them for myself :-) So I thought I'd share them along with a summary of my experience here and some advice for whoever is willing to listen.

My language background:

I have to admit, that after reading a lot of posts here, I consider myself lucky to have been born in a country where learning 3 languages from childhood is the norm, and learning more is encouraged. So you can say that even before I came to Duolingo, I already had a lifetime of experience juggling multiple languages and learning on my own. In my country, most people learn Arabic (native), French and English at school, prioritizing either French or English as a foreign language, and leaving the other up to the learner to master. The more prestigious universities are in English, but there are French and Arabic ones as well. To be honest, very few people here utter a single sentence which contains only one language. We make up our own salad sentences :-P

What I do for a living: App Developer

How I came to Duolingo:

I came here during the beta phase from the first TED talk days around 3 years ago looking for a better way to learn German, because after visiting Austria and Germany, not being able to understand the people there was not an option for me. I just had to learn it.

Of course, after having discovered how much more fun it was to learn languages here, it was very hard to resist learning pretty much every other language that was available at the time, including refreshing the ones I already knew (mostly French). And as soon as I knew what a streak was, I started keeping one, and this is when things got a bit out of hand. So I took a few steps back, and I started prioritizing one language at a time. 1000 days later, my German is probably at a C1+ level (I read German novels and understand pretty much everything in German media), and my Italian is probably at a B2 level. I can follow Spanish as it's very close to Italian and French, but I haven't taken up Spanish seriously yet. Duolingo helped me refresh my French spelling skills after so many years of neglect, but of course I already knew French from childhood (it was my school's math and science language. English was a secondary subject).

How I use Duolingo:

The streak is fun and reminds me to learn languages every day, but I cannot say that Duolingo is the main way that I learn languages, it is only the main way of practicing them in the initial stages. What Duolingo excels at is not letting you get away with any mistakes (except 'typos') and letting you experiment with the language to see what works and what doesn't. But to fully take advantage of that, I had to learn how the language works somewhere else, not by reading a full review of grammar of course, but on a question-by-question basis. That is the most effective way of learning I think. When I start wondering why things are the way they are, I look it up, and it sticks. I found this to be very effective and I think everyone should approach learning languages expecting to learn its grammar gradually like this. Thinking that grammar is 'evil' is ridiculous. It's learning it before trying to figure things out that is the problem, not grammar itself. It's learning too much of it at the same time that is the problem, not not knowing the rules. People who say "native speakers learn their language without learning grammar" are forgetting how much grammar got hammered into their brains in school. Have you met a person who never went to school that speaks your language? How well can you understand that person and how close do they speak to you?

'My' language learning method:

Here is the 'recipe' I follow to learn a language:

1- Spend a few weeks just listening to the language every day, without worrying about what is being said. Just focus on the sound as if it was music. The sounds of the language need to be familiar to you before you'd be able to reproduce them. Of course, this step can by skipped if the language you are learning is spoken all around you but you don't understand it yet.

2- Start learning a few basic sentences in that language, either from Duolingo or somewhere else. This starts to build the basis for me to start using the language at a basic level.

3- Start the Duolingo tree and learn new skills only as I get relatively confident in the old ones. Because the priority is never Duolingo, it's:

4- Watching videos in that language. That's the most important part of learning a language. Listening. Period. Especially during the first year. I just set YouTube to the country where the language is spoken and I watch anything that is interesting, even if I don't understand a thing. Now if you can find lessons teaching that language which are spoken in the language itself, these are good too. You don't have to understand those either, just focus on the sound if you don't understand what is being said, and you'll start catching words as your brain adapts to the sound stream little by little every day while you sleep.

5- This is not really a step, it's more of a purchase. If you're serious about learning a language, the most important purchase you can make is a good dictionary app for that language which has native audio recordings. As I am consuming media in the language, I look up the words that get repeated a lot. There is no need to look up everything. You will soon forget them. It's only those words that you start noticing and remembering the sound of during the day that matter. This is when your brain is ready to know what those words mean. Duolingo helps here too as you start experimenting with the words you have heard while listening.

Attitude:

While learning a language, one needs to realize that:

1- This is a lifetime thing. Ever language is like a new child to take care of, and it takes years to become an adult.

2- The first year is always the most confusing, but it always gets easier if you put in a bit every day. Just keep listening 10 minutes per day for a month or two and see what happens. Even after trying this with several languages, I keep getting surprised with the results!

3- Slower is harder, not easier. Listen to the language as it is spoken, do not slow it down. Your initial goal should be to get the general picture, and it's actually easier to do that when you're listening to a full sentence in a short period of time, because your brain doesn't yet have the pattern recognition tools to analyze every part of that sentence. The other reason is that understanding a slowly spoken sentence takes a different kind of analysis than understanding sentences spoken at a normal pace. Your priority should always be to be able to follow the words of a language in the sound stream, without knowing the meaning at first. Just keep your brain running after those sound syllables. You will learn to catch up with them sooner or later! This will pay off dividends after a few months when you start having some basics in grammar, because being able to follow normal speech means picking up new vocabulary fairly quickly from all over the place.

4- Imagination is key. As you practice on Duolingo or anywhere else, imagine yourself or someone you're talking to saying that sentence, and what situation you'd be in to use it, even if the situation is ridiculous! Act it. Imagine everything that would be around while saying that sentence. If you're learning the sentence "I am eating an apple", taste that apple in your taste buds as you say it in the foreign language you're learning. In a later stage, you can do the same while reading a book in that language. The brain doesn't really distinguish a real experience from a vividly imagined one. The same neurons get triggered in both cases. Use this fact to learn a language more effectively. It is the situation that should remind you of the sentence you are supposed to say, not translating a sentence from you native language.

5- Expect things to be different, and be grateful that they are. Understanding something is seeing it from different perspectives and in different contexts. With every language you learn, you have the chance to understand a new way of life, a new way of thinking, and therefore, understand the world a little better. And that is why it is important to consume a lot of media in the foreign language. You need to see the same word in a lot of different contexts before really 'getting' it. When does your brain 'understand' something really? It's when it has enough neuron connections from that thing to previous things already established in your brain to make it less and less likely to be forgotten, that is, less likely for all the connections leading to it to weaken or disappear. The denser your language language network is, the more robust it is to wear and tear. The initial steps are the hardest, and it gets easier as you weave.

6- Item 5 means that Duolingo is not, and will never be, enough to learn a language, even if it's just for every day life. Your brain needs different contexts. Duolingo is just one context. You have to get out there and experience the language, whether digitally or in real life, or just experimenting with it in your own brain. The more contexts, the better. So even though it is great whenever Duolingo adds a language learning aid to help us, it will never be your one-stop language pill to easy-language-learning land. The good news however, is that language learning is easy, it just takes more time than people expect it to, and people seem to give up too early. What is easier than watching YouTube? Just stick to it for a year, 10 minutes per day, and pepper it with some Duolingo. It's all about the attitude, it's all about constancy, hence the reason for celebrating my 1000 days streak, which I maintained both on Duolingo and more importantly, in real-life using the language!

TL;DR

What are you doing on Duolingo if you haven't gotten into the habit of reading yet? Scroll back up and read everything! :-P

February 10, 2016

126 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lrtward

One of the best posts I've ever read on here. Thank you so much! I have some changes to make in my study habits.

February 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

Wow...I didn't expect such heartwarming reactions to my post. I wish you all the best during your language learning journey! :-D

February 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/truelefty

My god... what a streak... and what an amazing post. This is amazing.

And you are right in every thing, for what I've read :O

I have learnt the basics of a handful of languages, to see which language will I decide to dedicate my time to. But for now, I just use Duolingo and get to a level in which I can handle conversations.

English is my priority, but I can't decide on the 2nd... we'll see.

Congratulations on the streak millennium!

February 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

Millennium...haha...nice way of putting it!

You are right in prioritizing English. There are so many more high quality learning resources in English than there are in any other languages these days, so it is very important to master it before moving on to anything else.

My advice to you would be to use something other than Duolingo to decide what language to learn. You need a motivation related to your life and life goals to keep you going for years, not the perceived difficulty of the language or its course quality here on Duolingo. I suggest you watch people speaking the language or maybe meet them instead. That would give you a better way to decide what to learn next. Or maybe you are interested in reading famous novels in their original language? That could also be a good reason.

February 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/truelefty

And in addition, you can learn other languages from English with better resources ;)

That's a good way... several times I thought of German, since it's my weakenest language, and also it's a very different language to my native Spanish, and to the other languages which I speak a bit, Italian, Catalan, and Esperanto. I should focus on that, maybe. Or instead, focus firstly on the easy ones, then move on. I don't know. I'll let time decide it :)

February 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

Exactly my point. Mastering English opens the door to learning so many other things.

As to what language you will learn next, that is completely up to you and your language learning goals and priorities. Nobody can know that better than you. There is no reason not to master all the languages you listed, but if you want to do that, mastering one at a time would be the wiser choice. So the sooner you decide on which language you'd like to focus on next, the sooner you will master them all!

February 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/truelefty

Wow... that's so true... surely I will be thinking about that tonight a few moments after falling asleep, or in the shower ;D

I hope your advice will be helpful for me, and I have few or zero doubts that it will be helpful.

Thank you for the key to a new door!

February 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

May you find what you are looking for behind it, and if not, there is always the next door! :-D

February 10, 2016

[deactivated user]

    Haha I can follow Italian as it's close to Spanish and French. While your post is longer than most, it's also informative and I wholeheartedly agree with you. The only thing I have to say regarding attitude is to simply be fearless when I comes to talking with natives. Making many mistakes leads to corrections which eventually irons out the mistakes. Being afraid to make mistakes actually holds you back in learning so be bold and be confident! The great majority of native Spanish speakers that I've talked with didn't mind the mistakes because they appreciate more the effort. And because of that I speak Spanish fluently now.

    My 2 cents' worth. Congrats on the streak! Wonderful accomplishment and inspiring. Take care!

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

    I agree. I had so many ideas flying in my head while writing that post, that I totally forgot about mentioning that part. Thanks for adding it :-)

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vvkrastev

    Congratulations! That's really impressive.

    You mentioned that your native language is Arabic. May I ask which variety you speak? What was it like learning MSA vs. your variety?

    How useful would it be to know MSA without knowing a regional variety, specifically in travel throughout the Arabic-speaking countries?

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

    I speak Levantine Arabic and we learn MSA from childhood. I would definitely advise learning MSA first because that is the only variety of Arabic that has (relatively) agreed upon rules and is consistent. MSA is even useful for us when talking with some Arabic native speakers from other countries, because some dialects differ too much from each other to form a good basis for communication. Here is a funny instance for example, in Levantine Arabic, the word for "to shout" means "to cry" in Egyptian Arabic. So if I ask an Egyptian "why are you shouting?" they would be like "I am not shouting", when they actually meant to say "I am not crying". Learning MSA first means that at least you won't stumble upon such misunderstandings as often, but you will sound awkward. You'd basically sound like a news TV anchor, but that's ok, because it's funny :-P

    Having said that, there are a lot of poor people in Arab countries that did not have the chance for a decent school education. These people might not understand a lot MSA, but they will probably understand the basics. So if your main goal is to help poor people or something in that area, learning a dialect in parallel would be a good idea. Which dialect depends on your destination, but from a learning point of view, the Levantine dialect is the closest one to MSA, so you get an edge there. (And I am not saying this just because it's the dialect I speak. You can read about this more on the Wikipedia entry to Levantine Arabic).

    I hope I have given you enough details to answer your questions!

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rockerbox

    This was a beautiful post! As someone who lives in a society where speaking and learning just one language is considered normal and learning another one (or two, or three, or...) is considered strange, it's so amazing to see posts like this where it describes the complexities and hurdles of learning a new language and the culture. Congratulations on your streak and good luck with all your future languages!

    February 11, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

    Thank you!

    Anyone learning anything to some degree of mastery 'risks' having people around them think that this is unnecessary or 'not normal'. That's why we have ridiculous words like 'gifted' and 'talented'. It's the words that people invented to give themselves an excuse not to work hard and stick to it. They tell themselves that the person who is learning must have some superpower or something to be able to do this, instead of stopping the excuses looping recording running in their head and getting to work! I say work, but it's actually fun. Nothing is more fun and satisfying than learning. If only everyone would give proper learning a chance, the world would be a much better happier place!

    February 11, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hohenems

    Nice TL;DR. :-)

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

    Thanks :-) The whole concept of wanting everything fast is what is making people evolve so slowly to be honest, and that was my small contribution against that stream.

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hopeisnotlost

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

    Thank you! :-D

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rosencross

    Well done!!!

    February 10, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

    Thanks! :-)

    February 12, 2016

    [deactivated user]

      Congratulations! And thank you so much for sharing your experience. Enjoy your day, Carole

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      I'm happy that it was of use to someone. Enjoy learning languages! Or learning anything really :-)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PolyglotCiro

      Very good! This is the best post I've readed in my life! Congratulations man! I like reading jokes in many languages :)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      I'm happy you found it so useful! :-D

      I find that jokes in a foreign language are the ultimate test to see if you really understand that language, because native jokes are frequently related to culture and they are the hardest to translate if at all possible! Even harder than understanding jokes in a foreign language is making them. Now that's something to look forward to!

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PolyglotCiro

      I totally agree :D

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anthgrl

      Congrats on an impressive streak, and thanks so much for the great advice! You've motivated me to get back into more consistent study habits. :-)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Awesome! Hang in there. It is worth it :-)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anthgrl

      Thanks, and thanks for the lingot! :-)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

      Congrats on your 1000 day streak! Thank you for very much for this post, it's great advice! I still need to work on 1 in 'My' Language Learning Method. I get frustrated when I'm listening to Spanish radio or something and can't understand what they're saying. I wish it was normal to know 3 or more language over here as well. You're very lucky! :)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      It is easier to figure things out when you watch videos instead of pure audio, especially in the beginning. But the most important thing to remember is not to worry about meaning. Your frustration is only going to slow you down. Just enjoy the sounds. Distinguish them. And keep at it. Trust the process.

      Of course, I am assuming here that you get a good night sleep every day and you generally take care of your health, because that is essential to learning!

      PS: I haven't started learning Spanish seriously yet, so I don't have a list of good video resources for Spanish yet, but you can look up "Easy Spanish" on YouTube for a list of videos which interview people on the street in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. Those should help get the ball rolling!

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissThorson

      Thank you very much! I shall take your advice.

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mermelada28

      Thanks for taking your time to write such a cool post! Motivational and really helpful :D

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      I'm glad you found it helpful! And since you seem to be focusing on learning German, if you haven't started listening to German every day yet, here is some audio material to get you started: http://www.dw.com/en/learn-german/german-courses/s-2547

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AislinC

      This is a wonderful post. Highly educational, and it's great reading how far you have come. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and methods with us - I did take notes about your language learning methods and attitude suggestions. :) And CONGRATS on your impressive streak!

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      More important than taking notes is starting to form the new habits. It takes a bit more than 20 days of doing something every day to start a new habit, and good habits are what keep us moving forward :-)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AislinC

      I'm sure of that. This is my second try with French - for a long time I thought I hated this language, but I realised that what I was feeling was actually disappointment and frustration with myself for not being patient and hard-working enough to master it as I had done with English. I'm very motivated now to learn, and I want to to everything I can do get into good learning habits while keeping it fun and fully enjoying the long journey ahead. You are definitely an inspiration for that :)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      That's the spirit! :-D

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/albernegiraffe

      An excellent and well written post. Possibly the most useful advice I've ever read on the forums here!

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Thanks! :-)

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/buck72

      Congratulations on your 1000-day streak! What an inspiring post! Thank you for sharing your ideas on learning languages. Best wishes on your language learning!

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Thanks. Same to you, and your streak is not so bad either! It's the habit that counts, not the number of days. And you seem to have the habit :-)

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/buck72

      A good habit! I really appreciated your comments about listening to the language, I've recently incorporated more listening from other sources in my language learning. It seems to really be helping. Thank you for the Lingot.

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      I left out the word "good" on purpose, because I meant it in a more general sense of change. Good habits move us forward and bad habits move us backwards. Speaking of habits, I have the meta-habit of adding one new good habit to my habit portfolio every month. It's the little we do every day that counts :-)

      I'm happy to hear that you have decided to make listening a priority. I find it sad when people struggle with listening after years of studying a language, when listening should have been the first thing they worked on, even before understanding!

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/buck72

      Before I found DL, I was using Pimsleur which really helped me. I had tried some of the Living Language CDs only I found them too difficult to understand. I've gone back to the Living Language CDs and have found that everything sounds "slower" to me, that is, I can understand it. I am so happy to have found DL.

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Great! But don't worry too much about understanding. Just focus on recognizing the sounds first, and once you do that, your brain will start noticing similar patterns in different contexts and this is when things start to click.

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bersalon

      Congratulations! Enjoy your (gulp) 100 lingots. Great advice, too (I actually read the post)! =)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Lol...I didn't even realize how many lingots I got until you mentioned it. I have so many that I stopped caring years ago. (If you care to know, I have exactly 7921 lingots, and the only way I can spend them, is gifting them to people, which will probably cause me carpal tunnel syndrome :-S)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lahure

      A certainly most magnificent streak! I applaud you!

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Yours is not so bad either! You seem to have the right attitude, and a few hundred days difference don't really count in that dimension :-)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lahure

      Go get French 25 now! The 20/20 cricket World Cup in India is nearly here!

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ForgedbyHistoria

      Looks like I've got some studying to do. Great insight my friend.

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Just as long as you're having fun doing it. It's all good :-)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DuoBlitz

      1,000 days of DuoLingo. Cangratulations.

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Thanks :-)

      February 12, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CindyFahrb

      What a fabulous post! Thanks for sharing your insights. I really appreciate you taking the time to distill it for eager learners like myself.

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      I tried my best to keep the number of items to a minimum so it is easier to follow. But to be honest, sticking to it is all that matters. Your experience would eventually lead you to the same conclusions that I got to. You can learn anything by sticking to it long enough, hence the importance of the streak!

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrg635

      Great post. I'd give you a Lingot, but by now I'm sure they don't mean anything to you any longer. Haha.

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Yes, I can't find a place in my room to put them anymore :-P

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KoolKat09

      Congrats on your 1000 day streak! Btw this is a really great post!

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Thanks :-)

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KoolKat09

      yw =)

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/natashaChuliy

      Thank you for a great post! It is among the most useful ones I've read concerning language learning, and it is experience based which makes it precious. It would make for a good article! Thank you for sharing! Good luck with further learning!

      February 11, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      After the overwhelmingly positive responses I got to this post, I actually started working on a blog-like website where I'd write about my experience learning various things (mostly languages for now, but other things as well later). There are concepts that would be better explained with some interactive animations, so I think a website would be a more effective way of sharing what I learned from learning. Plus, its content won't disappear into oblivion a few days later, like this post will.

      February 12, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/natashaChuliy

      That's great! I am sure many people interested in the topic will find it useful. Please, let me know when it's ready.

      February 12, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Thanks for the encouragement :-) I will make another post to let people know about it once it is ready and I will announce it on my stream as well.

      February 12, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ana_karnegi

      And one more thank you here too:) These advices are very helpful, especially for the beginners like myself:)

      February 14, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      Great! If you have any questions, feel free to ask :-)

      February 14, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shapactek7

      Thank you very much, that was very helpful.

      January 9, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      You're welcome :-)

      January 10, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lorel90

      Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your experience.

      February 10, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

      And I almost didn't because I thought people would perceive it as bragging. Seeing how useful people are finding it, now I'm glad I did!

      February 10, 2016

      [deactivated user]

        Ahlan which country are you from ?

        February 10, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

        I wonder if you can guess... :-)

        February 10, 2016

        [deactivated user]

          Lebanon or Syria

          February 10, 2016

          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

          Lebanon it is :-)

          February 10, 2016

          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ForgedbyHistoria

          Of course. I should have known. Such a rich culture Lebanon has.

          February 10, 2016

          [deactivated user]

            Haha! :-) I so want to visit Lebanon one day.

            February 10, 2016

            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ForgedbyHistoria

            Jordanian?

            February 10, 2016

            [deactivated user]

              Great guess also ^

              February 10, 2016

              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaiIa.

              Congratulations and thanks for the tips! Sorry but I have to ask, are you Egyptian? (I just got curious when you said you learn Arabic, French and English cause that's what we usually learn here xD )

              February 10, 2016

              [deactivated user]

                Hhhh habibti I think all levantine and north african arabic countries do that xD Though not so much English.

                February 10, 2016

                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaiIa.

                REALLY?! I guessed north african countries might do that too but not the others xD I feel stupid now lol

                February 10, 2016

                [deactivated user]

                  The gulf countries are better at English than we are in Morocco - it is French they mostly speak as a second/third language. I speak fluent English because I live in North West Europe xD

                  February 10, 2016

                  https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaiIa.

                  Here it just depends on the school, we learn both English and French but each school gives priority to one of them, the majority focuses on English though.

                  February 10, 2016

                  [deactivated user]

                    English is also much more useful! You are extremely good at it considering you probably haven't spoken (verbally) with any English Native speakers.

                    February 10, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    Nope. Keep guessing! :-D

                    February 10, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaiIa.

                    Maybe Lebanon? :D

                    February 10, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    Well if it's not one then it's the other! Yup :-)

                    February 10, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaiIa.

                    A great country that I would like to visit one day :)

                    February 10, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EricD74

                    Congratulations on your streak and your language learning journey thus far. I love reading stories like yours. You're right: language learning is easy, but it requires time and effort. Have you heard of the Assimil series by any chance? It's one of the resources that I use for language learning (I have New French, Portugués de Brasil, and El Alemán).

                    February 10, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    No, I haven't heard of them before. I just looked them up quickly to see what they are. To be honest, I find media content specifically made for learning to be a bit boring. I prefer watching content made to entertain native spreakers. Those tend to be more fun to watch with much better production value.

                    You know what I did as a first step after I decided to learn German? I bought a point-and-click adventure game in German and I started playing it. If you know what a point-and-click adventure game is, you'd know that they are story-driven, full of complicated dialogs and rich vocabulary. But you know what? I didn't care. I had a dictionary in one hand, and German subtitles in the other. I kept repeating the game until I understood enough of what was going on to solve the puzzles required to advance. And that was fun! It just made the game that much harder to play!

                    February 10, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cassincork

                    That is a great idea.

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    It's also great fun :-D

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cassincork

                    I've borrowed your idea and asked on the Esperanto forum about games in Esperanto (https://www.duolingo.com/comment/13576220). Hope that's ok, and thank to you or whoever gave me a lingot!

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    Haha...of course it's ok! I'm happy that you're adopting it because it's great fun and I wish you all the luck in finding adventure games in Esperanto as I'm finding it hard enough to find some in Italian, let alone Esperanto!

                    The thing is, I consider it important for the game to also have spoken dialogs (as in recorded voice acting), because that would encourage good pronunciation, enhance listening skills as well as help correlate the sounds of the language to the way the words are spelled. So I tend to avoid text-only games.

                    After seeing the overwhelmingly positive response to my post, I've decided to create a blog-like website to document all my ideas regarding learning languages and learning in general. When I do that, I will write an article about all the adventure games I've played in other languages and the tactics I've used to make the most out of my experience.

                    February 13, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaRouxd

                    Muy util, muchas gracias y felicidades!!

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    ¡Gracias! :-)

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Golden_Owl

                    yep,really interesting,I think you are a serious supporter on the input method,as you consider as very important to just listen during the first year of learning

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    I am a serious supporter of listening, but I never said that this should be the only thing you do in the first year, I said that it could be the only thing you do during the first weeks if you were not familiar with the sounds of the language already.

                    What I do recommend is making listening the number one priority during the first year and after that as well. The first year might be maybe 60% listening, 40% for the rest, and this percentage might gradually decrease as you progress, but listening should always be what you do the most of, until it becomes too easy, at which point, reading would take over as the priority, because then you'd be able to read everything with an almost perfect accent and you'd start accumulating more advanced vocabulary and a more active use of your imagination.

                    Just to be clear, this does not mean that you should only start reading once you perfect your listening skills. I am only talking about priorities and how they should shift as your learning journey progresses. You should definitely start with all 4 skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) from the very beginning, but their priorities would change in time. Speaking too much too early gives you bad pronunciation habits that would be hard to get rid of later. That is why I put writing before speaking, because spelling is easier to verify using a dictionary than pronunciation is (not so for grammar though).

                    The only really good way to verify your speaking is yourself. You need to be your own teacher. If your own ear does not distinguish the difference between two sounds, you will often produce the wrong sound. However, if you had trained your ear before trying to produce the sounds, things would immediately sound strange to you if you said them wrong, so you would gradually auto-correct yourself, and this is how you learn how to speak without a foreign accent.

                    This auto-correction concept actually works for all skills. That is why you also need to learn the language's grammar gradually, because in the end, you are your only corrector that is always present with you, including in your head while thinking or dreaming. If you don't know how to correct yourself and keep doing it, you will be stuck with bad habits, which are harder to change later on. Listening also helps here, as grammatically wrong sentences would just sound strange to you after listening a lot to natural speech. But if you don't know most rules of the language, it might be hard for you to come up with the correct version on your own, you would just feel that a certain sentence is wrong and that's it.

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Isrianth

                    Thank you for taking the time to share your story and language learning style. One of the things I like the most, it's listening to music in the languages I am learning. Getting used to the sounds of the language is the first thing I do. In fact, before I started learning English, German, and French formally. I listened to some music and watched videos. I currently complement my listening with having the radio in the background when I do my daily practice on Duolingo and Memrise.

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    It's great to hear that listening takes up a good part of your study regime, but I do have a few remarks:

                    1- Although listening to music in the foreign language you're learning is great in the initial stages, when it is hard to stay interested listening to conversations you understand nothing of, its use soon becomes secondary and only motivational. That's because first of all, pronunciation in music is not always that clear (Do you even understand everything said in songs in your mother tongue?) And second of all, the language used in songs is normally not very useful in every day life and the 'modern' ones tend to use a very limited vocabulary about the same old thing. Most lyrics of songs these days are basically: love me, love, kiss me, kiss me, blah blah blah...yeah, I got it the first 10 times you said it, what else is new! :-P It is much more important to listen to normal conversations, which are much more varied and useful for daily life.

                    2- As for listening in the background while doing Duolingo and Memrise, I have my doubts as to how useful this is. When I talked about listening, I meant to fully focus on listening without doing anything else, and occasionally, look up some words in the dictionary. Multitasking doesn't really exist. If you're focused on one thing, you're not focusing on the other. So running the radio in the background is just making you feel that you're being productive, when you're not as productive as you could be.

                    3- I used to use Memrise before Duolingo existed, but Duolingo put that habit to rest once I started using it. I do occasionally reconsider practicing on Memrise, and I try it for a few days, only to give it up again, and the reason for that is clear: no context. When using a language, what should remind you of the sentences are the situations you are in, and what should remind you of the word that comes next is the word that came before it, not translation (look up collocation to know what I mean). Memrise is only good for Memrise. It lets you pass its own test, but is not very useful in helping you use the language naturally. Duolingo at least shows you the word in a sentence, which is better than nothing. I'd substitute Memrise with fully focused listening if I were you, it's a much better use of your time.

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Isrianth

                    I forgot to mention that I listen to podcasts about many topics (mainly in English). In addition, I learnt the IPA for my languages and I also try to watch videos from "Easy languages" to improve my understanding of spoken German and French from common people on the streets. Another approach I'm trying at the moment is to use my German to learn Spanish and French as well as doing several reverse trees.

                    I know what you mean about Memrise. At the beginning I thought it wasn't helpful at all, but later I started to recognise some words when I was reading something, words that I had learnt on that site. Furthermore, I want to focus more in my reading and writing skills.

                    Duolingo has been my main tool all this time for learning from scratch, but I know I need to devote more time to other activities if I want to improve.

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    You have all the right habits, so it's only a matter of time for you to master the language. The one thing that might be missing from your portfolio of habits is looking up grammar rules whenever you frequently do a certain mistake and keep being aware of it and its use until it becomes automatic.

                    And to help you figure out what mistakes you are still doing, you might consider picking up the habit of writing a diary here http://lang-8.com where native speakers would correct your posts, and you'd have the chance to correct the posts written in your native language.

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/quis_lib_duo

                    Herzlichen Glückwunsch zu (mehr als) tausend Tagen diszipliniertem Lernen und Gebrauch verschiedener Ressourcen! Wichtiger aber noch: Herzlichen Dank für den fabelhaften Text zum Sprachenerwerb. Sehr nutzbringend und förderlich für Lerner jeder Sprache.

                    So did you have a chance yet to put your German to good use now during a stay or visit there? (Given that a visit to these parts spurred your interest in the language.)

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    Nein, leider nicht :-(

                    Ich will es irgendwann unbedingt machen, aber die richtigen Bedingungen sind noch nicht da. Mehr details kann ich hier nicht verraten, aber ich bin mir sicher, dass es in den kommenden Jahren klappen wird :-)

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tonywangtj

                    Congrats on reaching that milestone! Massive respect!!

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    You're not so far behind me! So right back at you :-)

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tonywangtj

                    Very hard to say.. Increasingly, I have spent more and more Streak Freezes in order to maintain the current streak. Especially in the past year or so, I have used more than a dozen. From first hand experience, I understand perfectly how tough it is to diligently practice every day. I hope I can reach 1xxx one day :)

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    Well, just as long as you never give up, you will get there eventually :-)

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbe100

                    Impressive ! Congratulations !

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    Thanks :-)

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MGray01

                    Great post! Thank you for sharing, it’s very useful. And congratulations on your 1000 day streak. That’s amazing!

                    February 11, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    It is not so amazing if you think about it as something you do every day, like brushing your teeth. I'm sure you have been brushing your teeth every day on a streak much longer than a 1000 days. This is no different :-)

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MGray01

                    Ok, good point. I do need to think of this differently. I'm working on it. I learned another language in school, but not seriously. Just enough to pass a test. Because speaking another language was not the norm. Of course now, I realize that was a mistake. So that's why I'm on Duolingo. My goal is to stick with it. And to keep up the language learning for a very long time. Thanks for the advice.

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    It is refreshing to hear about such a positive change in perspective, and to help you on your journey, might I suggest you check out all the great free resources available on DW to learn German http://www.dw.com/en/learn-german/german-courses/s-2547 as well as the 2 free German learning adventure games made by the Goethe-Institut, this https://www.goethe.de/en/spr/ueb/him.html and this https://www.goethe.de/en/spr/ueb/mis.html

                    Don't forget to have fun! :-)

                    February 13, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EpicPowerHero

                    Excellent post and congratulations!!! I will definitely remember what you said.

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    That's good, but what's more important than remembering is doing :-)

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EpicPowerHero

                    Thanks. That was a really well thought out post. And thanks whoever gave me the lingot.

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    I gave you the lingot and you're welcome!

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EpicPowerHero

                    Thanks again!

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Josh562331

                    Thanks, so would you say that in the languages you have studied through Duolingo (and yes, I understand the listening too) you could speak to a native with okay communication?

                    February 14, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirShaker

                    My priority when I joined Duolingo was German, and around 3 years after I started it, yes, I was able to communicate naturally with a native speaker. After that, I switched my priority to Italian blissfully thinking that I could do it with Duolingo alone, seeing as to how close it is to French (which I knew from childhood). But much to my surprise, words and grammar structures did not stick as fast as they did with German, and soon later I started realizing how important all the 'side' activities I did for German were. It was then that it became crystal clear that Duolingo was only part of the equation for my success with German. It was mostly all the videos, podcasts and adventure games that I played in German which pushed me to keep at it and acquire a native accent. So I started doing that with Italian as well, although good resources for Italian are less easy to come by than they are for German, and now around a year later, I can communicate in Italian with a native, but not as well as I could in German yet.

                    For more details, check out the answer I wrote above. Scroll back up or search for the answer that starts with: "Yes. I didn't add that detail in the original post".

                    February 14, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/x.adeline.x

                    that is the longest post ever

                    June 29, 2017

                    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FreyjaJB

                    Awesome - thank you so much for sharing your techniques!!!

                    July 5, 2019
                    Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.