I heard that this is mandatory: I finished my French tree!
A few months ago, I wouldn't have guessed that I would finish the French tree before the end of 2014. But this autumn I've made quite good progress, compared to the late winter and spring ( I started early january this year), and now I'm suddenly here.
At the moment I'm feeling a bit lost as whereto my French studies should be heading, my "planning" hasn't kept pace with my studying.
But, thanks to all of you friendly and helpful people on this forum, I have had many opportunities to take note of a lot of useful resources and learning hints, that will hopefully keep me going. There is still so much to learn (the verb conjugations. the. verb. conjugations. just to mention one thing).
Hopefully, I will come across something useful to share with you, to give something back to the community here. Until then, I can only say: Thank you, and never stop learning, even if it might feel tough at times!
Thank you very much for mentioning "Le Petit Prince"! This is a great gift for my wife who is learning to translate French. Whether she'll eventually translate this or not, she'll definitely appreciate the history and prestige of this piece of literature. It also doubles as a goal for me if I stick with things :)
Thanks for the suggestion, it's a book that I've never heard of despite it being very popular (according to Wikipedia). I'll check it out!
I picked up a novel from the library, a French translation of Swedish author Carl Jonas Love Almqvist ("Det går an" in Swedish, titled "Sara" in French). Passé simple is everywhere in it, so I might give it up for something easier, even if it is still good for practice purposes!
In my limited experience (a few French schoolbooks - I mean for kids in France), Le Petit Prince, and a few other things, past simple is everywhere in French fiction, even in stories for kids. But it doesn't matter - it's that one tense you don't know but since the subject is never omitted in French you still know who it refers it. Some of the stem-changing verbs might be tricky, like il est --> il fut, but you can learn 'em! Congrats again :)
I'm debating whether to start the Italian or French course this week. Were there a lot of errors in the course that made it hard to get through? Was the sound okay? I knew the other two languages I reviewed here pretty well so I could get around this stuff, but I only studied a little French. Well, huh, now that I look back I wonder if I did make it to B1. But still, I don't have as much to fall back on...so I'm a little nervous. Would you recommend it? :)
It is not the errors in the course that makes Duo difficult for beginners, it is the lack of easy explanations of the grammar, based on the false idea that we can all quickly pick up grammar as we go along. I think the Duo founders and course writers are geniuses, but perhaps they do not understand how ordinary people need much more help than they did when learning new languages.
Having already learned some Spanish you will see lots of similarities in the grammar and vocabulary of Italian, and to a lesser extent French, so you may well be able to use Duo right away as your main means of learning.
For an introduction to French and Italian grammar I really like the Michel Thomas and Paul Noble audio grammar lessons, since they do not use technical terms, but point out the patterns in a way that makes it easy for beginners.
The Italian Duo voice used to be very poor, but the replacement is acceptable, as is the French voice.
For all the moans I have about Duo it is very good at what it does - provide you with lots of practice in translating to and from the new language.
Congrats on completing the tree.
There are lots of ways to continue learning French, but as well as doing them, why not give Lingvist a go? It has just opened its French course in beta and is at the moment free. I started using it on Friday morning, two days ago, and according to the site dashboard I have spent 9 hours on it since then (clearly it is rather addictive for me) and learned 1,970 words! Of course most of them are on the Duolingo tree so they are not new, but enough are new for me to have found it well worth while. And meeting the Duo words in new sentences is very useful. Among other things it has a lot more colloquial or slang words, which are pretty useful.
It seems that Lingvist will teach me 5,000 words - and do so very fast. https://lingvist.io/
I've also been using it since Thursday, and love it. I think it is the perfect next step after Duolingo...nine hours already? That's incredible, and it shows you how addictive that site can be (I've got six hours I believe). I'm not bored at all with the site, and with Duolingo, I got bored A LOT. I also don't get frustrated the way I did with Duolingo, but that's mostly because I didn't understand any grammar and Duolingo didn't have "tips" posted yet, so I had to spend a lot of time on about.French and the UT Austin French Department website.
I am giving myself a review by doing the reverse tree (English from French), but I am finding it of limited usefulness as it really is time to move on. Yes- start reading books at your level. And start listening to French TV or broadcasts at your level- the internet gives a myriad of sites to choose from. I have also picked up some old-fashioned grammar books and am working through the exercises to pick up all the grammar points duo failed to teach me. If you are like me, you are probably still only at about the A2 level, so there is a load more to learn. Bonne chance et félicitations!
Félicitations! Good luck with the conjugations! The key words are: practice, practice, practice. Through books, movies, getting a penpal... At one point, you'll be so used to the conjugations you'll use the correct one without even thinking. And if you make a mistake, keep in mind that it's okay. You're a learner, you make mistakes. And if it can be of any consolation: French natives make an awful lot of grammar mistakes themselves! Trust me: I'm French ;)
Congratulations. I started in January this year and aim to "finish" the tree by December. I do this alongside weekly French lessons with a tutor that certainly improves my conversation skills as well as conjugation. As for tips, I totally agree in working up levels of French in both books as well as TV and movies. For books I would recommend " Effroyable Memere, Incroyable Sorciere" as well as "Le Petit Prince". reading the Little Prince in French has enhanced my comprehension of this lovely book and I get excited by the progress and we are off to Pornic this year for my 60th birthday to put any skills I have into real life practice.
Well done!! :D This was fun to read, because I also started learning French here last January! Although I probably won't finish my tree until early 2015... In addition to reading children's books, youtube might be a good place to look. GrandFromage here on Duolingo suggested the channel Easy Languages, and their Easy French series! It's interviews from around the streets of France, with French and English subtitles. I like it! Here is the link to the French playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA5UIoabheFMYWWnGFFxl8_nvVZWZSykc Good luck in the next chapter! :)
I also finished my French tree. I feel I just am starting to learn, however. And I want to congratulate on this site all who keep patience and help as an example. I thought for a while it was impossible and it is not. My ear is just developing, though. I hope others who at first find their verbal world turn upside down will struggle through things such as when J'aime bien does not mean to love well but less thoroughly.