One year with DL in italiano

A year has gone by already and I would like to share my progress with you:

First of all, I am so happy and proud to be able to understand the lyrics of my favorite Italian songs (now I love them even more!). I was also very proud when I was able to converse in italiano with a few Italians I met during the summer. Yes, I did make mistakes and I sometimes hesitated to find the words to express myself, but I was able to make sense and most importantly I was able to understand what was been said to me without problems.

I would like to share a few thoughts that I hope you will find helpful :

First of all you can do it too. Yes I know, there are days when you despair and think that you cannot possibly learn Italian. Take a deep breath, relax (maybe drink an espresso or whatever you like) and think a little: You have the best computer in the world inside your head, one that is able to reprogram itself to learn new means of communication. All the computers in the world cannot achieve such a feat but you can!

Now that your moral is sufficiently boosted (I hope) let's see what you need to learn Italian.

  1. Follow the streak, it WORKS. Every day devote 30 minutes of study, you can certainly study more if you like, but even 30 minutes for a few months can do wonders. My setting is for 10 XP per day, I preferred to set a low level and exceed it regularly, rather than a higher setting that might be unattainable for many months on end.

  2. Listen to the Italian language. Remember that you began learning your own native language by listening to your parents speak. If you have access to satellite television watch RAI (the public channel of Italy), if not find YouTube videos in Italian and try listening as much as you can, it is a nice way to pretend that you are in Italy.

  3. Try to keep your tree golden at all times. Before tackling on new sections make sure that you strengthen older ones, personally I never let any skill go bellow level 4.

Last but not least, I would like to thank all you wonderful people in this group for your amazing help and encouragement, I will refrain from naming names because I am certain I will forget someone, but you my friends are my inspiration to keep going until I reach level 25 and even further!

October 12, 2016


I don't see how you can keep your tree golden. Seems like everyday mine has at least 5 or more lessons that need reviewing. It took weeks to get it all golden so I could move ahead to Subjunctive Present and I hadn't finished that skill for 10 minutes and they already had me down to review it! There doesn't seem to be a way to keep it golden in the 30 minutes you say you spend on it.

October 12, 2016

Marie, you can definitely keep your tree golden.

Let me explain, if you make mistakes during your review (as we all do, myself included of course) DL "senses" that you have not learned that lesson well enough and will drop the strength back to 4 quickly. This is not a form of punishment but a method to improve your learning by making you work on your weaknesses. If you make fewer mistakes next time the lesson will remain golden for a longer period of time.

When I wrote 30 minutes it was not meant to be a golden rule (pun intended). At least 30 minutes would be a better choice of words and I am sorry if I did not make it clear. I realize that sometimes more time is needed especially when learning a lesson that you may find difficult but think of this extra time as an investment in your learning, it will definitely pay up in the future.

Trust me, yesterday my whole tree was golden and I had to repeat a random lesson to keep my streak going and I am not special, anyone can do it!

October 13, 2016

Marie, it might be because you moved through the tree so quickly! I had the same experience with Spanish, but found that the longer I kept the tree golden by "putting out all the fires," the longer each unit would stay put. Regardless, re-doing units is beneficial in terms of learning, so it's all good.

October 15, 2016

Wonderful advice, Giorgio! I totally agree. I wish we all could have the attitude you do--and not just in language study, but in other endeavors as well, such as music, exercise, etc. Keep up the good work!

October 15, 2016

In my humble opinion, all of us have the potential to learn anything: languages, music, sport etc. Of course there are talented people that will be miles ahead of any "ordinary" person, but it's no coincidence that the people who are the best in any endeavor are the ones that ALSO work the hardest.

I still remember when my son went on a school visit and met with a classical music orchestra. He told me that when he asked the lead violinist how much time is needed to learn to play the violin the musician responded:

"I don't know, I am still learning!".

If we are able to get over the preconception that learning has a an end date and strive to learn something new every day, I firmly believe that we can better ourselves not just as individuals but as entire societies.

P.S. Edited, because I made a mistake in my story: actually it was my son who asked the violinist.

October 15, 2016

Bravo, Giorgio! Well said.

October 16, 2016

Thank you for your kind words.

October 17, 2016


October 12, 2016

Ciao - brilliant positive reading! Loved it. Feel much the same. Duolingo and genuine followers are really the best.

October 12, 2016

Good job!
I guess I don't have to tell you to keep it up.

October 12, 2016

Thank you all, I wrote this post hoping to give motivation to others, as I was motivated reading similar stories a few months ago. In my opinion consistency and patience are the key factors to learning, so I strongly believe anyone can learn a new language if they think positively.

@Linda7Italian I love your avatar, Maria Kallas la diva assoluta! So I guess you love the opera like I do.

@MABBY Grazie! I have a lot of work ahead of me to reach level 25 ;-)

October 13, 2016

Maria Callas era stupenda! Adoro "Tosca", la mia opera preferita e "Vissi d'arte" is out of this world. Un canzone dal cielo, come la voce di Pavarotti. A presto ...

October 13, 2016

Sono d'accordo cento per cento, ma credo che bisogno scrivere "La Tosca". A dopo.

October 13, 2016

Ah si, hai ragione. Ho dimenticato che per Duolingo io sono una signora italiana invece di una donne inglese. L

October 13, 2016

Complimenti! Ti auguro un gran successo il futuro, GiorgioYianni!

October 13, 2016

Grazie Nancy, sei molto gentile. 967 streak, mamma mia!

October 13, 2016

I'm looking forward to reaching a year with this language! I had trouble with the mandatory French during my time in school (whether it was me or my teachers, environment, etc., I don't know), so even trying to learn it here wasn't particularly exciting. However, my SO is half Italian, so I thought "why not?" and decided to try to learn it. Eventually I will try to speak to him in Italian beyond basic phrases. Luckily he'll be very sympathetic to my struggles as he only moved to Canada and began to learn English as his third language 4 years ago. At just over a month, I'm enjoying learning Italian a fair bit. I set my goal at 20XP per day and I usually exceed that. I also have tried to keep my tree golden and am doing fairly well. I have actually halted my progress to really strengthen previous skills, but given that the skills are staying golden for longer, I guess it's time to push forward!

October 20, 2016

Ciao Melissa. Glad you are completing Strengthening skills, a really important part of Duolingo's excellent teaching and I wish you continued fun and satisfaction learning this beautiful language.

October 20, 2016

Ciao Melissa. I guess you have a nice motive to learn and practice Italian and I am sure your SO will help you as much as he can. Do not be afraid to move ahead in DL if you have set a solid foundation, things will get harder at first but as they say in sports: it never gets easier, you just get better!

October 21, 2016

I am at 53% and will push it over the next month. What happens when I finish the lot? Is there no more? Where do I go from there? Any feedback would be great. Thanks guys.

October 13, 2016

Go into your profile settings, choose "Learning Language" and then "Sign up" for the course called Voglio imparare inglese (io parlo italiano).

You do not lose any of your progress on the Italian for English spearkers course, nor any point streaks or day streaks when you do switch.
On that course, the instructions are all written in Italian but the "spoken" language is English. What you get are a lot of chances to translate English sentences into Italian, however. It is very useful, and there are a few different verbs and nouns that you will pick up there, as well.

You can switch back to this course at any time, review and keep your tree golden, and then switch back to the new lessons without any problems.

October 13, 2016
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