What kinds of things will I be able to say once I complete the (Spanish) tree?
I (like so many others) took Spanish for a few years in high school but never really took it seriously after the first semester. The summer after graduation, I couldn't understand a newspaper to save my life, or even a basic recipe, let alone hold a conversation. I'd had plenty of bilingual friends and teachers, (whose native languages ranged from Spanish to Norwegian and Hindi-it was really cool!) but didn't ever think I could master another language like they did.
One day I was at a family gathering, having a normal, English conversation like everyone else in the room, when I heard my cousin, who is a few years older than me, answer her cellphone in Spanish, not the English on which we were both raised. I turned around in my chair and gawked as she breezed through a conversation fluently, and was inspired to give the whole foreign language thing another try, because it's actually pretty amazing. (My cousin later got a job teaching English in Mexico).
My question is, as the title suggests, what level of conversational/reading abilities, etc., will I have once I complete the tree? I suppose this question could work with any language tree. At level 4, I can talk all about how my bear is eating your books and drinking your juice, and specify that the potato is, in fact, "my potato." As entertaining as these skills are, what sorts of things will I be able to say once I conquer the whole tree?
Thanks, congrats to all who have completed a tree(s)!
You'll have enough vocabulary for simple conversations (and be able to survive...), but if you want to be able to express your ideas (albeit simply), with a mainly Duolingo-fed base, I suggest using other resources as well. Levels have nothing to do with the tree, just based on points. You would be around A2 after finishing your tree.
That depends entirely on you. Using DuoLingo is great, but you'll have pull in other resources like SpanishDict.com and StudySpanish.com to learn the finer points of grammar, BBC's Mi Vida Loca and Destinos: An Introduction to Español to learn how to hear different accents and improve your vocabulary. Learning a new language is a challenge, but it's a rewarding one. I can tell you that I've been reviewing Spanish I already knew and am more and more confident each day. The important thing is that you don't learn specific sentences, but how to construct sentences with the same grammatical constructs. 'La papa es mía.' is something you might not use, but 'El coche es mío.' could be useful.
After completing the tree I was able to hold a half-hour conversation entirely in Spanish with a (quite patient) sales agent who spoke no English whatsoever. Most of the vocabulary was learned independently of Duolingo, but the grammar was entirely from Duolingo. When I had to reschedule an appointment over the phone with another person who spoke only a tiny amount of English, I actually found it easier to switch to Spanish than to continue in English. I could also arrange the boarding of a cat in Spanish, including medications, special food, and "please don't give her a bath!" (I'm a motivated learner, since I spend 3 months in Costa Rica a year, but I'm not particularly good at learning languages, or I haven't been before Duolingo.)
You'll have about 1500 words in your vocabulary when you finish the tree, which isn't much. But you'll be able to use new vocabulary, which is the way to learn and cement the words in your head.
Using only one word (enseñar, to teach) that isn't in Duolingo's 1500, I can write (using the grammar learned on Duolingo) this sentence:
- Quiero aprender a hablar el español mejor que mi prima quien logró un trabajo en mexico enseñando el ingles. (I want to learn to speak Spanish better than my cousin who got a job in Mexico teaching English.)
That's a significant step above "Mi oso come tus libros."
I think you will be able to read very basic stuff and write some basic stuff too, keep learning and don't give up!