https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

For Duolingo: Many Thanks and Happy Success Towards the Future!

2017 with Duolingo has been… Something. It was the year I actually finished my first tree and the year I finished my second tree. It was the year of reviving my love for learning Japanese and finding a new interest: Korean. This year, I had found myself contributing more in the Duolingo community and I have learned so much through the benevolent input of other members. Also, I found a new standing place in the community. Before, I never really thought I was significant. I thought I was tiny, meaningless. But, throughout throughout my years here, this year has been wonderful for me and I can’t thank Duolingo enough for all of the new resources it has provided, even if it’s just Stories.

However, this year wasn’t always kind to me. It was also the year of pain, tragedy, and of course, stress. Even this month, I lost two people to undeserved deaths, and frankly… It fills me with regret that I could have prevented their deaths. It’s funny; when I went through that, the first thing I wanted to do at that moment was use Duolingo. In the recent past, I talked about how Duolingo, for me, is therapeutic when I’m going through hard times, and I was amazed at how so many people could relate. So, my first thanks goes to Duolingo for being a site that helps so many people in their personal lives. It may be the gamification of this site, I don’t know. But, my cares soar away when I’m learning here (until I have to deal with it later), and I don’t get that relief from other learning sites.

My second thanks goes to the Duolingo team. This also includes moderators and administrators. Thank you for helping the community remain orderly, organized, and amiable. Thank you for contributing to the creation of language courses. And, thank you for simply being kind to members when I can certainly tell your patience has run thin!

On a random note, I know I always seem to talk about my stress and ordeals here, but personally, this is the only platform that I feel comfortable talking about it and have it be somewhat relevant to this site. Plus, Duolingo is, surprisingly, a huge part of my life that I could not live without. Technically, I could. I may be exaggerating (I know I am), but to be honest, this site has kept me from losing my sanity during the times I have given up all hope in my career goals… And life. Perhaps its the members and their kind and honest words, which I cannot thank enough.

That nicely leads me to my last thanks: You! Thank you, the Duolingo community, for making this site the way it is. Each and every one of you play an important role in making this site helpful, kind, and relevant. Thank you for taking time out of your lives to make Tinycard lessons for languages I have never heard of (I’m talking to you, OmegaGmaster, and all of the others who do it too), as well as those who make unofficial lessons in the forums. Thank you to the members who take it upon themselves to be leaders here, constantly helping in the language forums, helping new users, and simply setting an example for the behavior that is encouraged here. I could never be what you guys have become. I am sincerely grateful to this community. What more can I say? All of you should be proud of yourselves.

I wish Duolingo continuous success for its future. I have heard rumors that Duolingo is hardly keeping itself alive, which I don’t want to believe since I have no confirmation for its validity. Regardless of the situation, I hope Duolingo continues to be what it was founded on: a free, language learning site. Not only that, a site with a caring and helpful community. Even more, a site that strives to open doors for people. Duolingo makes the impossible a bit more possible (in terms of learning languages). So, good luck Duolingo!

Out of my three years here, 2017 has been the best year for me. I know many may disagree due to rapid changes here, but I loved my experience this year. I hope 2018 will be better. ^ ^

Happy New Year, everyone!

Out of curiosity, what are your language goals for 2018? I plan on starting the Hebrew course and finishing my Romanian tree. I also want to finish my Japanese tree and hopefully further my studies in that language.

December 29, 2017

25 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maughanster_

I agree with everything in your comment. While there have been some bad changes to Duolingo, I like to focus on the good. There have been many courses releases for English speakers (Japanese, Czech, Chinese, High Valyrian, Korean, along with Arabic being added to the incubator), some amazing changes, etc.

As for goals, I hope to finish my German, Hungarian, Welsh, Chinese, and Norwegian trees, get a level 25 in at least one language, and hopefully continue to develop my Estonian knowledge (which I learn with other sources).

Overall, 2017 has been a great year for Duolingo, and I hope 2018 is even better!

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

I'm glad you are looking on the bright side of the changes! I was extremely happy when the Japanese and Korean courses were made. I was happier when they were made available on the web. You're right to say that there has been amazing changes here. ^ ^

Good luck on your goals! I should have added that I wanted to reach level 25 in French, too. I'm sure you will achieve all of your goals!

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maughanster_

Thank you! Good luck on your goals, too!

EDIT: And I'm sorry for your losses, that must have been very rough.

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

Oh, there's no need to be sorry. ^ ^ But, thank you so much.

It's just a part of life that we can't control. I've healed in the past; I'm sure I can now. However, that did dampen my mood on Christmas... Ah, well anyway, all is good!

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Speir_

This was a really heartfelt post to read, which I can relate to myself. Back in late September and into early October, I was going through a lot of stress and my life was changing a lot, and although I wasn't as active, I was able to use Duolingo to keep my mind off certain things.

In 2018, my biggest goal on Duolingo was going to be to finish my Esperanto tree, but somehow, I managed to finish it much quicker than I originally imagined that I would, and I've managed to keep it entirely gold. Another goal would be to restart French, a language I initially was learning on Duolingo. I set this language aside a few months ago and deleted all my progress, and I'm hoping to return to it in the new year.

So, thank you for sharing your story, MasterZsword! :)

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

I'm so glad you could relate and I'm sorry your life was filled with stress recently (and now, if that is the case). I'm happy Duolingo helped you through those times of change. ^ ^

Nice job on keeping your Esperanto tree golden! None of my trees are golden, as I gave up on achieving that some time ago. Though, I know that requires much time and dedication. I guess you already got one goal taken care of. Good luck on finishing your French tree, too!

Have a happy new year!

(By the way, I love your discussions and simply your character. Keep on being an amazing person!)

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DulcetPolyglot

I love his (Speir's) character too, and I think you have a unique, amazing personality too!!! Thanks for being such a great user :D

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Lost_Sun-

Wait, Speir_ is a boy?? O.O

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

Hi Speir,

what has been your experiences taking Esperanto after French so soon?

Confusing?
Could you keep your French level? Have you lost a bit / overwrite it?
Jumping back on the French tree boat, what will that do with your Esperanto skills?

A few users gave me the advise to learn Esperanto in my "Starting reverse trees" thread: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/25339613/Any-tips-for-my-reverse-trees-for-my-Romance-Portuguese-language-studying-grammar

But basically I had read on other blogs about how this might help or just confuse people....

Feel free to answer in the linked thread if you like.


On 12/20/2017 I started to learn a few words of Spanish for my Lingvist "end of 2017 year" challenge.

Who knows, maybe I will learn Esperanto one day here on DuoLingo (maybe from Portuguese) for fun, after I completed some more Portuguese (reverse, laddering) trees.

I hope, I will not drop Lingvist completely in 2018 after the end of my challenge but try hard to continue learn the rest of 3000 (~3700) Spanish vocabulary.

I like the "Lingvist Spanish audio" so much, comparing it to the TTS (still like Portuguese better ;)).

And what I had seen, the TTS of Esperanto, is so much worse than "DuoLingo Portuguese TTS", even on Google (did not check Duo).

Hard to compete with native recorded speakers like Lingvist or Mondly (testing Portuguese).....

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Speir_

what has been your experiences taking Esperanto after French so soon? Confusing?

I've forgotten a lot of my French, since I reset my progress months ago, so it hasn't really impacted my Esperanto studies at all.

Jumping back on the French tree boat, what will that do with your Esperanto skills?

Once I start my French tree again, I'm still planning to strengthen any weak skills in my Esperanto tree on a daily basis.

Hope this answers your questions. :)

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scarlett_Lucian

2017 has been a good year. I finished my third tree (Swedish). My goals for 2018 is finishing another tree, strengthening my Swedish tree, and working on my German through the Eng-Ger tree and overall just rediscovering my love for language learning! I also hope to start working on actually speaking French, not just reading and writing it. I'm excited to see what new things DL has in store for us in the upcoming year!

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kirezatav

First thing first, I'm incredibly sorry to hear about your losses. I know it can be a horrible thing to go through, but in time you will heal. Try to look forward to when you'll be able to reminisce without pain - that time does come, and it's such a wonderful relief.

But anyway - I agree wholeheartedly with your post! The site seems to be changing and improving constantly with all the new languages and features being added, and the community is, overall, pretty outstanding. There are lots of lovely people here and a huge amount of interesting and useful discussions going on. All that just adds to the fact that it's a great resource for learning languages, especially when you're just starting out. :)

I can relate a lot to Duolingo being beneficial to your life. I struggle a lot with mental illnesses (depression, eating disorder, personality disorder) and I've found that Duo is actually quite useful in helping me manage some of my symptoms. The lessons are a sort of "safe space" for me that I can often rely on to help me through a rough patch, and I'm slowly gaining more confidence with using the discussion boards... as a severe agoraphobic, it's the only "social" contact I get (aside from two members of my family), so I think it's obvious why this is a good thing!

As for my language goals for the upcoming year... I'd like to finish my Welsh and Polish trees, and get to level 25 in Polish - yes, I'm a sucker for gamification. ;) I'd also like to indulge a little more in "dabbling", and finish a few more trees - I'm thinking Hungarian, Korean, and Romanian, as well as Klingon if it's out - although I won't be "learning" them. Outside of Duolingo, I'd like to finish working through the two textbooks I'm using to learn Latvian, and I'm hoping to read at least 10 books in Welsh (albeit ones written for learners).

Best of luck to you and your goals, I'm sure you'll do amazingly!

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tiramisues

Hey - Thanks for being so open about your struggles!

It takes courage to tell others about it; I myself struggle with that, but it's important to share and not retreat even more because you fear that others will judge based on the diagnoses or you'd just be a burden if they knew that life can be so incredibly hard. At least these are the thoughts in my head. The worse I get the less contact I look for, but the internet helps a bit to crawl out again and not shut the whole world out and Duo keeps me from feeling like a complete failure.

The battles I fight (against myself - the worst enemy) are similar to yours. I also have depression, a personality disorder (BPD) and ADHD. I struggle with all three on a daily basis.

I also had other diagnoses in the past. One of them was severe agoraphobia - but that's better now. So I just wanted to tell you to not give up! It is possible to manage it, get out again, without or at least with less fear and without panic attacks, even after staying inside for a long time. Being social via the internet definitely helps to keep those social skills from deteriorating.

Take care! It's incredibly hard, but it can get better! I sincerely wish you all the best!

Also all the best to MasterZsword and Sh3m3sh!

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

Just know that your diagnoses do not define you and are not the faults of yourself. I know we don't really know each other, so my words are probably meaningless. But, I hope they bring just a little light... Maybe. ^ ^

I only know people with mental disorders, and I always feel like I have to do something for them when they are around me because they have done so much for me. I suppose that's why I try to give encouraging words to those struggling with psychological disorders, even though I don't have personal experience. I hate seeing people suffering... And, it's not that their problems are burdening me. It's just... This month, my lack of help ended with one of the people mentioned causing their own demise. I almost lost a friend to the same thing. So, that is also why I try to be there for people like you and the others in this discussion. I just... I don't want to make that same mistake again. I don't want to fail anyone.

You are right, it is great how people are being open with their struggles. I find it amazing how people have used Duolingo to combat their struggles. Seeing so many strong people on this site makes me so happy that through their darkest despair, learning brings them a light. It's truly touching...

Thank you for being such an insightful and lovely person. This site would not be the same without you. I hope you have a wonderful new year!

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tiramisues

Thank you for your kind words! It's not meaningless, even if we don't know each other: It's difficult to accept for me that it's not me, but my illness and not my fault. But it comes at a lighter day and I can hope my brain will accept, that it's not true. And if I'm not judged even by "healthy" people I shouldn't judge myself either. It might work one day. So thank you!

And I'm really sorry about your friend! Don't put the blame on yourself, I'm sure your friend would agree! It's a lot easier said than done - I know, but when someone is in that frame of mind, accepting help is hard, which makes helping them difficult, even as a mental health professional - sure, it's not impossible, but I don't think one single person can do it, it's something we wish on both sides, that it all could be different because of one person. But what's really needed is the will to live for oneself, not others, otherwise some time later they might be right back where they started from.It's something that a therapist and medication have to help with - it's not a failure on your part, it's their illness stealing all hope from them. I'm sure you made it more bearable though.

I hope in time you'll see that you are not responsible and did all you could do!

And I can give the compliments at the end right back at you, I've seen you around on the forums and you always post thought-provoking and nice comments - thank you for all those good reads and for being a lovely and caring person!

Have a happy new year with less hardships and losses - and more happy moments!

December 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SmashCookie

I think this thread shows how wonderful the community is with all those heartwarming replies.

I hope the 2018 would be a better year for you Reena and one of your best years for every one of you Duo community. Je vous souhatie une bonne année Duo.

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

Merci! Tu es très gentil. Je te souhaite une bonne année! ^ ^

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/P-Code

That was sweet to read. I'm sorry about those two people you've lost. :( It's good to hear that you are okay in spite of all your stress this year, and how much Duolingo has helped you. I hope this next year goes better for you. :)

2017 has also been the best year for me on Duolingo. I've been involved more in the community than during 2016, when I was still relatively new. Now let's see, my language goals for 2018: Get to level B2 in Russian (I'm currently between A2 and B1); finish my Hungarian, French, and Chinese trees; and start a new tree (which one, we'll have to see!). Oh, and more Tinycards decks. I started using Tinycards a few weeks ago and I love it!

Thank you so much, MasterZsword, for the lovely post! There is so much to be thankful for on Duolingo, and you've summed it all up perfectly. Happy (early) new year! ;)

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

Your comment was very lovely to read. And, I can tell you are quite ambitious with your goals! I hope you achieve all of them, and more!

How is the Chinese course? I've been contemplating on whether I should start it, since I like Asian languages. However, I'm a bit intimidated by the language. Japanese and Korean are a bit easy to grasp, but I've always thought Chinese was the hardest of them all, from my (very) little experience with it.

Happy early New year to you, too!

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/P-Code

I haven't done much of the Chinese course yet, since I'm currently taking a break from it to review Russian. But so far, I'd say it's not bad. It could be improved by reviewing more the meanings of characters rather than mostly their pronunciations. With Tinycards, though, this isn't a huge problem. I like that the course teaches by subject (food, names, etc.) rather than by grammar concept. From what I've heard, Chinese grammar isn't very difficult—it's memorizing the characters that is harder. Perhaps in 2018, the Chinese course will get some improvements... I can't wait to see!

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BonBonChat

Amazing post. I wish you such good luck for 2018!!

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sharon822547

LOVED YOUR POST. Simply love to see appreciation for the deserving, and it warms the heart to see a human soul persevere even when it is broken. You've used Duo's tools to your advantage in so many ways. Your language goals are inspirational, while my goal is to work on my Chinese and Spanish, I think I shall just stick to those for now. You are soooo right, Duo has a way with keeping us users ' KEEPING ON'. I'm glad to be your fellow DuolingoER.

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterZsword

Ah, you are really too sweet to one who genuinely does not deserve anyone's kindness... It warms my heart that people find me inspirational. Your goals sound wonderful! May your studies in Chinese and Spanish be excellent in the upcoming new year. ^ ^

December 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

2017 was a difficult year for me too. There were very, very bright spots though, like sun flares. I'm hoping to help make 2018 a better year than 2017. I hope others will too :)

My goal is to reach level 15 in Japanese, and get 2 crowns in every skill in the Spanish for English speaker's course. Today, I spent about 2 hours with my friend only using ASL. I was already rusty after just a couple of weeks of not using it with them! So, practicing more ASL with the plus of spending more time with a friend is also on there.

Duolingo has been an important pillar of sustenance for me too. :)

January 2, 2018
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