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The new crown levels are too basic for me in French. I seek new platforms for fluency.

Earlier this week, I was at a 67% fluency level in French and had maintained a "golden tree" for months. Then the new crown system was introduced, I was stripped of a fluency rating, and forced down to a 2 or 3-level crown. This is sooooo boring!

I have been practicing French on Duolingo every day for well over two years and am frequently in France, so I definitely do not need to work on the difference between "Bonjour" and "Bonne nuit", something that Duolingo forced me to plod through for eight tedious lessons before giving me my 3-rd level crown on "common phrases".

I need to work on things such as when and how to use y and en, higher levels of slang, and more complex grammatical structures. I'll probably stick with Duolingo for basic practice in French (and studying new languages when I am more solid in French), but am seeking out other platforms to help me develop real fluency on this.

I have been a major proponent of Duolingo for learning new languages and will continue to recommend it to others, but I fear that I may have graduated out of it for French. Do any of you have suggestions for platforms that allow one to really develop deeper fluency? And for any Duolingo Admins, is there a way to help your longer-term learners? Again, I think Duolingo is AMAZING and will continue to recommend it, but I need it to work me harder if I am to meaningfully continue with it.

March 26, 2018


  • 2007

Duolingo does, indeed, only take you so far in a language, and you may well have graduated beyond Duolingo for French. Options here besides maintaining your tree would be doing English for French, or crossing your other languages - it looks like you might be advanced enough in Spanish and/or Italian to do one of those courses for French speakers, for instance, or even do German entirely from French. This is sometimes called laddering and is supposed to be really helpful, if you haven't tried it yet.

As far as crown levels go, apparently Duolingo has heard the complaints and they want to add a system allowing you to test all the way out of certain skills, making them immediately and permanently gold, for situations just like this, so if you're patient, you may yet get to regild your whole tree without so much monotony.


I am so glad to hear that! There's a really compulsive part of me that wants to regild my trees thus far, or at least achieve a consistent level across modules, even though I don't want to do "I am a boy" "She is the woman" a hundred times to get there, when I should be working on prepositions, conjugation and the tenses that I always trip up on.


The new system isn’t really more challenging. It might be time for you to graduate. Start reading books and watching films, and news....


Hi Seattle_scott: I am following all of your suggestions -- and I'm living in France part time, as well! I am trying to be helpful to Duolingo programmers and administrators, trying to make it a more competitive language application. The basic inroads are fantastic, and this could be a revolutionary tool. However, they need to cater to more advanced students if they want to become a category killer in the field of language arts.


It would be nice if there were more material beyond beginner level. Every time they try to increase the difficulty, the vast majority of people leave in droves. So, that makes it less suited for anyone who is a serious student. Let's hope it improves.

In the meantime... I agree with Ripcurlgirl, the reverse tree (or laddering as others have suggested) will probably be closer to the level you would like. Although they won't necessarily specifically teach "when and how to use y and en, higher levels of slang, and more complex grammatical structures," all of these will come up in the exercises at some point or other. Slang or other ways to express something will be mentioned in the sentence discussion. You can get practice reading and writing in French or whichever other language you do. Prepositions will pop up all over the place. Because you will need to answer more often in the language you are learning, many sentences will seem more complex even at level 0.


I, too, have not yet been given the new tree but my advice is to do the Reverse tree (English for french speakers) - you will receive far more sentences to write in French. Just a tip, turn off the mic, speaker and sound effects - this will ensure all your exercises are written.


Well I agree with that part. It would be nice to see more challenging content. After a couple of days with the new crown system, I’m surprised there isn’t more challenging content, and now that I’m losing health for redoing modules in trees I’ve had guilded for a year now, I’ll be here less for sure.


exactly its less challenging - that's the problem. Before the app was a good additional to reading books and watching films, or just talking. Now its gets just boring

  • 2220

I don't have this new system, but it does not sound very good. I have been asking for a French 2 for several years...


The founder, Luis, has already stated in another discussion thread that they will modify the system. If you've finished your tree there is no reason to be at crown level 1 or 2. I'd check back with Duolingo from time to time as it may be a while before they do the modification. Don't give up on 'em!


I don’t have the new crown levels yet, so no comment there. However, I believe it should be “bonne nuit” and perhaps this is why you were getting stuck?


Nobody is forcing you to run through "bonne nuit" hundreds of times, least of all Duolingo. The whole point of the software is that you hold the destiny of your language learning in your own hands. If you find Basics II to be unhelpful to you at this point, then stop doing exercises on Basics II and switch to something else. You say you need practice with y and en, those are under Pronouns II and I respectively. Get those skills to crown level 5.


How do you switch to something else, as you suggested?


I'm not entirely sure I understand the question? Given your exp level I assume you have the whole tree unlocked? You can strengthen any skill you want at any time you want. So if you find the time you're devoting to strengthening one certain skill to be unhelpful, then select a different skill from the tree and strengthen that one.

Duolingo is a choose-your-own adventure. Sure there's a SRS that can tell you what things you would do well to review, but ultimately you plan your own syllabus and work on things that are important to you. Obviously the basics and phrases are fairly internalized for me, while uses of the subjunctive, and in particular the past subjunctive, are still difficult, so personally I've done a lot of reviewing of those skills towards the bottom of the tree and the top of the tree has been left almost entirely untouched.


Hi Ofred19, I don't think y and en are covered very well under Pronouns, as it happens -- and certainly not in level 3 (which is where I am with Pronouns 2, but I am only at level 2 with Pronouns 1 according to this flawed system). My bugbear is that I am on Level 3 at the end of the tree -- obviously the more difficult part of the system -- and in level 2 on the beginning phases. With the current system, I would guess that I should be on level 5 on all parts of this tree. I seek a greater challenge. Obviously, no one is "forcing" me to use Duolingo at all, but I thought it would be helpful for the programmers and administrators to know of my frustrations.


My understanding is that each level represents the number of times you have completed each skill, with more repetitions required for higher levels. If you are seeing higher levels at the end of the tree, I imagine that simply indicates that you have completed more repetitions of those skills compared to earlier skills. To reach level 5 for every skill on the current French tree would require something more like 40,000 experience points.


This. I don't know why people are complaining "Hurr I have to do basics 200 times over wah" no one is forcing you too. The crown system is for people who want to practice one module over and over again, if someone nailed basics 1 for instance they can just move on to the next module. I like the crown system, it's great.


I have just joined News In Slow French (intermediate level). Not cheap, but brilliant. Transcriptions of all news items and discussions, grammar sections and colloquialisms. You do have to listen to old news stories, but it can be quite interesting to be taken back to when recent stories (back to 2011) were just breaking. Try the free apps for France Inter and Le Monde.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.