My German tree: golden & complete!
Today I finally joined the elite ranks of those who have completed the German tree, over five years after first signing up for Duolingo! I ended on a 160-day streak, with 55% fluency, and at level 21.
Really, it's mostly these past 160 days that did it. I had done a good chunk of the original German tree, and some translation, but had let it lapse until most of my skills were depreciated. Even after I re-started (and stopped fooling around with other languages for a while), it seemed like I would never get to the end, as new skills were added at least twice since I started the tree!
Here's what I think made a difference for me:
I practiced every day, even if just for 10 points.
I used both the desktop and the Android app. This was crucial, because, even though the desktop version is better, the app is a great way to make use of time that would otherwise go to waste.
On the desktop, I started doing timed review, even though I really don't like the pressure. (It drives me crazy when a single typo makes me get things wrong!)
I did a bit of vocabulary drill with Memrise (early on), Anki (off and on), and Lingvist (very recently), but not enough to make much difference. I also explored some of the other great resources that folks have shared here, like Easy German https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbxb2fqe9oNgglAoYqsYOtQ and Nachrichtenleicht http://www.nachrichtenleicht.de/, though not enough to make a big difference. And I listened to some German music (which, of course, I would do anyway).
I should add that I wasn't starting from zero: I studied German intensively for two months in Heidelberg. But that was so long ago that, back then, it was in WEST Germany! I think my pronunciation is a lot better than it would otherwise be because of that experience, but Duolingo has definitely gotten me a bit further than I was even right after I returned from Germany.
For those who are wondering, I can say that, by the end of my time in Germany, I had reached the point where I could travel, order things, and even have a conversation—if the German I was talking to was very patient! I'm guessing maybe that was around A2 or B1? Anyway, I now feel as though I could easily reach B1 fluency with some additional self-study. Hopefully I will find time later this summer to take the test here on Duolingo, and then maybe take a Goethe Institute test somewhere this fall, and report back.
Thanks to Duolingo for this great resource! And thanks to all of you for so many useful suggestions!
My plans right now are to increase my fluency in German, including by finishing the reverse tree (which I started a month or two ago). Later, I want to get back to learning Dutch, which I also really enjoy.
I may also have a special project to share with you later this summer. I DJ a weekly radio show http://radioeschaton.com/, and I usually play at least a bit of German music. Well, I've been thinking that I may want to do an entire show this summer where I announce everything in German and play only German music. I'll have to see if I can find time to work on that, but stay tuned...
First, I have found the same 3 things very useful in my progress with German. Second, with your interest in German, Dutch and music, if you haven't already discovered him, check out Herman Van Veen https://www.youtube.com/user/HermanvanVeenChannel
He is Dutch but writes and performs most of his music in both German and Dutch. He seems to issue the same CDs in both languages.
Congrats! Good inspiration.
If you are looking for resources to take you to the next step I've been using: http://deutschkurse.dw.com/KursPlattform/WebObjects/KursPlattform.woa/wa/UAAuthDA/auth?par=G5n9iMqPUIqm93qsNXWNH45V0
It's from DW who does good things. DW also has a podcast called Langsam Nachrichten which just as it sounds is news spoken slowly. It's a good resource for more listening. They have the transcripts online too so you can go read along if you want.
Congrats. I feel like I have been learning German for years (well I have actually) because life always seems to get in the way right as I get on a roll, and before I know it I have not touched anything German in 6 months or more. I do find I advance a little more with each new start but damn I finally want out of A1.
I have just started two days ago. A very long road to hopefully one day living in Germany with my German girlfriend, fingers crossed Duolingo can be one piece of the puzzle to me achieving this.
Am going to start having lessons as well, but getting to the end of the tree feels like a long way off so congratulations!
Ausgezeichnet! I learned German from birth because I am a first generation American to German parents but unfortunately the older I got the less they spoke it so I never became fully fluent, I have been to Germany and have friends in Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Wuppertal. I have restarted 3 times because I get tired of testing out of things I know, so I started just doing the lessons anyways but that became even more boring (like a college student taking a 5th grade spelling test over and over) though I do enjoy relearning it still gets a little repetitive sadly. This time I'm hoping to just push through all the stuff I know and deal with the boredom and repetition to get to the things I need to learn. But congratulations on completing your tree.
Would you believe me, if I told you that I managed to pass Goethe B2 exam, thanks to Duolingo?
My suggestion would be to watch German tv series (Tatort is my favourite one) and read... read a lot, whatever belongs to your area(s) of cultural/personal/professional interest is a good starting point: it keeps you motivated in reading, and helps to widen your vocabulary
Well, the English one, at least, is the "reverse tree" (English for German speakers). But, let's see... French was to find out how much I remember from high school (very little); Dutch because it's like a crazy cross between English and German that is so much fun; Swedish because I was curious how close it was to German and Old English (sort of, but not nearly as close as Dutch); and Turkish because it would actually be useful for my research. :)
I did something similar. Learning German is my main focus but I studied Spanish in high school and thought, just for fun, I'd just check it out on Duolingo. It turned out to be an ego-booster when I felt overwhelmed with German language complexities. After both those trees were completed and gold, I started Italian just because I've always liked the sound of the language. But I'm working on that very very slowly because German is still my main focus. German/English reverse tree is probably next although I'm spending a lot more time translating and learning German songs now. Also, I find it interesting that I can understand small bits of Dutch from the German I've learned.