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Finished Tree and German Resources

After a little over a month, I finished the German tree. It's been about fifteen years since I have regularly worked on improving, but I have just been picking up my German study again. I wanted to debrief after doing this to communicate my experience with Duolingo as well as what I am doing to continue my study. I would appreciate hearing from other people about what resources you are using.

I've heard some people say Duo could be a substitute for taking intro to language classes. Although you may be able to use it to test into a higher level, I would not recommend it. There is so much more you get in a good language class like cultural information which ties into the language at some point as well as learning and being corrected on your accent and nuances that are better communicated in a classroom setting and also reading and writing composition. It also is not a substitute for audio comprehension practice.

I personally found it to be a great aid in practicing my German grammar of which there is certainly a lot! I recognized a lot of words I had learned earlier, but I am learning nuances right now. The words I thought I knew have different ways of being used and expressed in German and the more I dive into the language, the more I find that there is not a simple one to one translation on everything. You don't see this so much in language classes since your diet of vocabulary is often controlled by the course curriculum.

With the grammar, I have noticed a few bad habits I had that have been corrected with Duo. It is also great to get fast at building sentences. I would have preferred to have more translating of German to English, but I am doing the reverse tree German->English and I suspect I will see more of that there. Some of the English translations were very wierd and not something you would ever use in real-life. I would say some of that was due to inexperience by the German speakers who built the class and some was due to strange sentence construction that would never be utilized in real-life. I also appreciated getting experience building sentences the way a native German would. I have had the experience before of constructing sentences that are "technically right" but sound wrong to a native.

So, to summarize, I think Duolingo (at least for German) is best for drilling vocabulary and learning and practicing Grammar. It has also been good for nit-picking on details like forgetting an umlaut or spelling or other tiny things you wouldn't pick up on from Schaum's or exercises in a grammar book.

I'm probably going to take a break from Duolingo for a while and then finish up German->English and then do all of the extras I can on the German tree.

Here are some of the other resources I am using and how I am using them:

Youtube Channels: Dont trust the rabbit (good for intermediate/advanced), Deutsch für Euch (good for all levels), Get Germanized (good for beginners, he speaks way too much English and too little German), Wanted Adventure (very good for cultural differences/culture shock from an American perspective). These have filled in some of the gaps I missed in formal classes. They also contain a bunch of false friend videos I would highly recommend.

www.yabla.com - This has been one of the best resources I have found. It is very immersive and probably best for advanced-intermediate or advanced. They take segments of news and video clips and give you the opportunity to view with subtitles and translation. It moves very fast and pushes you to keep up. One of the things I have struggled with is German contemporary usage -- dialects, figurative speech, slang, English words that aren't quite English, etc and this has been very helpful in that regard. I have been able to hear a lot of different native accents and gotten to understand the differences. I'm even starting to decipher Bavarian :-) Yabla also contains a lot of contemporary music and through it I have found a few German bands and singers I have been listening to in the car. There is another one, www.fluentu.com which I may try after I have exhausted all the videos on Yabla. Of all the language learning resources I have paid for, I feel like I have gotten by far the most bang for my buck with Yabla.

I have been also watching children's movies and storytales on Youtube. I have a list of about 100 queued by searching for ganzer Film Deutsch and then choosing to view videos over 20 minutes. These are generally pretty easy and a good way to practice understanding as they speak in real-time. It's also fun to watch the Grimm brothers stories that are not taught here in the US. When I am done with these, I plan to move up to more adult-type films.

www.pukkagerman.com - This is great for learning figurative speech (probably for advanced students). It is in a Podcast format and I listen to it in the car. About half of these have some sort of corollary in English and some are unique to German.

www.yourdailygerman.com - This is a great site from a German native's perspective. This guy has really gotten into the details of grammar and practical situation in both languages. It's probably more for intermediate/advanced. He also has an e-mail list and updates a few times a month.

www.easygerman.org - this is absolutely brilliant! If you have not seen this, you need to! It is film clips from a man on the street perspective and you really get into the odds and ends of how ordinary people communicate.

http://deutschlernerblog.de/ - This site is all in German, but they have some really good aides like their 200 top adjectives with pictures which is probably more like how you learned your mother language. This is something you can't get with Duolingo as the translations between German<->English do not correspond 100% of the time in real life. (http://deutschlernerblog.de/die-200-wichtigsten-deutschen-adjektive-mit-bildern-lernen-bildergalerie/)

Towards the end of the year, I am planning to join one of the sites where you can practice with native speakers.

What online resources is everyone else using? I would really like to know what other people are doing.

March 20, 2016



Congratulations. Thanks for sharing your resources and your experience.

I would also recommend you check out the courses in DW and in youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvoOXEy-sAHbOXLshJr61yQ and https://www.youtube.com/user/smartergerman

Have you considered taking classes with a tutor (online or in person) instead of a class?


Very useful will have a look at some of the sites, when I get beter that is well done


Thank you for sharing your resources!

Unfortunately I have not much to add. I have started reading books in German and I also take a class.

I have found this resource useful for reading about the grammar: http://www.nthuleen.com/

Maybe a bit "dry" and old fashioned but sometimes it is exactly what I want.

A Youtubechannel I have not tried out yet, but it feels promising: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wRGdwf7b_o&index=1&list=PLeA5t3dWTWvtU5nXIBbV1F_dy9VIyGDWb


After just finishing the german tree on duolingo. If there is an exam for german language for you, which level could u get in that exam for german? a1?a2?b1?b2?c1?c2?


I am hoping to be able to test in at C1 by the end of the year. I think I probably can if I continue doing 2-3 hours a day.


I am taking a class right now at A2 level and Duolingo "ends" somewhere there. Maybe B1 is covered a little too. Taking a class combined with Duolingo I feel is very good, both for the learning and for getting those small "rewards" or "aha!" moments.


As I remember, I don't think you get the full grammar until B1 including genitive and some of the more obscure/literary uses. B2 is more about practice -- writing things by yourself, getting faster so you can understand real-time speech, expanding vocabulary, etc. Duo includes all of this, the grammar is in-depth, but the other areas are just a shallow introduction like for business, politics, etc. although probably more than you would see in B1.


Well, Duolingo gives me a lot, not doubt about that. At the moment in my A2-course we are learning about Modalverben, zB "Ich wollte studieren" and I can not recall much of that in Duolingo. I must have seen some phrases, because I recognize it, but the class goes into this somewhat more focused. Might have seen it in other places too. I don´t know what B1 and B2 covers, but Duolingo gives me a lot of time to practice the basics. I think my head is trying to sort it all out at the moment, as I am just in the start of really grasping stuff and more or less can say a lot without even thinking.


Great resources. Thanks so much.

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