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What would a completed tree in a language represent in traditional education?

I am loving Duolingo, so thank you for that.

I have a typical classroom understanding of "progress" in language classes. French 101, French 102, etc., have been my typical milestones in classes. I'm just curious if there's some correlation between this tree and fluency, and what, if anything, a successful tree completion represents.

Thanks! ~Chris (taking french)

May 2, 2013



I am halfway through the Italian tree. I started one month ago from scratch. I got so addicted to learning it through duolingo that I decided to take a course at my university. A week later I switched to the second semester course, because the first one was already too easy. I put in something like 30 hours I suppose. (It would be great if there was a way to see how much time one has spent on duolingo!)

But I am bilingual in German and French so mileage might vary.

However duolingo is amazing at keeping me off surfing the internet mindlessly and learning something instead!

I think a successful tree completion represents an excellent base to be good at traditional courses and therefore be motivated to follow. It happens far too easily for me to be too lazy and loose traction in a class setting.

Actually I am kind of afraid of completing the skill tree because that is my main motivating goal! :)


I believe that at the end of a tree you will have a passive vocabulary of around 2000 words which you will have been exposed to. A typical native speaking college graduate has a reading vocabulary of 17000 (1) words. That's quite a few more than what you'll learn here on Duolingo. That said, it is suggested that the "2000 most frequent word families of English make up 79.7% of the individual words in any English text" (1) so if the idea carries to other languages, that's a pretty solid start.

As far as college equivalency, I am about half-way through the Spanish tree and I recently tested out of Spanish 101 and 102 at my university. I complement Duolingo with other learning methods such as Pimsleur and vocabulary building on Memrise. I also planned a trip to Ecuador for 10 weeks this Summer to study Spanish. I am confident that, at the end of the tree and with a lot of practice, I will be able to test into a 300 level Spanish class.

(1) http://iteslj.org/Articles/Cervatiuc-VocabularyAcquisition.html


Thanks for the answer. If I may ask, what part of Ecuador are you going? I too want to go somewhere in SA but not this year, but some day. Did you investigate more than one school?


A full tree will probably bring you to these levels:

Grammar: B1 - B2

Vocabulary: B1

Writing: B1 - B2

Listening: A1

Speaking: -

Source: http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/187e3d/to_which_level_duolingo_brings_you/

What the levels mean: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages


I have taken Spanish courses in high school and although I haven't gotten far in the Spanish lessons on Duolingo, it seems that those lessons would cover topics up to a 4th year of Spanish in school. This based on just simply looking over the topics covered lower down the language tree.


As someone who took many Spanish classes years ago and is now using Duolingo to bone up, it seems like the first "checkpoint" represents the end of Spanish 101, the second represents the end of Spanish 102, the third represents the end of Spanish 200, and the last seems to be most or all of a 300 level course


I began the French tree with zero knowledge of the language and completed it today. I feel confident about my reading and writing skills, but less so about actually speaking. I jokingly tell my friends that if the French butcher their language via text messaging like Americans then I could be in a full-blown relationship via SMS and the girl would think that I was a native speaker. My friends that speak the language generally know what I am trying to say and are pretty impressed that I'm as good as I am after only 3.5 months.

To answer your question as asked, maybe a 201 level. I understand the basics and more importantly have the ability to read/write in French so I can google things and practice the language outside of Duolingo.


Congratulations on getting your French trophy owl!


I finished the French language tree two days ago, but did not get the French Trophy Owl : ( quite disappointing as i was looking forward to it! lol


There are units that are still not "mastered" (without cups) in your tree. New lessons have been added, so you have to complete them to get your trophy owl.


oh ok.. thanks so much : ) i'll get on it!


The answers to this question are really helpful. I just have one comment though. I find some of the vocabulary to be a bit advanced for a beginners course. For example, learning words for turtles, crabs and earls within the first few hundred words. I think it would be helpful if the vocabulary introduced was in accordance with the highest word frequency for the spoken language. I would also like to see more examples of sentences that can be easily used, rather than something one might come across in a nineteenth century novel. (The count does not walk with the king!). Thanks.


Merci beaucoup for your insight, everyone!


mmx11 is probably right, I would have said B1.

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