https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

I finished the tree!

I've just finished the tree, after six months! I will carry on to try to strengthen my writing skills. This was all done without the mike. When I tried the mike it really did not understand my accent, not even one word. Has anyone any ideas to strengthen my speaking skills which are at zero at the moment?

4 years ago

33 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9

That's great! I am on schedule to complete Italian in just a few weeks myself. The other things I do are listen to the OneWorldItaliano lessons on Youtube that are in Italian. This is the closest to what an intensive Italian language class would be like that you can get for free. At the basic level about all one can do is say pretty simple sentences, but that said, ya gotta do 'em! :)

I am sure you will feel familiar with pronunciation now, but if not, review a video on that. :) Just search on Youtube, there are some good ones! :) Then repeat your basics such as, "My name is X, I live in X, I like X, I have two brothers, or sisters, or whatever is real for you, etc. Write your basic conversation sentences and questions and practice them, use them, memorize them.

If you can afford it hire someone to speak Italian with you because they are skilled and know it better than you which is very handy. But, if you need to do it the free way, try that route, but I'd try to keep it structured. Everyone wants to speak languages, but I think a lot of folks freeze up because they don't know how to approach conversations. Early introductory conversations are actually quite short when you think about it.

At the B1 level (in another language I studied) we started to write out dialogues together in pairs and then read them to each other to expand what we wanted to say. You could do both parts and read them aloud alone. Think creatively! Have fun! And congratulations!!! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

Yes that is good advice. I'm really only just beginning. I need to do a lot more revision practice with the tree. I think I did it a bit fast and maybe not took it all in. I can put in down on paper but trying to put it into words is very difficult. That could take me years. I did look at a youtube video when I first started and it was hopeless. Oh well I have to start speaking somewhere. I will have a look at the youtube again. Thanks for answering.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9

It's not hopeless! :) It's just a little out of the comfort zone. I have taken intensive German, Spanish, Arabic and also taken French classes. In those settings I learned to speak some of each of those languages by watching and listening carefully to other students and basically being like a parrot - albeit a really smart one! hahaha. ;) You learn what the basic questions are, you learn to recognize 'em when you hear 'em, and you learn the basic replies, and you learn to trust that you know what is going on. If you were in an Italian class and someone asked you "what is your name"? if you saw other people go first, you'd repeat it and you'd get it right. If they came around the room to you and you somehow hadn't picked it up yet after seeing a few examples they would all help you til you got the answer right. :) It really is that simple! It's just like training a muscle! :) Watch those videos again now that you understand more Italian. Train your listening skills now that you have good reading skills! I hope you don't mind me going on and on! I wish there was more I could do to help you - it's just the teacher in me! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

Yes you are right about being out of the comfort zone. But I have really enjoyed doing the DL tree. if it wasn't so important for me to learn Italian I think I would do a few more. You seem to be doing great though, some people are just natural. But I am sure I will get there in the end. Thanks for replying and Congratulation!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VanPaz610

What is your native language? Do you think you have any particular weakness while speaking?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

I am English, yes my weakness is speaking Italian, I can't do it at all. when I speak into the microphone it doesn't understand a word I say so i have to turn it off. I haven't done any.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MABBY
  • 25
  • 24
  • 71

It sounds to me like you have microphone problems, not speaking problems!

I can say literally anything-- not even the words written on the screen-- as long as the ups and downs and pauses are close, and get a checkmark and a pass on any speaking assignment here.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

Yes maybe it is a microphone problem. I am going to get another microphone to plug in and see how that works. 'thanks for answering.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nikkics

Wow, you have done amazing in such a short time! I'm jealous, I make it harder for myself and don't look at the screen to try and puck out whats being said, as I noticed whilst reading I knew what was being said, if I shut my eyes I hadn't a clue, this also helped my speaking as the accents come through better. Also open your mouth properly and practice vowels, as this is where the emphasis mainly lies.

Some times it doesn't get my accent, so I ask my boyfriend (who's italian) what I'm doing wrong and he just keeps repeating it until I get it, as much as this annoys me as he doesn't say put emphasis 'here' and to me i sound like he does, eventually it clicks. He has to slow it down though. Practice practice practice and you'll do it. Record yourself and play it back too, you may be able to catch what you're not being clear on xx

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

Yes well that is my next challenge, I have a long way to go. I have always found the written stuff easier. The speaking is the hard part. I still can't speak English right so I've no chance with Italian. I am going to get a plug in mike that may help. I'm sure it will get better in time. Thanks for answering

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thenoblesunfish
  • 25
  • 22
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Definitely try with a plug-in mic! I was having trouble with the speech recognition for a while until I replaced mine. The speaking is very useful in the long run (and it makes it easier to get XP since you can't get the questions wrong :D ).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

Yes I will do. The speaking is really more important to me but i am so unsure of myself when speaking that I find it really difficult. You seem to be doing well with yours though. Keep it up and thanks

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thenoblesunfish
  • 25
  • 22
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Some things I find helpful are: 1) Speak more loudly 2) If on a slower connection (have to wait for the record symbol to un-grey), wait a tiny bit before starting to speak, as it often doesn't seem to start recording right away, even though it looks "ready"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CatherinGregory
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 17
  • 15
  • 14
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 6
  • 1868

modo di andare! I'm in the same place with speaking skills. I'm thinking about spending the money for italki.com or something like that. However, I would love to have an "app" that would correct my italian as I speak. There are italian clubs. The one here has pricey lessons and requires you to be italian to just join "the club" part. I was thinking about starting a local meetup, maybe a movie and pasta night at a local restaurant. Or, I could run away from home and go to Bologna. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MABBY
  • 25
  • 24
  • 71

I missed going to Bologna when we were in Italy two years ago. Our train made a stop on its way to Venezia, but we didn't get out and I'm still a little sad about that.

Tell you what, I'll meet you at the stazione in Aprile!!

Oh, and it looks like your one-year Duo practice streak is about to happen-- how exciting!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CatherinGregory
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 17
  • 15
  • 14
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 6
  • 1868

Stai andando in aprile? E si, uno anno coming up.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

Yes running away from home to Italy sounds like a good idea to me!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/asphyz

Give Pimsleur a try! It's not as good as true immersion, but it's encourages you to speak the language. It's helped me a fair bit with my pronunciation!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Juan-Manue1
  • 25
  • 25
  • 10
  • 10
  • 1599

Hi valrobinson9759,

First, congratulations on completing your tree! that tells you are committed to learn the language!

For the pronunciation exercises, I would do:

  • Try it the mobile app. That will tell you if it is a mic problem, physical connection, or browser flash plug-in problem (including authorization), OS dependency, etc.

  • On the app, shadow the sentence to make sure the rhythm/timming is good. Duo is particularly picky about that, sometimes, it does not even matter what you say as long as you get the rithm right (My experience is mostly with French, but I have practiced Italian too). for best results, use a headset, and practice the sentence until you can exactly overlap your voice with duo's

  • Ambient noise. Pretty much the louder you speak, the better, Duo needs to be able to distinguish your voice from the background noise and there is always more noise than what you realize.

  • Check vowels. Finally, there might be actually a particular sound that you need to fix. if that is the case, you will most likely pinpoint it during the shadowing part. But this is actually unlikely to be your real problem, Italian has very few vowels in comparison to English, just make sure you map the correct sounds, for example "i" in Italian is the "ee" sound in free.

  • Consonants and syllable stress? Unlikely to be a problem, but make sure you pay attention to the double consonant sounds, e.g. ragazzo is ra-gat-tzo, and pronnounced IPA /ra'gat.tso/, wheck on wikitionary when in doubt: https://it.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/ragazzo#Sillabazione I can say /ra'ga.so/ and duo won't even care, but I am sure Italians would notice!

Your goal should be to be able to get right 90% of the pronunciation exercises at the first try when ambient noise is not a problem, and 90% of within the three allowed retires when significant ambient noise is present. (But you might only be able to do this
on the app, the website/computer/mic might be a significant problem to overcome).

Hope this helps,

Juan-Manuel

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

Thanks for that, Yes I have no choice but to learn the language because my daughter married an Italian and now lives in Italy. My granddaughter is two and she can speak both languages so I have some catching up to do! DL doesn't understand one word I say it just kicks me straight out so I need to do some checks on the mike. the mobile app sounds a good idea, I will try that then at least I will know. In the meantime more practice with the written stuff at least I should know what I want to say even if I can't say it. Thanks for answering

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrahHopper

I would think skypeing with your granddaughter would be the most fun and all the practice you need.

Did you do a lot of reviewing? I just feel like nothing is sticking in my pea brain.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Juan-Manue1
  • 25
  • 25
  • 10
  • 10
  • 1599

valrobinson9759,

I am sure you are going to find that your pronunciation is much better that you think it is, right now it seems you are facing more of a techcnal/hardware problem with the mic than a pronuntiation one. And have a great time enjoing your grandgaughter!

Oh, another idea if you do not want to mess up with your computer: Get a Chromebook, you can run the full Duo website there instead of the stripped down app. My wife was very nice with me and got me one last Christmas, Duo works 100% there, You can even just go to a store, run Duo as guest there and do a few exercices. And you can take the light and slim Chromebook instead of a bulky computer to Italy! ;)

EDIT: Hey, also, when you are done speaking, click again on the mic icon, that tells DUO you are done and avoids further noise to keep duo listening and trying to "understand" what that noise is.

Have fun!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pwreu
  • 25
  • 25
  • 1501

I'm about to complete the tree after the final category of politics. I've been on a serious streak for 76 days. I'm obsessed with the language, and I also did it entirely without the microphone.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

That's a fantastic streak. I am redoing it now on an android tablet using the microphone and it actually understands some of what I say so it's a start.. First I thought I was hopeless and would never be able to speak it but now I am starting to enjoy it. Congratulations again on your streak

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thenoblesunfish
  • 25
  • 22
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I know that some people have had success finding language buddies to talk to on Skype (so you would pair yourself with a native Italian speaker). I'd also be interested in this sort of thing, as practicing my spoken Italian on innocent shopkeepers and coworkers is a slow process. Can anyone else here provide more details or describe their experiences?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ben.ches

My approach is to read aloud and repeat everything the program shows me in Duolingo. It's a little late for that, but maybe whenever you strengthen skills start giving that a try? Congrats btw.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

It's never too late to practice, I'm going to go over it all again to strengthen the skills but repeat everything. Thanks for your advice

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stevecaicco
  • 25
  • 18
  • 16
  • 13
  • 22

I signed up for a convesational Italian class thorough our local comminity college. It's pretty basic - the first semester is all present tense- but at least it gives me the chance to practice speaking. One of the things the instructor said is ti just listen to Italian and don't worry so much about understanding it. Just listening will give you not just a feel for the rhythym but you'll also hear a variety of speakers and their accents.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

Sounds like a good idea, get the basics out of the way first. I will look out for one of those in my area. Thanks for the advice

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rompip
  • 25
  • 25
  • 24
  • 1922

Hi. First of all, congratulations on finishing your tree. I too turned off the mike because it kept telling me that 'I didn't sound right'. However, on my tablet i have had much more success. One of the best tips I found was to actually speak slower, which seems silly when I really want to speak faster, but the computer definitely seems to 'understand' me better. Even if I have the mike turned off I try to repeat out loud every sentence I do as I have a lot of trouble articulating the words. Another thing I do is to have the linguaphone CD on in the car so that I hear Italian being spoken every day. You did indeed finish your tree very quickly (especially compared to me as I took almost a year) so maybe just keep practicing and it will come with time. Best of luck.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

I have just loaded DL up on an android tablet and the mike is working. Still having trouble with it understanding me but it's a start. Thanks for your advice.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/catherinerose34

Bravi!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valrobinson9759

Thank you

4 years ago
Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.