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Completing a tree in a language you already know?

I’m curious how people get the motivation to finish a tree and level up in a language they already know?

I tested out as far as I could on French, Spanish and Italian, but that leaves me with the issue that all the previous skills still decay and it wants me to relearn the basic words, then I get bored.

Has anyone mananged to complete a tree and level up in a language they were already decent at, and how did you keep up the motivation?

December 16, 2017



While Russian is my native and my English is at least tolerable (I hope), I am doing both Russian -> English and English -> Russian trees besides the Russian -> German which is the primary reason for me to be here.

I'm doing the Russian -> English course because my wife is doing it. It helps me to stay on par with her and help where she needs it, or just discuss stuff knowing what she's talking about. That's a motivational thing for her. And after all there also are occasional high level discussions I find educating there.

The English -> Russian course is where I went out of curiosity. It is really amazing to look at familiar stuff with outsiders eyes. The whole new perspective, it's like looking at Earth from space, not from the surface. I also discovered that I can help people who are struggling to learn Russian with explanations and examples, and they appreciate the native's input quite a lot. So that's highly emotionally rewarding, too.

Besides, those easy courses help me wind down (and keep the streak :p ) when I'm sick and tired of being bogged down in German pronouns and declensions for a week :lol:


Your English is amazing(: Oh wow that’s really cool. And it’s adorable that both you and your wife study together.

I like helping people on the discussions too but haven’t braved doing something -> English discussions yet though xd


I like helping people on the discussions too but haven’t braved doing something

Please, do it!
Because it is the only way within Duolingo to really improve your target languages.


I was already intermediate in Spanish and it was the first tree I did. Reviewing the basics is hands-down a lot of why I'm so comfortable talking with others in Spanish.

IME, learning a language is hardest when it's NOT review, because you can't use it in everyday situations. Right now, I have pretty good conversational ability in Spanish - I can read books, watch television, and have conversations with people in Spanish.

Italian, French, and Portuguese - same sort of deal. Since I built up conversational comfort in them fast due to their similarity to Spanish, I have much more incentive to review.

German I'm trying really diligently to learn and it's more discouraging because right now mostly I recall words that aren't phrases - Madchen, Mädchen, Frau, Frauen, Mann, Männer. I've run into people I can practice with, but I can't utilize it nearly as well. That's a lot more discouraging. Plus, since it's not from the same family, none of the words or conjugations are sinking into long-term memory as fast.

So for me it's the other way around - it's a LOT easier to stay diligent with languages where I can utilize them with other people than it is to be starting from scratch and unable to say more than 10-20 words. I know if I stick at it for a year it'll change, but for now only having that to go on is hard. I have to remind myself that year-before-last I couldn't hold a conversation with Italian speakers, and now I can.


Yeah that’s true. But I find repeating the basic grammar exercises is ridiculously boring. (I study them in University and Irish is my first language so that’s probably why), but I tend to do it for a little while and get bored. I just want the level and gol tree on here in those because it’s kindof a game, and then try a few new ones


That is interesting! Duolingo is what got me into language learning. The only prior language knowledge I had was English, and I could count to ten in Spanish (thanks to a childhood of Dora).

Now, I can understand almost anything written in French and Norwegian, and I have a decent knowledge of German.

I’m determined to get to level 25 in Norwegian, and it is by far my favorite language to learn.

French was the first tree I have ever completed on duolingo. It took me about 3 months, but I finished it two years ago, and now I rarely practice French. I have still retained a lot of it though, and I think that is because It was really the only language I was learning, and it was my first foreign language.

But I can’t really use any of the languages I’m learning with other people. Nobody I talk with speaks Norwegian French or German, I do know somebody that speaks Portuguese and Spanish, but I’m not really learning those languages.

So I think it really has to do with personal interest... if you are interested in learning languages that you can speak with people you already know, that will make it easier for you, but If you are starting from scratch, but determined, you can make just as much progress.


Has anyone mananged to complete a tree and level up in a language they were already decent at, and how did you keep up the motivation?

Yes, in English and German
(My mother tongue is Dutch)

  1. You don't have to keep your skills gold!!!
    My favourite method:

  2. You will never have a decent knowledge in a foreign language after finishing the "normal language tree" in Duolingo.
    Doing "reverse trees" and "laddering trees" is the next step in avoiding to get bored of Duolingo.
    Explanation in my comments in
    . https://www.duolingo.com/comment/25085030
    . https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24901268


I tested out from about half of the Russian tree, then I finished the rest normally. I didn't learn that much from Duolingo, just few words and few grammar constructions from some later parts of the tree. I did practically no reviews and I let the skills to decay, as I'd be reviewing trivial things if I wanted to keep them gold. I finished the tree, but I treated it more as a review of what I already knew with just a smothering of new things, rather than something totally new I'd have to review again later.

Just that was enough to get level 11, and probably it will stay like that forever. I do not think Duolingo can help me with improving my Russian skills, at least not without extending the tree or adding Russian stories to the labs.

I also had a similar situation with Dutch, but that was way earlier, my Dutch skills before starting Duolingo were worse than my Russian skills, and I don't remember how I approached the tree.


I tested out most of the Hebrew tree (the last part of the tree doesn't have a checkpoint like the first parts, so I have 17 skills to test out of). Will finish the tree soon, but I don't see myself repeating it in the future.


You can make it a little more interesting with the timed strengthening exercises. See how many you can do in a 10 or 15 minute period without a mistake. If you want a real challenge, see if you can go through the whole course in one day with those same timed strengthening exercises. (90 exercises at 2 minutes each= 3 hours) If nothing else, your typing speed may improve.


I had the same issue with Italian-from-English. At one point I finished the tree, but had been so careless in reviewing pasts skill it seemed a daunting task to work through all those "boring" skills. But you know, if you already know the words... nobody is forcing you to repeat the easy stuff. You can also focus on the bottom part of a tree, keeping a certain amount of skills golden, while ignoring the top skills. I mean, Basics and Basics 2 at one point began to lose their golden shine - at that point, I just thought, ignore them.


Try those languages you already know from the language you are learning now. For example, from German or Portuguese or any other. Or you can do Spanish from French, French from Italian, Italian from Spanish. Try various combinations and see what you like best. Good luck!

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