I finished my French tree
I thought I would follow the tradition and announce to the Duo world that my French tree is complete and golden. I mainly write this because I found these posts motivating when I was in my early stages of the tree so I hope this can be too.
OK, so here comes a few details and a few things I've learned:
I have climbed the tree in one 38 day streak (from the first checkpoint). Although I don't know exactly how many hours I spent I imagine that I have spent on average at least 4 hours per day on Duo and I have also read newspapers and listened a lot to French talk radio (Radio France Info).
I had some background in French before Duolingo. Five years ago I took one year of introductory French in college and I studied quite seriously with lots of reading and listening to radio. Even so I was far from being able to have a conversation in french or being able to read a newspaper article without a dictionary.
I am still far from fluent but I can now watch news broadcasts in French and understand quite a lot (but not all). I feel that Duo has helped me a lot in being able to construct correct French sentences. I also like the listening exercises. It is also great that it teaches you the basics of all the verb forms. I don't think I would've ever gotten to know past subjunctive if it wasn't for Duo.
A side-effect of moving fast through your tree is that lots of skills degrade at the same time. At first I didn't realize that the decay rate is decreased once you have strengthened a skill a few times. I was therefore often quite upset to see ten or more skills being degraded every morning. I felt that it took all my energy to strengthen skills rather than moving forward. If you find yourself in this situation remember that it is OK to just focus on re-goldening for a while you will catch up eventually because the decay rate will decrease.
Now my plan is to keep the tree golden but I will try to spend most of my time listening to french radio and watching french TV.
Thanks Duolingo for this wonderful service.
Yes, eventually I will do that. At the moment I think I will focus on listening to spoken French. This is because I feel that I am already much better at comprehending written text than I am at understanding spoken language. I guess this is a natural effect of learning a language from a different country.
In what way do you find it important to reach level 25? I just can't see the point of receiving experience or leveling up on a language learning site. This is a great place otherwise, but I find that part pretty distracting, and pointless, to be honest. Or maybe somebody missed to tell me that you can trade in lingots for gold :-)
Yeah, Florence is a wonderland if you like art. I was only there for a week so I managed to keep the tree reasonably golden during the time. The queue to the Uffizzi gallery is indeed brutal. I invested in a Firenzecard for this very reason. It is a quite pricey card that gives you access to most of the museums in Florence. But the main advantage of the card is that it let's you skip most of the lines. Very good if you time is short.