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Study tip: Read it, Write it, Hear it, Say it.

Duolingo offers us plenty of opportunities to read, less opportunity to write (type), some opportunity to hear, and very little opportunity to speak the language we're learning. Are you a hearing person? If so, are you saying all of the material out loud (not just when prompted)? If not, you might be holding back the speed of your progress by a significant amount.

I had some Japanese classes several years ago. So, out of curiosity I took the placement test, I tested out of 5 skills. Not very impressive. But, I suspected there was some rusty knowledge sitting on a shelf somewhere in my brain. I just had to force it out somehow.

For fun, I completed the tree as fast as I could. I completed it on August 6th, 33 days after starting. Once I did that, I decided it was time to go back through and review the tree because passing a lesson is much different than learning the content of it.

I've now been reviewing the tree for 4 months. However, something's been off. And, I think I've located what. When I was doing the Spanish course, I said everything out loud. Things started to feel right or wrong, rather than feeling like I was just starting to recognize the sentences and corresponding correct answers, without knowing what was in those sentences. The impact is becoming apparent.

I started working towards my goal on the bunny challenge today and decided to start on the last skill in the tree. It was hard because there was a lot of vocabulary I never actually learned. So, I went through it a second and third time. By the third time, I knew what answers it wanted. But, I still didn't know the vocabulary words. Thinking about it, I realized that I haven't been saying anything out loud. So, I did that a few times and I can already feel the difference.

So, that's my tip today: read it, write it, hear it, say it. :)

PS If you're not sure about pronunciation, I recommend seeking outside study resources. Sometimes, native speakers will post pronunciation guides on Youtube and elsewhere on the web too. ^_^

Today's bunny pun is dedicated to my sib, AnIsAPanda, fer puttin' up with me.

December 4, 2017



I use that method when I start a language, but as I continue I begin to gradually take things away. For example, for German, I can just listen, translate and move on. But for Dutch, I still repeat what they are saying to help me learn the language better. Reading, Writing, Hearing, and Saying words is a great way to learn a language!


The following lists summaries of the post above and further tips: It most definitely helps when you use other resources while completing the tree for a language; as sometimes, the word you learned beforehand in another platform may then show up in the following lesson. This goes for any other language app combo, be it Mindsnacks, Memrise, Lingvist, Mango, etc. Youtube is a goldmine for all things language-related. The greatest tip of all, of course, is to seek out those pesky native speakers - they, for the most part, won't hesitate in answering any of your questions.

Just had to comment how I admire you for going forward and saying that we should actually learn to gain further knowledge of a language rather than mindlessly typing - something many of us are suspect to. Best of luck with the bunny challenge (:


Yeah. It's nice to feel good about completing a lesson. It's a bit more challenging to complete it and learn what's in it, but, totally worth it! :)


>because passing a lesson is much different than learning the content of it.

this, exactly. a lot of the duolingo criticism i've seen comes from people who don't realize that. they go through the tree with ease but don't actually learn anything so they complain that duo doesn't work.

as an auditory learner i am definitely guilty of not systematically pronouncing and repeating the sentences duo asks me to translate. i'm trying to get into the habit of doing it more.

also, writing by hand is so important for any language with a different alphabet. now that i am done with both the korean course & the reverse tree i am attending classes to boost my conversational skills and boy, does the fact that i've only been typing instead of writing show! my spelling is terrible!


I absolutely agree about responding out loud, regardless of whether the program prompts you to.

I also think that handwriting holds more value than most people realise, especially for languages which use a different script.


U rite doe. If you listen to podcasts or whatever audio, it's good to repeat what you hear even if you don't really understand it. It helps you wrap your tongue around the language and get comfortable with all the acoustic nuances. Sometimes I forget though! And to be honest I feel a bit weird speaking broken Chinese to myself in public lol.


I can't say I do it all or most of the time, but at least after getting into the course, I'd give a plug to saying the translation before writing the translation, because that's really what we need to do when speaking, and I think that helps.


I found Youtube very useful. Lucky to have found a channel that has videos of cue cards for vocabulary (the narrator say it in English once then repeat the other Welsh word 3 times while a correspondent picture+spelling is on screen). I pick a video, download it into my phone take a week or two of just watching the video every morning while on the bus/train. I kept doing that with those 10-15 minutes videos and was amazed it actually sinks in.


Thanks for sharing the tips, and the bunnies! :D


Nah thanks for putting up with me ahaha. :)


That's total rubbish. I've never had to put up with you. :P Squishes the Anpan


Hi Usagiboy,

magst Du mal erklären warum Du gar so auf die Häschen versessen bist?

Wenn es "Bunnies" wären, würde ich es ja irgendwie verstehen (Du weißt, was ich meine?) ;)

I have no idea how to say that in English, sorry :( Too bad that you are not learning German :(


"do you like to explain why you are so obsessed with the bunnies?

If it were "bunnies" I would somehow understand it (you know what I mean?) ;)"

Here's my best translation.


Somewhat related - does anyone know where you could read like short stories for children in Japanese? I feel like it would be a good way to seal the things that I have learned...

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