Getting Started Again
Duolingo has always been pretty difficult for me to maintain. My longest streak was 40 something days, and although I'm at a pretty high level in German, I'm nowhere near close to finishing the tree (I got the XP through practicing).
My Duolingo journey has been off and one, stop and start. I recently thought I'd pick back up again after reading an inspiring book (Carry on Mr. Bowditch, I highly recommend it!). I'm just not sure how to stay on track. I want to learn German, but sometimes I just don't feel like I'm making progress. Do any of you guys have advice?
Even slow progress is still progress, the trick is to never stop once you take a day off a downhill slide is more possible. Do at least 10mins, you will need to do more if you want to become fluent but never put in zero time.
Successful people don't put in huge amounts of effort over normal folks, all they need is a little extra effort overtime it adds up.
Try to practice at a set time each day so that it becomes habitual, part of your routine. But don't get discouraged if you happen to lose your streak. It is really no big deal. Also, if it gets to be too much of a chore, or no fun, try something else. Read something in German on the internet, or check out a children's book from the library. I don't speak German, but often use children's stories on youtube to follow along in Korean or Spanish. It's a nice break from DL on occasion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=860iS6T_2Bw&list=PL5D443A49838608D1
There are at least 17 stories with subtitles, and if you don't need the subtitles, there are many more stories at higher levels.
The following are higher level conversations or stories with the script to follow along
My best advice is: Don't find time to do it. Make time to do it. And have a specific, tangible goal in mind.
Daily exposure is critical to building and maintaining language proficiency. That does take effort, as you've seen, so it is important to motivate yourself. Ideas like "be fluent" are normal, (I think almost everyone here has that goal in mind) but the imprecise nature of that idea doesn't lend itself to pushing for growth.
Come up with a specific target and a reason, like "reach CEFR B2 level in German in 10 months so that I can go to Oktoberfest next year." Knowing specifically what you want, when you want it, and why you want it is a good motivator.
Losing your streak can be somewhat of a setback (even though it is essentially meaningless, but hey, that's how our brains work) so I recommend you use streak freezes and weekend amulets if you really don't have the time to do a daily practice. It can also help to sometimes set back the trainer to 10 exp; in this way, you're continuing slowly, but not giving up, and that's the most important thing in my view.
As for German practice outside of DL: go watch youtubers in German, listen some German songs, try reading children's novels, follow German news sites on facebook, listen to radio, try watching a series in German, with or without German subtitles. As long as you're consistently putting time into it, just a little time instead of trying to do everything all at once, you will get there eventually!
If I'm concentrating on a tree, I tend to stick with a single skill until I can easily complete timed practices for it with a good score (say 16+). The time to achieve that can be a bit significant: a solid hour maybe, so it'd be more broken up over several days. But once complete, I move on. So my progress is easy to see.
There was a point that I felt I was not getting anywhere. So one day I went all the way back to Basics 1 and I was amazed to find out how much I DID know. So even though sometimes I feel like I am not progressing , all I have to do is look behind me and see what I have accomplished.
It helps me to persevere during the tougher times.
I don't know if any of these things will help, but, just in case I'll post them here:
After losing a 994 day streak, I mostly stopped studying languages for a year. After returning to my studies, I wrote this: On starting again after losing a streak.
As someone who lives with a TBI (traumatic brain injury), learning something just to quickly forget it again can make for a dispiriting language learning experience, depending on my goals. So, I wrote this in the hopes of encouraging other folks who are struggling with their language goals: Are your language goals holding you back?
And finally, after reading so many discussions written by people who have lost their streaks and noting trends in their journys and my own, I know how motivating a streak can be and how demotivating it can feel to lose one. So, I wrote Checked your streak freeze today? to help people navigate maintaining their streak, beyond just equipping a streak freeze and leaving it at that.
And finally, I've joined a Facebook group for Japanese learners that I've really enjoyed following and interacting with. I'm hoping there might be one for German too that you'd enjoy, so mentioning that as well. ^_^