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https://www.duolingo.com/BrandonEar1

When you get overwhelmed...

Hola duolingo comunidad!

I'm plugging along in the Spanish course here at DL. I'm loving it. With DL + Spanish radio in the car + Spanish TV, I am slowly but surely understanding more Spanish (about 4 months into my journey).

As I get into preterit and imperfect verbs, and more and more vocabulary, I am getting that sense of being overwhelmed. Asking myself how the heck I will remember everything.

Do any of you veterans who have learned a second language have tips or advice for combating this and not getting burned out? I think I just have to take it slow and keep plugging away lesson by lesson... it would just be nice to hear from someone who was in the same boat who overcame the feeling.

Your thoughts?

3 years ago

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Do any of you veterans who have learned a second language have tips or advice for combating this and not getting burned out? I think I just have to take it slow and keep plugging away lesson by lesson... it would just be nice to hear from someone who was in the same boat who overcame the feeling.

You answered your own question. :) Take it slow. You are not being forced to learn everything right this second, so pull back on the new lessons, and review the old ones. It's been almost six months on here for me, and I definitely don't remember all tense conjugations or vocabulary, and let's not start with the subjunctive, ha ha. You didn't learn your native language in a few months, but over years and years. Yes, you can learn the basics quickly if you wish, and even conversational fluency in a few months, but learning a language is a continuous process. Chin up and keep going. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42
no.name.42
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Whenever I feel overwhelmed I either (depending on healthy I feel like being" Take a walk or eat a cookie.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RebeckaK

I find that when I reach this point, that I have to take a break. Once, after two and a half years of Spanish immersion I reached a serious plateau and then took a break for an entire year. When I returned to spanish immersion I found that everything I had been struggling with before had suddenly started to make since.

I think sometimes our brain needs a rest in order to sort through everything we have learned.

The other thing I have learned is that I need to switch things up sometimes. I get bored easily and when that happens I have to change the process, even if the previous one was working well.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pilgrim2k
pilgrim2k
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I'm so glad to see that someone besides myself is feeling overwhelmed. I have been studying everyday for quite a while now and up until I hit the past tense verbs and beyond it seemed to come along pretty well and I was able to have no problems retaining as well as using what I had learned, but then starting at past tense verbs and beyond I felt like I couldn't retain anything, I just started to fall apart. it has been pretty frustrating. I keep studying twice a day for about an hour each time. I have come to the same conclusion that I need to just work on what I have learned for now and master it then move to new material. Thanks for now letting me know i'm not the only one feeling this way.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adriandz

You're on a crazy streak, but maybe you actually need to break that streak and take a break? I believe that cognitive research indicates that rest is required to allow new things you've learned to "take". I'm not so sure that steady cramming without resting up here and there is such a good idea. Why not try taking three or four days off and coming back to it?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pilgrim2k
pilgrim2k
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I've given that some thought but I seem to be a creature of habit and it's hard to break it and then I worry if I do will I start again. I want to at least get a 365 day streak and then I think that I might just back away for a couple of days and then review he tree from the beginning again. I'm also trying to find a tutor for some conversation to help me with my hearing to begin to hear the language.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesocksTN
bluesocksTN
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Rest does not have to be a full stop to be effective, so you don't have to break your streak. But you also do not have to push yourself to do umpteen lessons when you aren't feeling it. Instead, why not? come do one lesson or translate one sentence... and then be on your merry way for the day. Do this for a week if one day isn't enough. Do this for a month if a week or two isn't enough.

I am a creature of habit as well, and, of course, consistency is vitally important. But I also thrive on variety, so I know that I simply MUST mix it up or I will suffer burn out. Personally, I play Duolingo until I am no longer feeling it for that particular day (which might mean completing one lesson, or twenty), and then I move on. I might come back later on that day, IF it sounds fun again, but I certainly don't stress out about it if I don't.

Aside from practicing Spanish with a few language partners on Skype several times a week, I also listen to podcasts and watch YouTube videos, movies, TV shows, etc. in Spanish, play various online games, do a wide variety of flashcards from a wide variety of sources, and read online content from a number of Spanish language sites, or from books in Spanish that I download for free to my Kindle.

One other thing to keep in mind, and keep mixed up, is the weight and depth of the material you consume. For instance, I might watch a weighty lesson on YouTube and write out some practice sentences, then go watch some lighter videos on Home Depo's Spanish channel (on YouTube), or even a cartoon in Spanish. Or I will do verb conjugations drills for an hour or two, then give myself a break by playing BaBaDum or doing picture flashcards on a children's learning site. I find this keeps me making progress in Spanish, while giving my brain an appropriate amount of rest. I also allow myself days where I might only do one Duolingo lesson to keep my streak going, and then do nothing but play games or watch movies or TV shows in Spanish for the rest of the day. I do this a lot on Saturdays and Sundays. And, don't forget about the language learning blogs. They can be a great way to keep your head in the game, and gather new resources and ideas, while giving your brain a rest from active learning.

There is such a wide variety of content out there, that there's really no reason for burnout. It's how you consume that content that will determine whether this happens to you or not. Basically, the key is to stop doing something the moment you are no longer feeling it. The only thing I do even when I don't necessarily feel up to it that day, is, I do keep my appointments with my language partners. But, of course, that's just basic courtesy, not an exception to the above.

I hope some of these links will help you, and others, to keep things fresh and fun...

Memrise - possibly the best free resource (on the net) for learning anything

http://www.memrise.com/home/

BaBaDum - several vocabulary games in a variety of languages

https://babadum.com/

Que Onda Spanish - this site also has a verb conjugation game

http://www.queondaspanish.com/

Fluent U - track your progress as you learn from various videos with subtitles

http://www.fluentu.com/spanish/home/#all

Lingua.ly - read articles, practice the vocabulary

http://lingua.ly/

Lingooista - click for words

http://www.lingooista.org/

Linguasorb - more vocabulary, games, and quizzes; including verbs

http://www.linguasorb.com/spanish/

Conjuguemos - verb conjugation activities

https://conjuguemos.com/list.php?type=verbs&

Vocabulix - verb conjugation drills

http://www.vocabulix.com/online/Learn/Verbs

Spaleon - verb conjugation drills

http://www.spaleon.com/pres.php

Learn Spanish Today - try the Burrito Builder vocabulary or verb game

http://www.learnspanishtoday.com/learning_module/

Spanish Kid Stuff

http://spanishkidstuff.com/flashcards/actionsSp.html

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pilgrim2k
pilgrim2k
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Bluesocks TN, Thanks for the info. I know that I push pretty hard. I do enjoy Duo and I always look forward to sitting down with it. I find my morning section is usually when I first get up with my morning Tea and that is about an hour of only review from back up the tree on earlier lessons so that I can keep that in my mind. Later in the evening I try to do about an hour on some of the new stuff. I guess I just get frustrated because it seems like the new material isn't sticking in my head as well as the earlier stuff did. I have started to use Memrise some and it is really good. I need to start working more on my verb conjugations and am going to start with five new verbs a day and work on learning all the conjugations and tenses. I have been watching some Spanish TV and understand about 40% of it on mostly on the soaps and the ads, but none on the game shows, just way too fast for me. I'm trying to find a local to have conversation with as often as possible but that also hasn't happened yet, but I'm not giving up. I never get tired of studying Spanish. I seem to be drawn to it everyday and enjoy every minute of it, I just get a little frustrated at times with the progress. I'm not in a great hurry to finish the tree and will take as long as it takes to reach where I want to be. you are so right about monitoring the weight of the material that you study. I know I need to lighten up on the hard hitting study and watch the cartoons and other easier programs to relax some and I will do that. Thank you so much for all the links and I'm going to check all of them out and break my study up across the board. Thanks for getting back to me. this has really encouraged me.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesocksTN
bluesocksTN
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I hear so much of myself in your sentiments. I reckon you will do well if you change the same few things I had to change.

You remembered the earlier stuff a lot quicker because it was the easiest, most basic stuff AND you didn't have so much past information to try to juggle and remember. Those were your first baby-steps. Now you are trying to climb a mountain. Stop comparing the two.

Be more mindful of balancing the weighty and the light. Think of how much better a great meal is when the experience includes dessert, or how fulfilling a home-cooked meal is after eating a bunch of junk. Both have their place, and each complements the other. And, of course, it is okay to have your dessert first sometimes.

Embrace the fact that stuff doesn't have to stick right away. It's often best to simply introduce yourself to a new vocabulary word, grammar rule, or other bit of knowledge... and then let it go. For a while, if need be!

I am sure you can think of an instance (likely many instances, in fact) when you were introduced to new material that you just didn't get. I am also sure you can think of at least one instance where you later had to face that same material yet again and were surprised to find that you had a totally different experience with it, perhaps understanding it right away.

This is how we learn and it's actually one of the main tenets of Duolingo and other programs that use spaced repetition. Embrace it. Find ways to exploit it and make it work for you, not against you.

Believe me when I say this little pep talk is just as much a reminder for me as it is for you. LOL

Try BaBaDum. If I had to guess, I'd reckon it to be right up your alley. If you've ever wished the vocabulary on Duolingo moved a little quicker, BaBaDum could be a solution that works as well for you as it has for me. I would love to know what you think of it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pilgrim2k
pilgrim2k
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after reading your last post I thought about what you said and you're absolutely right it did come easy at first because it was and now I'm really down in the weeds with a mixture of the old and the new and it's much more complicated, not just because it is harder but I'm looking for it to be just as easy or fast to learn as the other and that is just not to be. I have started to move a little slower with going back to a review of the older to keep it in my memory and to also give myself a little more confidence to move on to one new lesson and not go any further until i have a handle on the new material. I will use all the links that you gave me. I did go to BaBa Dum last night and it does throw some vocabulary at you. Some of it I knew but a lot more I didn't. I can see that it is a great vocabulary builder. I have gone to Memrise on my computer, but i read all the reviews for the App on my phone and it seemed that it had some problems so i haven't downloaded it yet. i would like to have it on my phone so that i can practice and study when I'm on the road. After i spend a little time on BaBa Dum I'll let you know what i think. Again thanks for all you advice and encouragement it really helps. I'll will stay in touch with you.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Glennalbert

Hi everyone. I just want to say that I am a native spanish speaker who is learning English and maybe we can share some knowledge. So I am available to practice anytime you want.

PD: I am sorry if I wrote anything wrong.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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If you could remove your Skype ID from your post with an edit, that would be great, because posting your Skype ID is against Duolingo guidelines. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Glennalbert

Thanks for the information :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thank you for editing it. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ScottON

It's fab that you're not only using Duolingo. It's a fantastic tool but as you've noticed there are things that it doesn't teach well. Using multiple resources is the best way to avoid burnout.

Have a wee look at language transfer and some of the other things discussed in my Spanish guide : http://learnspanishfreehow.blogspot.co.uk

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsouthern
fsouthern
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I've been learning Spanish for five years now, and I reckon I pretty much know all the stuff on Duolingo, and I can have reasonably serious conversations or watch TV shows in Spanish, but being honest I still feel overwhelmed with how much more there is to learn, how difficult it can be to remember new words, phrases or grammatical structures, how hard native speakers can be to understand, etc.

I think the only way to get over this feeling is to really live 100% in the language for a period of months or years. If you're just learning as a hobby, like I am, I think that the rate of improvement will always be slower than you expect and you'll never acquire true fluency. But that doesn't mean it's not a valuable or enjoyable experience, and if you do plan to live in a Spanish-speaking community, this kind of preparation will be really helpful.

Just my thoughts...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
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Check out some blogs by polyglots or omniglots. I find them inspiring and motivating.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/davloose
davloose
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I strongly recommend using some other resources, like studyspanish.com and some of the articles at spanishdict.com. They help fill in the understanding of the grammer and uses of tenses that DuoLingo doesn't provide. Helps put them in context, and then Duo becomes the practice piece of the lesson.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BrandonEar1

Wow! Thanks for all the great feedback! I didn't think so many of you would chime in. Your support has really help change my mindset! I will use the various other resources mentioned in your comments.

3 years ago