Today I reached level 25, and got 88% in my first German reading exam at uni :)
Alongside studying towards my Economics degree, This semester I chose to take a German module at university as an extra one.
Finding time to study German on top of all my other work has been a challenge (and I'm sure you all face similar trouble finding time between jobs/study for learning German). I've found Duolingo very useful for this, since it's very fast paced, and makes it easy to spend a little time practising every day.
I've also found watching/reading something in German, that I enjoy, for a little while before going to sleep very useful, since when it's fun, it's a lot easier to learn a language, and to continue learning it every day.
I've found it very satisfying experiencing my fluency rapidly increasing. Now when I'm chilling, watching something in German, and effortlessly understanding almost everything, I can feel proud of myself since it still counts as German revision.
I've still got a long way to go in terms of improving my speaking and writing, but now I'm really enjoying learning, I'm looking forward to it
It's an interesting read. As you've shown pretty effectively, mastery goes a long way beyond fluency. I would consider every student at my university from abroad fluent in English, since they can all have conversations, read and write in English.
However, compared to a native speaker, anyone who has only lived in a country for a couple of years will have a lot of words they don't understand, and make a lot of errors.
You can get fluent in another language in a couple of years, or in some extreme cases just a few months, but true mastery is something even a lot of natives don't achieve in a lifetime
You have written a contribution in which you ( amongst lots else) firmly identify the great strength of Duo as a supporter of the serious student of German. You can read some totally silly negative stuff elsewhere if you have time to waste. I was getting nowhere on my journey until Duo was found. After a year or so I can open any of my readers (die Bibel, Kästner, Dürrenmatt, Brecht......) at a random page and read a section twice or three times with increasing speed and comprehension, so nice as to be unbelievable.. Duo is GREAT!
Wow, that's impressive! Most English people find the bible very challenging to read even in English, let alone in another language. I've looked up the other authors you've listed, and their work also sounds like some pretty advanced classic literature.
In English I definitely find that the more years ago a book was written, the harder it is for me to read.
Anything in the last 20 years tends to be in English I'm completely familiar with (e.g. Harry Potter), 200 years ago gets a bit trickier (e.g. Wealth of Nations), 400 years I can half understand (e.g. Shakespeare), and 1000+ is almost incomprehensible (e.g. the original version of Beowulf).
Do you find older books in German/any other non-native language harder to understand?
If you already have Netflix, most stuff on there can be dubbed into German, and there are also some films originally in German like a new series called Dark. If you don't have Netflix, you can also find free videos about pretty much anything on youtube.
Probably the most important thing is picking things to watch that you know you'll enjoy, since it takes a few months until you'll fully understand watching stuff in another language. It's much easier to keep watching stuff everyday, even if you don't fully understand it, if you really enjoy what you're watching.
It's very important to build up the difficulty of what you're watching/reading gradually, so that you can actually understand as much as possible of what you're watching with your current level of experience.
Initially I read several books and watched a few netflix series and films in German, that I'd already read/seen in English. Of course, the particular choice of these will be different for you.
After that I moved onto stuff that had been dubbed into German from English, since in dubs, the voice actors usually speak a lot more clearly than actors do in purely German films. This builds your understanding of common German words and phrases, without needing to decipher the different strong accents and mumbling actors use in films made in Originally their own language.
Once you know pretty much all common German words and phrases, it's useful to move onto stuff filmed originally in German, to get used to a range of regional accents, and people mumbling/blending words together.
Depending on your skill level, you might be able to skip one or more of these stages.
The same principles apply to reading, whereas since all German music is just German (noone dubs songs), for music, you're best to just pick German songs where you enjoy the tune, and listen to them a lot of times, regardless of whether you understand them, occasionally reading their lyrics, until you eventually understand what they mean.
Wow, the levelling method you suggested here completely makes sense. It's very nice of you to take the time to write the above explanation for me! I do have Netflix, will start exploring my options as soon as possible. Thank you and good luck to both of us in learning German :)
Ok- congratulations for a good job! But i'm asking me - why don't you use this opportunity to show us by writing in German, you've currently learnt- and got 88% fluency ? I agree, you can be proud! ! And you enjoyed duolingo very helpful - me too ! Bye and continue enjoying learnig! Merry Christmas !