501 streak, how far I am and how I achieved it (with links)
I just reached my 500 streak yesterday, keeping my streak from day 1 and only used streak freeze a few times (probably less than 5). I feel like Duolingo helped me a lot, especially in the beginning of my German learning journey. So here's a bit of a recap for anyone who's interested, if it serves even just one person as a motivation or source of links to other learning resources, I will be very happy.
MY LANGUAGE LEARNING BACKGROUND? Native Czech, fluent in English, learning German (intensively) and French (randomly). I also have better command of Slovak than most Czechs do and I feel like this background helps me to learn other languages.
HOW DID I START GERMAN? On Duolingo. I finished my German tree in 131 days, I knew about 20 words and two random sentences in German before I started. What helped me tons to go through the tree fast was a Memrise course for Duolingo ( https://www.memrise.com/course/335725/comprehensive-german-duolingo-vocabulary/ ) .. Great for drilling the vocabulary. I still keep my tree golden and I intend to get to level 25, after that I might or might not continue to use Duo... Feels like the 25 level (and 30,000 XP) is set well to master the material.
WHERE IS MY GERMAN NOW? I can understand written text very well, I can watch a documentary, TV show or movie that I never watched before, enjoy it and understand what's going on, in some ideal cases it feels like I can understand everything. I can exchange emails with my German penpal and I have spoken to some natives in Austria, understood them decently and was understood (even though the speaking part is obviously and expectedly the hardest).
HOW I GOT HERE? I did other things outside Duolingo during and after finishing my tree:
Warum Nicht? ( http://www.dw.com/en/learn-german/deutsch-warum-nicht/s-2548 ) .. old and a bit trippy but somewhat captivating and arguably the best first listening material to use. It has 4 seasons and claims to go from level A1 to B1
Typisch Helene ( http://podclub.ch/sendungen/typisch-helene-d ) ... Enjoyable podcast done by a Swiss journalist Helene, in each short (10 to 15 mins) episode she picks a few topics to talk about. Level A2/B1, 65 episodes (over 10 hours in total.)
Andrea erzählt ( http://podclub.ch/sendungen/andrea-erzaehlt-d ) ... Andrea is also a lady from Switzerland, she likes to tell stories, both real and made up, each episode includes one story. Very enjoyable (at least for me :-) ). Again level A2/B1, 106 episodes (about 20 hours in total.)
German Wikipedia ( https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Hauptseite ) ... started here by clicking "Zufälliger Artikel" and reading (trying to read) everything that caught my eye. I did it for about two weeks about half an hour a day, it was fun, I learned a lot or random things and acquired some German reading skills on the way :-)
Actual books (enter anything that you like / is available to you). I read about half of Drei Kameraden from Remarque and parts of few other books, intend to read Harry Potter but haven't done it yet, .. since I'm not really a fan of fiction reading these books cannot hold my interest for long. When my German gets even better I might get some non-finction books to read.
side note: Reading should be very beneficial so if you are a reader go for it and read and read :-) side note 2: when it comes to online reading I recommend this extension (if you use chrome): google translate ( https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-translate/aapbdbdomjkkjkaonfhkkikfgjllcleb? ), when you click a word it will instantly show you the translation
The Everything Essential German Book ( https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Essential-German-Book-Learn/dp/1440567573 ) .. Picked up this book very early and was very pleased with it, it presents enough but not too much information for a beginner.
Intermediate German (A Grammar and Workbook) ( andhttps://www.amazon.com/Intermediate-German-Grammar-Workbook-Workbooks/dp/0415284074 ) ... I am currently about half way through this book, very nice, not for beginners, but not crazy advanced, well structured, just right.
Mastering German Vocabulary ( https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-German-Vocabulary-Practical-Troublesome/dp/0415261155/ref=sr_1_2?s=books=UTF8=1505332717=1-2=mastering+german+vocabulary ) .. this is a book I will love (or hate?) to go through, can't share my own experience yet, but it looks great and will be a logical next step for me after finishing the Itermediate German.
TV SHOWS / MOVIES / DOCUMENTARIES
Here comes my favourite part, if you are a TV show/movie/documentary fan then this is a great oportunity to spend time watching them and learn your new language in the same time. My estimation is that I have watched about 200 hours of material so far. One's personal taste / availability of material comes in play here, I watched the whole TV show "Friends" and am in the middle of third season of "M.A.S.H." dubbed in German, watched the whole german math show "Mathematik zum Anfassen" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6UMdo81A1g=PL12570B51A69CF67C ), some documentaries, movies, etc. A good source of video material is obviously YouTube and then some archives of German speaking TV's, for example ZDF ( https://www.zdf.de/suche? ), these TV archives (and each of their programms) might or might not be available in different countries.
I should mention that I have been exchanging emails with my German penpal, she is learning my language and I am learning German, which is great since we help each other. We are not too personal (which is not what I was looking for anyway), but we are sure friendly to each other and it's nice to have someone like that, it gives you a different perspective of using the language and of the whole language learning experience.
OTHER LINKS (in random order):
https://german.net/ (practice web - exercises/reading/vocabulary training)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCplXjeI1dToPO0VBWjPyMgQ/videos (German documentaries on youtube)
https://www.lingvist.com/ (vocabulary learning)
www.babadum.com (game for vocabulary practice)
Thanks for reading :-)
It seems you did a perfect job in German. How much Duolingo helped you to reach to this fluency? Because I know that German tree is a difficult and long tree. I don''t use any other resources, do I would like to know your experience using Duolingo to learn German. To me language learning is a fun, I don't to travel or use them, just because i like languages.
What is the contribution of Duolingo only to your progress in a percentage, according to your estimation?
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Hi, thanks for your comment. That's an interesting question. I'd say from my current knowledge about 30 or 40% is what I learned on Duolingo. It could be more but t's mostly the vocabulary, Duolingo can teach you some grammar too but I mostly didn't read the tips and notes and learned about the grammar elsewhere (mostly online by googling something like "accusative case in German" or "using verbs with dative case" or reading through grammar books).
Wow, that's amazing! As a beginner in self learning german your guide will certainly help me steer to the right direction. Danke!
Wow! Great information. I just started learning German a few weeks ago and look forward to using those suggestions. If you don't mind me asking how did you find a German penpal?
Hi, I found a German penpal at www.tandempartners.org , I tried one or two other pages before and wasn't succesful. Here the first try was a "click", and we've been writing to each other for a year now. I cannot say though if it was just luck or if it means that it's the best page :-)
This is an awesome post with great information. Vielen dank für das Teilen dieses!
Thanks for the detail review. I will probably start German soon and the resources you mention seems great.
Thank you and good luck with your German. I am very impressed with your level 25 in French :-)
Congratulation for your achievement and especially for the precise, clear and very valuable list of learning material with link.
I wish you all the best and further success in your language learning path,
Thank you so much, I wish you the same.
And congratulations on your pretty 444 streak today :-)
Thank you for putting so much work in sharing your experience in learning with all of us. It's very helpful and thoughtful! =)
Thank you for this and for sharing your experience. Can you explain to me what in meant by my the "fluency"? As in after some practice lessons, it would state something like "You are 20% fluent in German!". Also, I wouldn't be near perfect at German if I kept at it for 500+ days straight, would I? Or would I need extra tools other than Duolingo?
"Fluency" here is an estimation of how fluent you are in a language. It usually doesn't go over 70% .. if you reach that high it means that you mastered the Duolingo content pretty well. This fluency CANNOT know though how much fluent you actually are in a language, since there is no way for the system to meassure your other language knowledge. For example my German fluency here is 58% (while my real fluency is sure higher) and my French fluency here is 40% (while my real fluency is probably about 15% :-) ).
If you do Duolingo for 500+ days straight, there is a good chance you will have mastered the Duolingo content, but to be comfortable or even kind of fluent (or acutally fluent) you need to do A LOT of work out of Duo.
I thought that alright because there's no way I'm that fluent haha. Thanks for that explanation!
Gotcha, something that will actually force me to speak or write in German. I know it's late in starting to learn another language but I think it will be well worth it in the long run.
Best of luck to you and your future with the language and great accomplishment so far!
Thanks a lot :-) I wish you all the best as well. And yes, it's always worth to learn another language, no matter who we are, what we do, how old we are ... it's always beneficial in some way.
Don't mention it! Thank you too :) I finally decided to wake up and provide my brain with some more knowledge. Will definitely be useful down the line!
Thank you, this is helpful. I will definitely take some of these onboard
This is an amazing post, I hope so that I am on your path, I am somewhere in the middle of Duolingo tree and it is going very well for me. I can understand a lot, but unfortunately, my grammar is still bad and I have to work on it.
Thank you for the links, but much bigger thanks for the motivation. I started 3 weeks ago and I thought finishing the whole tree would take years, but you did it in 131 days! I practice about an hour a day and do not hope to finish it in 131 days, but still, you inspired me