Has Duolingo effectively aided anybody to speaking said language in that country?
Just wondering if anybody has actually successfully learned the language to the point where they could speak it fluently, to see if I should continue. And is there any tips on resources I can use?
I can't speak from the French perspective specifically, but I can say that Duolingo's German course was very effective - in conjunction with other free resources. After 6 months of Duolingo, I tested out of two years of college/university level German, which is the most you can at my school. As far as speaking goes, though, that was definitely my weakest skill at first, as no free online resources really engage you in conversation (excepting a language exchange). Since my grasp of the language was so good going into classes, though, my speaking ability rapidly improved, and by the end of the semester I was probably the best speaker in the class.
The way I learnt to speak English (as a French native speaker) was to argue with myself and reformulate ideas.
When I read a technical/scientific/philosophic book in English, I reformulate the ideas in English. This is really powerful as you often want to express a complex idea and you cannot remember the accurate words and adjectives to express it, so you check in your dictionary and you then reformulate the idea with a more accurate language.
With this method, you learn really fast to use complex words that you already understand well when you read it, but that you have not yet assimilated as a word you can use to express your ideas.
I have to admit that this isn't a method that will work for most people, as few people read that kind of books.
Also, the other way to learn to speak is just to read really well. The most amazing feeling while learning a foreign language is when you read a book written in a foreign language and you realise that you just thought about what the book says while thinking in the foreign language. It happens by surprise, but after reading a lot you stop translating and you naturally think about what is described in the foreign language.
Hmm, this is smart. I have been doing it but with movies and TV shows I see. It didn't work well because I have to look up too many words. I lost interests after 5 minutes.
By reading something, the vocabulary is already there. This could work well. I'll give it a try. I assume you do all of this out loud, right? Thanks.
I've been taking German courses for a couple years, taught in German, go to conversation groups, lived in a house at my school for German learners, and most recently spent a couple months in Berlin, so I do plenty of speaking now. Recently I've even been doing research entirely in German. Duolingo didn't get me there, but I wouldn't be here without Duo.
I do not believe that Duolingo will be efficient all alone as I had to use other resources, and yes I was able to speak to natives (was good concerning my level), so I think you should have a maximum of two other language-learning sources. Also, you are learning only French, so maybe work on the reverse tree, too; sometimes it's even more useful. And yeah, work on your pronounciation skills, and try talking to yourself and translating the surrounding situations into your target language. Bonne chance! ;)
I am not yet to this point, but I made enormous progress in German as a French speaker.
I "studied" German for about 10 years at school (from middle school to graduate school) and I was incapable of saying anything or understanding anything. I had done tons of grammar but I had no vocabulary.
I started using Duolingo 3 months ago. I now stopped using Duolingo as I mostly mastered the content. It was a huge help.
After Duolingo, I watched tons of documentaries/talks on Youtube in German.
I'm currently reading the Game of Thrones book in German with the help of the audiobook. And of course, an extensive use of linguee.com to translate tons of news words.
I read the books a few years ago in English so I remember the outline of what is being said, it helps a lot to understand. But it's really amazing that I understand the text so well in German, while 3 months ago I was completely incapable of understanding even basic sentences in German.
I am still far away from total fluency in German, but Duolingo helped me acquire the basic vocabulary that enabled understanding Youtube documentaries. And this gave me the extra vocabulary required to understand the text from a rather complex book series like A song of ice and fire.
A few more months of progress and I will be able to read books in German without the need of audiobooks and much less dictionary queries.
Having already learned a first foreign language makes it much easier to learn new foreign languages. Learning a language requires being able to handle partial understanding of what you read and hear. Being able to fill the gaps and still go on even if you don't understand 100%. This is how we can consume interesting content in a foreign language and learn as a hobby.
Special trick: On Youtube, there is a search filter to only get videos with subtitles! (And there is the auto-subtitles feature too, but their quality depends of the language, French seem to be hard to transcribe for Google's algorithms while German auto-subtitles are nearly perfect.)
The important thing to understand is that Duolingo is the first step. It gives you the basic grammar and vocabulary to understand content on the internet. Once you get to 2/3 of the Duolingo tree, you can start going to Youtube. Once you finished the tree and practised most chapters 3-5 times, Duolingo isn't very useful any more and you have to migrate to real world content to keep learning. I just do some Duolingo once in a while for fun and I write some comments on the forum ;)
Can't comment on French, just started there, but the Swedish tree was pretty effective.
I finished it in something like 5 months (took me 1 hour + per day), the I started reading books and doing listening practise while I kept on going to get my whole tree golden.
I'm not sure if I would consider myself fluent, but I can already have a normal conversation, which is pretty good for ~10 months of practising. I'm confident that fluency could come pretty quick if you lived in a country where the language you are learning is spoken.