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Is the reverse tree really worth doing?

So, I've finished the German tree, and it is as of now totally golden (yay me!).

I started the reverse tree a month ago, and wondering if it really is worth doing or not?

I would rather devote my '1 hour a day' to continue reading (very very slowly) the first Harry Potter book, watching German TV series (watch Dark if you haven't already!)

Anyone tried it and actually got any benefit out of it? As far as I can see from the few lessons I have done, you won't be learning any new words.

December 18, 2017



Congrats on finishing the German tree! Gut gemacht!

I have finished both the German and Reverse tree. I found the Reverse tree very helpful. It starts off very easy, but it progressively gets harder. Each day I gild both my German and English trees, and then move on to watching German videos, podcasts and reading German books.


why not? you can do it alongside with reading books and watching videos. As they say repetition is the mother of all learning.!


Supposedly the reverse trees are harder and that makes for a good next step in your learning.


I find the reverse tree an odd mix of really easy bits (since sometimes you're basically being tested on your mother tongue), and some very challenging parts, when you're required to write a lot of long sentences in perfect German. Overall it is definitely harder to complete the reverse tree


Yes, trust me, it would definitly help!


It depends to some extent on what your goals are. If you actually want to practise German production, it's an excellent idea. No, you won't encounter many new words, but there's a huge gulf between being able to understand a sentence and being able to formulate that same sentence correctly. It's possible to complete the German-from-English tree with only a minimal understanding of German grammar; the reverse tree really forces you to concentrate on things like correct endings and word order.

On the other hand, if you're just learning German to read German books and watch German TV, you probably don't have much need to produce correct German grammar yourself. In that case, there's a weaker case for persevering with the reverse tree. A deeper understanding of grammar is still useful for comprehension, especially of the written language -- but you might feel that expanding your vocabulary gives you a bigger pay-off for your time at this stage.



After having completed Level 12 in German and Level 11 in French and Spanish I received an icon at the bottom of the page that I had completed the respective skill tree. So, have I completed the work? I see many other people with much higher numbers after their flag and I don't understand how they did that. I started Italian last week and am now on Level 8. Will that language 'stop' also after I reach Level 11 or 12?


"Completing the tree" isn't directly related to levels: once you've done all the skills, you've completed the tree. If you just go through the tree methodically, doing each lesson once, and never go back to strengthen older lessons, you can complete a tree at level 12 or below.

You level is related to how much practice you've done, not how many skills you've completed. So you can complete a tree, then keep strengthening old lessons to earn more points and increase your level. You could even (theoretically) hit level 25 without ever completing the tree.


Thank you for replying to my concern. I think I'll leave German, French, and Spanish alone. I've used those languages often enough that I don't feel a need for more practice. I'm finding, however, that I do need to spend more time with the Italian course.


I've used those languages often enough that I don't feel a need for more practice

You have Level 12 in German.
Are you able to read and write (using the right grammar!) ?
Or do you have another goal?


I was trained as a linguist when in the Army (at the Presidio of Monterey, CA) so, yes, I can read and write well in German, French, and Spanish. I have often been mistaken for a native speaker when traveling. In high school I studied Latin and French and continued with French when I went to University. I completed the Duolingo courses in Ger., Fr., and Sp., to see what they were like. I never did any individual lessons. I sat down at the computer, looked at the vocab., to see if I knew it, reviewed the grammar tips and then just tested out of each topic. I completed those three 'trees' on my free time over the course of about eight weeks. When on an academic sabbatical in '94, I studied Italian for a year at the college level to have something interesting to learn, and I find that I have forgotten a lot of vocabulary and verb forms. I spend more time now reviewing vocabulary and revisiting grammar before attempting to test out of a topic. I studied Russian for two years in the 90s due to my job and acquired basic conversational skills. However, the language does not interest me enough to pursue it further. I'm thinking of investigating Dutch once I've satisfied the desire to improve my Italian. I don't know anything in Dutch, however, my background in German will be helpful, I'm sure. My wife and I travel to Europe every other year and having skills in other languages definitely adds to the pleasure of our travels.


"You could even (theoretically) hit level 25 without ever completing the tree" wow I didn't know that, I'm level 25 in english and I haven't completed the tree yet


It seems like my experience with the reverse tree is very different than for almost everybody else: it is slightly more difficult and you learn a little bit more, but I learned much more by watching German TV and reading books in German. When comparing the invested time and what I got from the reverse tree, it was definitely not worth it because the lessons are organized for learning English, so you spend most of the time focusing on things that are important and difficult in English (e.g. will and going to future forms) and absolutely no time for learning things that are important in German (e.g. adjective endings and cases). If you enjoy reading and watching TV in German, that will probably be much more interesting and useful than doing the reverse tree. But maybe it's different for me because I have a chance to really speak German, so I don't need every single opportunity to write or say a few sentences in German, which is the only thing that the reverse tree will give you that you won't get by reading a book.


Has anyone tried doing a tree in two languages they are currently learning (neither your native language or English)?

For example, I'm learning both French and German, and thinking about doing a French tree from German (independent of my flag status, my German is way better than my French).

As I am intensively learning them both right now, would it have some actual benefits or rather more confusion?


Has anyone tried doing a tree in two languages they are currently learning (neither your native language or English)?

Yes, within Duolingo this is called "laddering"
Those are my favourite courses, after doing the normal and the reverse trees.


I've completed the reverse trees in Spanish and Italian, and I have found them to be very useful. I do most of my practice in these courses using the timed feature, and it forces me to think quickly in these languages.


I suppose it depends on whether you can cope with the dreadful 'English' it throws at you and whether you feel you're getting anything out of it. If you started a month ago, you must have some sense of that?

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