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Easy laddering instructions; how to "up" your language game

If you want an extra challenge, try learning from one of your languages to another. Rather than learning German from English, for example, try learning German from Italian (if you're already studying Italian, that is.)

It's not obvious how to do this, but it's easy. You will not lose your current record, history, lingots, etc.

1) Log on, of course. Click on your icon (in the blue strip at the top) to show your list of languages, Select "Add a new course".

2) At the top right, choose a language (your desired "FROM" language) from the "I speak:" menu.

3) Click on the brightly colored icon for the language you want to translate to. (Your "TO" language.)

4) You will now be immersed in a new wonderful bizarro world between your two chosen languages. You can proceed, OR you can get back to your comfort zone by clicking on your icon (in the blue bar at the top of the screen) and selecting something from your original list. That should take you back to familiar territory. (Your new bizarro language choice will be at the bottom of your language-choice list, below a divider, and obviated by a double-flag indicating your dual-language choice. You can get back there by selecting it.) Until you make the switch back, all your menus will be in your "new" language - caveat emptor!

5) This works on the web-browser version. I have no idea about any other medium.

6) Now that I've done this, I'm THOROUGHLY enjoying the back-and-forth.

November 7, 2017



I posted this because I couldn't find complete instructions that dealt with all my concerns. If you have further accretions, explications, etc., please figure out a constructive way to add them and post a MORE comprehensive set of instructions. My goal was/is to teach people how to ladder, comprehensively. Thank you.


I began to learn Spanish from English and my mother tongue is Portuguese. I think it's helping me a lot. Thank you for your post!


I loved DuoLingo before. Now that I've discovered laddering, I love it even more. Thank you, DuoLingo.


I started Duolingo laddering and eventually did the Portuguese from Spanish course. And now I have even started on the french and italian from portuguese course, so their are ways to take it even further.


I've already started doing this before seeing this post but yes, I like it. It's weird, though, how often I read a question and come up with a correct answer, but in a third language...


I don't think its weird. I do it in my 4th language. Not everything has to go back to ones original language!


5: I can confirm that it also works in the App (Android) ;-)


Good idea, here is my laddering experience:

Currently my goal, is learning 14 languages, my native language is Spanish, I have English as my priority language to learn, so I am learning 10 languages from English, and the rest through reverse courses.

So for now that's the only laddering I plan to do, and that way I feel like I am improving in my English and I am improving in the other languges.


Good instructions--good idea to lay them out. Here's another recent discussion of laddering.


Has anyone here reached 100% fluency on a language? If so, is this actually fluent or do you still have gaps in your language speaking and knowledge?


Duolingo's fluency algorythm is not acurate. People still have gaps and vocabulary shortcomings and gramatical shortcomings. That algorythm is not accurate and I do not beleive the course even can indicate something that, given that I have already said it is not accurate. Yep....


That's true. The limit is around 60-70% I think.


Depends on the course and it can go higher than that. For the english from Spanish course I know this specifically. But again, that number is not really accurate and its basing doesn't help much, in general. I mean it can give people an idea of how they are doing as if they are making progress, but that progress is not consistent with a percent ranking on fluency that does not correlate to reality. Yet it is a question that is asked almost on Duolingo, so its a thing thats misleading all around and not very useful how I view it.


I first did the Italian-from-English tree and I am now doing French-from-Italian and you're right, it's so much better for immersion. A reverse tree English-from-Italian might have that same effect for Italian, sure, but although English is not my native language, I don't feel like Duolingo can actually teach me anything new in this English; in this way, though, I am able to learn another language at the same time. In the long run, I plan to do Spanish and German too from a different language than English. Does anyone know, though, how it works when you do a tree from two different languages to the same target language? Does exp add up? And if not, do two icons of the same flag appear next to your name in the forums?


Whats your native language. My guess is it may be a european one, but I am not really sure because I don't have enough information. And how is the French from Italian tree going? I am a big fan of laddering, and have been doing French from Portuguese, which I finished the course from Spanish for.

To answer your question I have French from Spanish and Portuguese courses. It just like doing two courses; its not that complex. The XP doesn't interact course wise because things are in different courses, but agregate learning can take place from doing lessons in either course. For me its not all about XP, but rather learning because the coded algorythm for how Duolingo calculates stuff like this is not 1 for one correlated with learning. Like there could be people who have a higher level portuguese tree than me, and its all possible I could speak better in the language them. So its not correlated completely. And the last part, 2 flags do not appear, but only the language level that is the highest is displayed. Like for me, I have all these courses from Spanish and Portuese open, but from someone looking at my profile, people can't even tell what base language I am doing stuff from—excluding hebrew, there is little english base-language, but rather Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Arabic. So thats all that.

Good job with laddering I like quite a bit as well.


You'd be right (: my native language is Dutch. Your's Arabic, then? I took English, German, Latin and (ancient) Greek in high school, and also took a bit of French, but dropped it - which I now regret. I continued studying Latin and Greek, which have formed a pretty solid basis for learning any (Western) European language. I followed courses in Italian and modern Greek in Uni, and I am now studying in Italy. The French-from-Italian tree is going pretty great, I might finish it in a month, possibly :o

Thanks for the answers! I already suspected something like that, but wanted to be sure. And you're right, the levels say very little about a user's actual fluency in a particular language.


I had a suspicion it was Dutch! Yay. I love trying inferences especially when I am not reprimanded for trying to read into whats happening in the world. ANways, I am so flattered you think it is Arabic. Is it absolutely not. I, spent a little over a year learning it and im ok, with FoosHaa (MSA or Modern standard arabic), and Shamii is the dialect I understand the most.

Your living in Italy? How cool. That is great to hear you are learning stuff about italian and I would think applying stuff from Duolingo. And absolutely about the last part, even though they are indicators for XP, they are not always correlated. Nice to here your response!


Good luck with your laddering lerning. If you ask me, I only like to laddering English, and I would like to ladder Esperanto but currently it is impossible on Duolingo.


Good luck with your laddering learning.

Well, EnzoKrensky have already answered your questions, but I will give you my experience to expand the information:

I besides of learning English from Spanish, I am also learning English from Russian, Thai, Arabic, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. I am not complaining about this, but in those reverse courses I am learning the same words. For example if in the course En from Ar I am leaning Man, woman, bread, etc. in the first unit. I am sure I will learn the same words on the first unit of for example En from Th.


El curso de inglés para hablantes de árabe no es una buena manera para aprender este idioma. Lo he estudiando por más que un año y este método no es una manera inteligente porque no enseña las fundaciones del idioma. Lo he realizado algunos ejercicios en este curso para revisar algunas palabras, pero hay mejores maneras para aprender árabe. Utilicé Memrise para aprender los símbolos de la idioma, y no sé.....no conozco un recurso que considero bueno para comenzar a aprender. Algo es mejor que nada, pero para hacer el curso reverso de Inglés desde árabe no me parece una manera eficiente para aprender la idioma, sino reconocer algunas palabras. Es un idioma muy complicado....


Sin ofender, pero solo corregiré tu texto porque quiero leerlo sin una falta de ortografía. Sé que mejorar en ortografía no es tu prioridad en este momento, y yo respeto eso. Asumo que estás consciente de que también tienes errores gramaticales, y que en el futuro los irás corrigiendo.

El curso de inglés para hablantes de árabe no es una buena manera de aprender este idioma. Lo he estudiado por más de un año y este método no es una manera inteligente porque no te enseña los fundamentos del idioma. He realizado algunos ejercicios en este curso para revisar algunas palabras, pero hay mejores maneras de aprender árabe. He utilizado memrise para aprender su alfabeto, y no sé... no conozco un recurso que considere bueno para comenzar a aprenderlo. Algo es mejor que nada, pero para hacer el curso en reversa de inglés para hablantes de árabe no me parece una manera eficiente para aprender el idioma, sino reconocer algunas palabras. Es un idioma complicado...


Gracias por compartir tu opinión, fue realmente interesante.


Si claro que eres principante. Nadie va a aprender a responder a mi comentario aprendiendo solamente de este curso. Bien hecho escribiendo Maa Salama! Chao.

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