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Going on a cruise this summer

I'd like to finish the tree and have a reasonable proficiency before flying to Europe. My daily plan is to first strengthen what I already know by clicking on the weight (or whatever that thing is), followed by two lessons. If I do this every day, the tree will be completed before the cruise. Barely.

Is this a reasonable plan? Or have I raised my hopes too high?

January 25, 2018



I would strongly suggest, that in addition to continuing your studies, that you concentrate on the kind of phrases you are likely to encounter and that you practice speaking them out loud and equally as important that you find someone with whom to practice speaking and listening skills. Duolingo is great for building vocabulary and reading skills but in the real world, people speak quickly and if you haven't practiced listening and speaking you'll still be interpreting the first sentence when they are on sentence 5. Once you get on your cruise, do not be afraid to try to speak. Communication is the goal, not perfect vocabulary. Do not try to construct full sentences in your head before speaking. Just go, while at the same time, know how to ask in french "how do I say", "what is the word for", "what does that mean", "I have a hole in my memory". You also need to know how to ask someone to speak more slowly. All of these will engage your listener in keeping the communication going - as opposed to dead silence which is a conversation killer. They also give you some time to remember a word or two. Do not be afraid of making mistakes, those will help you more than anything. Above all, enjoy yourself in your journey!

[deactivated user]

    It's always worth a try : )


    I personally could not do two new lessons every day and retain it all. I'm more of a "five reviews, one new lesson, some more reviews if I have time" kind of learner.

    You can always give it a try, and if you find yourself becoming confused or frustrated take a step back, do some reviews, and slow down.


    I think it depends on your personal learning style... For me, I tend to get a bit obsessed with languages and blaze through lessons as quickly as I can. When I was in high school I did the entire year's worth of Spanish lessons (homework and tests) in two weeks, and then for the rest of the year I had nothing to do but sit around and daydream through class. Unsurprisingly, I remember next to no Spanish. As an adult I still like to work that way, but since I'm motivated by actually understanding what I'm studying (rather than just fulfilling the coursework) I blaze through lessons even faster than I did as a kid, but then I keep reviewing like crazy until I really understand them.

    For the OP, though, I'd keep in mind that completing your tree won't make you even remotely capable of conversing in the language unless you supplement it with a LOT of extra material. It might make the most sense to make a goal to spend a certain amount of time on the language every day, rather than doing a certain number of new lessons.

    I'm preparing to visit Germany in the spring, and right now I'm doing Babbel as well as Duolingo (as well as reading books in German, keeping a German-language journal, and also watching German opera with German subtiles 'cause I'm an opera nerd). Duolingo has been much more helpful than Babbel in terms of practicing grammar, but the vocabulary-oriented courses on Babbel have been a godsend! It seems like for preparing for a trip, it might be helpful to focus on some basic grammatical structures and then supplement that with learning vocab. Also maybe think about how you expect to use the language and practice phrases that you might encounter in those situations.

    I personally try to keep my expectations very low and focus on studying for the pleasure of learning rather than expecting to be able to communicate. Native speakers are really hard to understand, so even though I can understand a lot of intermediate-level material already, I don't have high hopes for being able to chatter away with locals. But it's really enjoyable for its own sake, and since my expectations are low, I'm really thrilled and surprised when I find myself understanding what I read or hear. It's so easy to get disappointed when you want to be able to communicate fluently but you find yourself not being able to understand a word of what people are saying... It can really destroy your confidence and pleasure in the language (as I know from personal experience, after living as an expat for 8 years). So this time around I'm trying to just study as much as I can before I leave and keep my expectations extremely low, so hopefully I can go "wow! I actually understood that!" instead of beating myself up for not being able to understand native speakers.


    I was going to comment about learning languages through opera as being a bad idea until I saw that you were going to use the subtitles. Heck, I have problems understanding operas in English without subtitles.


    So true! And so many of the singers aren't native speakers of the language they're singing in, and some of them have terrible accents (or even sing gibberish if they forget a line). It's a pretty terrible way to study a language, but it's the whole reason I went back to studying languages, so for me it's motivating. German doesn't have a reputation for being a beautiful language, but for me it's completely gorgeous because I hear Strauss and Beethoven and Mozart in my head all the time. I get totally blissed out and starry-eyed.


    You have a goal and a plan and want to work that plan. That's a giant step some people never make regardless of the task. Do not concern yourself with whether or not the plan is 'reasonable.' There are too many variables at play to evaluate the plan at this time. Just move forward and also review. Sometimes the pace of leaning vocabulary and grammar will quicken, other times not so much. Be patient with yourself and allow your brain to relax between lessons. You are better served mastering 12 topics than by 'covering' 25. All of us have had the experience of cramming for tests/exams in our past. We also learned from such experiences that it was difficult to recall much of that information even a relatively short time later. Do what you can comfortably do == you will feel rewarded, and you will enjoy your trip. P.S. Buy a pocket-size bilingual phrasebook and work from that in addition to the lessons here. DO NOT TAKE A DICTIONARY WITH YOU. :)


    No reason why not, though I'm not sure it'll make much difference to the cruise, as I'm guessing you are travelling on an English-speaking ship and you'll be in a different country every day. Or do you mean all your language trees? Which cruise operator are you travelling with?

    I agree with Chip that you may be better off looking at some more substantial beginner courses (if that's where you are) that show you the patterns of exchange in a normal transactional conversation rather than 'the ant is eating the shark' or 'iron is a metal'. How much does it cost, the bill please, more slowly, please, I don't speak very much x, can you give me directions to/where is the x...


    I agree with everyone here. Learn phrases that you'll use frequently. Memorize them. Say them so many times that they roll off your tongue without even thinking about them. All of the grammar and vocab in the world wont help you if you're nervous about speaking in another language. You'll make every grammar mistake eventually, so it's best to just jump in and make them all early. See if you can find a language learning community near you. That way, you'll be having a ton of fun meeting new people and using the language long before the actual cruise!


    Id gusta a terminar el arbol y tengo una razonable competencia antes de volar a europa.My diario mi plan es primero fortalecer que yo ya sabes haciendo click en el peso( lo que sea que cosa es)seguido de dos lecciones.Si yo hago esto cada dia.El arbol sera completado antes de el curso.Balery

    Es esto un razonable plan?O tenemos elevado mi esperanza tambien alto


    There is a lot of good advice here. I would just add that for many non-French speakers the difficulty lies in understanding the French accent. It can be difficult to hear when one word ends and the next one begins because of the "liaison" made when pronouncing adjacent words. So, my recommendation is to try to listen to a lot of spoken French. Either movies, or TV, or even just French radio. There are tons of youtube videos of native speakers using common phrases. Anyway, keep up the effort! Even if you are not perfect, people here really appreciate when you start out by saying "bonjour" and at least attempting to speak French. It will make a big difference in your interactions (even if you make mistakes/have a limited vocabulary). D'accord, bon courage pour la suite, et bon voyage !


    I am going on the Celebrity Solstice on September 13th until September 23, 2019 for a cruise to Hawaii from Vancouver. Can I use Duolingo every day on the cruise without out of Canada LTE travel charges? Lyle

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