Learning French

I have been learning french for almost a month. Is there a thing where someone can work too fast in a language? Will I miss stuff if I work too fast?

April 1, 2019


Little and often. And finding the right repetition for yourself is essential. By that I mean that you need to get an approach with Duolingo that if you learn a word, you use it again, several times the following day, then maybe three days later, then maybe a week, then a month. You will need to monitor yourself to see how well your memory works, and develop a pattern of re-enforcement and repetition that words well for you. The multiple exercise and stages in each of the skill sets, will help you to achieve that.

And your memory too, is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will get.

Under normal circumstances with no repetition, just reading the Duo hints/notes, you'd do well to remember 10% of it after one month, and maybe 25% of any images Duo gave you. The purpose of the repetition is to counter that. But repetition works better if you can blend it with learning new "related things". So if you learn "un livre" and then a couple of days later "mon livre", that's more effective than just the one bit of info, because the two bits work together to re-enforce each other in your head.

And as Judith has said elsewhere, don't translate. Learn the name of the thing, idea, action etc, and think the thing, idea action, etc, Don't think "oh a book is un livre". Pick up the book and think "un livre".

But speed is important as is the volume of new information you are learning. Again you have to be the judge for yourself.

The faster you can correctly respond to an exercise, the more likely you are to remember. You are two and a half times more likely to remember a visual cue than a spoken one. So remember that when you are "studying". In your head, associate words with the real world, not with the English equivalent.

By "work to fast" I think you mean the speed at which you are acquiring new words new notions. Yes you can do that too quickly. Because in this type of approach, you don't know what there is to know. You have to trust your teacher Duo, so you can't manage the links that will help consolidate your new learning. So see how you go. If you do loads, and a week later you can't remember 90% of it, you're going too fast. But fast is good, providing you can keep balancing it with the right kind of repetition.

Will you miss stuff.... yes of course... that's the value of the consistent re-enforcement and repetition... you'll miss stuff, because you won't have the hooks in your head to hang stuff on. You need to create those hooks to begin with. Learn a bit, hang it on a hook in the brain, and look, you've created a couple of new hooks. Hang bits on them and wow.. more hooks appear.... and on it goes.

And it's amazing how much we can learn... but in this case... managing that process... monitoring yourself is all important...

So balance new stuff with repetition, work as fast as you can, but control the volume of new stuff you learn by monitoring how much you forget over the course of a week.

Et bon courage...

April 1, 2019

DavidMarsh! You speak The Truth!

ApplePieii - Be patient with yourself & make up your mind to stay the course. When first starting out it is pretty overwhelming..... and it's also wonderful!

April 2, 2019

Obviously not, you will only miss stuff if you are working too fast for YOURSELF. Otherwise I don't believe that makes sense..

April 1, 2019

"too fast" by definition is not a good idea. But what do you think "too fast" means? You seem to be sometimes doing more than 20 lessons a day - but in the early stages of French this could be less than an hour's work - so hardly too much.

But you need to spread things out a little more. Taking a skill to level 5 in a day (or even two) is not a good idea as the repetition needs to be spread out. Worse by doing the same skill back to back you could be just working on short term memory and in a month's time it will be gone.

So, and hour a day is not excessive (my normal target is 2 hours but only 30 minutes on DL; my binge is 12 hours). However, make sure you take a break every 20 minutes or so. Do something completely different - ideally move your body.

April 1, 2019

Well I don't think there is any harm in working too much overall, but I will say, that if you do 7 hours every Sunday for instance, and then don't work on French the rest of the week, it would be better for you to do 1 hour every day. I think it helps to work on it every day that you can, or else what you've learned tends to slip away if you aren't working on it. Basically if you go a few days without using something your brain won't think it's important and start tossing it out to make room for new information. By using French every day it's kind of showing your brain that it is important and should be saved.

April 2, 2019

Thank you for all your good suggestions. I will try harder.

April 2, 2019

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