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https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Finished the Spanish Tree! (50 days)

Hey guys, I just finished the Spanish tree, my first one, and I wanted to share my experience and thoughts! This is my first blog and I was actually inspired by olimo to reflect upon my experience!

50 Days: First of all, I want to mention that I feel like 50 days is pretty quick to finish a tree. The reason I was able to finish so quickly was because for the majority of the days, I was on Winter Break for my school, so I had all day to duolingo and that is almost all I did!

Speed: At first I went very quickly through the tree. I would sometimes do 1-2 lines a day, but near the end of the tree I realized that I should review the material more often. For the last 25% of the tree, I did 1 line per day and completed 500 points per day of review to really lock in the material. I feel like this really helped rather than just breezing through the lessons.

Difficulty: I actually thought the tree was not too challenging grammar wise but I was still learning a lot at the same time. However, for the last few lessons, regarding lessons such as subjunctive, you could tell that the quality of the course was really not comprehensive, and I frequently used outside resources such as studyspanish.com and spanishdict.com

Fluency after completing the tree: I am definitely far from being fluent! But I feel that completing the Spanish tree has taught me almost all the basic grammar rules that I will need to know going forward. It’s a great starting point, but I am definitely going to be using outside resources to start becoming even better.

Some tips/advice that might be helpful:

Speaking: If you want to be fluent you definitely have to practice speaking as much as possible! For me, I’m learning Spanish for fun and I don’t have any friends who are fluent and I’m not going to a Spanish speaking country any time soon. Therefore, I find speaking to myself really helpful. When I’m alone like in my car, I’ll just make up random scenarios and start speaking as both people. Practice speaking every day and you’ll start getting better. Even if you’ve only learned present tense, being familiar with talking out loud in present tense will make it so much easier once you pile on all the other tenses that you are not familiar with

Listening: Listening is definitely very hard, but I have been trying to listen to podcasts from here http://www.rtve.es/radio/ I never understand going on, but I hope that actively listening every single day will make me be able to understand it someday! I also listen to a bunch of Spanish songs, and look at their lyric videos as well to follow along.

Reading: I’ve been checking out children’s books from my local library in Spanish, and I find it helps and is encouraging when I finish a whole book. They’re short so they don’t take too much time, but they definitely still take a lot of effort to understand!

Next Steps? I’m going to focus on Spanish for now, and try to improve as much as possible. Hopefully by then, the Mandarin for English speakers will be out, and I will definitely be doing that!

Best of luck with your language studies and have a great week!

4 years ago

58 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Swampwood1

It's going to take me 50 days just to get through obj. pro.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eggplantbren

Haha, I thought that too, and I still mess them up sometimes. But you'll get it eventually

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oli0808
Oli0808
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Congrats!

Interesting idea with the podcast. I think one of the main things to becoming fluent is proper immersion. Do you find you are able to notice whole sentences amongst all the nonsense?

50 days seems fast, if you refresh skills are you likely to get 100% or do you still fail on certain things?

I find myself going through the refresh skills quite often with my eyes closed trying to focus on listening, then saying the answer out loud before typing it. IMO learning the language is via the ears and mouth, reading and writing is simply knowing what the language looks like in the Latin alphabet. I definitely find it much easier to translate the phrases after I've looked at them on the screen which proves my stance to myself at least.

As for your next steps, now you understand a fair amount of grammar do you think you will be getting the slow talking CDs and whatnot?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Right now, it definitiely sounds like nonsense! But I can pick out words here and there. I think the most important part is to actively listen and try to decipher what is going on even if you can't understand everything. Just listening to it while doing something else won't help you comprehend better.

I don't get 100% when I refresh, but I do pretty well, like 16+ coins, and I will definitely redo practices if I get below that.

Now that I understand a bit of grammar I've been going through this website: http://www.learnpracticalspanishonline.com/beginner/beginner-readings.html Not only can I practice my reading comprehension on progressively harder passages, but I can close my eyes and listen to the passages and see if I can understand it. It's great!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ItsWndy
ItsWndy
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I would heartily recommend the website www.lingq.com Over there you can listen to Spanish offerings of various lengths and levels of difficulty, and at the same time, you can read the full text. There is a massive library of readings to choose from on all manner of interesting topics. When you are able to read what you are listening to, you make very quick progress in deciphering. Try it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
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I would also like to suggest a site: http://www.notesinspanish.com/ It's just a nice site with short little podcasts (about 10-12 minutes long I think) with different difficulties. ¡Pruébalo!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Wow this looks great! Thank you so much :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Deinanthe
Deinanthe
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Thanks for posting this link. I hadn't found this great resource yet. Very useful.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vonnelca
vonnelca
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That is is great link, thanks

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/martingale

Wow, congrats!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Thank you!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GregHullender
GregHullender
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Here's another tip: get a Kindle Paperwhite, buy a Spanish-English dictionary (Collins works for me), and try reading a novel. (I read "Ojos de agua.") Because you can look up words so easily, and because it has a built-in flash-card feature, it makes it possible to read novels for grown ups.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/curlyeric
curlyeric
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In iBooks you can download a French <-> French for free and it's amazing how much I can puzzle through.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely try it out!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jheavner724
jheavner724
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Good luck with your continued studies :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Thanks, you too!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mrxinu
mrxinu
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This is a great review and the tip about reading children's books is excellent. I hadn't considered that and I have a whole library with a Spanish section waiting to be pillaged.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kimojima
kimojima
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4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Thanks! He's actually my cousin's but he's really cute :) I definitely agree with you about speaking with spanish speakers, I think the Skype idea is really great. It definitely seems like an effective way to improve your speaking!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GlasgowBob

Hey : D

Thanks for posting this... I think you did really great. I am also learning Spanish. I have just started the Paul Noble audio course yesterday. My plan is to listen to one cd (there is 12) and then work through my Spanish tree for an hour. So at least two hours every day. I have also ordered a dual language book and a Collins verb book from Amazon.

I have found that there are a few Spanish meet ups in my area via the 'meet up' website. I think this is something that I will involve myself in when I get a bit more confidence with the language.

You tip of having the two part convo with yourself is great, I will try this too.

Thanks a lot for the radio link and good luck to you!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

No problem! I will have to try a meet up website. It seems like a really good way to improve a language!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SD-77
SD-77
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Lo has logrado muy rapidamente :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kroney

Congrats - I will be there soon :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Thanks! Best of luck as you make your way through the tree :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kbknapp

Wow, you must have a knack for languages!

As far as listening goes, like you I think DL is lacking in this department. Although it's a paid resource, I found the Pimsleur language courses to be awesome. They have dramatically increased my listening ability. This is one thing I'd love for DL to be able to add, actual conversations between people. Perhaps even starting slowly and progressing to normal speed conversations. There is just such a huge difference between hearing two people converse in whole sentences vs the short almost 5 words sentences that DL currently offers.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Haha like I said, I have a 5 week winter break, so that's why I was able to finish it so quickly. I have heard that Pimsleur is pretty good, I might try it out since my library has a few copies!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vanessahere

I think rushing through grammars does no good to me. Frequent review is the very point to keep up speed. I found that it's too hard to pick up lessons once stopped but it's much better now with the app. I will practice everyday.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Aditya92
Aditya92
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Great!! Congratulations:)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gregory0126

your rigth speaking is the key. I met a rosette stone salesman at the mall who finished the 5 levels of spanish twice.. he said he still cnat speak spanish. Got to watch tv, & talk. Listen & talk. I know 100 phrases but still remember them when I need them.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AJ1205
AJ1205
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¡Enhorabuena desde Madrid!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Princessbg2014

Awesome. I thinks its great that you would do this with your ree time and still plan to learn more! :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/runnerbos
runnerbos
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Hey, congrats! That's awesome! I'm approaching the end too and getting excited about it!

Regarding the podcasts, I have personally done both podcasts and watched the news in Spanish on TV and I find that watching the news is easier to catch the meaning and helps me practice better. With a podcast, basically the only context I get is from the title and the few words I understand, but with TV I can pick up whole sentences way more often because there's context. The pictures help tons!!

Hope this helps. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Wow thanks for the tip! I will try to listen to some news channels as well! Your comment about the picture definitely makes sense!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/M_Smith93
M_Smith93
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Congrats! That's pretty speedy, I hope your continued learning goes well.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/oepsoccer

I loved your idea about reading short stories, I have a big spanish test coming up and we have to be able to read a easy short story. I'm definitely going to check out some stories from the library! Thank you so much!!!!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JustinTime7

Congrats brother find penpals online you can practice more interpals nd italki is a good site

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ItsWndy
ItsWndy
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Amazing accomplishment! I am impressed!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobbieL
BobbieL
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Thanks so much for the tips. I hadn't seen that podcast site before, but I've bookmarked it for when I need something.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

No problem :) Good luck with your studies!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brazilofan

congrats, I might record and play my voice to see how clear it'd be.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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blobberhead, congratulations! Well done! And your advice sounds good, too, especially: " For the last 25% of the tree, I did 1 line per day and completed 500 points per day of review to really lock in the material. I feel like this really helped rather than just breezing through the lessons." (I "powered" through the French tree but now see that I would have done better to go through it slowly--which is what I'm now doing, but having a completed tree makes the review a little tougher, a little more diffuse.) What do you mean, by the way, by a "line"?

GregHullender's advice to find digital reading material and a digital dictionary is really good. A Kindle is great, I'm sure, or you can do the equivalent fairly easily on a laptop or desktop. Also really good are the suggestions about listening.

What's your major? If you enjoyed this so much, maybe you should major in Spanish--or minor in it, anyway, as knowing Spanish would be a huge selling point for you when you get out in "the job market."

Thanks for the great post. Best of success!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

When I said I did "1 line per day" I did the 1-3 topics that you had to complete before you could move on to the next items. I'm actually an Engineering major haha! But I have considered minoring in Spanish or being involved in spanish speaking volunteer work.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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(Line) Ah, I think of that as a "skill," for lack of a better term. Maybe there's an "official" term here, but it's unknown to me. | (minoring and volunteering) Go for it! Not only will that probably help your résumé, but you'll also more than likely enjoy yourself.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jo7474

Congrats and thanks for all of your suggestions!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

No problem!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/juliestarling

Did you not go back and review? I keep getting stuck because every day there are more things that it says I need to review. I don't have enough time to review the said lessons and then move forward on the new lessons. I got really discouraged at one point, but I've come back to it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blobberhead

I'm on winter break, so I have a lot time to review, I usually do about 400 points (20+ rounds of timed practice) a day. If you're getting discouraged, I would say to definitely take it slow. If you keep review old lessons, you'll eventually know it really well and can move on easily!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OlderThanRome
OlderThanRome
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I also think Duolingo uses spaced repetition, that is, when you're a beginner, words fade out of memory really quickly but once they've come up a few times in review and you've answered them correctly, they'll come up less frequently because Duolingo assumes they're in your long-term memory. So just spend your time reviewing, and you'll eventually reach a point where all your skills are golden and will remain so for a time so you can move forward.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/juliestarling

Thanks

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gomez1610

wow! U are amazing .

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marigold.swinton

good job! I also try to learn French,but not 50 days, I guess...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Godoflais

Excelente trabajo! continúa estudiando para que lo domines al 100%. El Español es una lengua muy hermosa.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

Congratulations. I'm learning French and prepositions thing is extremely perplexing. Uhhhh. Gonna take me a year to finish this lesson :P

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MalloryBlaise
MalloryBlaise
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Hahaha that lesson is hell to complete but once you get it, it's pretty easy :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ihascookie174

great job man, and great advice

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/smajl
smajl
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Heh, amazing. I am here for 6 months (with a few months break) and I am only lvl 9 / 444 words learned. Respect, bro. Maybe some day I'll be so amazing like you!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Crochi
Crochi
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That's awesome, congratulations! Those are great tips, thank you! Good luck improving your Spanish!

4 years ago