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After the tree

Guys, I've had my tree finished for a while, and I'm really quite competent in german, but I wanna build up my vocabulary and practice the cases and article declensions. Any ideas?

December 16, 2017



Depending on how good your vocab is, there’s a website called usbourne quicklinks, it has baby books for first 1000 words in x language so it’s quite good. Once you’re not using it for Arabic, Hebrew etc, you can see all the words and hear them for free. (any languages in script only use phonetic writing online)

German is pretty well known world-wide, you can probably get an intermediate German book for school/university students pretty easily. If you’re in a big city, international bookshops have children’s stories and teen fiction novels. (If you’re in Europe, they’re probably cheaper than normal books in English. In Italy I can get French and Spanish novels for 3-6€)

You could also watch any subtitled movies, tv shows etc and write down vocab words you meet. Not sure how you’d practice the grammar, but maybe signing up for the CEFL test might be a good idea to recognise your work


Duolingo will only bring you to an A2/(B1) skill level in reading/writing and A1 (maybe A2) in listening/talking.

Info about language levels:
Read from "Common reference levels".

However, there are numerous possibilities to increase your fluency in daily life without paying for it.

  • You will learn much more German words and more difficult sentences by using the "Strengthen" features.
    Here is the link to "Best Way to Make Your Tree Turn Gold and Stay Gold"

Other ways you could improve your German:

  • The reverse tree, the course English for German speakers, is very useful. There you have to translate much more from English to German.
    Here is the link to the Duolingo Help center for "How do I switch my Duolingo course language?"

  • Use the web version of Duolingo (www.duolingo.com) instead of the App. The web version works also fine on a tablet or phone, when WIFI is available.

  • Try to read (and write) in Duolingo's German discussion forums. There you will find the daily used words, sentences and idiom.

Apart from that

  • read a newspaper article every day and try to learn its new words
  • listen to podcasts, watch movies with or without subtitles
  • converse with a native speaker as much as possible
  • practice your skills by translating units in http://translatihan.com/

For more information:
Have a look at the wonderful overview made by Knud van Eeden
"Can you give some links about German?"

  • 1300

smokey2022, look into the Lingoda Marathon challenge at: https://www.lingoda.com/en/language-marathon

This will really increase your German skills but it will be intense. They say they have an average class size of 3, but the maximum is 10 per class. I see you have a 103 day streak going showing that you are able to commit.

This is a 3 month course in which you have to spend about an hour a day in a class at the times you choose. If you complete the course then you get the entire course for free. That is the challenge. You can't miss a day, but if you do you have to take 2 courses the next day. You can also pile up some days ahead of time by taking 2 classes a day. You just need to take 30 classes a month. But like I said you can't miss a day without making it up the next day.

You can take whatever level classes that you want and can change the levels. It starts January 1st, and time is running out to sign up.

Please let us know if you are going to do it.


slamRN, I took 20 group courses in the Lingoda Half-Marathon beginning in January 2018. I would not recommend this program at all. The teachers are good to terrible, the LearnCube group online classroom always has technical issues, there are way more students in each class than advertised, the customer service takes days to respond, the lesson plans are not set up for group learning because we never finished one all the way through, and the assessment at the beginning of the program puts students into levels well above our capabilities at that time. I would HIGHLY NOT RECOMMEND taking Lingoda group classes. They are converting my remaining 5 credits for February into 2 private classes, and my 15 remaining credits for March into 5 private classes. After that, I am cancelling my subscription to Lingoda and going back to VerbalPlanet lessons. I highly recommend watching German with Jenny YouTube lessons, then book private classes with her on VerbalPlanet because she is patient, very intelligent, and her lessons are actually helpful!

  • 1300

der_Kapitaen - Thanks so much for telling us about your experience with Lingoda. I was concerned about technical issues and I see now that my worries were warranted. I feel bad that you had a horrible experience. I am glad now that I didn't take the challenge. Are you continuing with Duo?

I have watched some German with Jenny videos on YouTube but I didn't know about the private lessons on VerbalPlanet. Thanks for the info.


I'm glad I could give you a perspective of someone who experienced almost half the marathon load of classes. I know some people love Lingoda, but I believe from my research, that those are people who have taken Lingoda at their own pace and utilized the private lessons. I took my first private lesson (Privatunterricht) today and really enjoyed it. It's so much better because private lesson are obviously one-on-one, but also we were able to finish the class portion and only the homework portion remained (which I'm working on tonight). That's the way the lesson plans were designed to work. Also, private lessons utilize Skype, and there were no technical issues unlike the group lessons which utilize LearnCube. Add in another 5 to 6 students, and after introducing ourselves, overcoming LearnCube technical drama, and taking turns reading each page, there is barely enough time in an hour long group class to finish even half the lesson. So, if you can afford the private lessons in Lingoda, then that's the way to go. However, I enjoyed my few private lessons on VerbalPlanet and still think it's a better system.


Also, I am definitely sticking with Duo. My wife and I are visiting Italy next year, so I am starting to concentrate on Italian soon. I had a 375 day streak going with German before I visited Berlin two years ago, and it certainly helped! After I worked until my tree was completely Gold, I decided to try lessons on VerbalPlanet to improve my speaking skills. That also helped tremendously! I was able to start Lingoda at an A2.2 level and should be B1 by the next few months using the private lesson strategy. It's much slower and more costly, but I have a better feeling about it so far.

  • 1300

der-Kapitaen - Kannst du mir auch sagen, dass ich mich schuldig fühle? ;-(


Warum fühlst du schuldig, slamRN?

  • 1300

Weil ich Lingoda empfohlen habe. Also habe ich dir Lingots gegeben. :-)


Das ist kein Problem. Du hast es empfohlen, weil du gute Dinge gehört hast. Der einzige Grund, warum ich Lingodas Sprachmarathon versuchte, war, dass ich mit German with Jenny hörte. Danke auch für die Lingots!


I write the words down each skill at a time, and that helps me memorize them, to get them stuck in my brain for good.

  • 1300

NoSlowMoe - You could also go to Words and hover over the words you have learned. If you actually click on the word, then on the upper right hand side it will give you the gender of any noun. But this is on the website; I don't know about the app.

Ich hoffe, das ist hilfreich, Susan


I suggest reading books and watching movies in German, or trying out other sites and apps like; linq, memrise, hello talk (I would especially recommend this, it lets you talk to native speakers of the language you’re learning), ect. Listening to music and news is another good way to get better at a language

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