If you completed any course, have you guys seen this? I was delighted to see the Congratulation Owl at the bottom of my French tree!
Love it! Thank you team for this cute update!
Upd: I am a little embarrassed to get all the congratulations for my rather old achievement. I only posted this to let my fellow achievers know about this beautiful owl, and also to motivate those of you who has not yet completed their course :-)
Having completed the course, what is your self-assessment of your speaking/listening/reading/writing ability? For example, if you go to do one of the web page translations on this site, are you "comfortable" reading the material? Can you listen to, say, a news broadcast in French and get the idea of what is discussed, etc? I am a new learner of Spanish and trying to get an idea of what it takes to get some level of comfort.
My report will not be very reliable because I used many learning resources. It is hard to tell what part of my current French is thanks to Duolingo. I can only say for sure that it was Duolingo that inspired me to learn a new language at the first place and managed to keep me motivated to study every single day for these 3 months. Duolingo is a great "minimum program" and starting point which you can enhance by grammar resources, books, podcasts and communication.
I am quite comfortable with reading in French with a dictionary. I understand the structure fairly well and can get the main ideas of the text without a dictionary, too. I am very satisfied with my current reading abilities.
Listening is more tricky. I practice it with podcasts for French learners and am also satisfied with the results I achieve. Listening to a news broadcast is still too hard. I recognize a lot of words and phrases and I'm sure I'll be able to understand the entire message if I read it, but my listening skill is not good enough to cope with the speed of the newscast. I can assure you that Duolingo by itself is not enough to good listening comprehension.
In fact, your level of satisfaction significantly depends on your initial expectations. If you expect to understand news broadcasts and read without a dictionary in half a year, you'll most certainly be disappointed. I did not expect to read unadapted books even with a dictionary after only 3 months of learning, so I was happy to discover I can.
I encourage you to be open to any resources you can find and not to expect any "miracles": all that you get is the result of your efforts. Good luck with your French!
Could you let us know what learner podcasts you are using for French?
And have you found any for German? If you Google "slowly spoken German" you'll find a good set of German learning podcasts. Plus there is tons of free material on the deutsche welle website. But I haven't been able to find as many good French learning podcasts.
I love http://learnfrenchbypodcast.com. The podcasts are free, but you have to pay for PDF lesson guides if you want them. I found I can do without them just by listening - I manage to understand almost everything after the dialogue is repeated and explained. A tip: at first, find the lesson guide on the website and download only the "beginner" podcasts. Once you finish with them, feel free to download all the rest.
This podcast is not actually "slow French" and that's why I like it. It does not feed you with simple things again and again.
I have not found anything quite as good for German yet, but I think this is not the topic of this discussion :-) If you can recommend any specific German podcasts, what about opening a discussion in the German section?
BBC's Ma France series is really great. Filmed in France, 24 ten minute episodes cover things like asking for directions, shopping, cooking...
Thanks for sharing your experience. Very useful. As I learned English as a foreign language, I particularly like your last paragraph.
This is great! I can't wait to recieve mine! Thanks for the inspiration! :)
May I ask how long it took you to complete French and at what kind of pace (e.g. how many skill points a day/week)?
3 months exactly, no less than 91 skill points every day (i.e. full skill coin stacks every day). I was very enthusiastic at that time, so I often earned 200+ points in a day.
Now I've been learning German for almost 3 months and I'm only about halfway to the bottom of the tree. German seems a little harder, I am not so hard-working and I also revise a lot (I've been redoing previous lessons to get full hearts for about a month and have almost finished this by now). Besides, I continue to learn and practice French elsewhere, so German does not get all of my "language time". I still stick to getting full stacks every day even if I get them for redoing old lessons. I think by mid-summer I'll get that German trophy owl anyway ^_^
Wow! Sounds very motivating and encouraging to me. I was targeting to get it done by the end of this year. It looks I should be able to accomplish this at my current pace. Merci beaucoup.
My personal congrats for that achievement of yours!
I'm afraid I will have to redo it all with a new identity to get those nice pictures on my French tree...
Thanks, Sitesurf! This is an old achievement (September, to be more accurate), but I only got the Owl today when my tree was updated to the new version.
Why do you need a new identity? Being French, you can test out of all the units and get your trophy :-) Personally, I think you deserve a special trophy for your never-ending help in the French section!
Great job Olimo, keep up the good work, I'm fighting through Spanish at a hectic pace right now, my goal is to get my first owl in a couple of weeks :)
Yeah I think the Congratulation Owl is very cute! I think they are a very recent update in Duolingo since if I can remember right I didn't receive my Owl right after finishing my skill tree, but like a few days afterwards. Or maybe I just didn't notice it right away. Then again, how can you not notice a golden owl cheering for you!
Ps. The Portuguese (beta) owl looks like this: http://duolingo.com/images/lesson-end/finish-tree/en_pt.jpg ^^
Is Portugal's Portuguese different from Brazilian Portuguese? Just asking because I see owl is draped in Brazil's flag.
Yes, it's kind of like the difference between the US English and UK English, so people speaking a different variation of the language can still understand each other but it's clearly two different accents. The pronunciation is different and there are also differences in vocabulary, and some small differences in grammar and spelling.
Congrat!!!! To get that Owl, large efforts are needed. I have to revise all the time since I cannot remember what I have studied. It tooks me 1 month for one third of the skill tree, but I don't think the last two third would only take 2 months. Maybe a year.