What to Expect with Duolingo
Greetings, I am new to Duolingo and I am learning Spanish. So far I enjoy the program, but I would like to what to expect from from someone who has completed their "tree".
If I spend an hour a day on Duolingo, roughly how long will it take me to complete my tree?
What level of language mastery (ie conversational, fluency) can I expect by the end of the tree?
Any tips or tricks for a new language learner?
Tip: use resources other than Duolingo to help you. How long it takes depends greatly on your natural ability to pick things up. Languages are often rated on a scale of A1-A2-B1-B2-C1-C2 with C2 being total mastery of reading, writing, speaking, and listening and A-I being basic, entry levels. Most finish the tree at about A2-B1, it seems, with listening/speaking being the weak skills.
A decent online or paper dictionary, use of a site like www.studyspanish.com or spanshdict.com; watching the Extr@ videos in Spanish on YouTube, picking up a cheap used grammar/textbook at a garage sale or used book store, watching Spanish TV if you can get it, watching DVDs in Spanish, getting a Spanish and English copy of a kid's book (I used a "Goosebumps" book) and working your way through the Spanish. Also, when doing lessons on Duo, don't get worked up over Latin American versus Spain's Spanish, don't fret about/argue over picky issues, and concentrate on translating Spanish, not turning it into great 'natural' English. ;)
I just wanted to add to what the others have said and suggest that you say everything out loud, even when Duolingo doesn't prompt you to. Take a pronunciation tutorial posted by a native speaker on Youtube, and purchase (with 10 lingots) a Timed Practice as soon as possible and use it daily. You can find the Lingot store on your Home tab. Then, find someone else who is learning Spanish and practice conversation with one another via the Activity tab. Also, don't do 1 lesson 4+ times in a row. Do it a couple of times and go work on something else for 15 minutes, then come back to it. This will help move what you are learning into your memory for longer. Also, start using Immersion early too, but make sure you visit the link below to read the Immersion-related guides first. For a long time, I just translated articles on sports. When I reached the sports skill, I already knew most of it. And having learned it in context really gave me an advantage. So, if you like one kind of thing like cooking, video games, history, etc. focus on a theme in Immersion for a while to build your vocabulary.
Additionally, here is a link to the user-created Duolingo Wiki http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Duolingo_Wiki#Getting_Help
Good luck! ^_^