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Almost climbed the golden tree. What happens if I finish?

I am within a whisker of completing the whole tree to Level 5 (just have to get the final Sayings from Level 4 to 5 : 15 mins work at most). The question is, what happens if I complete the tree? Does it stay there so that I can go back and practise (I would like to practise everything from the beginning again), or does it sound loud trumpets in G flat major and all fizzle away? I don't want to complete the final lesson and find I have lost access to the lessons and have to re-enroll to be able to carry on working at it. Any knowledgeable advice welcome. Tapadh leibh.

January 30, 2020



I finished everything to Level 5 today! I knew maybe two words of Gaelic 2 months ago, so pretty happy to have this start. What do I do now, keep practicing till the course is etched in my brain? I really want to learn more vocabulary!


Meall do naidheachd! Sgoinneil! Yes, all I am doing now is daily practice, starting right back at the beginning, Very useful for reinforcement and finding the holes in progress to date. Also good to keep listening (and speaking - I am spending more time repeating things aloud every day). It's a more leisurely process than first time round.


I'm not there yet but I've been going very fast. I started only eleven days ago and I'm on Home 2 at the moment - only that and Work and Sayings to go. I might well finish the tree within two weeks of starting. Some things I've soaked up very easily but others (time and numbers) have been more of a struggle.

The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning towards starting again from the beginning of the tree rather than just doing the practice lessons, because there's a structure there that I think helps comprehension.

I want to get to the stage where the sentence structure is embedded and more intuitive, rather than working everything out like a puzzle every time.

[deactivated user]

    You get to meet a naked Golden Owl with his eyes closed - just to make you suffer his complete indifference.
    Post your achievement here - and the band will begin to play! Awsome job, by the way! :)


    Thanks. The naked golden owl had been eyeing me for a while, in fact.


    Awesome! As far as I can make out it stays there and you can practise any of the topics once per day maximum, resetting at midnight.

    I also read in another thread that you can reset the entire thing and do it again, I think by removing the language from your list of languages, then adding it again so you start with a blank slate. I don't know it it's possible to wind back part of the way rather than going back to the very beginning, but I suppose you could do just enough on the earlier topics to get you access to the later ones if you wanted to.


    Mòran taing, a Mhorag. One practice a day don't sound much. Maybe I'll just start again and do the whole thing for a second time. Could keep on doing that until they bring out the next version, I suppose. Bidh mo thòn cho chruaidh agus goirt...


    I don't know, there are about 32 topics there. I think it probably takes five minutes to practise a topic, longer if it's something you still have difficulty with. I think you could fill three hours in a day just practising on a completed tree.

    I must stress I have not got there yet, but I was thinking about it. I think I'll try the practice lessons every day at first, and see how it goes. Maybe reading the hints and tips for the topic, and running a practice lesson? If that's not enough, there's always the option of going right back to the start.


    Gabh mo leisgeul, I misunderstood. Tha mi gorach. I thought you meant you were allowed just one practice a day irrespective of the topic. Tha mi a' tuigsinn a-nis. Tapadh leat.


    My fault, I see that what I wrote was ambiguous.

    Have you not been using the practice facility while you've been moving up (down?) the tree? I've ocassionally gone back and revised topics I'd already done when I got fed up breaking my brain with new stuff. It helps build confidence to be able to breeze through a topic you're relatively familiar with.


    Not really. But I'm not a complete beginner, having done four years of night classes. Anyway, I just finished the tree and it was bit of a let-down. Nothing happened at all. No band of the Royal Marines. No doves descending from heaven. My computer didn't even blow up. Nothing. Nada. Nix. Neoni as we Gaelic aspirants say. Now back to round one, rather than square one, take a deep breath and do the whole sodding lot (in practice mode initially) again. Stiall orm!


    I made a few. And time and again wrote Gaelic when I should have been writing English, and vice versa. Must learn to read the question.


    I was rushing like mad at the beginning and I don't think I learned as well as I would have done if I had slowed down, but I couldn't help myself. Then I hit the harder material...

    I still tend to rush in the first couple of levels in a topic where it's too easy to divine the right answer by non-philological means. Then when I hit the point where I encounter all the new words in the wild, I have to start looking things up and making notes.

    I have four more topics to go before I get the third castle. I'm in the early stages of Family 2 and Sport right now. And I don't expect it gets any easier!


    I've had quite a lot of mistakes flagged up because I was just too quick. Clicked on the wrong tile and didn't notice. Typed "Normal" instead of "Norman" and other silly typos in English that weren't glossed over as typos. (Mind you quite a lot of my Gaelic howlers have been marked as typos so it all evens out.)

    I need to slow down enough to figure out what tense we're in, and check the lenition (my old book called that "inflection") and the slenderising and whether things are singular or plural.

    A music tutor of mine says "practice makes permanent" and the trick is to force yourself to do it right rather than keep repeating a wrong action that then embeds itself in your memory.


    Four years of night classes? That sounds like a lot. Did you have much to learn from the Duolingo course, or was it more like revision for you?


    Revision, reinforcement, rejuvenation.


    I'll bet you made a lot fewer mistakes than I did.


    Oh yeah! I keep doing that too, then wondering why I've been marked wrong.


    It comes from rushing. The lure of the naked golden owl is just too strong.


    You are going well. In fact I deliberately force myself to go quickly, trying to answer everything rapidly on a first hearing, with minimal repeats, in order to really work the ear and brain. Preparation for the nasty real world of speaking and listening, where everything zaps by at 100mph.


    I'm pretty sure you can practise each skill as often as you like each day, but you only get XP the first time.


    I just checked it and you are absolutely right! Tapadh leat! Sgoinneil!


    You know what to do if you want a bazillion XP? See that wee dumbell symbol? I clicked on it on my phone in bed the other night when I was just playing around before going to sleep, and it was another practice exercise. Of nothing but the single-word-recognition exercises, where you get four choices and have to click on the word that's being said.

    Well I don't know about anyone else, but on the single words I can get them right instantly almost every time (even though I still struggle on the longer, faster sentences). I can get through that exercise in about two minutes tops. And you can do it as often as you like (it's different words each time, obviously). And you get 10XP every time. I could just sit here for half an hour and get a couple of hundred XP for pretty much nothing. If I was at all concerned about XP for their own sake.


    I noticed in one of the other threads that someone else said they'd already worked through the entire Gaelic tree twice, so presumably they found that more helpful than just doing the practice lessons. It should be a lot quicker second time round too. For one thing I've got my notes so I wouldn't have to keep stopping to make these from scratch.

    Also I find what has taken up a lot of time in the more advanced lessons is repeated listening to audio clips trying to make out what the speaker is saying. No doubt this helps us get our ear in and we'll start recognsing what's being said more quickly. I notice the clips in the earlier lessons are spoken more slowly and clearly than in the later ones, so I think they've been breaking us in gently.

    (Now I'm off to see if I can get that third castle today.)


    I think you found out, but yes you can still do a general practice and practice each section. Perfecting the spelling took me a while. I'm intending to do that for about a year. We might even see some new material by then, although it's impressive that this much has been accomplished in such a short time.


    Having finished the tree (way too fast) a week ago, I'm now doing as many practice lessons as I can fit in. I've realised now that you can do as many as you like, it's just that you only get the XP for any given topic once a day. And that's a good way to keel track of what you already did today.

    I'm conscious that the practice lessons aren't as challenging as the ones that take you from 4 crowns to 5 crowns, but I'm still at the stage where they're helping me a lot. I've also activated the "make harder" button, and I would totally recommend this. It removes the tiles (word bank?) from all the questions, so you're not being pushed to the right answer and have to think about it.

    One thing that bugs me, as I have said elsewhere, is this problem of serious errors being marked as correct, just "you have a typo", if the wrong answer only differs from the right one by a single (critical!) letter. The mods say that this is part of the Duolingo software and they can't fix it. My difficulty is that if I type "Tha" instead of "Cha" or "Bha" I'm being let off with a bad mistake and not forced to repeat the question, so I don't get the reinforcement I need. Same with getting the lenition wrong. What's a single h between friends, the software says.

    (As an aside, this is not a problem if you're typing in any of Duolingo's "core languages". In these languages the mistake is compared to the full dictionary, and if it's an actual word, you get marked wrong. I got rightly dinged in the German tree for typing "einem" instead of "einen". That's actually not as bad a grammatical error as Tha for Bha, but it was caught. I was also dinged for typing "Normal" instead of "Norman" in an English answer in the Gaelic tree. Would that all languages had that feature. Or that they would just let us turn off all the typo forgiveness. But they won't.)

    So I'm thinking that when I practise I need to make a note if I've made a "typo" and not consider a topic successfully practised until I've managed to to a lesson without any of these. This could take a while I admit.

    I've also opened a second account and I'm working through the tree again on that, but stopping on each topic once I've got the fourth crown. This will hopefully give me a tree with the most challenging lessons, more challenging than the practice ones, to have a go at once I feel I'm getting quite facile with the practice-level lessons.

    And then there's the "comprehensible input". Last night I watched a Wallace and Gromit film dubbed into Gaelic, and an old episode of "Can Seo".

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