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went from zero knowledge to A1.3, danke schön Duolingo! :)

In April I'm going to Germany for a German intensive course. I had intended to start there at A1 level as an absolute beginner, but on a whim I took the A1.3 placement test of a well-reputed language centre here, and passed with flying colours!

This means that I'll be taking their A1.3 class this month, and when I start in Germany in April, I'll be able to jump straight to A2.

The teacher giving me the oral segment of the placement test said she was very impressed, considering everything I learnt was through self-study. I started with absolutely no knowledge of German a few months ago. The only resource I used was Duolingo, although I admit I have a friend who's a native German speaker, and he helped me practise speaking it a little.

So, vielen Dank, Duolingo! Du bist toll :)

March 2, 2014



Prima! Viel Spaß beim Kurs!


Danke vielmals! :)


how i envy you! Ich hoffe zu eines tages nach Deutschland gehen! Ich bin froh für dich!


Wie ich dich beneide! Ich hoffe, eines Tages nach Deutschland zu gehen! Ich freue mich für dich!


that's what I meant ;)

Like I said:

Wie ich dich beneide! Ich hoffe, eines Tages nach Deutschland zu gehen! Ich freue mich für dich!

Danke schön.


wow, that is a pretty snazzy new profile picture! what is it? an alien Hobbes? oh i see! in large I see it is a cat wearing over alls! nice.


That's awesome! Congrats! And thanks for sharing this with us!


I was really happy when I found out! Thank you, it was my pleasure :)


Congrats, keep up the good work! German is a beautiful and very useful language, so I wish you good luck with yours :).


I'm really enjoying it so far. Thank you! :)


Prima! Out of curiosity.. Wie oft hast du die "Immersion" benutzen?


Danke :) Mhm...täglich! Es ist sehr nützlich :)


Good for you! I get so nervous attempting even a little German with my friend and we talk just over Skype! Best of luck and enjoy your time in Germany. I went for 2 and 1/2 weeks and haven't stopped thinking about it since.


Thanks, I'm really looking forward to my trip! :) I know exactly what you mean - "what if he laughs at me oh god what if I mess up my syntax and end up sounding like Yoda" etc etc... But really, there's no better way to learn a language than talking to somebody fluent in that language, especially if they're patient enough to go slow and help you out periodically!


I know, it's true there is no better way to learn but it's so embarrassing! I've considered asking him if we could have a German day once a week or so.. I might be able to handle that.


No one with half a brain will laugh at you if you get something wrong. Especially not your friends. They might laugh at what you said but you should be able to laugh about things like that yourself.

Think about it this way: If somebody's making an effort learing your language and gets something wrong, would you think "what an idiot"?

Go for it! :)


That works! I encourage you to give it a try :)


Congrats, and thanks, biscuitbarrel, for sharing this with us and inspiring me! Good luck in Germany. Germans will appreciate your hard work ;)


Hey, gratuliere dir! Tolle Leistung!

Es ist schön, so etwas zu lesen. Ich lerne Italienisch mit Duolingo, und dein Erfolg gibt mir gerade einen kleinen Motivationsschub.

Viel Spaß in Deutschland und liebe Grüße aus Wien! ;)




Wunderbar. Viel Spaß in Deutschland!


Ich hoffe, dass ich Spaß haben werde! Danke :)


Congratulations, and thanks for sharing! I'm pretty much in the same situation -- self-studying Spanish with duo and feeling like a total beginner -- so it's great to hear that it really works!!

Good luck on your German program! It sounds like a blast. :)


Thank you! It really does work, keep going at it! :) Nothing beats that feeling when you read a newspaper headline in that language you were learning, and suddenly realise, hey, I understood all of that! WOAH.


I can't wait!! I have a couple of short stories saved for when my Spanish reading hits intermediate level, and I'm really looking forward to it. :D


Awesome! Best of luck to you ;D


Thanks, you too! :)


Congrats! Keep practising ;)


will do, thank you! :)


Wow! Das ist super! Glad to see it really works!


Same here, as I will be on exchange in Germany from April on, I signed up for an intensive language course starting next week. My goal was the finish the entire tree, so I could go straight to one of the upper levels and wouldn't have to spend class-time on things I could study myself by Duolingo. Actually even signed up for the B2 course; maybe still a bit high for speaking, but think it's okay for reading/writing. Thanks Duolingo!


Well done! Although, I think B2 might be pushing it a bit - Duolingo can probably get you to completion of A2 level, maybe a bit of B1, but thereon you would require some supplementary resources and practice. When you signed up for the class did they not require some sort of a placement test? Also, since you're going for an exchange, I would recommend that you focus more on speaking, since that's essential for every-day conversations!


True, though I have the big advantage of being a native Dutch speaker, which makes it fairly easy to understand German once you've got used to it. Duolingo has helped me to understand how the different syntax and grammar works. Interestingly I can now recognize many German words that I've never learned through Duolingo, just because I got more used to deciphering German. I can understand the B2 material on DW without any problems now. But yes, there will be a placement test next Monday actually, so let's see!


Ah, I see, that's a pretty damn big advantage! ;) As long as you're doing alright with comprehending the B2 material it should be no problem for you. Best of luck with the placement test. Whereabouts in Germany will you be?


Thanks :-) Only advantage of knowing Dutch... I will be in Göttingen, exactly in the center of the country. Never heard of it before, but apparently it's a really nice student town. The semester will be all in English, but Duo has helped me a lot to also be able to communicate outside the university :)


Ah, nice! I'll be near Frankfurt, fingers crossed I'll be able to communicate in my halting pidgin German. Have fun, and take a lingot for luck ;)


What are the "ranks" of classes. You mentioned A1, A1.3 and A2. What do they all mean and how many levels are there?


Good question! Most, if not all, language centres classify language abilities by tiers according to the CEFR - the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The 6 tiers from lowest to highest are namely A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. Sometimes language centres split tiers even more i.e. they offer classes in A1.1, after which you move on to A1.2, then A1.3, following which you're considered to have "completed" A1 and are now ready to start learning at A2 level.

More information on CEFR here: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/cadre1_en.asp Descriptors detailing approximate ability of each tier: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/elp/elp-reg/Source/Key_reference/Lingualevel_EN.pdf


Congratulations! I'm also hoping to study in Germany soon-ish, hearing your great results gives me a lot of motivation :)


That is so great!! I'm more hyped to continue self-studying now.


Herzlichen Glückwunsch und viel Spaß hier in Deutschland! Ich hoffe, du triffst viele nette Menschen und erlebst spannende Dinge! :)


thanks awfully! I'm looking forward to my time there very very much :D


That's awesome! Congratulations! :) If you don't mind me asking, what was the placement test website?


Thank you very much! :) I took the test in person, so as far as I know it's not available online. Sorry about that :( However, there are plenty of other "mock" placement tests online. I would recommend you try http://www.goethe.de/cgi-bin/einstufungstest/einstufungstest.pl


Thanks for this, and yay for you! I love to read stories like this--keeps me motivated! Keep up the good work and good luck ^^


I'm glad to have helped! And the same to you, my friend :)


Sehr gut! ausgeseichnet


That's fantastic! How many months did it take you on Duolingo to get to that point?


I started using Duo last year, but I only seriously started practicing and learning German this year - so I would say 5 months of casual learning :)


Congratulations, Biscuitbarrel! Where were you in your tree when you took the exam?


Approximately halfway through, just after Modal Verbs. If you finish the Genitive Case, Nominative Adverbs and Accusative Adjectives skill I'd say you'd pretty much be A-okay for an A1 exam!


Thanks! I'm so close! :-)


How close are you to finishing your tree? I started Duolingo just over a year ago and am about to sign up for A2 classes by the end of the month. If it wasn't for Duolingo, I never would have been as consistent with my language learning as I have been.

Ich hoffe, dass ich bald meine A2 Prüfung bestehen kann, vielleicht nach etwa drei Monaten. Viel Glück!


I agree, they've hit upon a very good way of getting you to practice daily.

Copypasta from one of my replies further above: I'm approximately halfway through, just after Modal Verbs. If you finish the Genitive Case, Nominative Adverbs and Accusative Adjectives skill I'd say you'd pretty much be A-okay for an A1 exam!

Viel Glück, du schaffst das! :)


i really like what your doing my family and i have been travelling around the world for 4 month and we've alreaddy been to Germany so i recommend you go to Berlin and Stuttgart and try a dish called swabbish :)


Toll! Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Do you think you can reach even farther to the B and C levels with the help of Duolingo?


Danke sehr! :) I'm fairly certain A2 is a possibility, but to be entirely honest C seems out of the question. The skills required at the C levels are something Duo in its current state cannot yet teach; it would be very difficult to go it alone without a teacher for the higher levels! Although that being said, the B levels might be possible if Duo is coupled with other sites for targeted vocab learning and general reading, as well as having a partner fluent in the language to practice speaking with and to explain rules and colloquialisms.

p.s. take everything I say with a grain of salt, I am no language field expert! All I am is a keen learner :)


if you do a lot of immersion translation you might. the immerion has the regional slangs in it that you wouldnt get from duolingo, so it helps to understand the local idioms. i find the immersion to be more fun than the tree, but completeing the tree might be a requirement first because you see/reviewed a lot of words and can refer back to it. you might also find articles that you think are cool based on your interests. there are some cool car reviews in the spanish immersion, but go to the sections that you like and translate those.


I agree! I keep focusing on the articles of bands I like ;)


That's awesome. Congratulations. German ist nicht einfach aber es macht Spaß.


Danke! Du bist genau richtig.


Da hast du recht.

Du bist genau richtig. would mean "You are an exactly right being". or maybe "You are in the right place."


Thanks for the heads up! Guess I still need more practice :P I should've said "das ist genau richtig". Although, would it also be correct if I said "du bist exakt recht"?


recht and richtig are tricky. I think recht as been replaced by richtig over time. So in modern German the adjective for correct is richtig. recht has still survived with some verb combination, mainly recht haben/being right and recht behalten/to have been right all along. There is also jemandem recht geben which is to agree/attest that someone is right and a Dativ-construction similar to Mir ist kalt./(It is cold for me)/I'm cold: Es ist mir recht./It is ok by me.. rechtgläubig is believing in the right religion, you can see how that must be on old one ;D.

Back to your sentence, for a person to be right, you have to use haben in German not sein.

Du hast so recht. You are so right

Da hast du sowas von recht. ("sowas von" is a colloquial-only intensifier, not to be used in formal writing.) You are so right, I mean totally, duh.

I can't idomatically fit genau/exactly in, there, because recht haben seems to be all or nothing. To get genau into the sentence I would use another verb liegen. This one does not combine with recht but with richtig.

Da liegst du genau richtig. (You lie exactly right) You are spot on there."


Very very detailed answer, thank you tremendously! I've copied all of that down and will try to work those phrases into my conversation somehow... :)


That's encouraging for me


Which level of the German course in Duolingo have you finished? :)


Currently I'm approximately halfway through, just after the Genitive Case :)


congrats. it's quite inspiring. looking forward to hearing more good news from you


thank you very much for your kind words :)


This is awesome! I'm still learning German via Duolingo and by watching a few German films (Lola Rennt, Vier Minuten).

I wish to get reach this level too

Danke, schön!


Congrats. How are your A2 and further studies progressing. Do share your experiences. Danke.


Pretty good, actually! I'm doing proper language courses (C1) now at my uni, and I'm due to take the TestDaf next week - I wrote this a year ago, so that makes more or less 4 levels in a year :) Duo got me from knowing absolutely nothing to the beginning/middle of A2 and gave me a pretty solid foundation for everything else from there on. Anything really is possible! ;)


Wow, That's cool. Hearty congratulations on your progress and best wishes for the C1 level.


Thanks very much! I wish you all the best, too!


Danke. Bitte schön.

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