https://www.duolingo.com/C_R_A_Z-Y1273

The Reverse Tree Helps - A LOT

My first tree that I started was the Spanish one. I got threw most of all of the skills, apart from a few, where I got to level 4 only. I couldn't seem to pass them, and I needed to do lessons to keep my streak, so I started the reverse tree. I want to tell you now, that it helped so much. I got to level 25 in only about a month. Once I did, I decided to take a brake from my English tree, and go back to my Spanish tree, to finished up my level 4 skills, and start the other ones I hadn't done. So I sat down, and started one of the skills. The questions all of a sudden seemed to become really simple - even easy. I finished one level 4 after another, racking up the XP. It all seemed easy. Too easy. Thank you, @AnnieMod for telling me about the reverse tree, and showing me how to start it.

I saw MatellaMitchell4 had just posted asking how to start one. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29262469 He/she is choosing the right path. ;)

Try out the reverse tree of your language. Trust me, it helps.

4 months ago

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss
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https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29262469$comment_id=29266698

Very important for reverse trees:

Otherwise you will get all the "listening" exercises in your native language (e.g English).

With it you can hear the TTS audio on a web browser for your target language on (right hand side) translations), multiple choice answers, alternative solutions, fill the word into the blank (choose from options 1-4) exercises, etc.

It really helps to be able to hear the audio in your target language.

Audio enhancement for forward trees

  • Camilo's user script can even improve your forward tree for hearing audio in your target language on those more rare seen right hand side translations (switched L1 English -> L2 target language), multiple choice answers, alternative solutions, fill the word into the blank (choose from options 1-4) exercises, etc.

No, do not even think about in using a mobile tapping app for a reverse tree.

You will miss all target TTS audio!

Also it makes not much sense to use word banks when you actually want to train writing in your target language.
The web portal supports typing.

I would be hesistant in using test-outs on a L0->L1 crown level, as you might miss some vocabulary from NEW words or you might not see all available sentences as it has been explained to me once by Matfran in 2017.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/betsys2003
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I actually found it kind of enlightening to hear the "English audio" exercises. So many people post things like "I can't understand the audio! It's slurred, and so fast!" and I have to say I've occasionally thought the same in my languages...but hearing what the audio actually sounds like for a native speaker, it's pretty clear that it's just that we are novices in those languages! The English voice sounds funny, but it's SUPER obvious what they're saying.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Catherine966298
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Thank you , Mr. Heiss. It is late, but ,I am going to try it out tomorrow morning. I am sending you some lingots for your constant help with amateur linguists. In the past year that I have been studying Spanish on Duolingo, your advice has been accurate and prompt. It is always nice to read your insight. Your friend, Catherine

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/merkavar

Even the basic skills in the reverse tree seem to Introduce concepts that seem to only appear in the later half of the original tree.

Like in the en-es tree you seem to get the lo te ti indirect pronoun stuff later in the tree but in the es-en tree it’s in one of the earlier lessons.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/merkavar

One thing I notice doing the reverse tree was how clearly wrong the translations were.

Like you have a spanish sentence and three English sentences where two were completely and obviously wrong.

But then when you were doing the first tree the options all looked like they could be correct.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rick91012
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I don’t disagree, but it might not be so obvious to someone using what we call a reverse tree as a forward tree. A native Spanish speaker with a limited English vocabulary might actually find the translations quite challenging. Even as a 25 I still get things wrong that a native speaker would probably consider ridiculous. My limited conjugation skills, for example, probably make me sound like a complete rube on those few occasions when I try to construct coherent sentences to fluent Spanish speakers.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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Multiple choice exercises are usually easy, even in low levels. But "Translate to your language" can be extremely challenging in reverse trees.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/betsys2003
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Yep! It was kind of hilarious how OBVIOUSLY WRONG the other answers are. Like it'll be translating "Tengo un gato" and the options will be "I have a cat" along with "I eat a fish" and "I bake a cake" or something absurd. Yet when those were in your target language you were carefully checking to see which could possibly be right, haha.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/antonmo
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not my experience. they’ve been very obvious even in esp-eng to the point i see them as useless. I think they should redo them all. maybe it’s bc I’m still on first crown level but I’m not far from the owl.. do they get tougher on higher crown levels?

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Catherine966298
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CRAZY You have me convinced. I think. I am in the midst of planning my learning for 2019. I have started the reverse tree. Maybe, my strategy should be to alternate trees daily. Kinda like a rotation workout at the gym. I have already done Spanish today. Tomorrow, I will conquer English. Thanks a lot for the post. It came along at the perfect time. Love, Cat

Have a lingot for the post!

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/antonmo
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I’ve just started and I’m learning new stuff. Recommending it. And just the satisfaction of reading the tips page in Spanish and understanding it is great.

I’m in the beginning so haven’t got to the challenging stuff yet.

Did you do all levels in English?

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/C_R_A_Z-Y1273

Not yet. ;)

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jaelzion
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I agree. I saw someone's recommendation to the do the reverse tree so I started the English from Spanish tree. It's great because there's a lot more translating from English into Spanish. It's particularly challenging if you don't use the word bank, which means you have to come up with the right words yourself. I'm doing the two together now (regular and reverse).

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulLeger2

For those that have done this before at what level should your first tree be before you start your reverse tree?

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss
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@PaulLeger

This might depend on the language and how you attack your course exactly.

at what level should your first tree be before you start

Sorry, I have no minimum level for you to give.

Example:

I completed my EN->PT tree (69 skills) on the old Duolingo strength system within ~1 year at level 16 and leveled-up to level 17 two days later.
My updated EN->PT tree has now 91 skills (it is final already, no more A/B testing).

I would say ~60-80%, better 100% (only first L1 crown level) course progress.

If you feel already confident with a ~50% course progress, you could give it a try how far you can come and how easy or difficult it gets for you as long as you move down the tree; you can stop or make a break with your reverse tree at any time.

Reverse trees are not a 1:1 clone of the forward tree!!

..(...)..

For Romance languages:
Be aware of the "jumping Subjunctive", out of nowhere, even for the earlier reverse skills!

My forward Portuguese tree has now four Subjunctive skills:

  • Verbs: Subjunctive Present
  • Verbs: Subjunctive Past
  • Future Subjunctive
  • Verbs: Subjunctive Pluperfect

It will definitely help you if you have practiced those skills (and other verb tense skills) a bit before you do the reverse tree or if you have a good grammar book for reference on your table.

Asked sentences in Portuguese can get quickly pretty challenging for my PT->DE reverse tree when I have to type/write them in the language I am learning.
I hardly do the "timed practice" because of this reason which even got so much more difficult for my forward EN->PT tree after the code changes a few weeks ago.

..(...)..

Most forward courses had the problem that users - like me - used the global (blue) practice button more often (incl. timed practice) and that this button heavily focused on the first 50-60% (maybe 70%) half of the tree.

The second half - with more difficult grammar incl. verb tense skills - of the tree has not always been practiced that often by users because of a problem in the Duolingo algorithm (basically it just focuses on the first non-golden skill from top to the bottom) so the strength of those skills was not that good; you had to re-strengthen a lot on a daily basis to catch up and reach the bottom to be able to re-strenghten ALL skills as each day multiple skills lost their 100% strength (words decay).

My own strategy concept for 2018 (and 2019) is to level those more difficult grammar skills and especially verb tense skills up to higher crown levels.

If you do this, 1,5-2,0 years will easily pass by for your forward tree; try a mix of both worlds.


I think level 10 is too early as you have not passed all the early beginner "dabbling" stuff (man drinks beer, woman drinks milk, x eats bread, bee does y).

If you try to level up EACH skill sequentially to higher crowns L3+ (or L5) - as you do right now for your Spanish course - vs pass ALL skills only on crown L1 (+ re-strengthen reviews), your current levels may mean nothing much...

If you conquered your tree for all skills on at least crown L1 level (=golden owl) and you have practiced the language for one year, you are definitely READY to start the reverse tree; try it as soon as possible as writing/recalling words in a language is the better practice than only reading.

I was not that much successful in trying to do both in parallel after only a ~4 month learning phase.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulLeger2

Thanks for all your great advice Thomas! I'll wait a bit to start my reverse tree in Spanish. As for Italian It probably won't be until spring.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Catherine966298
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Paul, Good question. Getting advice from advanced learners is a treat. Most of the time, the answer is "it is up to you". How true! I'm sending you a lingot and good thoughts. I only waited, because I didn't know that there was such a thing as a reverse tree. Your new friend, Cat

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulLeger2

Thanks Cat!

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Becky245205
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I've seen a lot of people in the past say that you can start when you are about 80% done with your forward tree but I waited until I was completely finished with mine. I think it just depends on what kind of learner you are. Completing the first tree is definitely helping me with the reverse as some of the last few lessons in the forward tree are coming up at the beginning of the reverse tree.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilotin
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Do the reverse tree! I think that skills that involve subjunctive are an excellent practice for English speakers. And it is challenging, because you'll have to write more in Spanish.

4 months ago
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