1111 DAYS (over 3 years) Of DUOLINGO, learning about 6 languages. :O) Here's what I learnt...
1111 DAYS STREAK (over 3 years) Of DUOLINGO, learning mainly Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, some Mandarin Chinese and Russian, and brushing up my French. :O)
1. Would you do it again?
Yes, it’s been fun! And the fun principle is essential... :O))
2. How much language did you learn?
My background: German and Italian are my native languages, I know English quite well and remember French from high school, university and 9 months of Erasmus Programme in France. I’ve been practising mainly 4 languages and Mandarin Chinese and Russian for fun for about 10 minutes a day with DL. (occasionally more)
After 3 years, I can say I learnt the basics and I learnt most with the clubs, where I had to use the language actively, but those have unfortunately been abolished. My Spanish is the best so far with an A2 level in production (elementary-took some online assessment tests) and due to the fact that Spanish and Portuguese are similar to Italian and French, obviously I understand much more than I can produce. My Portuguese and Swedish active knowledge is still minimal at an A1 beginner’s level (ordering coffee and basic familiar expressions). With Chinese and Russian it’s still “bloody beginner”, with only a few sentences and words, since the pictogram writing and the Cyrillic alphabet are really tough and Chinese tonal pronunciation is a huuuge challenge!
With the regular lessons, it’s slow learning for me. The stories are much better, because they are more interesting. The storytelling technique is considered to be the oldest and still one of the best ways to learn a language. It’s really true that our memory needs emotions to remember something that is to be considered relevant to our brain, and random sentences unfortunately don’t usually trigger a lot of emotions. Stories with a surprise effect, some good imagination elements or even containing irritating characters make us remember them and the language used in them better.
3. Did you use other language learning apps as well?
Yes, mostly Memrise and Busuu in the beginning, but it’s only DL now.
4. Why are you learning so many languages?
Well, I like (good) communication and therefore I like languages. Plus, I teach languages. I also know some people who speak Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish, so I like learning their language. The PERSONAL aspect, making a language relevant to you personally, is so important for good intrinsic motivation. Chinese and Russian just made me curious and I like to greet and thank people in their language. :O)
5. Are you learning more than one language at the time?
Yes, I am, and I often confuse Spanish and Portuguese vocabulary when writing or speaking. :O)
6. What are your personal best-of tips that you’d like to share with other language learners?
Hm…it’s more about how to get the most out of Duolingo I guess. :O)
1- If you want to learn a lot, you should get active, like taking notes on vocab or sentences and repeat them, but also start writing and communicating on the forums IMHO with some dictionary or translator help.(if needed) The lessons alone won’t be the decisive factor in your language learning. It’s the will-the eagerness to communicate and to understand that will teach you the most.
2- The stories are a powerful tool and if you really like one, it’s good to try and remember some good sentences by heart and to listen to the story repeatedly. That’s good for your XP points and for the competition in the leagues as well. ;O)
3- Take your time and don’t try to race through the exercises. If you’re more interested in proving yourself in the competition with others through XP points, you won’t learn a lot. To remember new words, you really have to use your brain and you shouldn’t choose the easiest path, by only clicking on the given solutions. Try to formulate an answer or at least translate one word in your head before looking at the given words. If you find an interesting sentence, repeat it several times aloud or copy/paste it in your “favourite words and sentences” document. Writing your favourite sentences into a notebook is also a good way to remember what you really want to learn.
4- When you’re doing an exercise, click on the comments (DISCUSS) of confusing sentences whenever you can, native speakers and experts often write fabulous explanations.
5- Especially in the beginning, it’s good advice to look up some grammar online or consult a grammar book, because DL won’t explain too much. (that also depends on the language)
6- If you want to have a decent spoken conversation in your target language, speaking to yourself alone most probably won’t be enough, you really need to speak to somebody. For that, you’ll probably need a real chat sooner or later, in a language course, a video chat or while travelling, etc.
7- Use your target language(s) as much as you can, whenever you can and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. That’s how we all learn. The best motivation to learn a language for me, is knowing a real-life person, whose mother tongue that language is. It’s nice to imagine things to say and keeping those people in mind when learning. It’s really important to practice a language as much as possible. You don't use it - you lose it. (that is called language economy) If you stay passive, you’ll almost only learn a passive/receptive understanding of the language and you'll get bored. In order to learn how to speak or write actively, you need to start speaking and writing. (without any given ideal solutions or hints) For listening comprehension skills, you’ll need to listen a lot, possibly to native speakers, speaking or singing in many different ways. :o)
I'M CURIOUS HOW MANY 1000+ DAYS STREAK LEARNERS THERE ARE OUT THERE...does anybody know a percentage of those users by chance?
THAT’S IT FOR ME - HAPPY LANGUAGE LEARNING TO EVERYBODY!
Some great advice there, and laid out nicely and clearly too.
The only thing I can add is that it's best to have a quick look through the discussions for every sentence if possible, rather than just the confusing sentences. There are often little nuggets of indirectly-useful information hiding in those discussions. :)
With the enthusiasm you are showing I can see that streak extending far into the future!
The one thing that I have found most important in learning a language has been consistency of effort; do a little bit every day. It's something my Gramma taught me when I was a child, when she sat me down at the lunchtime table and taught me German. I found it such a chore I had an alarm clock in front of me counting down the 15 minutes until I could quit. Today, that consistency has paid off, and is a lesson that I've taken with me throughout my life. I compare keeping up that Duolingo streak with those 10 minutes with Gramma, except today I don't find it a chore, i'm really enjoying it (especially the comments, as per your point 4).
I'm hoping to join you and others in the four-digit club soon!
C'est Magnifique! :) Felicitations! :) I'm "refreshing" my french on here and I'm going one on one with a native french speaker on itlki.com. My Italian tutor here in my town, cancelled our private lessons due to the covid-19, so I'll practice what I have that she gave me along with doing it on Memrise and I will start doing it on here soon! :) I've been learning some Sicilian on Memrise! I LOVE it! :) I've been learning Ancient/Middle Egyptian and some Maori and Icelandic on Memrise as well. :) Russian I will be going one on one with a native on italki in the fall! :) I'm also learning the sounds of the alphabets of Archi, Adyghe (Circassian)/Kabardian as well as still trying to find some outlets for Tuyuca! :) I've been doing Esperanto on Memrise and JUST started learning some Georgian alphabet and a couple phrases. :) I will be bringing Esperanto on here soon as well as I've been doing that on Memrise. :) It's fun learning different languages as well as cultures. However, it's even more fun when they are your nationalities like Russian is mine! :) I'm GRATEFUL that my ancestors came over to the US in 1905 and 1908 so, my native tongue is American English but I hope to one day make my grandfather proud by learning the Russian language! :) Bonne Chance Florine et merci pour la publication! :)
Florine. Interesting post. But for slow WiFi in Italian hotel my streak would be 1324 very happy days. (Ouch, I didn't know about streakfreezes then). Oh I forget, Duome.eu can help with percentages. I was going to mention travel and immersion but that would be unhelpful right now, so we just keep using any "accessory" we can to learn. Lingots for your thoughtful post and congratulations on your 1111!!
Hey Florine_2017, that's a fantastic commitment! Congratulations! I always come and go to Duolingo, but leave as there is no grammar part and no "chat". I still feel like I'm learning a lot of words but not so many verbs and I kind of struggle practising and making sentences that have a sense in the real world.
e.g.: el mono no bebe leche Not sure when I will use this :)
I found Busuu better at communicating with other people, and there is a grammar section as well.
Thank you for making me discover the stories, I hope this will help. It’s not available in all the languages from all the languages.
Hey Slyz! :O) Yeah - the "sense in the real word" - the authentic, much used everyday language is mostly missing, indeed. That's one thing I keep criticizing as well. I wish for more sentences and given translations that are really used by hundred thousands and millions of native speakers, not awkward literal and unusual translations...:O) However, I must say that I have huuuge respect for the voluntary contributors who are working their a**** off for free!:O)) Thanks a lot for your feedback!