Over a whole year of German and still no noticeable improvement
I've been taking the German course for the past year now. But I'm not having any noticeable improvement. At this point I personally need some way to vent out and express my concerns with the community. From my experience I feel like Duolingo teaches me more English than German. Not only does this issue put stress on me, but it also makes me lose hope in my ability to learn a 2nd language. At this point learning German doesn't even feel like a goal anymore. Instead it feels more like a chore. Not only does that make me wanna quit after I reach my daily goal, but it just hurts to see myself fall behind other learners that started around the same time as I did. I'd like it if Duolingo would add in ways to motivate users to learn more often than just daily streaks. :(
By all means, my friend, vent away!
Let's face it, learning, and becoming fluent in, a second language is by all accounts one of the hardest things to accomplish in life. It is no small undertaking! And while there are many great free resources available to us (Duolingo, etc.), one must fully immerse themselves in the language they wish to learn to become truly fluent. This is not to say that you are not experienced with the website/app, as your designation clearly indicates, but rather, perhaps this is an indication to take your knowledge to the next level.
Duolingo in itself will not make you fluent in a certain language. That kind of skill only comes with daily practice and immersion in daily life. Try to incorporate more and more of your skills into daily functions. For instance, I no longer say, "I'm hungry". Instead, I have replaced the expression with its German counterpart, "Ich habe Hunger". My friends/family/coworkers chuckled at first, but when they realized I was taking my comprehension of a second language seriously, they were very supportive!
With that being said, DON'T GIVE UP! Sure, you're in a rough spot with your learning, but think of all that you HAVE learned! Give yourself more credit, my friend! :)
If you have been doing Duolingo for a year, well, I'll just be honest: you've probably gotten as much benefit as you're going to get out of it at that point. Duolingo doesn't take you all the way to fluency; the general consensus is that at the very best, Duolingo may take you to somewhere around the B1 level. At this point you will want to start supplementing Duolingo with other resources to extend your learning, because Duolingo isn't going to take you much farther from here. I still maintain my streak here for the moment, because occasionally I see a word or phrase that I didn't know, but we're talking about individual words on a rather occasional basis; by and large I couldn't count on Duolingo to develop my German skills from where I am anymore. Don't be unhappy or discouraged: you are doing fine, you've just reached the point where you've outgrown Duolingo. :)
You're certainly not alone. Just about every day some one starts a discussion asking how others stay motivated. I think the wisest advice I've read is to remember why you started this journey. Were your reasons valid? Do they still apply? If yes, then you've rediscovered your inspiration.
Don't compare your progress to anyone else. You're not in competition with anyone but yourself. There's no way for you to know what their circumstances are. If you try to compete with others, you may find it's not a level playing field.
If you decide to continue this journey, find the approach that works best for you. May that's not Duolingo. There are plenty of other resources available that use different approaches. It's your journey. Don't let some one decide how you will travel it.
How often have you spoken to German speakers in that year?
Duo is only here to teach you the basics. The fastest way to improve is to start speaking to people as soon as you're comfortable.
If you don't have any natives nearby, find a paid tutor or a free conversation partner on a site like https://www.italki.com/teachers/german. You need to be speaking several times a week if possible.
Alternatively, you can chat with natives on language learning apps like HelloTalk. :) Look for it on Google Play / Apple Play Store and if it doesn't suit you exactly, there are numerous similar apps out there. :) You can pretty much use it like Facebook messenger, minus the games.
Hey Crouching Narwal,
It's good to vent (as long as it's not you just yelling and not saying anything specific), as the folks at Duolingo can see how they can improve. As for me, I understand how you feel. So much of Duolingo is translating to English, which is pretty easy when the words look like English words, so you just make smart guesses. I remember being far into Duolingo, and realizing I have no idea how to say the most basic things (the French one), which got me annoyed.
As for the German version of Duolingo, I don't use it much as it is so difficult to understand what the robot voice is saying. I use Memrise daily for my German as they pronounce words more and they have you spell them out more often.
But anyways, long story short... there are other programs that you should use! Try YouTube videos and Memrise if you want something free (me, I pay for Memrise). I also use Babbel which is my favorite, and I feel the price is reasonable. I use other programs as well, but so I don't drag on with this post, I'll leave it at that for now.
I wish you the best in your German! LOL, I realized I have no idea how to say that in German! :-P
Don't give up. The lessons can become tiresome if you don't apply them here and there. I like to read short stories in German...the books by Andre Klein are perfect for exercising what you've learned...and they even make me chuckle sometimes. Try Café in Berlin. It is simply written - about 50 pages and only a couple of bucks. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18806935-learn-german-with-stories You may not understand everything in it, but let the words wash over you and before you know it....you know it. I read a chapter out loud every night. It irritates my wife and kids, but that's just an added bonus.