Question for the vets
Hey Duo people, this question is mostly for those who have finished a language tree or two. If you don't mind, how much do you feel that Duo Lingo has helped you with your given languages? Do you think it gets you to the point where you can use videos and songs to better proficiency? Could you understand a native if they needed assistance with something? I hold no allusions as far as achieving proficiency through Duo Lingo, but I'd like to know my time is being well spent at least.
I'll give the best couple answers a lingot and feel free to friend :P
It gives you the basics of vocabulary, but far from enough to be fluent. You might manage a few simple exchanges with natives, and it's possible you will understand depending what they ask... but you will still miss a lot of vocabulary necessary for fluency and might be able to get the gist of every few phrases or so in videos, if without subtitles. However, as you branch out to other resources (videos and songs), you will learn what you need.
I would definitely say that Duolingo is time well spent, but it is just the beginning. After finishing the German tree, I had some basic vocabulary and a decent understanding of grammar. But if I watched an actual movie in German, I understood maybe 20%, which is not nearly enough to know what is going on. (The fluency percentage in Duolingo is complete nonsense!) But, after getting a good foundation with Duolingo, I was able to expand my vocabulary first by watching kids' shows and then normal tv shows and movies on youtube with a dictionary open in another tab. Whenever a new word jumped out at me, I would pause the movie, look up the word, and then rewind and listen to the conversation again. That helped immensely with listening comprehension.
Duolingo is fun, and that helped me to stick with it. It was a very good place to start. I started trying to learn German about 3 years ago, first with Duolingo and then with youtube videos and other resources. Now when I watch actual movies in German, I understand maybe 80-90% of it, which is really very good. I wouldn't have gotten here if I hadn't started with Duolingo, but I also wouldn't have gotten that far if I stayed only with Duolingo.
Duolingo has helped me a lot. It was the foundation of my French knowledge. What I personally gained from Duolingo was vocabulary, basic yet important grammar knowledge, and being able to understand what I read. Although, when I first joined, there was the Immersion tab and I did a lot and I do mean A LOT of immersion and that helped immensely with my vocabulary as well as understanding what I was reading.
It didn't really help with with understanding what I heard though, whether it was a movie or a regular conversation in French. You have to do that part on your own. There are a lot of podcasts on Youtube that you can listen to, quite a few of them have subtitles in the language being spoken so you can read the words as they're saying it and learn the right pronunciation.
My recommendation for you would be to listen to grammar rules explained in your target language instead of English. Even if you don't completely understand the explanation, you're still listening to your target language. I don't know of any good videos in German that I can recommend, but if you search youtube, you'll find it. You might have to look for a while before you can find the ones you like. If you ever decide to learn French, I can give you links to French podcasts, grammar rules, videos, etc.
Rule of thumb, if you get bored with any of it, whether it's Duo, a show, a podcast or whatever, just move on to something else. Continue learning even if at times it doesn't make sense. Eventually it'll click.
When it had the Immersion feature, Duolingo was perfect for my needs. Now, it just allows me to get a clue about the language. I do find the grammar tool tips very useful. Since DL turned off the Immersion, I have been using Memrise to beef up my vocabulary for languages of interest...
Duolingo has helped tremendously, it is one of the best free language learning tools online.
Yes it will help you with songs and some short videos HOWEVER, do not wait until you're finished with your lessons or your tree to begin enjoying other resources like songs.
Yes, I can help people with directions, I can order food.
It is time well spent but I'm always using other FUN resources like SkyRim, Alien Isolation or Assassin's Creed.