https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

learning third language from 2nd language

I have just tried doing a reverse tree. In this case "learning" my native language English from a second language, namely Spanish. Only just started but already loving it.

My question is twofold:

Firstly, what I'd like to do is learn Spanish [lets call that my 3rd language] from French [we'll call that my 2nd language because I'm better at French]. But I've already done the Spanish tree from English. So that would make two trees with target language Spanish [my first foray into this sort of area with the reverse English from Spanish is the first "English" tree, so this is a new question]. Will that cause a problem? Specifically, and this is my most important question, would I lose my Spanish from English tree?

Secondly, I note so many polyglots on this site that are way ahead of me and I suspect there must be many who have trodden a similar path. I'd love to hear of others experiences of studying another language from non-native and any advice.

Cheers

November 26, 2017

54 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ahau.3

Hi there ;) My native language is Spanish, and I'm learning most of the languages here from English. It's great because you can practice your 2nd language, then you can start learning another one from your 3rd language and so on... Keep it up ;)

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Gracias amigo

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward

Learning a 3rd language from a 2nd language is called "laddering" and it's a common technique used in language study.

When you add the "Spanish for French speakers" course to your account, all of your "X for English speakers" courses will appear to go away. You will only see "X for French speakers" courses. Fear not! As soon as you go back into a course for English speakers, all of your courses for English speakers will be visible to you again, completely intact. The course(s) for French speakers, however, will be temporarily hidden from you.

In other words, when you switch to a new base language, you only see things related to that base language.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

This answer is outdated.

It remains true for the app, but it is now only partially true for the web, and only then to the extent that one were thinking about changing courses while on the Discussion or Words tabs. Otherwise, the full course change menu appears, and all the languages you're studying will appear on your profile (unless you happen to be logged out or have opened a private browser window).

If you're studying the same language from two base languages, there will merely be two relevant entries in the course changing menu, the name of the target language expressed in the base language of the tree. For example, I have four trees with French as a target language, and I duly see them all. If for some reason your account isn't functioning like this, I think it's a bug.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Thanks piguy. Having now ventured into this and adding a couple of 2nd language base trees I can see that everything you have said as it applies to the web version [which is what I mostly use] is 100% correct.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

ok thanks heaps for the reassurance. I'm very happy to know nothing will be lost which is the main thing. But can I just clarify. What happens if I'm learning Spanish from English and Spanish from French? The user above seems to have only one German ranking though he's studied 2 trees. Do the xp points from both trees combine into one ranking? I am currently switched to spanish [learning English from Spanish] and yet I can see all my rankings still there above my posts.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

thanks for the term laddering btw, I like it

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ichthus731

It works very well. I would encourage you to try it and see if you like it. I'm doing my German and Italian in French and my French in German. I finished the German tree in English and then finished the German tree in French. I have stayed with the German from French tree and have almost got it to level 25. It was difficult at first because in my head I was always translating into English first, but now it goes super quick.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

awesome. So just to clarify, there was no problems having 2 german trees? I can only spot you having one german tree though now that I look. Did you have to sacrifice one. I'm all ears on this.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

or, he asks more hopefully, did the 2 german trees combine into one German ranking, so the xp points added, instead of a tree disappearing

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ichthus731

Nothing ever disappears. It does figure in to your all-time XP total. If you choose that course again in your drop down menu you can see it is still there. But no, they don't add together (except for your total Duolingo XP). You will only have one number that shows up on your profile for each language, which will be the highest level you have reached in that language. For example, in German from English I reached level 22, but it only shows up if I go to that course. In German from French I have level 24, so that is the number that shows up on my profile.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

ok, worked it out, take 10

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ichthus731

我猜对了!我看到你写了几个“mate”,但我不确定。非常酷的国家!我来自美国,但我住在西班牙。

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

哈哈,感谢朋友。你这么热情,友好。哇,你住在西班牙,你真幸福了,乐此不疲!

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ichthus731

Thanks, by the way, what is your nationality?

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

澳大利亚人,你呢?

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Thank you so much for making things crystal clear for me. Got it. Good to know. I'm kinda split on whether I reckon it would be better to add the xp points for the same language or to keep them separate as per the current system, but I'm leaning to the former [though I guess I'd like a system that allowed both...where they were added together for your overall ranking in that language but then you got an a course ranking while you were on it]. But anyway so great to understand the system. This reply has been super useful to me. I'm new to how all this works but I've gathered you can give a lingot. Can you give more than 1? I'll give it a shot.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

I definitely prefer having the points and levels displayed the way they are, not combined within a language.

For example, you can do a reverse tree into English for the majority of the languages on Duolingo, so you could easily have ten or fifteen English trees. If they were all just added up, it could easily appear as a level 25, despite having not necessarily made all that much progress in any of the trees in your English forest. Level 25 obviously needn't mean a whole lot, but I am of the view that it should correspond to substantial dedication to a single tree. And anyway who wants their highest level to be in a language they actually already know, which would all too easily happen when working on several reverse trees?

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

I may have misunderstood your idea. I actually had a little comment that I wound up deleting that I think it could well make sense to be able to assign XP to either the target or base language of a tree. At that point my objection such as it is would lose its force. If a person really is learning a language from two different base languages as opposed to it being a function of reverse trees, then, yeah, I suppose it would make sense to reflect that more transparently. Some of the Duolingo users I hold in highest regard very actively employ such strategies, and their flag levels wind up not really reflecting all the work they've put in.

I fully agree with you that the reverse tree can be much more useful than the forward one. Given the long-term and lamentable lack of an option to up the percentage of translation into the tree target language, they're a brilliant way to get much of the benefit anyway in the here and now.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

@ Hedwigechouette (as I reply somewhere random for lack of reply buttons)

Yes, there is a limit; it's normally six levels I think, but the forums seem to be having technical issues at the moment, so things are messing up even that oft-confusing situation.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Fair enough. I guess I was coming at it from a different angle. I have completed the Spanish tree. Completing the reverse Spanish tree, for me, would be every bit as useful, probably more useful, than just going back and redoing the Spanish from English tree, so in that case, I think the accrued points would be just as well earnt [ or just as reflective of how well the vocab was reinforced] as if I'd stuck on the original tree.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

for some strange reason I can't respond to your last post on this subthread as there's no "répondre" button. Is there a limit to the number of posts on a subthread? So instead I'm reply here, hitting "répondre" under your earlier post. Was just going to thank you for all your thoughts. You've given some really useful tips too. Cheers mate :)

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

oh, now weirdly that "répondre" button is showing up now. Definitely not there before

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AmareloTiago

I have laddered several languages. I have completed the Catalán, French and Portuguese for Spanish Speakers trees and Spanish for Portuguese speakers tree. Which is the reverse tree? Spanish for Portuguese Speakers or Portuguese for Spanish Speakers? I will ladder more languages - Spanish for Italian Speakers, Italian and German for Portuguese Speakers, Esperanto for Spanish and Portuguese Speakers.

Anyways, yeah. Laddering helps reinforce languages you already know. It offers different perspectives on both languages.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ichthus731

Laddering is really great. I was excited when I first discovered one could do that. It's all I do now on Duolingo (except for Chinese, etc.) You really do get different insights into a language since it is a whole different team probably that made the course from another language, and you see words and expressions from a different angle. Also, since I have lived in Spain for so many years, when I learn a new word in French or German I like to use both English-French/English- German and Spanish-French/ Spanish-German dictionaries.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hermesianax

Laddering is indeed great: I learned so much from doing the French-from-Italian tree and like you said, I'd rather do no DuoLingo courses anymore with English as base language. German-from-Italian is a next step, and possibly courses with Spanish and Portuguese. The exception might be Greek, which has only a course for English speakers (and the other way round), but I just really would like to learn that language.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

thanks. Great to hear from so many enthusiastic proponents of laddering. This site is so awesome that it makes laddering possible.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

many thanks Ichthus. Yeah, I'm super excited. I'm really looking forward now to learning Spanish from French as it will both reinforce stuff but also because it will help highlight their differences for me so I won't mix them up [hopefully, hehe].

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

thanks Amarelo. Sounds awesome. btw, what does the green ring around your avatar signify?

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Super-Svensk

I would definitely recommend it! I just finished the French for German speakers tree, which was a great way for me to get a better handle on forming complex sentences in German! You get a lot more typing practice in the target language, and it's a great way to save time, too!

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

thanks. Makes sense re saving time. Kinda like 2 for the price [effort] of 1

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/isnottogive

Except for English, Catalan and Guarani, I learn all my languages from English (my second language). It started mostly as a necessity (as of general, the courses from English are so much better, and many are not available in other languages).

It's a great exercise tbh. But one I would not recommend unless you have a fairly strong hold of the second language you want to use as the starting point.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

yes, I was thinking that. For many whose native language is not English it would be more of a necessity. Yeah, I wouldn't try it with my weaker languages, at least not at this stage or until they got stronger. I'm fairly confident I will be fine using either Chinese or French to learn a 3rd language, and possibly could even try Spanish to learn another language, but wouldn't try it with anything else at this stage.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

Duolingo keeps track of the courses separately and does not lose track of them when "base" languages are switched. However it displays the levels depending on which base language is in effect, so your row of language badges will display levels depending on your base language (as near as I can figure it out). Note that the Forum functions differently from the other possible activites in several ways, including what is displayed when you hover your mouse next to your little moniker/avatar button on the taskbar.

As to your second question, I really enjoy studying one (to me) foreign language from another. Sometimes closely related languages such as French and Spanish will cause some confusion at first, but studying one from the other works out to be a good way to really differentiate between them, as Ichthus731 said. If you find this enjoyable, consider procuring a book or finding a website where you can do more of it. For instance there are plenty of websites about Spanish in French, just as there are many textbooks. Have fun!

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

I think there used to be inconsistencies in how levels were displayed in the forum when you were learning the same language from more than one base language. I remember sort of enjoying seeing what random number I'd have for French any given time; it was truly unpredictable and bore no relationship to my levels in either French tree I was doing at the time or the total XP from both. However, that bug has been fixed, and from what I can tell only the highest level is now displayed. That said, I've been noticing some bugs in level display in recent days, so things might be getting less predictable again.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

right. Yeah, Ichthus731 was making the same point about it only showing the highest level. One thing I've noticed now that I have 2 reverse trees going learning English [ one from Spanish and one from French] is that in my profile it only shows the total xp and number of xp to the next level for the tree that is higher ranked. The lower ranked tree is not in my profile, only in the course changing menu as you have mentioned, and there it only lists the level. So I miss it on the specific information of total xp in that tree and number of xp to next level, which is a shame

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

> . . . only the highest level is now displayed.

Right, "depending on which base language is in effect," as I said. Although lately, just as you say, the display sometimes seems a bit glitchy (whence, "as near as I can figure out").

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

Hmm, somehow our signals seem to be crossing. I'm thinking that it doesn't matter (at least excluding consideration of recent glitches) which base language your account is set to (which is what I assume you mean by "in effect").

For example, even if I'm working on my Italian from Portuguese tree, on which I'm at level 8, in the forums my Italian flag still displays as level 12, which is also what is visible on my profile page (unless I'm not logged in).

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Yes! I'm really looking forward to it being a way to directly contrast the 2 [rather than relying on memory]. Thanks

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

You're welcome. Hope you have fun. If you come across any good material from one language to another, please share it! There is a Spanish for Russian speakers course available (and the reverse course is in the works), and both French↔Spanish courses. Those latter two are pretty good; I haven't tried the former.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/varigby

My only experience was doing English from Chinese. I tested out for most of the tree and did it for a week or so. I found it boring to be honest! The English and the Chinese often sounded unnatural. The English audio sometimes sounded plain wrong.

But, others swear by doing the reverse tree and really enjoy it. Learning Spanish from French as a native English speaker sounds kind of unique! I wish you the best of luck and hope it helps you.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hermesianax

It's not that unique, it's only quite hard if you have used only DuoLingo for your second language, which is not enough in order to use it as a base language for a third language. However, a lot of users here are not native in English, so they often have to use their second language (English) to do third languages.

In my case, I (native in Dutch) used English (second) to learn Italian (third), and have now completed the French tree (fourth) using Italian.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Thanks mate

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hermesianax

Another new laddering student! It's a great and efficient method for anyone interested in learning multiple languages and is quite frankly the only way DuoLingo remains an interesting method in the more advanced stages of your language learning.

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Haha, thanks so much mate. Much appreciated. Here, have another lingot

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Thanks so much everyone for your replies. This has been for me the most super useful post ever. Cheers

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

Another reverse tree / laddering fan here. I prefer to learn additional languages via laddering when the option is there. I await Swedish from Russian!

You've discovered reverse trees. Note that you can extend that logic a bit further. You mention your French being your second strongest language. So you can not only use it to ladder from; you can used it as what I'm more inclined to call a reverse tree: French from Spanish can serve a similar role for you as English from Spanish — making you type in your actual target language you're primarily learning while getting prompts in a language you know well the great majority of the time.

And one final little quirk I haven't seen mentioned in this thread: in your profile (https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette) it will only show your level and XP in a given language for the tree where you have the most XP if you have more than one. For example, if you're studying Spanish from both English and French and you have more XP in Spanish from English, you won't see anything about your Spanish from French reflected in your profile until you surpass your XP in Spanish from English.

If you want to see your XP and level (and XP to next level) for Spanish from French, the easiest way will be to open a private browser window and open your profile there. Then what Lrtward referred to will be fully in force; it'll only show the trees from your current base language.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Yes, I'm keen to explore all the laddering options that'll work for me. I'll probably finish off Japanese from English tree first, but then interested in doing Japanese from Chinese, if that's available. Also, Korean from Chinese could be interesting if available.

"If you want to see your XP and level (and XP to next level) for Spanish from French, the easiest way will be to open a private browser window and open your profile there. Then what Lrtward referred to will be fully in force; it'll only show the trees from your current base language."

oh!! Here's a tip that touches on what I was saying was missing above. Champ! I'll have to go and try that out.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

ps Just had a look, no Japanese or Korean from Chinese available. Would be cool to have in future. Looks like Spanish from Chinese is in beta, so that could be cool to try also.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

wow, that tip worked. Many thanks. Have a lingot mate

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

Thanks again for everyone's excellent advice and encouragement. I have now embarked on a Spanish from French tree and loving it!! Man duo is awesome. Wish I'd discovered this earlier.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

looks like someone has given me a lingot under my original post. Is there a way of knowing who that was so I can thank them?

November 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

Nope, lingot giving is an anonymous matter.

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hedwigechouette

ok, thanks for letting me know

November 27, 2017
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