Slow and steady

I read a lot of the discussions people are posting here, and it seems like most people that are posting have had some basic experience with the language that interested them before.

I am here as someone that has never taken Spanish courses, never tried speaking with native speakers, and never heard it spoken around me in my regular life, being from Alberta, Canada.

I'm two weeks into the course, and as I type this, I have about 2100 XP, and I'm level 9, whatever that means. I guess that's about 150 XP a day so far.

I've heard people recommend strengthening, so I'm doing so. Right now, I'm barely down the tree at all. I'd say I'm 15-20% down the tree at level 9. I'm surprised so many people are finished the trees at level 9 or 10, but I guess if you already have a framework for it, it's a lot easier. Or perhaps, closing in on 40 years old, I suppose I learn a little slower now than someone who is a touch younger.

That said, I'm spending at LEAST an hour a day on it, and I hope that a few months down the road, I can post something entirely different on my progress. Thanks for the opportunity to learn, duolingo!

August 8, 2014


I started with Duolingo Spanish lessons on my 73rd birthday. I have just had my 74th and am probably halfway through the tree. I am loving it. It keeps my mind active and I spend time revising every lesson so that what I have learned stays with me. I do not hear any Spanish other than the computer generated voice so my reading ability will no doubt be better than the spoken word, but I am thoroughly enjoying learning and the interaction of fellow students. I hope to announce one day that I have finished the tree.

August 9, 2014

I am with you. I am on level 24 and have not finished my tree yet. I do only one lesson a day, do a lot os strengthening. And I use other sources too - memrise,, fluencia, fluentu, lang-8. I have streak 262 days and no prior knowledge about Spanish language. Just take your time, and go slowly poco a poco :)

August 8, 2014

You're not alone. I'm pushing 46. :-) Decided to take German because I did try to take it in high school, and failed MISERABLY...and Spanish because I do have some fluent friends. Haven't exactly tried any of it around most of them, but that's primarily a confidence issue.

I'm at 21/22...and spend an hour on one each day. I was doing both each day, but found myself getting close to four hours a day which seemed...excessive. ;-) I'm about half-way through the German and a little over that in Spanish. But I do the lessons until I feel like I "get it." Not necessarily in memorizing the words, but understanding the feel of the sentence structure, grammar changes, etc. So, yeah, I'm going slowly.

I know there are some people who can do a lesson once, move on and never look back. I'm not one of them. And I'm not necessarily just looking for "progress." I want to really know and understand the language. I don't know if that's why it's taking me so long or if it's just a question of age...but at least I'm doing it, slow or not!

August 8, 2014

[deactivated user]

    I'm totally with you! I have made it to level 9 and have 1900 XP. I'm spending 10- 60 minutes a day on duolingo and most of it is strengthening and practicing. But I'm enjoying it and so proud I can read and understand the Spanish I've learned so far!! I'm not in a rush, I've got plans to walk to Santiago de Compostela before my 50th birthday so I have plenty of time, since I just turned 40 this year. My goal is to be able to be in a conversation in Spanish and I think duolingo will get me in that position! Take it easy and enjoy!

    August 8, 2014

    I am in the same boat, only with French. I came here not knowing a word of French other than what you might hear in movies (bonjour, s'il vous plait, etc.). My progress is not as great as yours, but I only try to get in at least 50 XP per day and I don't use many outside resources. I'm level 14, halfway to 15, and I just made the second checkpoint yesterday. I've been learning French for about 4 months now and while I don't know much, I know tons more than I did when I started. If I can finish the tree in 12 to 18 months, I'll be happy. I do mostly reviews, and spend a lot of time on each new lesson. I think review and practice are key to language learning.

    August 8, 2014

    With language learning, repeated exposure is key to getting fluent. Which is what you are doing.

    There's no harm in rushing through the tree, as long as the goal is not to finish the tree but to go back and get the repeated exposure later.

    Duolingo is something that will keep on giving and giving. I'm going to get my new students started on it in September, and although they will already be able to jump to at least 75% through the tree, it is the repeated exposure to basics through Duolingo that will help them polish up their English production.

    August 8, 2014

    Same here - I am even slower, and it will take me probably another 12-18 months to complete my tree. But that is probably my ability and my goal to have the Spanish tree's knowledge fully in my mind and soul by the time I complete it : ) and to be honest, I am loving the journey.

    I read in a post of a person that have completed his tree a suggestion to take our time completing it, because from his view it keeps the motivation to push more to master the studied parts. I took his suggestion seriously specially because I was forgetting easily the parts which I have studied and couldn't actually use them in the real world, even if lightly.

    Now I am way happier about parts which I have studied as I am going through them all and making sure I "really" know them not just passed their parts in the tree. I also use another source to strengthen my listening and speaking called Pimsleur and both together became a lovely important part of my life.

    Best of luck!: )

    August 9, 2014

    Thanks for all the positive feedback, it's great to know others are on the same page as me! Shatov, I like the way the strengthening tool can randomly choose from subjects I've done already. As it stands, that's why I am taking my time, so that I can get all the subject matter at once without too much confusion :)

    August 9, 2014

    For some reason I can only reply and not post independently, so here goes. I finished French at level 12, as I could test out of many of the units, and Spanish I"m on level 11 at about 80% done (also tested out a bit, but less than French). As you rightly assume, I already have experience with both languages in varying degrees, and for me it is more of a refresher/filling in the gaps, than being a total newbie. I'm completely new to Italian and doing the Italian tree very slowly and methodically, one lesson a day, with lots of skills strengthening before moving on, no hurry at all. It will take as long as it takes. And I'm eagerly awaiting Russian and Turkish, which I plan to do in the same unhurried fashion. All the gold circles and stuff is nice, but the most important thing is what you take away with you.

    August 10, 2014

    Same here! I am at level 19 and have not finished the tree yet. What I have done, and will continue to do, is to practice what I've learned many times over and when I feel confident about where I am standing, I start a new lesson. I believe that going slow is the key to grasp the language and its many little points. I am closing in on 50 years old and think that I am still young for learning a new language (English is not my native language). So keep on keeping on your slow and continuous progress. Wishing you luck!

    August 10, 2014
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