How long do you spend on 1 course?
Some people finish courses very quickly, which is impressive.
I know the Spanish course took me several months - I'm doing Swedish right now, which will probably be like 4 months altogether. My question is: do you prefer hare or tortoise?
If you finish a tree very quickly, do you keep revising? I find it more encouraging to slowly complete a tree (mastering and refreshing as you go) than to finish in a month and then endlessly maintain, like a tree janitor.
Well... I'm going to sound quite pathetic compared to everyone else, but it actually took me three years to finish my first course, which was French. That was because I went on a hiatus on Duolingo, so I don't know how long it took me without counting my absence. Still, it took me longer to finish than most people.
I would prefer the slow route because I'm someone who likes to truly understand what I'm learning. If I go through a course quickly, there is hardly a sense of retention and it would make me personally uncomfortable, so much I may be inclined to redo the entire course in order to obtain a clearer grasp on the language. I know there's strengthening, however, I still prefer the slow route.
For me it depends on the language and the difficulty level. When I am focusing on an easier language like Italian or German that I have studied in other venues in the past I can go more quickly and aim for 100 XP per day when I have the time. However I still try to keep the trees golden as I go along and not just finish them quickly. I retain the information better that way and it improves my ability to comprehend and speak...which are my ultimate goals for learning.
With a challenging language like a Russian that has complex grammar and requires the use of a Cyrillic keyboard I have to go much more slowly. I can only do 30-50 XP per day without feeling mentally taxed. I have to keep re-practicing the skills that are already gold before I attempt moving on to new ones. I expect it will take me a couple years to finally reach level 25.
I try and get through a course as fast as I am able, then I graduate straight away to actually putting what I have learned into practice, meaning reading or listening to the language. I don't see much reason in constantly retracing over the same lessons over and over again, I actually think it is more effective to seek new and different input. See duo is very effective at laying a basic foundation, learning a few thousand common words, getting a feel for the grammar, learning the writing scheme etc, but I think it is actually not that great a tool for practicing with, because it is not challenging enough. It is like training wheels on a bike, they are fine for learning to get familiar with the bike when you are learning to ride, but you have to rip them off before you can actually start truly learning. You need to move away from 'translating' as soon as you are able to, in order to build confidence. Otherwise you always find that English is clouding your thoughts and slowing you down.
Another problem of doing exercises in Duolingo is that when you translate, they are very rigid and favour too much literal translations with the same word order, sometimes resulting in unnatural sentences. You have also too many sentences without any context, and in my case, I tend to select always the shortest translation, when maybe something longer would be more appropriate. On top of that, you have also robotic voices, so you get a highly artificial learning environment... Therefore I cannot trust blindly on Duolingo, so in my case to stay sure I'm learning the right thing I need to resort to external resources shortly after beginning a tree, taking special care with pronunciation and listening.
I did a course of Italian, which took me 200 days. Then I did the reverse tree which took me almost no time to complete. Even though I have already reached 25th level in Italian and 24th in English from Italian I'm revising them both regularly. I think I'll be doing it until I have memorised them both....;-)))
I prefer to focus on one language at a time and I use Duolingo until i get something out of it, when it's no longer the case I move on and start using other things. I start a new language only if the one I'm studying is solid enough.
It could be a couple of months or a year of Duolingo followed by months and years of practice reading, writing, listening and speaking.