french course experience
Hey everybody! I just started the French course on duolingo to start practicing my French again!
I was woundering how well this course will improve my French. Are there any duolingo senior course students who can tell me something about their experience with the course? How well can you speek French after the course for instance or on what schoollevel are you on after you complete the course?
I'm close to finishing the tree and after looking at some other courses on Duolingo, I believe French is one of the best structured courses on here. The French team really went above and beyond as far as organizing topics in a logical way of increasing difficulty. Make sure you read the "tips and notes" before doing the lessons in each skill bubble. They will help you immensely and it seems the team worked very hard to explain tricky grammatical concepts clearly with lots of examples.
As far as how much you will learn if you complete the tree, if you truly learn every skill in and retain the grammar and vocabulary, I think you will learn quite a lot. To give you an idea, I took four semesters of French in college, which wasn't very long ago. I've remembered pretty much all the French I learned in those classes. The first half of the tree was basically a review for me. But the second half has been new information, especially the grammar.
I'm not finished with the tree yet (almost there!) but I've been looking at other resources, especially grammar books, and I can already tell the beginner level stuff is a little too easy. I recently bought a few books at the intermediate level and they seem a little challenging, but doable. I've also found that I can read French quite well. I still have trouble reading long news articles for example, but I can generally understand every word or almost every word in product reviews, general information online, etc., and if I know a lot of vocabulary about a certain topic (such as sports) , I can read the article, even though I don't know every word. However, the context really helps, and most of the time I can guess the word.
Listening has been a bit more of challenge, but I was recently watching a press conference in French and I was surprised that I could get the general idea of what was being said, I could pick up a lot of words and phrases even though I didn't understand word for word.
I think the general consensus that A2 - B1 level is about accurate, but I think closer to B1. MAKE SURE YOU READ THE TIPS AND NOTES. Believe me, you will learn so much more if you really understand the grammatical concepts behind the language. If French is you first romance language (or even if you know another romance language), you will find French grammar a bit odd and sometimes unnecessarily confusing and nonsensical. It took me a while to really start to understand the grammar, I would make tons of mistakes in my college classes and never understood why. The tips and notes in this course have really, really helped. Please read them. I know it's a lot and I think most people on Duolingo just skim over them or don't bother to read them at all, not just with French, but with most courses. Believe me, they will really help.
Have some lingots for summing up many of my own thoughts so succinctly. I wholeheartedly agree that the Tips and Notes are an invaluable resource. Additionally, nearly all of my questions had already been answered within the sentence discussions. Use that as a resource as well. It is almost certain that if you have a question, it has already been asked and answered. The French team is top notch, from the course contributors to the moderators. Well done!
Check out the section titled "Common References Levels" here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages
Ive been doing the french course for a while now and I still havent completed my tree. The reason for this is because Im taking my time to "perfect" what ive learnt so far. On finishing you should be at A1-B1 level as someone said before. Sadly, duolingo doesnt focus much on listening the language so you MUST suppliment with alot of youtube videos, movies and interacting with natives if you can
Usagiboy7 is definitely right: you have to really practice, learn, and understand everything, especially the grammar. Duo won't check you on these things - you can easily get through the course and have no idea how to say 'hello, my name is . . . ' correctly. If you hold yourself accountable, by the time you are done with this course you will be able to speak on at least a basic level and keep up your end of the conversation. You should be able to read as well. The one thing Duo doesn't always exercise is listening, which for me has always been the hardest part of new languages. You might want to supplement with some YouTube videos, movies, or audiobooks in French. For this purpose, I recommend Librivox, which is a site that offers free, community-read audiobooks you can download in many different languages.
Hope this helps! :) Bonne chance!