Woo hoo! I just achieved level 25 in French.
My reference points for people who are on the path to learning:
I joined Duolingo 1 year and 2 days ago.
Prior to Duo... Wayyy back when, I "studied" French in high school and college. I could read a little but I had no real skills. You have to be internally motivated to learn a language or you will know just enough to succeed on a test and then forget it all.
November 2012, I purchased Fluenz French levels 1 - 5. I completed all 150 lessons in about 9 months. Excellent grammar lessons.
In spring of 2013 I heard about Duolingo. I tried to skip ahead to the first checkpoint but I was missing some vocabulary and certain concepts. Duolingo is great for drilling and it filled in many of my missing elements.
Before my current streak I had another medium-long streak. I find being here daily is crucial to solidifying the language in my mind.
I wish I would have started the immersion section earlier than I did. Don't be afraid to wade in slowly. Find what you can do and do it.
I do a lot of speed drills on Duo. It's still hit or miss for me at times, but I'm capable of putting 19's and 20's up on the board (and 0's if I think too long on the first problem and then blow it!) I think the timer forces me to think in French; there isn't a lot of time to mentally translate and then answer.
I supplement with Barron's French Verb Workbook--it's great for covering all the verb tenses and filled in even more gaps of my knowledge.
Am I fluent? No. I might be in between B1 and B2 of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages. I think I could carry on a straightforward, not too complicated, conversation with someone who was patient with me. I find myself trying to say things in French more and more, and I'm flexible within my limitations.
It's always a wonderful feeling to nail a complex translation on Duo. I surprise myself from time to time.
I'm looking forward to trying out my skills in France this year. I've worked hard on my pronunciations -- Gabriel Wyner's youtube presentation is fantastic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI2Pso1dDjM
Future plans. I'm going to try Spanish for French speakers as soon as it goes beta. I think this will help me start thinking in French, or at least force me out of my English more. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!
I'd like to thank the kind and knowledgeable people who helped me here along the way. Thanks to everyone. Duolingo really is a community.
I like that idea, using a recently learned language with the next language to learn, but they don't have what I want, as yet :( French for Italian speakers
It'll be a good while before I get to the Italian speaking stage, though. Hmm, I could probably do the first section of skills quite easily.
Very nice to read indeed. What I find astonishing and appreciative is the fact that you accomplished such a long streak twice; I would be greatly discouraged when I would lose my streak right now.
You're also going to do the two best advices I possibly could have had for you: Going to a French country and learning another language in French. I'm convinced that you will ameliorate your French up to a very good level. All the best to you =)
jdberry300 I share your sentiment. Like you I studied french years ago, up to O Level in my case, but did not continue with it, though I loved it. Many years later I tried to continue with it but was not motivated enough and would start and then drop it a couple of times till 2014 when I made up my mind I will continue with it. I started attending evening classes and reading the books I buy, buying and downloading cds from people such as Michel Thomas, Paul Noble, Pimsleur cds etc.
I was told about and started Duo last year (2015), but only a couple of levels into it I found I got stuck and could not go any further. I therefore forgot about it and concentrated with my other forms of learning the language, This year in June or July I was encouraged once more by someone to use Duo and I continued from the level I left off. When I finished the tree at level 13 it seems as if I was stuck once again but now I knew about the discussion group and I ask and received the answer as to how to proceed. I think Duo should improve on the information aspect as without me actively seeking out how to proceed I won't have known and would have been discouraged once again.
Any way I have just achieved Level 25!!.
It is not easy and has been a hard slug, but if you stay motivated you can achieve it!
Be prepared though to give it many hours of your time!
My advice to anyone trying to achieve this is "have patience and fortitude". Don't be discouraged if you are marked wrong for missing a "miserly 's'" in your translation and you feel like swearing "hissing " in my case at Duo.
I found also that I got more points by doing the drills, but be warned you have to know your grammar in other to do this as otherwise you will be spending time hoovering over the translation and will lose time.
I am going to apply this advice to the other languages that I am presently learning on Duo, as apart from French, I have never learnt these languages before. I started Spanish last year by listening to some cds from Paul Noble and became hooked. I started learning it on duo some months ago and I know I must learn the vocabulary otherwise it's going to be a struggle to attain level 25.
Good luck to the Duo members and thanks to everyone in the Duo community for enabling us to study foreign languages for FREE!! Where can you find that these days. Trust me I've spent enough money on language learning to know that. I therefore think we should appreciate Duo for this service. Thanks once again DUO!!!
True, but it does help, speaking from a gamer's point of view :)
I voted up both comments, because they are both true :)
Well done. I "learned" French at school many years ago (significantly far into the last millennium) but lack of use resulted in losing most of it. I recently got to Level 14 and a finished the French tree after a 21 day streak on Duolingo which is a testament to the usefulness of DL but still leaves me woefully short of what I think I used to be able to do. Can an old dog learn new tricks? (or should I use the suggested phrase of "Ce n'est pas aux vieux singes qu'on apprend à faire des grimaces")?.