This might be a silly question, but what do the levels mean? How many levels are there?
They depend from your number of points and don't really mean anything. You are Level 6 in Italian; after you gain some more points (the exact number is shown for you on your home page), you'll get Level 7. It does not matter how you get these points.
Currently there are 25 levels.
Hi olimo, Even though the levels may not really mean anything, given there are currently 25 levels and you have managed to get to level 20/21 (well done you!), how would you regard your proficiency in French and German now? I realise that might be hard to judge/articulate. I guess it was more of a question about your gut-feeling about your er... level(s) :)
German is still at a mess. Even though I am fairly good at Duolingo German exercises, I don't feel confident at all. Reading is difficult. However, I have to admit that I almost don't practice German outside Duolingo.
French is much better. I don't practice speaking or writing in French, but I can read and understand a lot and I also practice listening. For an independent assessment, I got a level of B2–C1 at a training TCF session in January. This was after half a year from the beginning of my studies. I have completed Duolingo tree and Busuu French course by then.
It is hard to find time for both languages. When I started to learn French, almost all my free time was used for French, hence my rather fast progress. Now I have two languages to practice, and my interest is not as high as it was almost a year ago.
Hi Olimo, I gather from your profile that English is a secondary language for you. Your English is amazing! Did you study abroad? I would find it difficult to believe that this level of fluency could be achieved just in school.
Wow, thanks! No, I did not study abroad. I started learning English in school at the age of 8. It was a really good school in what concerns English. Then I had some English at the university (it was not a major discipline as I was going to become an engineer), then I also enrolled for additional courses to get a diploma of a translator. Now I've been working as a translator from English into Russian for eight years.
Apart from that, I prefer reading original books rather than translations, and about 90–95% of books that I read are in English. I also chat a little with a friend from Australia and write posts here in discussions and on Quora. In fact, I feel how my writing skills have improved during this last year that I'm here on Duolingo.
Thanks for the reply Olimo. B2-C1... you must be quite proud to get that far in such a short space of time! I hear what you say regarding Duolingo German exercises (or any language)... it's hard to get a feel for where one is. Maybe it shouldn't matter if one is enjoying it :) I had never heard of Busuu before, so thanks for that tip. What did you think of the Busuu courses? So many questions... sorry! And I second Peter below... your English is stunning!
Thank you too!
The main value of Busuu is written exercises. You write on a given topic in the free form and get corrections from native speakers. For that, you help the others with your native language.
I think French was so enjoyable and fun to learn because for me as a Russian it is amazingly close to English. I don't mind learning conjugations and adjective agreement because we have them in Russian, too.
German is harder for me mainly because of the word order, it is very unlike English, French or Russian.
I've been learning German for a few years now, and I think that in German the word order is very similar to English. It's also similar to English because of the words themselves. A lot of them are the same. I think German is easier than French because, you don't have to use 'de' for the objects. 'Ich esse Brot,' instead of 'Je mange du pain.'