1 year on Duolingo: My adventure!
Today marks my 1 year anniversary on Duolingo. This past year has been a memorable experience, and I have learned many words in different languages (I befuddled my friends once), and I had a great time doing it!
I was introduced to Duolingo by a friend through another language-learning website, SpanishDict. I had a desire to learn Spanish at that time, and when my friend told me I could learn Spanish, plus many extra languages if I wanted, I decided to hook up an account on that website. That website was Duolingo, and I fell in love with it immediately.
For the first 124/125 days (I can't remember which one it was) since I started, I kept a solid day streak. It broke up when I went on a week-long camping trip with my family, but it was no big loss. During the first week, I learned more Spanish than I had on SpanishDict, which I had spent a good few months learning on. After a while, I decided to start learning a different language, and that language was German. I had always wanted to learn German, but I had never found a good program to do so. At first, I was pretty sluggish in German and stayed with Spanish, but after a while I could carry a decent 1-minute conversation in both languages.
I signed up for French, Esperanto, Russian, and Hebrew as well. That wasn't the best experience, as I barely did anything with any of the latter 3 languages, and it took away valuable time I needed to study Spanish, German, and French with. After a while, I decided to stop learning any Esperanto, Russian, or Hebrew.
At that time, in my first days here on Duolingo, Immersion was a big thing. Since I had signed up for Duolingo "too late", I couldn't access Immersion directly, but I could do so through other user's profiles. After I translated a few small sentences in Immersion, I decided to translate larger sentences and gain more XP that way. As you can imagine, I wasn't fluent enough in any language to translate sentences of 15 or more words, or even short sentences with advanced words. In order to still get lots of XP and translate big sentences, I used the Duobot. Oops.
The Duobot was an automatic translator, and could translate 100 word-large sentences automatically. It wasn't always correct, but it was pretty close. However, by using the Duobot, I didn't learn anything. By this time, I was already the highest rank, Level 25, in almost all of my langauges, without really learning anything. After a while, I decided to go to the home page and actually learn some French. I soon realized I had lost almost all of the information I had gleaned from my first days on Duolingo.
After a few days, I decided to stop translating sentences and start learning. I deleted all the languages I had reached Level 25 in except for Spanish, because that was the only language I believed I could have gotten to Level 25 with the translator. I re-started German and signed up for Portuguese. Now that Immersion has been stopped, all the XP I earn have to be through learning a language, and I am excited for that!
A few months after I deleted my earlier languages, the Romanian course was released. I started that course and fell in love with it instantly. It had lots of vowels, including three of the same letters in succession in a word that could be translated, and there was that way all the words were pronounced that made it sound so beautiful. I also started the Swedish course a few weeks ago, but I haven't really gotten into learning much of that yet.
In my first year, I also headed some discussion streams that lasted typically about 1 month each. These included: What is Your Favorite Word in (language), Weekly Spanish Sentences, National Holidays Today!, and Greek and Latin Morphemes for English Usage.
This past year has been fun and invigorating here on Duolingo! This year I aim to spend more time learning languages and not on the Discussion stream. I hope all of you Duolingo users out there are learning lots and having fun!
I have another tip. Directly after your lessons on Duo, commit to handwriting 5 to 10 original sentences using the skills you just learned. Make sure the sentence is specifically relevant to you, look up some vocabulary if you need to. And make sure you are writing by hand!
Slowing down and writing things by hand ingrains it. I learned Cyrillic easily just by practicing how the letters should be handwritten. On the same note, seeing yourself writing that accent mark over the vowel in this direction instead of that direction -- that muscle memory will train your brain to remember it when you type.
Congratulations! Here's a tip I have found useful in my own journey: keep the tree gold. You will not only retain more, you will learn new words easier. Good luck!
Haha! That was another memorable experience. I can't believe you still remember that!
You said it yourself. The experience was memorable.