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Spanish level 25, my experience

Hi all, I just wanted to share my experience learning Spanish on Duolingo.

I started learning in April last year, and just reached level 25 today. I am a bit of a nerd, so I timed the hours spent on Duolingo : 118 hours, spread out over the last 9 months.

I cannot even express how grateful I am to this site. In school, languages were my weakest subjects. I had always been disappointed that I had never managed to master a new language (I am bilingual English-French). When I started Duolingo, I was at first dubious about my own capabilites, having always believed that I was just one of these people that is bad at learning languages. Also, I was afraid that I would use the site for a few weeks, then get bored and give up.

I started in April 2013. In June my wife and I went to Latin America for a short trip. There, I was amazed to discover that I could understand most of what people were telling me. I could also have basic conversations. I even managed to convince a taxi driver to look at duolingo, because he wanted to learn English. (by that time I still hadn't finished the tree, I was probably 2/3rds down)

A week ago, February 2014, we went to Spain, and this time I realized that I am now able to have conversations in Spanish! Of course I am not able to speak like a native but I understand most of what is said, and I can construct reasonably fluent answers. (by this time I was level 24, the tree having been finished last summer)

Besides speaking, I am also able to read in Spanish, I started reading last summer. At first, I spent most of my time looking up words I didn't understand. I still do that now, but less. I am now on my fifth novel in Spanish.

All that to say that my initial pessimism about learning languages is now gone. I was able to stick to duolingo like I had never been able to follow a class taught in school. Also, the progress I have made in Spanish is enough to convince me that believing that I am not good at learning languages was not justified at all.

My next goal is Italian!

Thanks duolingo! For the Spanish, but also for opening my eyes to the possibilities of learning new languages.

February 14, 2014

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That is type of story I like to read here! Get me motivated and believe that I also can learn and talk with other people in their native languages :)


Thank you very much for this motivating story!! Becoming fluent in Spanish is also my goal for this year. But at the moment I am still far away from that... May I ask what your mother tongue is?


I grew up speaking English at home but going to school in French, so I consider them both as mother tongues :-)


Wow, that's great!! I only grew up with German... but started with English in Kindergarten, started Latin in Grade 7, Spanish and French at the age of 19 and Italian on Duolingo. I hope to see Russian soon on here! But so far I am only fluent in German and English ... which is a pity... I want to be fluent in at least (!) one more language ! :P All the best to you!


You've got a hell of a head start with Latin for Spanish, Italian, French, Portugese and Romanian, just to name a few Latin langages !


Thanks for the boost and congratulations to you too. I love this program too. I am native English speaker (Australian!) and never did well in school with French and German. But a couple of visits to Ecuador and a boring start to learning Spanish with Pimsleur got me interested in learning Spanish and I found it fun. I also used other courses like Synergy for a change. I have been through the Pimsleur course three or four times before discovering Duolingo. Don't know exactly when I started but I am almost at 200 days without missing a day. About to start French as I am a fan of French songs. I'm still a slow learner with over 500 hours at a guesstimate, but it is fun. I use a small program called Cuecard to save every new word I find, and every verb as well, but I also write many sentences down in order to learn Spanish spelling. I recommend Duolingo to my friends and most of my family has taken up learning with it too.


Thanks! It's great you managed to convert your family to duolingo. I have been telling everyone I know about it, but so far only my wife has really taken to it :-)


I'm having my first go at Frnech today. Now I am feeling how I did when beginning Spanish, un une le la omg


Well, French is going to be a bit easier with Spanish under your tie (does this expression exist in English ?). And I can guarantee you won't regret learning it with all the great French songs there are out there. The thing is, English songs are about melody and rhymes (the human voice is but another instrument, the lyrics are generally not that important), but French songs are all about words. The melody isn't always good, but it just is poetry sung out instead of written down.

Have a listen to Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel and Boris Vian when you get there. These are all pretty well known. Then you can dig in a bit deeper and look for Plume Latraverse : he's a French speaking poet and songwriter from Quebec, Canada. It's a bit of a shame that he got known for his most vulgar songs, because a few less known songs are real masterpieces. Look up "Lit vert", "El Niño", "Mouton noir" or, if you know anything about history, "1837". This last song is about how the events of the patriots of French Canada are completely forgotten from our (Canadian) history class.


I have been listening to La Chicane (from canada) for years here in Australia, but almost impossible to translate. Lately I listen to Ginette Reno (Ca Commence is one favorite) but I will look up your suggestions. I know nothing about Canadian history at all!!


In English the expression is "under your belt." I thought you were going to suggest Serge Gainsbourg.


Thanks ! I knew there was something fishy about "under the tie" but couldn't put my finger on it (I'll admit I was a bit tired) ! It would have been better translated as "behind the tie" actually, so I was doubly wrong there !

As for Gainsbourg, of course, he's great, but he's already quite well known in the English speaking community so I didn't feel the need to recommend him.


Is Plume Latraverse a stage-name?


Yes, his real name is Michel Latraverse, but you'd find his songs only under his stage name.

Charles Trenet is another good one. No matter how you feel, you'll always turn happy listening to his songs !


I am level 22 in Italian and not quite through the entire tree, but I find that I don't need to rely as much on hover hints anymore, and every now and then I'll have a breakthrough moment where I type a long sentence and it gets accepted. Woo-hoo! I am getting the hang of it!

While I cannot feel confident enough to carry on a conversation or even understand most of what is being said in a normal sentence spoken at normal speed, I am much, much better at guessing what might have been said, now.

The key, I think, is to do some of this every day. I have done a unit every day, for over 300 days in a row, and I credit that for all of my success of sticking to it.


That is fantastic! ¡Enhorabuena!


That's fantastic! Congratulations!


I am an American that chose to live in Central America. Belize in fact, because they speak English. However most people speak Spanish due to historical reasons. Most people speak Spanish because of the early Spaniards, and the peoples have emigrated from surrounding countries. I have dabbled in Spanish, Italian, German etc because I have traveled a lot. So in 2013 I chose DL and have had great pleasure in using the course. I read local newspapers for practice. Recently I went out with a friend just to test my growth. ( I live on the Guatemalan border ). All the people I spoke with that night said I speak well. My weakness is hearing the language. But it is getting better if I ask them to speak a bit slower. HA


Just ask if you can hit their slow buttons.


"Whoa, whoa, where's your turtle button, man?"


bahahahahaa! xD I love it!


"Puedes hablar como una tortuga, por favor?"


Congrats!!! I've been learning Portuguese for 13 months, just got back from Brazil! Could understand about 75% of what people were saying and could express myself somewhat well too!


I'd like to share my experience.When I get to know a languge,I was attracted by it's music first.I remembered when I was listening to an English song-take me to your heart,how I wish I could master it someday.With the 9-year-compulsory course of English finished,I found myself can read text in English freely.But I'm still not good at English writing.Could you give me some advice?Thank you!


Great story! Let me ask you something: when studying at Duolingo, do you use paper and pen to take notes, or just do the lessons by themselves?

Abraços, e tudo de bom!


Hi thank you. No I hardly ever wrote anything down, things come around with practice so eventually they stick.


A tip regarding note taking. There is a great app call gFlash and I make flashcards for words I don't know (collected from Duolingo, reading novels and songs). You can put them in categories like verbs, etc. Its a handy and easy to use flashcard app.


Thanks for bringing that app up! I've been searching for something to use and it looks great! Thank you!


Congratualtions! I could not agree more. I too have been learning for about a year with DL and when I am around Spanish speaking people it is as if a veil had been lifted. I can't wait to go to South America! The only thing stopping me from tackling Italian is that I might not find operatic arias quite so sublime when I understand what they are actually saying!!!!! ;)


what an upbeat and positive story. Hooray for you! Enjoy the lingots. Number 37 is from me!


Props to you, this is really encouraging to continue =)


Thanks for sharing! Currently i'm level ten, in the middle of my tree, and I think I will finish it in about six weeks. That has been my goal since the beginning, and then move to the next language. But now i wonder... how useful is to level up to 25? In your experience, would you recommend to reach the top level, or by completing the tree is enough?



I've found my second time through the spanish tree to be very valuable (basically trying to get everything "gold" again. Part of this is that duolingo improved since I first completed the tree, but part of it is that with all my other spanish studies, it re-bases me in the grammar. Duolingo has been about a third of what I am studying (I've been working on it for about a year and a half), but I can now have good conversations with people and I just finished reading Harry Potter in Spanish - by the last few chapters I barely had to look anything up.


Congratz! I started last night and I love it.


Congratulations! I'm glad you persevered all the way to level 25!! This is very inspiring :D


It's always nice and motivating to hear stories like this. Congrats and keep up the good work!


u just did the immersion after u finished the tree?


Congratulations. I hope to one day achieve conversational fluency. I am currently much stronger when I read and write, where I can take my time to construct or absorb a sentence, as opposed to on the fly. I have been told by native speakers that my pronunciation skills are outstanding, and that if they did not know me, and just overheard me speaking, they would think I was a native speaker. My problem is I don't get enough spoken practice, only short bursts here and there with friends, or when mi novia comes over. I have resorted to singing along with Spanish music for spoken practice. Hopefully one day I will get there. Good luck with Italian.


That is such an inspiring story. Like you i thought i was going to give up (i started yesterday Thursday Febuary 14 2014, but now i actually believe in myself to go ahead and try. Thank you so much


I've felt it in every new language I've learned (first four I've learned before. I'm studying my fifth here on Duolingo) and it usually is just a question of hanging in there until you realize you can pick up a few words here and there either written of spoken. Then you get the confidence boost you need to see it through. One usually really get going about learning a language when one stops fearing one will make mistakes. Yes we make mistakes while learning, but it's part of the process : stop worrying that much and then it'll go smoothly.


This is great. Congratulations. When you start learning Italian, you might want to see if learning Italian for Spanish speakers is available on Duolingo. The idea is to use your second language to learn another one. It's called "laddering languages" and helps reinforce both languages.


Haha, that's what I do to learn German. When I first joined, there was no German from Spanish, so I signed up for German from English (which is my second language). I would like to learn Dutch and Swedish too, and now I will try to sign up for them from German if the option is available when I'm done with German.

(To be truthful, I think it's been easier for me to do German from English than it would've been to do German from Spanish!)


Yo también estoy haciendo eso. Estoy aprendiendo Alemán del Inglés y estoy practicando ambos. Y de pasada, también el Portugués.


Estoy totalmente de acuerdo. :D


Creo que lo mejor es elegir idiomas que se parezcan estructuralmente. :)


French would have helped a bit too for German, but not as much as English. Actually, French may help a lot more than we'd think for English : so many words in English come from French, all of that because the English aristocracy spoke French for nearly 400 years in England's courts. It may explain why there are so many Latin expressions in modern English...

[deactivated user]

    Great story story to which I can relate a lot. Laddering is pretty awesome. I am french canadian, english is my second language. I'm going through the spanish tree like willmcc did and my english has improved a lot since I started. I am level 20 now and working on reading my first novel!


    I was thinking of doing that with german and french! after i finish german, to strengthen my skills, i would learn french IN german!


    That is such a good idea!!!


    The French genders will seem trivial for you then !


    This is what I do. My native languages are Croatian and Italian, but here to learn Spanish I use English :)


    Hi, yes I have thought about it. So far there is no course to learn Italian from Spanish. However there is a course to learn German from Spanish that is incubating. I am keeping an eye on that one. :-)


    Well everyone who doesn't have English as their first language is doing exactly that (laddering languages) when they learn another language on Duolingo. For exemple, my first language is French, and I'm learning German from English, because I can't learn it directly from French (as of now) in Duolingo.

    Another great strategy is to try and teach your newly learnt language to someone else. You can't imagine how much you learn about a subject (be it a language or anything else) when you try to teach it to someone else !


    That is so true! Back when I was a TA and Tutor for first year Japanese, my skills sharpened up so quickly! And then when I moved and was unable to do those things, my skills dulled. I can't wait for the Japanese for English speakers course, because I'm going to spend a lot of time teaching grammar, pronunciation, and spelling in the Japanese Discussion forum :D


    I like his dedication. And I like your idea of learning a new language using the newly learned one...this "laddering"... very very interesting


    I'm looking forward to when I can ladder Japanese/Spanish. But, I'm going to do the Spanish reverse/mirror course first. (It's my Spanish 6 step plan! Tree, level 25, reverse tree, ladder course. And of course, translating in Immersion and reading lots of fanfiction in my target language) :D

    (PS And I'll be doing the same thing with Japanese. )

    Edited My plan is actually 6 steps. I was just thinking in terms of Duolingo trees earlier. Thanks to moodswinger for encouraging me to list the other two. :)


    Sounds like a real plan. Serious thought you're putting in. I like that way, but I'm not so hardcore. I'll try to focus on spanish tv shows; soap operas are "the stuff" in my country :D


    Usagiboy7's plan is great, but if you have a lot of Spanish content available, I would totally take advantage. I learned English by listening to music (and wanting to understand it!) and using the internet. :)


    hey good advice - I'd not thought about that


    Italian for spanish speakers is not available, unfortunately.


    @Earitol, Blargy, I keep forgetting that! I imagine we will have that course eventually.


    Yes, I'm pretty sure we will. German for spanish speakers is already in the incubator after all, so italian will probably be adapted to spanish too. :-)


    C'est très bons! Bonne chance amigo!


    ¡Felicidades! Learning in Duolingo is just the your step, keep it up and become a real native Spanish speaker!

    • 2688

    Very inspiring (not that is hasn't been mentioned already). Yet, based on my own skills I really enjoyed your story.


    pS I am thinking of learning Italian now too. And i heard a great way is to 'ladder' it, ie use your Spanish to learn Italian. It isn't an option yet on Duolingo but it will be soon, I hope!


    Im so happy for you, this is an awesome website, you definitely chose the right one!


    Realmente impresionante, yo tengo poco tiempo con Duolingo pero me ha encantado que también pueda entender otro idioma con más facilidad, éxito con el italiano y por aquí nos estamos leyendo.


    That is fantastic ! Many congrats !


    Amazing! Level 25 is still a dream for me. I hope you do try Italian next. It's lovely. I want to do Spanish. I started, but put it 'on hold' for the Italian.

    But did you really do just 118 hours, on DL? I feel like I've done ten times as much, yet am only half way through my tree


    Congratulations! If you already know Spanish, it will be easier to learn Italian. Also I used to think that I was bad at learning languages too, now I know the point is to find the right method :)


    he knows French too, which has a lot in common with Italian, so that means (plus knowing Spanish already) he can learn Italian with almost no difficulty at all. he knows the language already before he knew it. analogously speaking,he just needs to but ask the girl out to just realize she's already in love with him, madly! no effort and fret about seduction- just go for it!


    Actually, that's exactly what I did : I speak French as my first language and learned Spanish in school and then while travelling, then Italian came in as a breeze. I found the Italian grammar to be a wee bit more complex than the Spanish one though, but nothing as bad as the French one !


    I love hearing your story! Duolingo has created so many great stories for so many people already- for me, not only was Duolingo the only hope I EVER had at learning a language other than English, they even made it easy and fun, and Spanish has become a huge part of my life as a result! So glad there were people who put the dedication that they did into such a life-changing program!


    Huzzah, this is inspirational for me! I live in California but am learning Italian. I hope to pick up Spanish sometime... but communities of Japanese and Indonesian are also calling towards me!


    I loved how you quantified the hours and months it took you! +1 Lingot for your efforts!

    • 1506

    Felicitaciones y gracias por compartir tu linda experiencia.


    thanks for sharing your experience it will encourage me to keep going especially on the days when it doesn't go well! I thought learning a language was beyond me but I will keep going.


    Felicitaciones!! Yo también tengo el deseo de hablar más idiomas!

    Just one question... Is the level 25 the last one that we can achieve or there are more after this one?

    Thank you/Gracias!


    Thank you, level 25 is the highest level you can reach, I don't know if that is meant to change in the future or not.


    This is so inspiring. I only started here for Spanish today and moving to El Paso which is majority Spanish speaking. My goal is to be able to understand and even hold conversations with the people around me.


    Oh boy! You'll learn Spanish very quick in El Paso!


    I have 6 skills to complete, yet I feel I was bogging down on learning. So I have decided to go back and review. I thought it would just be basic stuff again, but it is not. Yes you will review basic words, but often DL throws in words from way down the tree to create a sentence. Past, present, future etc. Things you learn at the bottom of the tree comes back to the top. So in a way that is multiple review.


    your story gives me hope that despite being tone deaf and atrocious at verb tenses, i can still accomplish my goal of learning a second language. Best of luck to you!


    Thanks for your story! I, too, have experienced the positive result of my Duolingo dedication while in Peru recently. I was so happy to be able to converse.


    Can you tell me the lengths of levels in XP? I'm especially interested in lvl 24 length.


    There are 3,500 points from level 23-24. You get to level 24 when you have a total of 26,000 points. Level 25 is at 30,000 points. ^_^ I have it stored here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/1426103 under "Levels".


    Thank you, Usagi. The 525 points on lvl 8 and 600 on lvl 9 were very laborious and a bit annoying for me, but now I passed to lvl 10, willmcc inspired me and I have more power to go ahead. Now I have to tackle another challenge: I have to earn another 750 points :) .


    I just started on this site about a week ago, I'm making some progress in Spanish. Though I must say, I can only converse about people drinking milk and eating bread or chicken. :) However, it is a start and hopefully I'll stick with it.


    I have 6 skills to complete, yet I feel I was bogging down on learning. So I have decided to go back and review. I thought it would just be basic stuff again, but it is not. Yes you will review basic words, but often DL throws in words from way down the tree to create a sentence. Past, present, future etc. So in a way that is multiple review. So things you learn at the bottom of the tree will come back reviewing the top.


    We are about the same level ^.^ I think you'll love this app. I myself never knew learning a new language could be so addicting! Enjoy your lingot ;)


    Yes, it is very fun. Thank you for the lingot! Maybe soon will have a conversation en español! (;


    ¡Qué buenas noticias! ¡Te felicito!


    Level 11 Espanol. 52 days active. Mississippi native... Spanish with a twang... great stories on here. I can't wait until I can read Faulkner in Spanish!


    Great story, great success. ¡Enhorabuena a usted!


    Congratulations! How much XP was required to reach level 25?


    Thank you! 30'000...


    I'm very happy for you :) I learn spanish, too, and I hope one day I'll be able to talk in spanish.


    Inspired me to get going on learning! Thank you!


    Nice testimonial ;)


    Congratulations! It is terrific that you've been so successful with your new language. I'm curious, what was your level when you finished the Spanish tree?


    I think it's also very smart that you're learning Portuguese at the same time. I'm doing the same. The languages have a 92% lexical similarity. It's almost like learning two languages for the price of one.


    The other day, I went through some of the Portuguese from Spanish lessons. I was on the verge of Sportuguese. I think I'll do it that way a few times a week to help solidify my Spanish while bringing up my Portuguese.


    Congratulations to your remarkable accomplishment! I can't wait to share my own experiences when I reach fluency through this website!


    So great to hear a positive result. I am on level 8 and really enjoying duolingo. I also take Spanish class once a week. I can feel myself improving every week. This has now made me a lot more optimistic.



    Congratulations! (:


    I have always had a good memory for facts and i wanted to learn French and heard about DUOLINGO. Now i can ask basic questions and andswer basic questions


    ¡Bueno, bienvenido a nuestra comunidad de hablantes! :-)


    Are you French?I'm just learning it


    Hi, I am in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Bonne chance :-)


    They should make this into a movie, because this is really inspiring to me, a beginner. Thank you for telling the Duolingo community and inspiring a person to keep trying


    I just started today, lots of fun! thanks for sharing! Gracias!


    Come on!It's a brand new world!Welcome


    I don't know wheather it's true but learning italian after learning spanish can be really confusing... so may rethink it :)


    Having done it myself (with French before that), I'd say if you don't master Spanish well enough, either don't go into Italian or keep practising both at the same time with sustained effort, so as not to confuse the two. I regretted forgetting almost all of my Spanish while learning Italian (after being asked by a native if Spanish was my first language) because I stopped practising it. Now I feel I'll have to re-learn it as if it was the first time :-(. The up side of it is that now I know what not to do !

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