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https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist

No Longer a Monolingual

AlexisLinguist
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I am no longer a monolingual!

I really wanted to write a long and thoughtful post about my Duolingo experience, but my attention span is too short. So, here are the straight facts.

Background: I did have some previous (basic) knowledge of Spanish grammar, but my vocabulary was limited.

Time:

  • 10 days to complete my English → Spanish tree (motivation and insanity are key)

  • 19 days of reviewing, learning, and absorbing (links below)

  • Half a day to complete my Spanish → English tree (I skipped 52 out of 55 skills)

Method for Finishing:

  • I raced through every lesson. I am too competitive for my own good (even with myself, so I sped through without reviewing for the most part)

  • I alternated between learning skills and translating articles, as well as the occasional iOS duel match

Study Links (porque Duolingo no puede hacerlo todo):

Conclusion:

Thank you to all who made this site and course possible, and for the moderators (and non-moderators) who answered my questions and corrected my mistakes. I have learned so much from Duolingo, and this is just the beginning. For the foreseeable future, this is my language learning site. :) ¡Muchas gracias!

4 years ago

94 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Jack.Elliot
Jack.Elliot
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.

You are a Star

You provide inspiration to so many people

Here are some Lingots as a token of your good hard work

,

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thank you!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nateVONgreat
nateVONgreat
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You Loco man, but good loco.

Very nice and beautiful long moving story, I cried twice, it was so emotional.

You might have just broken a world record for fastest time to learn a new lanugage, at least on duo....

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Jajaja, gracias. Loco es bueno, no? ;)

That would be nice. The record's probably something like one day...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moomingirl
Moomingirl
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Wow, 10 days to complete your tree. That's seriously impressive. Even with motivation and insanity I have not managed it that fast.

Now you've hurt my competitive spirit! ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thank you! I'm sorry, does it help that I'm extremely insane? No normal person would do that. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyis7

It is still hard to believe that you took just 10 days. I have spent a year, sometimes 4 or more hours a day and am only half way through my tree. :( I wish I had a bit of your extreme insanity; alas my insanity is only moderate to strong. lol

Bravissimo

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thanks! I logged a couple of 10+ hour days (as I said, I'm insane), and I was willing to have computer-dry-eyes so I could finish. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyis7

Ok 10+ hours a day is extreme, but certainly not insane. DL is highly addictive. I may have come close to about 6 hrs, but that was combined with text and grammar books.

I really hope the insanity lasts, and gets you onto Italian. I'm longing to do the opposite and feel confident enough in Italian, before continuing with Spanish. I had a brief dip into Spanish and realised I really really liked it, but it rather hindered my progress in Italian. I just do not seem to have the natural talent for languages which some people (like you) seem to possess.

They just seem so, well 'Foreign' to my little brain.

Maybe I should learn from you, and try 10 days of intensive training to see if I can get through my first tree?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Yep, that's what I would recommend. Language learning can be easier or harder for some people (I've always been an avid word lover and all that), so that could have played a part in my completion.

But, I do not think it is as much of a natural aptitude for learning, but the motivation and commitment. Anyone can learn if they put their mind to it. :)

I would definitely complete the tree, then go on to Spanish. They are similar, but French and Italian are more related than Spanish and Italian, I believe.

Once you have been immersed in Italian enough, your brain won't try to confuse you. Go for it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyis7

I'm an avid word lover too. At 11 I was keenly into poetry, and learnt how to do the Times cryptic crosswords, so my understanding of English was fantastic (Probably better aged 11 than now)

But I think my first school lessons in French and Latin, put me off languages for a long time. I truly believed that maybe I was Language Dyslexic!

It is said that Spanish is the easiest language to learn for English speakers. All I know is that my Italian DL experience had me ploughing through the first Spanish units with ease [Thank you DL]

But I will try your 'insane' method. I seem to have got bogged down in the middle of my tree, practising older units, for ages, without moving forwards.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Everyone has a different preference for language learning. Some like rote memorization, others like using games, others like to be thrown into the wild, and others would rather read for hours. Just find what works for you! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyis7

What works for me is a little bit of everything you mention. I have several course books (with CDs) I listen to Italian Music, I try to watch Italian TV and films, I was doing evening classes, where you had to use your language live, but it's been 95% DL. DL has not only taught me but helped keep up my motivation, which I think is strong. It must be strong, because with my difficulty in learning le lingue straniere (Foreign languages) I don't think I'd have managed to carry on for a year, otherwise.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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You can do it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moomingirl
Moomingirl
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I'm extremely insane too. I even have it in writing. ;)

I've logged some six hour days, but I obviously need to crack on with it. You have inspired me. Also, since us crazies need to stick together, I have decided to follow you.

I have the small problem of some work to do today, but then I shall get my head down and see how fast I can finish. :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Ha ha, agreed! I'll be watching...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moomingirl
Moomingirl
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Ooh, a crazy stalker? ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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And that's why the Internet is horrible for translation. I was just trailing off my sentence, nothing more. I just meant that I'll be watching your XP on my leaderboard, LOL.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Well, as I've said, I'm going to be using Duolingo for the foreseeable future. I'm going to keep reviewing, and I'll be studying another language in Spanish (which keeps me thinking even more).

Honestly, I just got back into full time reviewing after a burn out stretch, so I had about 15 skills not golden. What fun. But now, I'm only getting about 3 non-golden skills throughout the day.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moomingirl
Moomingirl
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I wish I could study my second language (Finnish) from Italian, but I think that option may be some way off on Duolingo. Right, I'm off to study, see you later. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Moomingirl
Moomingirl
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I know what you meant, it just sounded so funny I couldn't resist. Do you think you are going to have a lot of trouble remembering everything, as you have learnt it so fast? I know some mornings I get up and five or six of my skills have lost their gold. I imagine it must be much worse for you.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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See ya!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilari
Chilari
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Congratulations! What are you going to do now? Cement what you've learned so you can pass as a native? Holiday in Spain or Mexico? (I've heard Barcelona is a great place to visit). Start fresh with a different language and become a polyglot?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thanks! Traveling could be in my future (but not soon)! I do want to learn another language (or two or three), so I'll be on Duolingo for a while. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kingthatcher
kingthatcher
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If ya go to Barcelona I would learn Catalan too.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Are there any major differences between the two?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kingthatcher
kingthatcher
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Catalan is more like French than it is like Spanish. Read about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalan_language

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thanks for the link.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kingthatcher
kingthatcher
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I would read some stuff in it to get a gist of its differences and similarities. It's a wonderful language, it's just underlearnt. A complete course on Catalan is free at parla.cat . I personally don't like the way the course teaches, but I have no choice but to use it since there's a shortage of materials on learning it but an abundance of natives and written material.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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I did...definitely seems like a background in French would be good first. I'll look into it. Thanks again!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mitchell_MT
Mitchell_MT
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Are you going to study a new language? I would suggest Italian.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Yes, I will. I want to start French, but I'm also deciding between Portuguese and Italian (and German). We'll see!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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French-from-Spanish and German-from-Spanish are both available. Not sure about Portuguese and Italian. But I'm doing French-from-Spanish and I love it! It gets the English out of my brain and prevents me from doing as much translating into and out of French. That is a real stumbling block for me, the translating in and out instead of just learning the word for what it is, if that makes sense.

Anyway, join me in the French-for-Spanish lessons! You know you want to....

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Camsbury

As a guy doing French-for-German after learning German, I can vouch that this is a magnificent way to retain your language and strengthen it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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D'accord!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iwanttobefluent

i'm doing french-from-german at the moment (just started) and i think it's the hardest my brain has ever worked :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Camsbury

It is funny at first it is super weird, (at least it was for me) because one is so used to translating all things to and from English... but now I'm totally used to it, and it just feels like another type of translation.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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I agree, it's lots of hard work! Sometimes I have these glorious moments of "Ohmigosh I've been thinking about these people and animals cooking and eating and drinking beer and... NONE of it was in English!!!" It is such a rush for me. Very difficult to describe but oh, so exhilarating.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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I know Portuguese is available, but Italian is still in the Incubator. I might, we'll see!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ColinIsCool123

¡Felicidades! I don't think I will ever be able to work on a tree as quickly as you did. Are you going to try and learn another language? Portuguese and Italian are both similar languages to Spanish.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thank you! Yes, I will. I haven't decided which Romance language yet, probably next week.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FiveMagicsMaster

¡Felicitaciones! Si quieres incrementar tu vocabulario, Memrise siempre es una herramienta útil. Como siguiente idioma yo te sugiero el Portugués, es bastante parecido al español, and it's going to be pretty useful now that we're so close to Brazil World Cup. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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¡Gracias! Sí, I've browsed Memride before (Ahora yo sé leer "noodles" in Chinese), and that might be a helpful tool.

I know! I'm really liking Portuguese right now, and it's really close between it and French (Italian would be there, but it's still in the Incubator). ¡Muy difícil!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FiveMagicsMaster

Do you really read chinese noodles? that's impresive! I've trying to learn Thai but it's kind of difficult as I know absolutely nothing of its alphabet!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Yep! Beef noodles and chicken-egg fried rice. :)

Now, Thai is hard for me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to read it. That might be one of my "speak only" languages.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kingthatcher
kingthatcher
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Shouldn't be too hard to get a basic understanding of Mandarin. To learn to speak it is really really easy since it has no conjugations, no cases, no declensions in general. Only words and word order (and tones, but those are really easy to remember if you learn the words correctly) :D I speak Chinese and have been learning for a while, I can speak a whole ton better than I can write and read (which is really weird for me since I speak Croatian and Portuguese much worse than I write them).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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I do love the way it sounds. Would love a Duolingo course for it. Until then, Memrise and others will be my options. Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FiveMagicsMaster

I read it's a tonal language, and it's totally different from any language I've heard before. No matter that, I hope to learn it some day. And, what was your motivation to learn Chinese?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Just to try something different. I love writing the traditional characters (I know 1-10 and 'love' so far, as well). Though I don't know that many words (besides hello and thank-you), I do want to have a basic understanding of Mandarin Chinese.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FiveMagicsMaster

Good luck with that! My interest in Thai started since I watched "The Hangover II", I tought it would be nice to learn it and travel to Thailand some day in the future LOL

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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LOL, that makes for a good origin story. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bluekirby2000

1 word and 2 letters U R EPIC

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

Congrats! But what is a monolingual?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ygpdxwlr
ygpdxwlr
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(of a person or society) speaking only one language

Oxford Dictionary of English 3rd edition Copyright © 2010, 2012 by Oxford University Press

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

Oh so what's a person who speaks two languages?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Susande
Susande
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A bilingual

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

Oh, duh :P

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kingthatcher
kingthatcher
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And then trilingual is three languages, and then polyglot is many.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chilari
Chilari
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Someone who speaks many languages is a polyglot.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lewisjcranston16

Multi-lingual is more versatile, you get polyglots and hyper-polyglots.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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That's my goal, to be multi-lingual. I'm not sure if I'll ever reach fluency in other languages besides English, but I want to understand more than just English speakers. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thank you!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ariaenggar

Hahaha you're so funny! :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

Thanks :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Isrianth
Isrianth
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Congratulations! ¡Enhorabuena!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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¡Gracias!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kirkbeard

That's amazing work and definitely an inspiration! I'll try follow your method as soon as I have the time to give it a shot!

Great work!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thanks! Don't burn yourself out (that's one rule I failed to follow). But if you do try my method, the sense of accomplishment is amazing, ha ha.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ariaenggar

I hope I can do it too in German! :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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You'll do it! It's difficult, but not impossible!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ariaenggar

Thanks! I'll catch you up!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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You're past me, because I'm not doing a German tree currently. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Aliciaftw

Soooo did you have prior experience in Spanish? o.o I feel kinda bad about myself now.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Don't feel bad! Everyone works at their own pace. :)

I've taken a couple courses, but nothing I learned was sticking besides a few vocabulary words. So, it was basically like learning it all over again. But this time, I remembered it all.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arekolek
arekolek
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So... did you have other responsibilities apart from Duolingo? Like work or school?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Yep, and on those days, I didn't do as much. But, weeks vary, and I happened to start on a good week, responsibility-wise.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lewisjcranston16

Great job Alexis! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thanks! It's just, Alexis, though. :) I've never been an Alex.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lewisjcranston16

Oh, half-typo there! Sorry

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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That's okay. ;)

4 years ago

[deactivated user]

    can you understand films in spanish?

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
    AlexisLinguist
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    Not yet, though I did watch the Incredibles (yep, the Pixar movie) with Spanish audio and subtitles. I did catch words that I've heard before (and understood a huge majority of the subtitles), but I'll keep improving.

    I have been listening to Spanish songs, so I can follow along with some of them without thinking about it.

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/blohrding
    blohrding
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    WOW it took me around 200 days to get through my spanish tree you sir deserve a lingot :)

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
    AlexisLinguist
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    Thank you! It's actually "madam", ha ha.

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/S0R0USH
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    On the internet, everyone is assumed to be male. Here's a lingot for your success!

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
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    True, as I have just assumed the same of you. ;) It doesn't help that my name is used mostly for males in other parts of the world. Thank you for the lingot!

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/buunny
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    Oh my god.

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
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    I'll take that as a compliment. ;)

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/SamuBG13
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    Very well done! Here's a lingot :D.

    I have a native-speaker advice for you. You wrote in your bio: "estoy aprendiendo portugués, y italiano", but it is not correct to put a Y before an I, so you have to change the Y for an E just like the "a→an" change before a vowel in english. So it would be: "estoy aprendiendo portugués, e italiano".

    You don't have to do it with all the vowels, just change Y→E before an I or a Y and O→U before an O. For example: "Puedes usar madera u otro material similar" instead of "o otro". I've learnt that the same happens in italian with e→ed, but with all the vowels. Ah, and it isn't compulsory.

    Regards, and again, congratulations!

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
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    ¡Gracias, Samubg13! Siempre olvido esa regla. :)

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/LikeSuchAs

    Thanks for the inspiration Alexis!

    Now that you are learning Portuguese how do you divide your language learning time? Are you still doing Spanish exercises or do you find that the Spanish ---> Portuguese tree keeps your Spanish fresh? Thanks!

    4 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
    AlexisLinguist
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    No probs! I only do exercises on my Spanish tree to keep them golden (don't even bother with my S --> E tree because I'm using Spanish to learn Portuguese).

    My Spanish --> Portuguese tree is keeping my Spanish really fresh, and even teaching my new words. So, it's really helpful for that. There's nothing like sitting at the computer and using one non-native language to learn another. It feels amazing.

    4 years ago