Guaraní level 25
I thought some might enjoy or perhaps benefit from an account of reaching such a milestone in one of the lesser-known corners of Duolingo. To that end:
I began the course the day it came out. I was immediately taken in by the sound of this marvelous language. The beginning of tree was frankly a bit rocky, but a few lessons in things settled down. The "Jopará" part of the name of the course refers to a variety of the language that makes a great deal of use of Spanish words placed into a framework of Guaraní grammar. In short, there's quite a bit of Spanish in the course, and I was able to go through the tree fairly quickly, with little review. Of course, I wasn't mastering anything, but I was getting a more comprehensive overview of the language. I got the golden owl at a mere level 10, but I knew that was just a starting point.
I went through the tree again staying with each skill until I'd gotten something of a reasonable handle on it. I think at least in part because I'd already "finished" the tree, I got quite a good amount of translation into Guaraní on this second pass. Of course, this greatly aids learning. I routinely got 9 of 20 questions in timed practice as translations from Spanish, some multiple choice, some free response. In untimed practice, it could even be more than half into Guaraní, and there was a reasonable amount repeating lessons as well. Naturally I'm not completely sure why I benefited from this fortuitous circumstance. I was just as comprehensive in the first third or so of my Dutch tree, going skill by skill until I could easily complete full timed practices, yet I never had anything like the same percentage of translation into Dutch. This is the biggest reason I think it had something to do with having gotten the golden owl first, although it may also relate in some way to the Guaraní tree's lack of the dictation exercises, which the Dutch tree does have and which I'd found difficult.
I'd be curious if others who've kept learning/reviewing after attaining their golden owls have noticed anything similar regarding getting more translations into the target language.
In my second pass through the tree, I first redid the lessons a time or two (quite often two), so as to reacquaint myself with the material and get it somewhat loaded into my short term memory. Then I would have a go at timed practice. If in several tries I couldn't get more than two or three right before running out of time, I'd use untimed practice for a bit to get a first look at more of the sentences that might come up. I'd usually take the opportunity to make sure I'd reported obviously missing answers, a valuable learning opportunity in itself, and ask questions in the sentence discussion if I had them. Normally after not more than one or two untimed practices I'd have reasonable luck back with the timed version ("reasonable luck" at first meaning "able to transcribe the hover hints fast enough"). I prefer it because I've just found it to be a marvelous way to move new vocabulary into long term memory. It also keeps the sessions from getting too long should there be a number of missing answers (or I start making mistakes).
Throughout all of this, I would read any existing sentence discussion (there aren't so many of these as yet) since they contain a lot of valuable information and there aren't too many places to go for Guaraní explanations. Since the discussions were often quite short, I could often just continue with timed practice after taking a look, but if there were anything worth contemplating for a while, I would focus on it and let time run out. The same went for coming upon any sentence where a grammar point escaped me: I would work out how to frame the question, and then simply begin another timed practice session when I'd finished. I noticed that often the sentences with the most interesting grammar are the ones that come up the least often, so I wanted to capitalize on the opportunity of their having shown up.
I think due to not having been out so long, sometimes the variety of sentences I'd get in timed practice seemed quite limited. Then I would do more untimed. For almost every skill, though, there were sentences that only showed up when I actually redid the lessons. (I assume, incidentally, that this is related to why sometimes people's skills won't regild no matter how much strengthening they do.) I wish Duolingo would work on this, but it's a large part of why I redid the lessons more than I otherwise would have.
My second trip through the tree obviously took much longer than the first. I rarely worked on more than one skill in a day. And I reached the end of the tree at level 23. Then I began again from the top, generally able to move fast — at long last. However, I had plenty to learn from skills where the vocab hadn't been used much later in the tree and from the few skills that just hadn't given me much sentence variety on my second pass, a situation that seemed much improved. So 2/3 of the way through this third pass brought me to level 25. My 2nd Guaraní reference grammar has just come, and it's a lot easier to understand than the 1st one, so I think that's where by Guaraní attention will be mostly turning for now. I'm planning to write / compile some "grammar portal" type posts in the Guaraní forum to try to make things a little easier for others (and learn something myself, too).
Guaraní is the 6th or 7th most spoken language in the Americas, its vitality protected and preserved through centuries of colonialism, and the first language indigenous to the hemisphere to gain official status. 400 years ago the first work documenting described it as "so copious and elegant that it can compete with the most famous [of languages]." I am deeply grateful for Duolingo's having provided the opportunity to get a good introduction to it. The tree still needs work to get out of beta, however. Any Guaraní speakers reading this, please consider applying to contribute! Or simply subscribe to the Guaraní discussion forum, and answer some of the questions in the sentence tab.
For a glimpse of the language, here's a recent movie trailer that features the sort of Guaraní-Spanish blend taught in the course: https://youtu.be/t1ax_XInBLE
After reading your detailed post I can say I am more intrigued than ever about this language. I have had a play around with it, however, as you mentioned, the start of the tree is a little sketchy. I am definitely going to look into this more tonight (p.s. that film trailer looks awesome, I am going to watch it)!
Massive congratulations on level twenty five in such a fascinating language!
Congrats! Its nice to hear about the "lesser-known corners of Duo," especially since we almost never hear about the non-English trees. I tried Guaraní when it first came out but soon deleted it since I just wanted to try it out (and I don't know enough Spanish to make it all the way down the tree).