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Reverse Trees

After thinking about it for quite a while,I finally got around to starting the reverse tree for English from German. I'm a native English speaker. Since my Spanish skills are better than my German, I decided to also start German from Spanish and Spanish from German. This is proving to be an interesting mind-bender. After a few exercises, it is getting easier but I'm sure it will be more challenging once I get further along on the tree.

It seems like it might be a good way to short circuit the automatic translation into English and train thinking in the target language. I'd be interested in the comments of others who have tried this.

July 22, 2017



This corresponds to my experience. I, a native speaker of German, learn "French from English", "Italian from English", "Italian from French" (and some other combinations ...). I think that moving among these different languages makes my thinking more flexible, and I like this.

Moreover, when I have time, I read the "discussions" for some phrases. This gives me additional exposure to all my foreign languages, and I also learn different opinions about the translations offered by Duolingo, which deepens my understanding.

Only sometimes, when I'm very tired, I don't know which language I'm supposed to write my reply in ;-) Overall, I'm very happy with all these "diagonal trees". ;-))


Yes, making thinking more flexible is a good way to put it. Danke


It's called "laddering", and I made a post discussing about it not too long ago. Here's a link if you're interested. I have been learning French from German on Doulingo. This way, I can learn French while still maintaining my German. It's fun and I would recommend other language learners to do it if they feel confident enough in a second language.


Thanks for that link


You're welcome, I wonder why I'm the only one here that got down-voted...


Don't worry about it....maybe someone just clicked the wrong space <g>


Yeah, the reverse trees usually prove to be helpful. Just doing English from Spanish (as a native English speaker) makes me think in Spanish. I also did a little Italian from Spanish just to start being able to think between both without wanting to revert to Spanish exclusively. Reverse trees and laddering get really hard sometimes but it's worth it.


I'm not far enough along in Italian to want to try a Spanish/Italian combination. First I need to seperate all the words that are close but different between the two languages.


I read on Glossika.com that learning a third language from a second language—Italian from Spanish, for example—is a proven technique for reducing the confusion between the two.

So if learning Italian from Spanish appeals to you, don't let the fear of interference stop you.


Thank you for that insight. I may try the Italian/Spanish eventually.. The German/Spanish (and reverse) is taking most of my practice time now, plus finally asbsorbing some German grammer that has eluded me in the past.


I tried the same thing (i.e. learn German from Spanish while being a native English speaker). However, I have not yet finished my German tree, and thus have not fully committed to the endeavor. It is a very interesting mental exercise. When I do do it, I think it will help to reinforce my knowledge of Spanish. One thing that I have noticed is that I sometimes have difficulty recalling Spanish words that I otherwise know. It is as if my brain has difficulty making the connection between the German word and Spanish word without the involvement of English.


Yes, I find the same difficulty but it has gotten better quickly with the "simple" stuff at the beginning of the tree. I'm sure it will be more of a challenge when I get to more complicated lessons. Like Heike said, it should make our thinking more flexible.............at least that's what I'm hoping.


Working on the Spanish from German and German from Spanish trees has helped my ability to switch more easily between the two languages. Not only that, but with each question, there's a chance that I won't translate into English in my head... which is exciting!

Since my Spanish-speaking ability is ahead of my German-speaking ability, I find that the learn-Spanish-from-German tree is more interesting, more challenging, and more fun than German from Spanish. More of the responses are in German, and Duolingo assumes that I know what I'm doing! ;)


Sounds like we are in the same situation regarding our relative Spanish/German skills. Its good to know that it is working that way for someone else. I'll try to notice the difference between the two trees for me. Thanks

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