https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54

Does Duolingo work for learning Spanish?

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I've already posted responses to a couple of threads on this same question, but I have a bit more perspective now, having just spent a week in Spain.

After nearly six months of sustained effort on Duolingo (minimum 50XP per day, often much more) and with the help of some other resources (books, movies, etc.), I traveled to Valencia last week. My first real attempt to speak Spanish was last Tuesday, when I visited a couple of mobile phone stores. I was able to explain what I was looking for and to understand the responses. I hadn't prepared what I wanted to say in advance, so my Spanish wasn't smooth, and it certainly wasn't pretty, but it worked. I was able to communicate effectively, if not efficiently, in Spanish. This I counted as a real and somewhat surprising success.

Over the following three days I spent five hours in private lessons at the Cervantes school in Valencia, which goes by the name Don Quijote. No English was spoken during these lessons, though a few words of German may have been exchanged as both the instructor and I have spent significant time in that country.

The first order of business was to assess my current level of Spanish. The instructor had me do this by telling her about myself. After hearing several minutes of my life story, she said I'm probably at level B1. She then asked about my previous preparation, and I explained that I'd mostly been studying Spanish using Duolingo.

My instructor was more than a little surprised that I'd made as much progress as I had in six months, without a teacher, relying mostly on Duolingo. This, I think, should be exciting news for anyone who hopes to learn Spanish with Duolingo. But she also helped me to understand that, based on my background, I may have some advantages when it comes to learning languages.

First, I have previous experience learning two languages that are generally considered to be more challenging than Spanish: Russian and German. In the first case, I completed two formal 36-week courses at the Defense Language Institute, though this was many years ago. Somewhat more recently, I learned German (to maybe a B2 level) without any formal training but with the advantage of having lived there for many years. She also emphasized that I've obviously put a lot of effort into learning Spanish. This is true.

Now, a couple days distant from those Spanish lessons, here's a quick summary of what I think I know about learning Spanish using Duolingo.

  • It really does work.

  • It requires a sustained, significant effort.

  • It helps to have studied other languages previously, but it's not a precondition.

  • It's also necessary to incorporate other resources into your studies, with a particular emphasis on grammar. I expected to spend the time in private lessons working on conversational skills, but my instructor wanted me to focus on grammar instead. And she's right. I'd already proved I could muddle through in conversation. A good next step is to learn to speak more correctly. There are lots of great, free resources on the Web, but I'm also using an inexpensive grammar book from Barrons, as well as a textbook meant for self-study from McGraw Hill. I'll be spending more time with these books in the future.

  • Watching/listening to Spanish movies/TV/radio can be a big help. In my travels to other countries over the years, I've met untold numbers of people who've told me they learned English by watching American movies. If it can work for people learning English, it can certainly work for people learning Spanish. YouTube is an obvious source of content, as is Netflix.

  • Online newspapers can also be a big help. My wife and I are quite partial to Valencia, so I focus on that section of El País, both to help with Spanish and to help me to learn more about the city and province. The newspaper site is free in desktop/laptop browsers. There's also the BBC Mundo app, which is free on mobile devices.

So, that's my story ( and I'm sticking to it). I knew before I came to Valencia last week that I'd made real progress over the past six months. I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that I've come even further than I thought. Now, after several lessons with a professional instructor, I have a good plan for continued study (which includes Duolingo), and even more motivation for doing so. I also feel strongly that if Duolingo can work for me, it can work for anyone else willing to make a serious effort to learn Spanish.

August 27, 2018

81 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/El_Gusano
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I definitely agree. For me, I had taken a few Spanish classes around 20 years ago so I was aware of its grammar. However, I hadn't practiced any Spanish since that time. But I found out about Duolingo about 3 years ago and I have been using it every day since. I raced through the course and finished it in only 30 days. Sometime after reaching level 25 I discovered local language groups, websites, and apps. I started attending meetup.com groups and the very first day I was super nervous and after 2 hours I left with my head spinning. But I survived. For the next year I aggressively sought out many Spanish groups, often attending 4-5 groups a week, while regularly chatting up people online. In around 3 months of doing this, I was speaking Spanish fluently. I have since driven to Mexico various times (I live in Phoenix) and have spoken nothing but Spanish every trip and it still amazes me that I understand anyone, let alone everyone. I've also been to Nicaragua on 3 separate vacations and really love the country. I now speak Spanish fluently without translating in my head or anything like that. Anyways, Duolingo reopened a door that had been closed for so very long. It was a great first step in language learning but it should also not be the only step. On a side note, I also regularly attend groups in French and Italian as well thanks to duo. I have been able to derive much of the grammar through my experience with Spanish. But 3 new languages I converse at varying levels, all of which I thank Duolingo for.

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/brmeast

I wish it was that easy for me to learn Spanish ._.

Been going on about a year and a half now.

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/iLearned
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I'm assuming your 30 day breeze through Spanish was before the Crowns system and the mass-grind required to reach level 5, yes?

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TonyElPescador

Amigo.

Sin dolor. Sin ganancias.

Hasta luego!

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DakotaMurdoch

I would say you are correct, I could be wrong (it was a few year break in-between duolingo uses until now) but the crown level grind was only introduced in 2018?

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Evan.Tracy

Correct. Also, the trees have been extended quite a bit recently (they added over 60 new lessons to the Spanish tree).

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LemunSqueeZ

I've had a similar experience with Duolingo and Spanish. I went through the Duolingo tree and was eager to put it in practice. For audio practice, I listened to each episode of the "Coffee Break Spanish" podcast twice. I usually listened during my commute to and from work.

I used an app called HelloTalk for real practice with real people, and I met my girlfriend on there. I texted her every day and then visited her about ~4 months of daily texting. I just translated everything I did not understand.

When I arrived to her country to visit her, I was able to communicate well with her, but not so well with other people. I knew the basics pretty well, but I was unable to understand the accents of other people.

Well I visited several times and have now been in her country for about 3 consecutive months and my progress has exponentially improved. I understand pretty much everyone completely well and I've even started to naturally adopt some local terms and slang. I'm proud of my progress for only really studying for about a year!

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/El_Gusano
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I love the HelloTalk app as well. By the time someone reaches level 25, they should be trying to expand beyond duo and talking with natives. Duo is awesome as long as one understands where it fits in language learning. So I'm curious what country you are referring to in your post. Can you tell us?

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LemunSqueeZ

Yeah I agree with you. However I rushed into it and am now returning to Duolingo just so I can keep up with my vocabulary and have that nice 25 next to my name. And Colombia!

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/mircalb

That's awesome!

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/rebecca_cardigan

That's awesome!

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Susan877045

This is great news, because I started learning Spanish in July to be ready for our trip to Mexico City in December for a friend's wedding. My goal is to talk to the toddlers, and be polite to everyone else. ¡Gracias!

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CindyFahrb
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This made me giggle.

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/yibemajam
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Hahaha Susan, I hope you achieve your goal!

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AR_Elsherbiny
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Jajaja, I am sure you can do more than that in 6 months. Felicitaciones to your friend :D

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Cynthia309414

Blessings, you can do it!

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Todd263346
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I love your comments. I have been studying with duolingo for about a year. I supplement that with Spanish speaking news sites. Usually focusing on U.S. news so i don't get in the weeds trying to understand the subjects of other government politics. Also I find Netflix a great tool they have many Spanish language shows. I can watch it with Spanish captioning to help me "hear" each of the words. Watch it with English captioning to help my own understanding. Then try it without captioning. I also had a Bolivian coworker who began to help me with conversations, but she could easily break into English.

About a month ago a decided to go to a local store, La Estrella Tienda Mexicana. A family owned business. The father speaks some English and is usually at the food counter. The mother does not speak English and is behind the cash counter. The children when around usually can translate. I was surprised at our nervous I was and even more so when the only one around was the mother. This would be a first time talking with someone who couldn't just break into English if I faltered. I greeted her exchanged a few halting words then went down the aisles reading labels in Spanish. I suddenly felt sorry for non-English speakers who go to our grocery stores it can be daunting. I picked a few things I wanted to try. Headed back to her. Told her she had a nice store, asked about prices of something. Of course it was very halting but she was patient. Knowing I didn't speak the language well she always replied to me slowly and precisely. By this time her husband who is in back saw me and came up talking in English. And I replied in Spanish. Which was funny because we ended up have a few minutes of conversation slowly increasing the difficulty of what we were saying but stumbling for words. Nice to know we both were trying.

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Cynthia309414

I love the Netflix Spanish films...Subtitles are a great help...Thanks for your story Todd...

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/rebecca_cardigan

Can you recommend a show you watch on Netflix? I am in the midst of the world's slowest language acquisition....!

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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Depending on your level, you might first want to spend some time with the Spanish Extra series on YouTube. Turning on the Spanish subtitles can be a big help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfb9-ZTCA-E&list=PLLVULqsElvki_riI1ld0QhZJx1wom5Ply

On Netflix I've been watching a couple of series: El Ministerio del Tiempo and La Reina del Sur. The first comes from Spain, so they're speaking castellano, whereas the second is Latin American Spanish, at least in the early episodes. I also notice a new series made by Netflix called Undercover Law. Looks interesting.

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertWJoh

I've only taken up Spanish the last week or so (Small classroom experience previous mind you) but i plan to watch "The Heist " its a mini series on Netflix......... I've heard great things about it.

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/H2wk3ye
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I have found Duolingo an excellent tool. I had already studied five languages and taught two at the college level, so didn't have to re-learn what an adjective was. We have retired to Ecuador and happily have our studies reinforced daily. The key to all language learning is memory. Memory is strenthened by exposure. Duolingo allows for various levels of exposure. As you improve you can "test out" various levels. After two years of almost constant study I am currently at Crown Level 522 and improving daily. I worked all the way through Rosetta Stone, but like Duolingo better. I also worked through the Tiny Cards and most of the Duolingo Stories. I am not yet fluent, but locals are now complimenting my Spanish. Thanks for your post.

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TonyElPescador

Excellent post.

Regards from the Catskills. TR


" The key to all language learning is memory. Memory is strenthened by exposure. Duolingo allows for various levels of exposure."

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LemunSqueeZ

You say you're not fluent. Do you find that it's because you are lacking vocabulary, or that you are having trouble separating what they're saying into separate words and then digesting it from there?

Also I always had curiosity about Rosetta Stone just because of its famous name, but I never actually checked it out. I'm glad to know that by choosing Duolingo I at least inadvertently chose the better platform haha.

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/H2wk3ye
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The reason I say I'm not fluent is my definition of "fluency" is more stiff than most. I can go all day chatting with people in Spanish. But when someone speaks quickly, I still too often go into a fog. With a little repetition from one or the other, we do fine.

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/BillHarlan1

I've put in six months of Duolingo Spanish, too. I'm just finishing up 10 days in León, Mexico. Similar experience to jimo54. (Less previous language experience than you, but I do have some French and a little Italian.) I was able to communicate in stores and restaurants and on a basic level with new Mexican friends. Even at tennis. Duolingo really works, but I do use other resources. I'll focus more on listening now—movies and tv. Fast conversations between two Mexicans? Estoy perdido.

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Timo-opettelee
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I agree wholeheartedly on practically everything you just said.

Duolingo has been a real boost for language learning, and a great way to get started if you're unsure whether language learning is for you or not. Beginning your studies with a course book is obviously a much taller hurdle than "playing a few rounds" on Duolingo.

For me the way to get started is to listen to a (good) beginner audio course and to use Duolingo until I get a good feel for the language.

At some point (perhaps after finishing the tree), picking up other resources such as grammar books becomes easier.

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SoKav
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Can't agree more. After just a couple of (intense) weeks of duolingo, I could order food and ask for directions in Ecuador. I'm about to finish the Spanish tree (after 3.5 months) and can read the poetry of Octavia Paz and Neruda (with some help from a dictionary) and watch Spanish movies (~50% comprehension, 90% with subtitles). I think after less than four months (of intense duolingo-ing) this is quite good and so yes, duolingo works!

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TonyElPescador

Buenos dias en el Catskills.

Excellent post Jimo y congrats!

Tienes estudiaste 5,000 XP in 180 dias = acerca de 277 XP por dia.

Ese es dedicacion!

TR

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/GuyEshel1

Wow, thank you for the insight. This is everything a Duolingoer want to know! Thank you

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Raachel.T
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Agreed. I was also in a situation where I went to this pop up juice shop in Denmark and surprisingly the shop owner only spoke Spanish (I think I was only level 9 then) and I was the only one in the family who has any sort of Spanish Knowledge. Long story short, I ended up buying what I wanted using Spanish . So yes, Duolingo does work in real life.

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/radpowers
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Valuable experience. Thank you for sharing your insight. Well thought out.

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/kara.tahta
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The best way to learn if it works or not is to try it yourself. I'm understanding the cases with the German tree and learning French and Spanish along with other languages. Duolingo is a really, really useful tool to learn the basics and move on. When I started doing the English tree, I realized that comparing English to my native language also helps understand your native language. We should remember that if we search for the best method, we won't be able to learn the language. (Plus, Level 25 is worth it.)

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DraeWright
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¡Buen trabajo! mi amigo. Yo tengo que creer Duolingo es el mejor disponible. Comenzé con solamente sobre catorce palabras de español hace casi cuatro años. Tambien uso otra métodos para practica de hablar, escuchar, leer y escribir. Mi plan favorito es un viaje a el salvador pronto. ¡Felicidades! Cuatro años aquí para mi y ahora estudio francés tambien. ¡Estoy lo disfrutando ambos lenguajes mucho y los uso cada vez que puedo!

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SantiagoHablando

First, thank you for this post!!! It is very encouraging for someone who as yet to converse verbally in Spanish with anyone.

I have poured significant time and effort into learning Spanish through several resources but primarily practicing through Duolingo's exercises and I am quite proficient at reading it. However, I have been wondering if when the time came, I would be able to even frame a thought out loud, so this post is very reassuring!

September 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Melyndi
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very nice! Yeah I'm sure Duo works though I would have thought it would take longer than 6 months. I've been at it for about 2 and a half years and I'm starting to feel like I've made a lot of progress. Don't know my level but kind of hope I'm nearing the B1 range. I now often understand Duo with out having to read the sentences of play them back on the slow setting. I get a significant amount out of the Duo bilingual podcasts and am starting to try using the New in Slow Spanish Podcasts though those are harder and I feel are still a little above my level. I have an intensive second year Spanish course second semester of this year so I'm trying to get as far ahead of that as I can in the meantime

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Marla_AZ

'FELICITACUONES! This is very encouraging and I congratulate you on your sgnificant and well earned progress. Bravo!! (PS Can I ask how many hours per day you studied on your own?)

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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¡Muchas gracias! My daily times vary a lot, depending on what else is going on in my life on any given day. On average, though, I'd estimate probably no less than half-an-hour per day. I've spent most of that time working with Duolingo, but I also spend time with a couple of books mentioned in my original post and also with movies and TV shows on YouTube and Netflix. One of the most helpful, at least in the beginning, has been Spanish Extra. The series is a bit campy, but I've learned a lot from the 13 episodes, especially with the Spanish subtitles turned on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfb9-ZTCA-E&list=PLLVULqsElvki_riI1ld0QhZJx1wom5Ply

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/mndesouza12

Yo estoy aprendiendo mucho.

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CindyFahrb
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Todo tu trabajo vale la pena. ¡Qué gran experiencia! Gracias por compartirla con nosotros.

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/katia393307
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Thank you for sharing your experiece! I have been following a plan similar to yours and it is very encouraging to know that it works! I ve tried some online tests and it seems I am in a B1-B2 level already ( at least in regards with the reading/ writting skills). I am finishing the duolingo tree this week and I am planning to buy a couple of books to prepare for the dele b2 test :) I started using duo 10 months ago, but I have done some serious work only for the last 2 months. and am very happy with my progress. so yes I agree that Duo is a very useful tool. It would be perfect if it included more grammar tips I think. But as you said, there are so many online sources available for the grammar. And I think that this procedure of identifying what is missing and searching for the answers on other sources, helps us learning more effectively. I also agree that the more languages we know the easier it becomes to learn a new language and they all relate to each other.

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnKidd4
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just a tip for you... if you want Castilian Spanish (Europe) then perhaps you could try wlingua.com.. very much like our beloved duolingo, the difference being that duo is South American pronunciation and some differences of word meanings, etc.

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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Excellent tip! Thank you. I signed up yesterday and took the placement test. This morning I finished lesson 30.0. As much as I love Duolingo, I'm also very impressed with the the Wlingua approach. And, as you suggest, I appreciate the ability to focus on castellano. Thanks again!

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MANFerro

Congrats! Duolingo is a great tool. I recommend you the spanish spoken in Bogotá-Colombia.

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MannalalAsh
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Thanks for such an encouraging post, your personal experience is sure to instill confidence in many. i was concerned about retention, but your suggestion to take help of YouTube, BBc monde is sure to work, thanks once again.

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LSadun
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Thanks for sharing, Jimo54!

Your experience jibes with mine in almost all of the DL languages I've been studying. DL can't take away your accent or make you suddenly eloquent in a foreign language, but with dedication it can get you past some really tough barriers and make you comfortable where you might otherwise be lost. In particular, it gives you the confidence to try speaking the local tongue instead of playing the "do you speak English?" card. More often than not, that leads to pleasant surprises!

I also agree that DL by itself isn't enough. You also need grammar study, some of which can be chasing down the links in the discussions over the DL sentences you got wrong. Watching TV is great for improving comprehension. And there's no substitute for actual conversation.

With DL, I went from not speaking a word of German to being able to conduct simple business. I went from knowing very little French to being able to follow sermons at religious services. I went from basic Spanish to being comfortable chatting with children and other non-English-speakers in Peru, and helping translate for other tourists. And my Italian (always my best language) got good enough that my conversations with my Italian relatives are now always in Italian, even though some of them speak pretty good English. Hebrew is still a struggle, but reading is much easier than it used to be, and 4 out of 5 ain't bad!

Gracias al buho, grazie al gufo, merci a la chouette, danke an die Eule, v'todah layanshuf.

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Gary698455

Interesting post. Gracias. I think your point about strengthening is particularly important with the new levels, especially with preterit and other tenses now appearing WAY DOWN the tree. I bought the workbook "Spanish Verb Tenses" (Dorothy Devney Richmond), and when using DuoLingo practice some other tense each day by substituting and saying out loud the tense I've selected after answering the original question in the tense required. If the answer is (for example) "El bebé duerme entre los elefantes," I might say "El bebe durmió entre los elefantes."

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TonyElPescador

Hola!

Sin dolor no hay ganancia.

;-)

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Nancy783127

I'm at six weeks right now, not six months, but I've been putting a LOT of time in. (Level 16, whatever that actually means in practice. Everything goes gold a week or so after first exposure.)

I'm absolutely thrilled with this. I realize completely it is not going to make me fluent or even close, but I have learned SO much already. It feels like every new topic opens up new options for me in speaking, which is my main goal. I've had a few baby conversations. Many more to come.

I do already have a solid grounding in German (it's like swiss cheese at the moment, but it once was very good). I'm sure that helps, as I don't stress about the grammar very much at all. I know I'll recognize the patterns after a while. And half of the reasons for "why is it like this" are "it just is -- memorize it" anyway. Learning with full sentences is fabulous for me. So is the grind. I've set my preferences to keyboard input only, so level one can be quite painful. But by the time I've finally gotten all the way through level 5 I feel really confident. I can hardly wait to learn more.

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Ann927796

I found myself easily understood in Ecuador with 6 months of learning with duolingo every day. I am very impressed.

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AR_Elsherbiny
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Very motivating post. I too had a similar experience. After 6 months of learning Spanish I traveled to Spain and visited 3 different Spanish Cities; Barcelona, Seville, and Madrid, in that order. I was able to make small chats with taxi drivers, hotel receptionists, waiters at restaurants and coffee shops. I do admit that I used more than just DL, however DL was my real starting point. I did use the help of www.studyspanish.com for grammar and A LOT of Youtube videos and episodes (i.e: "Extra") and Spanish Songs. It was really a magical experience to travel to a foreign country after learning its language and have the chance to practice it live with locals. Thanks for sharing your story.

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Silviadoc76
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I completely agree. I started studiyng German years ago and now I'm improving with Doulingo. I find it usefull and smart. I'm now apporaching Spanish and ... it works! Maybe it's also because I'm an italian mothertounge and the two languages have many things in common. Now: I'll see.

September 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

Hello jimo54 Thank you for the link. Yes, the State Department's Travel Advisory is the final one that made me decide not to travel to Morelia, but I keep hoping the level will improve. Probably wishful thinking. I know people from some countries worry about it being dangerous to travel to the US what with all the gun violence here, but I have never personally experienced anything like that, and for most parts of the country, the rule of law still holds. Since I have not travelled to Mexico before, it’s hard for me to judge the level of safety there. Still, I have some good friends from Mexico who moved here to the US to escape violence, so I know it is real.

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TonyElPescador

Jimo, mi hombre - Como calificaria la escuela - Don Quijote?

Estoy pensado en inscribirme en la 'senior' (mas de 55) progama este invierno en Malaga o Marbella. Posiblemente ambos! Por favor avise. Gracias de la Catskills, TR

September 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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Me gustaron mucho mis clases en Don Quijote. Tomaré más clases en Don Quijote el próximo enero. Se la recomiendo a todo el mundo

September 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TonyElPescador

Gracias Jimo.

Tal vez te vea en Heredia con las personas mayores (aka 'Old Farts') en el invierno de 2019.

Hasta luego! TR

September 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CC290
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JImo, ¡muchisimas gracias por su testimonio! Su ejemplo nos eseña la importancia del frase: "La buena suerte es la hermana gemela del trabajo duro."

I had learned Spanish for 6 years, but I never really used it outside of school. I could read it, write and understand but not speak it (weird right?). My "moment" was when I went to a restaurant and ordered stuff (having initially started in English). Using DL (which has real-world examples) made helped me there. The forums here are great! I just want to pay it forward now. Maybe visit the learning English for Spanish speakers to help them too! :)

On the Spanish media tip, it's spot on. Even if one's not proficient, it helps immensely with pronunciation. I listened to RFI (radio France Internationale) when I was younger, and even though I've lost some of my French, I could speak pretty well. It also made my learning Spanish easier. (where I was staying, we had several Caribbean radio stations) and I got to love salsa and merengue as a bonus!

If you want to immerse yourself, as you said, Youtube is pretty awesome for that. I've found a few live channels - all by the stations themselves (so no DRM/copyright restrictions). Other than the CityTv and Canal 6, they're all in some form of HD:

TN (Argentina): https://youtu.be/-1xif50QMr4 ; C5N (Argentina): https://youtu.be/n5A1SJm8KOA ; Canal 6 (Argentina): https://youtu.be/WhqguRKAXzs ; Canal26 (Argentina): https://youtu.be/Tq5CbRLp-zU ; TV Guadalajara (México) : https://youtu.be/w9p-DKe2Gf4 ; Mega (Chile): https://youtu.be/3lvPfaPa0GM ; 24Horas (Chile): https://youtu.be/D0dqZLfJsl8 ; City TV (Colombia): https://youtu.be/dMTlVIffNv8 ; Granada Channel 1 (España): https://youtu.be/GqEIjlETgCk ; Granada Channel 2 (España): https://youtu.be/LZcSuvnM24I

Others DW: https://youtu.be/NPeHDQeocVk ; RT Espanol: https://youtu.be/mV8jp1N2fSw

If you have Roku here’s something for those who prefer that…faster Carribbean Spanish haha:

Colombia: https://channelstore.roku.com/details/139534/colombia-tv Dominican Rep: https://channelstore.roku.com/details/209306/dominicana-tv

The learning never ends. Yoiu can do it

September 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/EthanWeisner

That makes a whole lot of sense

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Leonardo.Petardo

Thank you very much for telling us your story. It's really great and your words motivate me a lot to continue learning English ... Thanks! :-)

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/yibemajam
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Great story, thanks for sharing and have a lingot from me jimo54

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ThatFoxyFurry27

I have a little trouble with pronunciation. Does anyone else?

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DraeWright
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Practice! Practice! Practice. Repeat every word you hear outloud two or three times and practice coming up with sentences to yourself or your pet. =) You can do this! And, it gets a lot more fun.

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Gary636920

This is the hardest part for me. I can understand really well and I am able to read without issue. When it comes to the spoken work I am not understood as well. I think this is the hardest obstacle for self study using an app rather than a native speaker to help correct.

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ThatFoxyFurry27

Drea Wright Thank You both!

September 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/arielrivas1

Great post ! Thanks.

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/FredGold
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great story...stick to it..!

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/luvpatd147

yes it does you just need to keep going for it

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ISpeakAlien
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But you have to emphasize that you got 50+ XP every day, which is quite a lot.

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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50 XP a day does seem like a lot, but is it really? Each lesson takes maybe five minutes and counts for 10 XP, right? So, one could presumably do 50 XP in not much more than 25 minutes. Also, since the lessons are short, they can be done throughout the day during periods when there's not a lot of time available.

I think it's important to remember that making real progress in learning a new language takes a significant commitment of time and energy. No pain, no gain, as others have already pointed out.

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TonyElPescador

Buenos dias jimo...

I enjoy your, and others, insights on this topic.

Luis, and his marketing staff, in Pittsburgh, should use this thread, or some of the comments therein, as a testimonial in some creative way.

IDEA: Like intersperse comments when a new skill lesson loads on a Droid or Iphone.

As far a quantifying XP per day, I, personally feel that 50XP is really nothing since you pick up extra points using a Droid thus if you cycle through one skill and get all questions correct, Duo gives you the 10pts + and additional 5 bonus pts = 15XP; thus doing two skills (eg; 30+/- questions) yields you 30XP in maybe less than 15 to 20 minutes. Per day? That's nothing.

As they say, results will vary, but as a wise man on this board sais in this thread.

Hold on, his quote was so good, I posted it on twitter...

==== "The key to all language learning is memory. Memory is strenthened by exposure. Duolingo allows for various levels of exposure." =====

Adios amigo. TR

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/acidamin
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Thanks a lot Mr Jimo54 for giving me more inspiration to get over challenges about new language.

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

Susan877045

You wrote ¨because I started learning Spanish in July to be ready for our trip to Mexico City in December for a friend's wedding.¨

I, also, have a friends wedding coming up, in February in Morelia, Michoacán, México. How did/do you tell if it is safe enough to travel to the area of Mexico you want to visit? I read online about so many murders happening now in parts of Mexico

For example: https://wikitravel.org/en/Michoacan Michoacan is a beautiful state. Michoacan is the most dangerous state in Mexico due to drug-fueled violence. Crime is not restricted to major cities but can also be found in rural areas. Travelers should exercise caution at all times.

Jan. 22, 2018, 11:53 AM Mexico saw its most killings in decades in 2017, with a record number of victims and a new high for the country's homicide rate.

I am wondering if the new president will make any positive difference. What sources do you use to determine if it is safe enough to travel to the area of Mexico you want to visit?

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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You could consult the State Department's Travel Advisory for Mexico (link below). Each state within the country is rated on a scale of 1 to 4 as to advisory level, with 4 meaning "Do not travel." Depending on the advisory level, specific detail is sometimes given for particular areas within a state. Unfortunately, Michoacán is included in the list of states for which the advisory level is given as Do not travel. Here's the link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/mexico-travel-advisory.html

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

jimo54PLUS Thank you for your inpirational words. Hearing these stories really helps give me the motivation to continue studying. I still haven’t found a written source I’m happy with for learning verb conjugations, but I haven’t given up! I just hit level 25 today, so am feeling renewed in determination having ready your post. Gracias.

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jimo54
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De nada. I like Barron's Spanish Grammar, which sells for $6.99 on Amazon, in the States at least. And for practicing conjugations on a bunch of verbs (634 to be exact, 272 of which are irregular), check out http://verbly.io. With this tool, created by a fellow Duolingoer, you can choose your tenses and moods and even what person(s) you want to work on. This site has been a big help to me.

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/yibemajam
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Thanks jimo54 for the verbly link which I have just subscribed to after seeing your post.

September 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

Thank you for the link to http://verbly.io. I will try that out

September 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

Hello piratefoxy37 and Gary636920

You wrote “I have a little trouble with pronunciation. Does anyone else?”

The thing that has helped me the most with pronunciation is ¨Mastering Spanish: Level 1: Hear it, Speak it, Write it, Read it" developed by the Foreign Service Institute. My Public Library has the 12 CD set for Volume 1 and Volume 2. You can listen to minimal pairs (two words that sound very similar but are not), get information about where and how to correctly emphasis where the stress is placed in each word, how that differs from English, and how to keep from sounding like a gringo when you pronounce Spanish vowels (one sound, not two per vowel). It includes proper intonation and how to hear what you are doing versus what you should be doing, etc.

If you can’t get it through your public library, the FSI CD set is pretty cheap to buy online.

The other thing that has helped a lot are checking out various CD sets from my public library. ¨Learn While You Drive¨CD and pamphlet by Mark Frobose was very helpful. It has 4 CD sets of 8 compact disks, so you have 32 total compact disks of listening time. When I just listen, in my car, without being able to look up words, I learn the correct pronunciation, the way a child learns it. Then, later, when I see the written word, I think, “Oh, that’s how you spell this word, even though it’s not pronounced at all like I would have thought had I learned it from a book or a written source.

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Rob761254

its working for me. i have been watching Spanish shows on youtube in addition to using Duolingo, and i am able to pick up a lot more than i expected. Doing both is definitely working for me.

October 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Paul154833

Agreed. Duo works. I'm studing spanish on Duo for 31 days now and I'm suprised how good it is. I give it a real go usually about 200-500 xp a day and I can say I'm beginning to understand basic spanish like 'why not spanish' on youtube which is great. I'm already excited about how it's going to be after say 3 months :) Thanks Duo for great job.

November 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Paul154833

estoy aprendiendo espanol durante 30 dias y me puedo decir que estoy muy contento con mi nivel de espanol y como puedo entiendar texto escrito y hablando espanol basico, por supuesto no me puedo hablar efective o fluente. esto no me puede DUO ensenar obviamente. Me voy a espana para empezar hablando. De todos modos mucho gracias DUO. :)

November 19, 2018
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