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What I learned about learning; Finished French Tree in 238 Days

Finished my French tree today. I think it took me a bit longer than others I've seen post about it. Here's what I've realized about learning with Duolingo during the last 238 days. There isn't a comprehensive list of other resources in this thread but I'll list the ones I use regularly. If I can't find another thread that compiles all of the very helpful resources people have listed in other discussions I'll start one.

  1. I messed around for quite awhile before I got serious about Duolingo. I was only using the iPhone app and didn't really get the best way to progress. When I got serious about keeping my streak up and started using the website it began to click.

  2. My goal is to be conversational in French and Duolingo alone won't get me there, but it's a great start. It will be my starting point for every language I learn from now on. My goal is to add Spanish next and add more after that. I'd like to end up being conversational in 5-6 languages; since I'm in my 50's I don't have a lot of time to waste.

  3. Duolingo does their research and has a lot of really smart people working for them. They've published some very helpful information about how to learn a new language.

  4. There's a ton of great information on the discussion boards. I've found references to some great learning tools in other discussions. There are also helpful hints and inspirational stories from others.

  5. In my current streak (238 days as of writing this) I have streak freeze enabled but I've never used it. Some days I've only done one lesson but most days I've done more. My days, like most people, are pretty busy but learning French has become my hobby so I devote time to it daily. There are some incredibly long streaks and it's really interesting to follow the people who have them. However, my goal isn't to have a super long streak so I'm not obsessive about keeping it; I want to learn.

  6. One of the reason I think it's taken me a bit longer is that I'm keeping my tree gold pretty much every day. I haven't always moved forward b/c as the lessons progressed I had more & more lessons to complete. And if I could only do a few lessons in a day I would get behind. For the last several weeks I've been averaging around 500 xp per week in trying to get it completed.

  7. Keeping my tree gold worked for me b/c it forced me to keep reviewing lessons I didn't really understand yet. Eventually some things began to click and I realized I was actually learning! There are still many areas I don't understand though. Pluperfect is my mortal enemy.

  8. Reinforcing my learning with other resources has been very helpful. The ones I'm using regularly are Memrise.com, some french podcasts (frenchpod101.com, coffeebreakfrench.com are the ones I use most often) and some Udemy.com lessons. Search for other sources in the discussion boards & online. There is no shortage of free or inexpensive material out there. Other sources both reinforce and help some Duolingo concepts make sense.

  9. My passion for French is b/c my daughter is learning French and I want to converse with her and help her learn. Right now she's far more advanced than I am and doesn't want to spend time practicing with me but hopefully that will change soon!

  10. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed Duolingo didn't make a bigger deal out of finishing the tree. Oh well.

Hopefully some of that is helpful to others. I've benefitted from the posts other people have made and I hope to give back. Merci beaucoup!

July 3, 2017



Amazing! French is a beautiful language and Spanish is too!


Agreed! And since Spanish is similar to French hopefully it won't be too hard ;-)


A votre avis, lequel est mieux, Coffee Break French, ou frenchpod101 (repondez en francais sil vous plait, je voudrais que nous puissons ameliorer notre niveau de francais un peu) ? Presque tout que je connais en francais et a cause de Duolingo, mais je voudrais apprendre plus que Duolingo m'offre. Est-ce que n'importe qui connais un bon site web pour apprendre de nouveaux vocabulaire?


Vous me faites une tâche difficile! Excusez-moi si je n'écris pas correctement le français. Coffee Break French est ce que j'ai écouté le plus mais FrenchPod101 est très bon aussi. Je recommande d'essayer les deux.


Oh, I get ya about finishing tree not being a big deal! I finished it and .. nothing of note really happened :p Anyway, congrats and I'm sure pluperfect will make sense soon! My mortal enemy is subjunctive :/


Thanks! Subjunctive is also difficult for me currently; pluperfect is just what I had completed most recently when I wrote the post. I read your 100 day post on the day I finished my tree & it's what inspired me to write my own.


J'ai fini mon arbre de français trois fois, mais je ne sais pas qui je dois faire maintenant... Je suis seulement 59% fluide en français. Felicitation pour ton accomplissement!


Regardez des films en français ! Ça testerez ton écoute. Et aussi essayez l'arbre inverse. C'est une excellente pratique.


Merci! 59% est probablement proche du maximum pour la dotation Duolingo de ce que j'ai appris. Je recommande de lire des livres français faciles, regarder des films français, écouter Podcasts et essayer d'autres outils. De nombreuses discussions énumèrent d'autres outils; c'est une discussion qui m'a récemment aidé: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23306298.


What would you say your proficiency is in French now?


Reading is probably around 75% - 80%. Listening to native speakers and constructing my own sentences either writing or speaking is much lower. Duolingo says my fluency is 54-56%. One of my motivating moments was when a friend walked in with a bag from a French bakery in town and I realized I understood all the writing on the bag.


Good for you! I think we had a similar experience. I finished my French tree on day 365 of my streak, without using a streak freeze, and I also kept mine gold as I went with lots of review (although I think subjunctive is my mortal enemy, more than pluperfect ;-) ). Now that I've finished the tree, I really like https://french.kwiziq.com for improving grammar. Thanks for the podcast suggestions!


Subjunctive is probably a close 2nd for me as well! My next goal is to get to level 25 in French which will take a bit as I'm only level 18 now, a bit less than 700 xp away from 19. Thanks for the website!

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