My tips for remembering what you've learned! These have helped me tremendously!
I did Duolingo for awhile and felt like I wasn't getting very far so I slacked. I eventually came back though and began using some methods to help me make the lessons stick, and it helped me improve A LOT. This can be used for any language, I'll say Korean throughout this post though because that's what I'm studying.
1 First off, I did the Practice option at least once a day: it keeps the older things you learn fresh.
2 This one should be a given if you're able to speak out loud where you are studying, read the questions out loud: practice your pronunciation and ability to speak it quicker, and it also helps you remember it when you speak it out loud.
3 I kept a notebook of the lessons: I labeled the pages with the day's date, and what Skill I was doing, and wrote down each question in Korean (or whatever the language you're learning is), and the translation/answer to the question.
4 I watched Korean TV shows, movies, and listened to Korean music: hearing the language being spoken in real life helps you be able to recognize the language, pick up the differences of how the natives speak casually and formally, and gives you more knowledge of the culture.
5 Added the language's alphabet to my device (this is if the language you're studying has a different alphabet) and chose to type the answers instead of using the word box (which you can do with any language to help you remember the spelling): this helps you remember the spelling, and any time you type, write, and say something out loud you remember it better.
I hope these tips will help you remember your studies as much as they helped me! Most of all though, stay consistent!
Also it is important to approach the material so you do not take a single skill to level 5 in one hit - spread it over weeks (and not by stopping studying but rather moving onto other skills) - https://making.duolingo.com/whats-the-best-way-to-learn-with-duolingo
I've been repeating stories as well to help me. I'm having an extremely difficult time being able to understand what is being said. I can read and write just fine but when I try to listen for the same words I struggle. I've been repeating the stories sometimes just one story over and over until I can hear the sounds. Does anyone have a better way?
i think there's somthing like that called the cascading effect where you do 5 skills then do 5 lessons while doing the old lessons and at a ceartin point you get a section of 5 a section of level 4,3,2,1 and then new skills. it slso helps you know what is isn't at highest level too. and once you get to level 3/4 you can test for the next level up to see if you fully understand it.
I feel like a 5 year old (I'm a 49 year old with a college degree... granted it's in Studio Art but still, lol!) trying to understand what's meant by SKILLS, LESSONS, LEVELS, SECTIONS. I need to know what those are referring to before I can grasp the learning techniques. I read the How to Use DUO section but it appeared to me the same words were being used interchangeably. I'll try and go back to see what I'm missing.
When you look at the initial page, skills are the round things. They'll have a theme, either vocabulary or grammar, sometimes both. Lessons are the sections within the theme- usually four or five when going from the purple level (haven't had exposure) to the blue level (went through all the initial lessons in the skill. Sections are marked by the castle looking things, and just break the "tree" up visually to help in review, etc. If you are just starting, and chose not to do the test, you need to get each purple skill in a row to blue before moving on. Duolingo is a learn by making mistakes program, but it helps greatly to read the tips before starting a lesson. Crowns and levels can be used sort of interchangeably, or together, as in crown level. Duo also has a holdover set of levels from previous iterations that runs from one to 25. As you progress you need more points to get to the next level. That's all part of the gamification.
To actually use, and learn, just click on one of the circles (skills), click on the lightbulb if present to read the notes, then click on start lesson. Complete each exercise as the instructions tell you. I DON'T recommend repeating the skills till the circle turns gold in one go, move on to something new then go back and repeat when you feel that you're missing something in one of the more advanced skills.
It's the number you see next to the flag of the language you're learning. You're level eleven in Spanish, so you either have been working on the lessons or you did the initial test and had some knowledge of Spanish before you started. You get points (XP) for every lesson you complete, usually 10, and when you've earned enough that number will increase. Like I said, gamification. The only thing I pay attention to is the streak (number of consecutive days I've practiced), because it does help me to do at least something every day. If you look at the flags above my reply you'll see a different number next to each flag, reflecting the amount of time I've spent and/or the number of lessons I've done on each language.
These levels depend on the amount of XP you have. They used to list these levels in your profile, but now they just say how much XP you've earned. The old levels still show up in the forums by the flags next to your username. If you want to know how much XP is needed for what level, you can Google it and find old Duo forum posts on it. Hope this helps!
I agree with pretty much everything here! :-) The only one I'd disagree with is, when writing things down in your notebook, I don't think it's a good idea to write down the translation. I have a really strong belief that one of the big roadblocks to learning/fluency is translating. I mean, well, it's a hard line to walk, because, of course, especially at first, a person does have to translate....a person has to say, okay, 'j'irai' means 'I'll go', or whatever, but, I just feel strongly that, as much as possible, a person needs to let go of the idea that such-and-such means such-and-such and just let the word stand on its two feet, without any middle managers.
I always think of it akin to reading music - when playing flute/piano, I don't have time to translate the time signature, note placement, etc., into what it 'means', and then further translate that into where my fingers should be....it just has to be what it is, on its own terms. 'Le chien' can't mean 'dog', it has to just be dog. Argh. This is really difficult to explain, and I don't think I'm doing a fantastic job of explaining it. But hopefully you know what I mean, kind of.
I have a notebook, too, although not organized like yours. I don't write everything down. I just write down things I struggle to remember, or cool idioms I come across when watching French tv or something. I never, ever translate a word, though. Like I said, I am just not a believer in writing down translations, or thinking in translations....the translation is just a middle step between the English word and the French word (or whatever language you speak/are learning), and that extra just takes too long do to - a person won't ever become anything approaching fluent if they do that, in my opinion, as it'd be like trying to play a song on the flute while taking this time-gobbling middle step between each note to translate the note.
I try - try being the operative word - to let words just be what they are. 'Le chien' doesn't MEAN 'dog' it IS 'dog'.
If I find that there's a particular word or phrase or something that I'm continually can't remember, I don't think of a word-for-word translation, because that just encourages the whole translation/middle step problem, I just picture the meaning, visually, in my mind, and that helps the word/phrase stick, while not being as bad as word-for-word translating, because I'm still just letting the word/phrase have a more direct connection to it's meaning than I would if I were word-for-word translating....seeing a picture of a dog in my mind and thinking to myself 'le chien' still allows the word to just be directly connected to what it is, instead of having that middle step.
I believe that becoming good at another language is a strange combination of two things - on one hand you have to really study it and pick it apart at times, in order to understand it, ie. studying grammatical structures, but, then, once you have any given word/structure memorized, you have to just let go and let it mean what it means, with no middle step in-between the word and it's meaning.
The translating also means you get stuck. One term that gets thrashed in Hungarian is "hajó" people ask "does it mean boat or ship?" Well, neither actually. If you translate it it will depend on context - it will usually be "boat" in English.
Although I do still write English translations for many of my words it is simply because I cannot keep thousands of nuances separate - although I'll often translate it with another Hungarian word if I can concisely.
But one thing I will never do is transliterate in English - because that will always be wrong and get you into habit of thinking an l is always an l or an e is always and e.
Making that switch is hard, but necessary for fluency. I see too many questions on the forum trying to translate phrases word for word - and fighting against the differences. When you let go and realize that Como se llama and What is your name expect the same response, that uña y carne and joined at the hip bring up the same picture of two people who always do things together, it becomes a lot easier. For individual words, I try to think of them as synonyms - maybe with slightly different usages. I've made the switch when reading, and am starting to get there with listening. Doing that also makes it easier to produce correct sentences - you start to know what "sounds" right, without picking it apart.
I read something like what you are saying a long time ago. A person should approach learning a language as if they were a baby learning how to speak. One reason I don't like the flash cards in Duo and Tiny Cards. The card exercises have what it is written on them in the native language under the image which encourages you to translate instead of just using visual recongnition. I hope this makes sense.
I make my own anki deck. I put the new words I want to add in the target language, and look for a picture. If it is a word that is difficult to show on a picture, I choose 3 pictures of different situations, where a word like that could occur, if that 's not enough, I choose a sample sentence and put it under the pictures, and if that's not enough either, I'd write somewhere in small letters the word or phrase.
That way, the first step is to try and not just see the pictures, but think of a little story that evokes that word or concept, and mentally linking that story to the picture.
Yes, this takes a bit of time, but: with a little practice, it takes only some seconds longer to create 1 card, but the remembering is already half way done just by the creating process. And the words stick better. So it saves time later.
"That way, the first step is to try and not just see the pictures, but think of a little story that evokes that word or concept, and mentally linking that story to the picture." I have done that same thing, with other topics, but it works in languages, too. I like to go 'old school' and physically write down, if I can, conjugations of verbs I'm having trouble with. (Had to do hours of that in high school French.) It does help, but I also like Duo's system of learning in context, where certain cases/tenses just "sound right".
OMG! I have NEVER thought of it that way! I spend so much time in my head trying to translate the english word into the spanish word that I'm never able to remember anything fluidly. I've only been able read foreign languages rather than speak them. Thank you, thank you! I will definitely start trying that today. I know it's going to be VERY hard to begin with but right now I feel like I am wasting so much of my time anyway. And yes, I do all the other things recommended and they've only provided brick walls. Again, TY!
Agreed about translation!
I think it's mostly harmless as long as the translation doesn't get stuck as Judit says here (above or below). The "translation" (English or working language) is really just a prompt to clue in to the meaning of the target language. It's really inadequate when it comes down to it, but the repetition of the patterns and especially sounds, that helps.
The stories are great for this since the context is already there so there's not so much need of translation.
I agree that translation can be problem for connection with the language.
What do you think, is it ok to translate, for example, spanish sentences to english when you actually learn both languages through writing... I speak english, but this is not my native language and i am still learning, so i think that that kind of learning can help me to improve my english also, but i am not sure is it good to translate?
In my personal opinion, I think beginners should translate until they begin to understand the language better. Once you can understand it better you will be able to tell when words aren't always exactly translated correctly, and you won't need the translations because you can understand it better. As a beginner though you need at least some word to grasp onto though or else what you're reading will seem like gibberish. So that is why I think it is necessary for people newer to the language to write the translations. As you get farther along, stop writing the translations and that will help you with your memorizing skills much more by forcing you to think more about what you're reading instead of using the easy way out, and also will eliminate the confusion of faulty translations
I started listening to some of the easier podcasts yesterday and can't seem to find a transcript in all english so I know exactly what's being said. I see that the english speaker summaries what is meant in the spanish answers but I miss out on a lot of the details. Any idea if there are complete transcripts in english??
Wow, we must be interested in the same threads! I was replying to the OP up above, and I find a comment from your right above mine. :-)
I'm guessing we are both interested in the challenges in language learning, and the techniques involved in meeting those challenges.
But it still feels like a "fancy meeting you here!" kind of moment.
I struggle with this. I have noticed that it is much easier to do for basic and concrete nouns, like your "dog" example, than it is for, say, concepts, which are really hard. When I've tried to use "visual" flash cards, as often as not, the picture could apply to a number of things (often a great diversity of things), and I can't figure out which one is the meaning I'm supposed to attribute to the phrase. I also often have trouble remembering those images.
I've also noticed another thing, which has surprised me. When I see a word, if I can conjure up an image for it, it takes nearly as long for the image to present itself in my mind as it does for my mind to translate the word. Does anyone else experience this?
I actually don't expect to be able to get rid of the translation in my head until I'm much farther along, and do more verbal activities, as opposed to activities that are intended to supply me with a mental framework I'll be able to use in the future. I actually do have a plan that I'm following.
I can't wait to be able to think in Spanish, but I know it's going to be a while until I'm in a position to do some of the things that are more likely to cause it to actually happen.
That makes a lot of sense, I think that would be a great idea for myself...once I'm further along. Since the language I'm studying is in a different alphabet it is still difficult for me to recognize it at first glance. It helps me a lot writing the translations so that I make sure I remember the differences between words with similar spelling. I think that's a great idea as a memorizing tip, but not so much if people use the notebook as a way to look back when they can't remember something as I often have to do. I think as a beginner they should write the trans, and once they are a little bit further practice being able to do it without trans, because I do agree I think that would help the memorizing part a lot; but I think that will be something for those who have a good basic understanding of the language, and not for beginners. I myself will try that though in some time. Thank you for your thoughts
Thank you for the great advice. Here's a couple I would add:
Old fashioned physical flashcards. Before you disregard, remember, every modality you use to learn something actually stores the information in a different part of your brain. That's why reading out loud is effective -- you're using two modality (visual and auditory) at the same time. By creating your own flashcards of words that you find interesting/useful, you reinforce their meaning because (a) you choose them, (b) you physically write the letters, and (c) you go over them. [My husband will read flashcards to me when we are on boring drives. And I do them when I have a few minutes.] For most of us, memorization is necessary at the beginning and even the intermediate level until we get a sufficient vocabulary going.
If you can, watch shows in your target language with subtitles IN THAT LANGUAGE. Then watch it again with English subtitles to see what you missed. Do it over and over. [I like "La Casa de Flores.] I tried this with kids movies (as other websites suggested), but it seems that the people who dubbed "Bolt" into spoken Spanish were not the same people who wrote the subtitles. So that was very distracting.
While there aren't nearly enough of them, there are some Ted talks in Spanish. Watch them without the English subtitles and then again with subtitles to see what you missed.
Mix it up with other apps.
One thing to keep in mind when watching something in another language is to make sure you get the right subtitles. Typically, the default subtitles correspond to what the original language of the program was. For example, the default Spanish subtitles for Bolt will be a more direct translation of the English film instead of matching up with the Spanish dub. If you are lucky enough to find a copy that has both kinds, typically the captions matching up with the dub will be marked with something along the lines of "Spanish (closed captioned)." It's also important to keep this in mind the other way: if, say, you wanted to watch Bolt with Spanish dubbing but your Spanish wasn't good enough to follow along with the movie, so you kept the captions in English, the captions would probably not line up in meaning 100% with the Spanish dub, because they match the original English.
when I do the exercises in any language I am learning, I try to speak the translations out loud, before I click "continue" so I am testing myself, not only as to the correct case/conjugation of the words I need to supply, but also the whole sentence/phrase. I find it's good practice.
Very good .... useful tips. If you have time, then keeping a written record of every question, every response, and new vocabulary will give you a book that you can always review.
I finished the Korean lessons in 90 days; but, I was trained in Korean at DLI and stationed in Korea for 1.5 years when I was in the Army. I used Duolingo (and still use the Korean section) for review. I'm now learning Spanish on this site.
One more suggestion, you can easily find pen pals on the internet who you can correspond with. They are happy to help with someone learning their language.
Thank you very much! And really? Wow so do you think you are fluent in the language? And yes the writing it, when I have time, has helped me very much. I have seen people saying not to write the translons, and maybe sometimes don't when you are better at the language, but I think beginners do need the trans for precisely the reason you said. For review. Also do you know a way I can find a penpal like that?
Yes, I'm fairly fluent in Korean. What really increased my fluency was living in Korea after learning how to speak the language. I was on "civilian status" and lived in the Korean communities, and within a few weeks I was thinking in Korean (as opposed to translating in my head).
For pen pals, you can go on google and type Spanish , Korean (or any language) penpals. There must be thousands of them. Here's a few good ones you can check out (I have friends all around the world on all of these): polyglotclub.com; hipenpal.com, globalpenfriends and interpals.net.
My method is use as many different material as possible, i use Duolingo when i am at home, at work i use other apps, also anki flashcards helps a lot there is a Duolingo course on it at least in german, then i watch some tv or youtube in german and before i go to sleep i listen to some podcast on spotify so i use german quite a lot :)
Ah yes, hearing it I've found is the most difficult part. The music and TV show/movie thing helps a lot with that. I rewind my shows a lot when I see in the subtitles an English word in the translations so that I can try to hear it and how they pronounce it, and I also like to switch it to the native language's sub so I can see precisely how it's spelled which helps a lot especially when it's a different alphabet like Korean
Well it's a good thing for sure that I occasionally read some of the sentences I learn out loud, and have opted to type out my answers more (for the Japanese course) and it does help.
I only wish I had discovered that I could just add the web version of duolingo to my home screen on my android to do that from the beginning.
Not only that, but I've been maxing out my skills before moving on, and as much as I don't like to admit it, this has begun to push previous knowledge out of my head, especially when the last levels for where I'm at in the Japanese tree are so long now (android tends to have 14 lessons, and web versions even more).
At the same time though I really really like leaving behind a path of gold medals.
I have been going through each level, moving up all the way during about a week, but then I'll take a day or two to go back and "repair" some of the older lessons. Or, just go back and repeat for my own information. Kind of a break from new learning, and it reinforces the languages in my mind.
These are very helpful pointers. They seem pretty obvious, especially since Duolingo recommends some of these as I go along, but these suggestions are exactly NOT what I've been doing.
I thought I knew how to learn languages, but I've been having a tough time with keeping the conjugations straight in Spanish -- even though I understand the lessons while I'm doing them. The notebook is a good idea.
One of the tips I would like to offer is fairly straight forward and easy to do and it is extremely effective (I will refer to Spanish, since this is the language of my choice of study). The tip is to 'act out' what you learn For example: In Spanish if I say 'the coffee cup is on the table' then I say 'la taza de café está sobre la mesa' And throughout my day when I finish I will get a cup and a few other items and place them on the table at the same time saying aloud what I am doing. It sounds silly I know, but I guarantee it works. Think of the language you are studying and go wash your hands and say out loud – in your chosen language – what you are doing. I bet you won't forget how to say it again if you do this several times. Good look all! Thanks Duo!
Doesn't sound silly at all! I do this as well. My oldest used to wake up in his crib first thing in the morning and we'd laugh because he'd be going through a list of words he'd been learning. Red, blue, hello, bye-bye, momma, daddy, etc. He was apprx 8 months old or something. Cracked us up every time! That's how I feel now at the age of 49. :D
Tony, this is a great idea! I have been doing a version of it. I will respond to family and friends in Spanish instead of English. Of course they don't understand a bit of what I say. Then I will text or say it in English. I will now focus on doing this when I am by myself. Thanks!
I think you have to recognise that people learn in different ways. I know some people who are happy to simply accept that "Lo siento" means "I'm sorry", whereas others ask why, how do the Spanish words translate into something sensible in English? Some people learn by listening and repeating as a child will, while others need to understand the structure of the language and then build its idiosyncrasies on top. People with experience of other foreign languages will take conceptual clues from what they have learned before. Then there are people who take meaning from pictures (icons/banners etc) while others (like me) are far more comfortable with text.
There's no silver bullet. My advice would be, adopt whatever tips fit your mode of learning, and don't get despondent because others learn in different ways.
Wow, I really love this thread. Thanks Abigail for sharing your knowledge on this. I hope to make a lot of progress learning Korean as well since I'm studying abroad in Seoul, Korea next month.
I'll definitely try to utilize the Practice option more and I'll try to practice speaking out loud as well. Thanks so much! Have a great day! :)
Yeah, to me, number 4 is by far the most important. It's how I learned English and is helping me immensely now when learning Norwegian. Keeping in touch with the spoken language is an absolute necessity. Downloading Norwegian keyboard and getting stickers to mark the three additional letters on the physical keyboard also helped me a lot. Also to expand on point 4 - getting yourself Norwegian (or Korean or any other) friends and learning from them, trying to replace English communication with them with the language you're learning is also of great help.
7.Julia.7 is quite right in my opinion. One should learn a language not learn to translate it. And there are additional points, which I included (for myself) below.
There was a (German) language teacher and psychologist Vera F Birkenbihl, who investigated the language learning and recommended another method (see youtube, for free). Further note, that "Simon & Schuster" publish courses based on the work of Mr Pimsleur, who invented a similar method of teaching. Both support, that one should learn a language in the following sequence (my understanding of their work):
However, here is in short what Mrs Birkenbihl recommends as a more practical guide (e.g. at the end of YT "Sprachen lernen"):
1) Bedeutung (meaning) - decoding what you hear or read. This might have several steps, like decoding the letter (Chinese, Korean, Kyrillics, ...), find the word stem, bother with grammar if necessary (Latin, German, Czech, ...); and get enlighted by the literal meaning (French "faire des courses" means "to go shopping", or "the straw that breaks the camels back" is in German "der Tropfen, der das Fass zum Überlaufen bringt"; chinese words build from the radical "woman": "woman-woman"= "jealousy" (not sure on this) ; "woman-woman-woman"="gossip" ) Understand the meaning NOT the translation.
2) Aktives Hören (listening actively) - avoid to learn word pairs like you will do when learning lists of vocabulary or the flash cards (those with words in 2 languages). I prefer songs, which I try to understand by using subtitles as late as possible. If required return to step 1 and decode the vocabulary. A friend uses DVD "A->B" repetitions.
3) Passives Hören (listening passively) - listen to the radio or TV while doing something else; getting aquainted with different speakers; try to understand everything by using the context
4) Aktivitäten (activities) - e.g. talking in a chorus, singing a song, anything interactive, see movies, TED talks, and so on. If you are younger: now go to school and try to use what you did learn. Do not care too much for your marks (or mainly the teacher, who usually dislike it when someone learns in advance). It is the ability of using a language that counts. Practise will now improve it.
There is a guide for repetition by her, which tells you to record yourself on tape on a daily basis and check your progress at certain intervalls regularily (I never did, but probably I should do so). She also recommends to do not more than 10 or 15 minutes in sequence. If you can spend half an hour a day on learning, do 2 or 3 exercises each day (e.g. right after brushing your teeth). I intend to do 1 lesson in the morning and 1 in the evening. Sometimes it is just this, while on other days I do much more.
Here is also my personal experience, before I noticed Mr Pimsleur's and Mrs Birkenbihl's work. My Czech is a very good example. When learning Czech I tried a book-based course by Langenscheidt (no audio available at that time). There were some letters, that I did not hear before. So I learnt some words with this letters and approached a (non-teaching) native speaker. I got the information, that I was completely wrong, but received no help to learn it. So I have put aside the book.
Three or four years later I found the Pimsleur method. I bought all Czech language teaching audio books ("Czech 1") and started in the car on my way to work - and failed. I needed to do it with more concentration at home. The second round worked pretty well in the car. But there was no course "Czech 2".
I got stuck again. When a good friend told me about duolingo, Czech was not released yet. So I started with other languages. It was a hard time when starting again with Czech after pausing for another 2 years. Although I feel much more comfortable now, I consider myself still on A1 and I now need to have more "activities" than just Duolingo. (Following the tips by Cora506223 and Sphinx1824 is quite difficult for Czech.)
Anyone recommend I start over and use these new tactics I've learned about throughout this conversation?? I'm only at GREETINGS and having a hard time remembering past lessons after using Duo (irregularly) for at least 2 months! And is there anyway to wipe out my progress so far even if I wanted to??
Dumb question...how do I know I'm on level 11? It's the first one under the first castle. I read the "how to use Duo" page but got a bit confused on the levels, etc. I was under the impression somehow by mixing up the 5 levels of each subject (shopping, traveling, etc) it'd be a bit more challenging for some reason. Maybe not. - Perhaps I should just start alternating subject levels on the lessons I've yet to cover. I'm just very frustrated with myself and accounting it for speeding through each 5 levels. - Thank you so much for helping me out!
It is your XP level - https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/6428640/XP-required-for-each-level
Same as the hover method - https://making.duolingo.com/whats-the-best-way-to-learn-with-duolingo
I have been reading some books in Spanish, a language I want to improve in. That gets me thinking in Spanish. A great thing to do it then is to write a summary of each chapter. Writing a little each day in the language gets you expressing yourself in the language, rather than just recognizing or understanding it.
I'll just add this; When I'm taking my Spanish Practices, I try to write down words that I have a hard time pronouncing or remembering. Practices outside of Duo (if you're able to speak out loud) will help make the word stick. Languages take time to learn, but they're not impossible. Your tips will be greatly appreciated! Gracias.
Thanks for the tips! I'm actually not that organized these should definitely help take my Italian up a notch.
I would add one tip and that would be to try to find someone to speak to in that language. During conversation they would push you to think of what words to use. I'm actually a native Spanish speaker so feel free to ask! I can tell you quite a bit about Puerto Rico where I'm from.