Ich bin in Wien...and I can understand some German!
And I can understand some things! I have finished about 60% of the tree over the last few months, and I was pleased to realize that now that I'm hearing German "in the wild," I can actually understand a lot of spoken German.
For tourism purposes, I'm actually able to ask my concierge questions, ask for directions, understand some German spoken by passersby, etc. In real conversations (I'm with some people who are actually conducting business in German), I'm getting 10-20% of sentences, and I can distinguish each word even though I don't know many of them. My goal with Duolingo was to gain tourist-level proficiency, and I seem to have done that successfully. So, hurrah. :)
Good luck to all of us learners!
That's great to hear! If you are understanding that much with 60% of the tree done, you will be doing really well when you complete the tree! I have never been to Austria, so I would be interested in hearing the dialect and accent. Do you notice any great difference between Austrian German and the Hochdeutsch you learn here on Duolingo?
Austria has many many dialects. I live in Tirol. I am a native English speaker trying to learn German and the dialects are horrible. I was in Wien last weekend and I used to live there. Wien has its own Dialect that is very different from most German dialects. You can understand it, if you speak Hochdeutsch.
When you get to Tirol, the dialects change with every valley and are as bad as Schweizer Deutsch. For example Ich is pronounce "I" ( "e") in my valley. Many of the Germans who vacation here complain about not being able to understand the locals.
I am from Germany (to be more exactly: from Lower Saxony where we speak Hochdeutsch) and sometimes when I watch an Austrian or Bavarian "Tatort" (a German detective series) I have to concentrate me to understand everything. With Swabian Tatorten it´s the same (another horrible German dialect). By the way, Hanover (the capital from Lower Saxony) is called "die Hochburg des Hochdeutschen" in Germany, because the people from Hanover and the surrounding area speak the most perfect Hochdeutsch. Tja, deutsche Sprache schwere Sprache (a popular German saying, especially in the German school lessons :))
That's just because we're forced to learn English at school :-) A little bit of those up to 13 years of learning English in school has to be somewhere in the head (of course there are still many Germans that understand about nothing from the English language, my parents for example). And I also have my trouble in Austrian villages. Only because it's called German, it isn't always German.
Thank you, but only because we learn English at school and you always hear it, even here in Germany (on TV, on the internet, in commercial spots etc.). And in some Jobs it is very important to understand and speak English, too. Besides, good command of English is always good in your CV... But I have to agree Peremptor that many Germans, especially the "older generation" (how it is a common expression in German) does not speak English very well and often with a very strong German accent. Probably you already have heard that Germans have a really hard pronunciation and when someone with a strong accent says something in English it sounds very strange, even to me.
The biggest difference is in the names for food, at least that I've noticed! Many of the menus included names I wasn't familiar with...then I looked them up, and they were marked as dialect words. I didn't notice too many other things, probably because my Hochdeutsch is rudimentary anyway.
I'm hoping to supplement Duo with actual lessons...my goal is to complete 75% of the tree in the next two weeks. We'll see how that goes!
Since being taught how to work out my tree percent (thanks guys!) I've concluded that I've done about 40% - and I'm having full conversations with Germans. BUT I have been listening to podcast, reading blogs, listening to German music, talking to my German friends and textbook practicing. I'm just kinda panicking because I move to Germany to work there in... 3 weeks? So I really need to up my game, my work environments are only German speaking, my work is German and I need to be speaking straight away. I've totally made this about me but my point was meant to be that with outside Duolingo efforts here and there, it comes quickly. Maybe even a podcast on the bus (/try Warum nicht by Deutshe Welle), doing a page of textbook before bed or talking to some Germans (Try inerpal.net) would benefit you!
You shouldn't worry about "up-ing your game" too much because it's important you understand everything you are learning. Don't be afraid to get things wrong when you're there. Being happy to get things wrong and learn from your mistakes will get you further in languages than just studying will. It also helps to only speak German and avoid English while you are there (although it is really embarrassing to start with). Have fun in Germany (so jealous) :)
I'm sorry to sound really stupid, I've been using Duolingo for 5 months, I'm almost a level 13 and I really feel like I should know what this tree everyone keeps talking about is. Do I have a tree? Where is it? Must I plant it? I have so many questions Jokey as this post is please help cause I have no idea what this tree is...
There's 72 total skills. If you finished 36 you would have 36/72=0.5 0.5*100=50 percent, for example
Duolingo is best for vocabulary. I agree. But in concert with formal classes, and exposure to German in the wild, it can work extremely well. :) I'm an American stuck at home, but rewatching my favorite shows in German dubbing as well as looking up German youtube channels has helped me somewhat with exposing myself to wild German. I've recently reach a point where I can comfortably watch some material in German. I think ultimately the translation based model of Duolingo doesn't help to internalize a language as well. In order to be good at another language, you need to think in that language and listen to it a lot once you got the vocab down from duolingo.
I would say, that at least compared to the classes I've taken,duolingo is better for helping me remember vocab. In my classes I sometimes find myself still looking up a word that I had already been seeing for weeks, and yet somehow I'm blanking on. On duolingo, I find that I retain new words I run into more quickly. I think the problem with the vocab on duolingo is really that it decides to start you off with what I like to call "caveman" words - words with food, water, animals, eating, running, etc. - instead of focusing more common greetings and phrases that are essential if you want to be begin communicating, but I can see the argument in favor of starting off with these words since they are also part of the core language.
I believe you're retaining that vocab 'faster' because it is always in the same context. Duolingo's sentences are limited, which means you're often seeing the same ones, and your brain can fill in the missing translation.
In something more open like a class or a conversation, your brain is looking for the vocab on the fly, so will find it naturally more difficult.
Yeah, that also makes sense. I did consider that maybe what's happening is that I only think I'm remembering less in a formal classroom setting. I find that sometimes if I'm given a writing assignment where it's "write about so and so thing in your life in German" I find myself using new words the next day, without feeling like a made any conscious effort to remember them.
Oh, Duolingo alone isn't sufficient, I agree. I've supplemented it a little with some German-language podcasts, music, and TV. Also, for some reason many of my friends from college speak German, so I've been listening to them making jokes for about two years. (That's why I originally started learning on Duolingo...I got fed up with not being included!)
Ich bin auch in Wien gewesen! It is a wonderful city, and I want to congratulate you on your success. But I am not surprised: I have found the greatest improvement that Duolingo has contributed to my German is in aural comprehension. I buy DVSs from Amazon.de and can understand them now without the subtitles for the hearing impaired. So, in my own small way, I share how you feel and doubly celebrate your success. All the best to you and our community!
bless you Bonniee! DL seems to be a very straightforward learning platform but in some cases, just wanted to bite it!!! as it doesnt work in the common sense I am used to be working in english. anyhow, how do you find Wien? are people friendly? do they respond in english? although it's different to visit as tourist and different when at work! enjoy dear!
Hello, sounds really good, I too started German with Duolingo a few months ago. On my visits I have been able to order food, ask for directions, visit the local tip, get a speeding ticket! and spend time with my neighbour who speaks no English and get by in basic German. I am up to level 5 now and I think it is getting harder. I think I have a good deal of vocabulary under my belt, but struggle with sentence order. My new neighbours just seem to be happy that I am trying. I have still to try to converse with the old boy who walks his dog every day, but we smile at each other!
If I am allowed to correct you (I am from Germany): Sie verstehen Deutsch, das ist großartig! Ich spreche es fließend wie Sie sagen. But do not worry, even German pupils have problems with the das/dass. Here a tip: You can always use das when you could use welcher, too. In your sentence das reffers to the fact that she is able to understand German. But it is especially difficult for you because the English language translates das and dass to that. Just keep practicing and you will have hardly problems with this rule. Noch weiterhin viel Glück beim Lernen, Echoorbin!