What level do you reach once you complete the course?

Ahoy fellow pirates!

I was wondering what should I realistically expect to achieve once I complete the Dutch course here on duolingo.

  • What level do you reach?
  • Equivalent CERF level? (A1..C2)
  • How many words on average will I know?

Those who are advanced, can you share your experiences? Are you able to read newspapers or listen to conversations?

(those <> not-a-german-speaker)

February 8, 2015


Sorted by top post

The Duolingo courses teach about 2000 words. That is not a ton, but it's just enough to let you start exploring a language on your own. Some things it teaches better than others: I think it's very good at teaching you how to construct sentences.

February 8, 2015

I am guessing it depends on how hard you work/the time you put in/what other resource(s) practice you're doing - I mean, I suspect a person could finish a tree just doing the bare minimum, given enough time, whereas someone else might put in hours and have everything fully consolidated and be speaking with native speakers and using other resources, etc etc.

That said, from what I've read on here and about Duolingo, they reckon an average of 34 hours (which can vary considerably, that is just an average) on Duolingo can equate to a semester of the language, and that it's reasonable to expect that someone who's finished the tree can use the language at around the B1 level.

There are a LOT of variables involved, though, I really don't think that there is a concrete way to say "you will achieve X level", but this is a ballpark I guess!

February 8, 2015

Hiya! Thanks for chiming in :-)

My question is just about duolingo and not any other resources. (Not that I won't do it .. rather to estimate how much one can learn from this course alone)

B1 seems highly good and feels quite optimistic but I'd be very happy if it ends up being the case. It'd be a great base to build on without getting lost.

February 8, 2015

Like I say, I think it's hard to judge... most people don't stick to just one resource, and even if they did, how one person uses it might be very different from another!

I should add in my personal experience of the only Duo-to-outside-assessment I have - I studied German in school in my early teens (a very long time ago...) but had forgotten almost all of it; I could count, and ask for directions to the youth hostel or train station ;) that's it. And I certainly couldn't spell/write a word! I took the Duolingo placement test when I started German and didn't manage to test out of a single skill. I'm a language student (studied Russian at uni), but my German was the next best thing to non-existent.

After a little over a fortnight of Duolingo-ing, I responded to the challenge of taking a standardised test from someone who didn't believe Duolingo was a very good teaching resource. I took the A1 test, since I'm very much a beginner still. The test had 30 questions, 8 of which required flash, which I couldn't use since I'm on an iPad. I still got 56% on the test. Not bad for an almost complete beginner after a fortnight and change.

Multiply that by a good number of weeks/months and a dedicated student... I think B1 is a good ambition to have. I don't think everyone who finished the tree will necessarily get to that point in the language, but I think it's a pretty good standard to aim for, put it that way.

Clear as mud? laughs well, I hope you get some more knowledgable folks answering too ;)

February 8, 2015

I'm very new to duolingo.

Can you explain bit more what do you mean by each person's learnings from a tree will be different than another?

You seem to emphasise that quite a bit :-)

Isn't a tree, a tree? Hehe

(same number of words, sentences, questions etc.? you can't advance without finishing the ones before etc.)

I think being a newbie, I fail to grasp how come it might differ.

February 8, 2015

Ah, sorry, yes, lol.

I think probably it's best to give examples! Let's have two hypothetical learners as opposite extremes:

Learner A does the bare minimum. If earlier skills are getting weak, Learner A doesn't care. Learner A gets through lessons by sheer brute force repetition if necessary, figuring that eventually they will get through the lesson and be able to move on to the next. It doesn't matter if they only just scrape through the lesson. If they passed it, they passed it.

As they get further up the tree, this becomes more difficult, and so they do pick up a certain amount of vocab and grammar through sheer repetition, but their learning is fairly passive and the words they have learned don't all end up in their long term memory. They probably don't really understand the grammar either, so they can't necessarily form new, correct sentences, even if in theory they have the necessary vocab and skills.

Learner B is obsessive and enthusiastic. They take great pains to keep all their previous skills up to scratch, they even have a notebook where they write down words that were giving them trouble. They don't count themselves as truly knowing a lesson until they can get through it without any errors, and they regularly revise lessons and skills.

As they progress up the tree, they make sure they know everything thoroughly. They read any grammar notes that have been left on the lessons, and if they have a problem with a given lesson, they keep going back till they can 1) do the lesson correctly and 2) understand why they had a problem in the first place.

When previously learned lessons and skills are shown to be weakened, they go back and strengthen those skills - not just doing the bare minimum for Duo to be happy, but really reinforcing the words and grammar in their memory.

Learner A could, I think, eventually get through the tree by sheer repetition and determination, and I'm sure they would have to pick up some of the language along the way through all that brute force.

Learner B, however, even if they were both at the same "level" in Duolingo terms, has put in more work to get to the bottom of the tree, has consistently consolidated their skills, and would have a much better foundation in the language.

Both learners have studied the same material, but Learner B knows it way better and is much more comfortable with it than Learner A is. And yes, these are extremes ;) but it seemed the easiest way to explain what I meant!

Just for an example of Learner A type learning: I decided to have a bash at the English for Romanian speakers tree, to see if I could pick up any Romanian. It has no real help for a non speaker of Romanian, since it wasn't aimed at me! Obviously not a perfect example, but it'll do.

I only did the tree for a few days before deciding that I would be better off waiting for the Romanian for English speakers course. I did do the first few skills and even got at least one or two of them 'gold', through sheer repetition.

But... besides the fact that da means yes (which I already knew!), and that the language has a lot of interesting consonant clusters and that the definitive articles appear to work very differently than in English, I haven't actually retained anything from those lessons, even though I "passed" them.

February 8, 2015

THIS ^^ !!! :-)) Brilliant! Thanks for explaining and giving these tips, there is a ton!

It's beyond helpful, really appreciate it. Now to try and follow the footsteps of Learner B :-)

February 8, 2015

Thank you so much. I have been stuck on verbs for about two weeks! I keep going over and over the same lessons trying to get it to sink in. Then, I realized that what I was doing is memorizing the lesson! I have written out flash cards on verbs and study two or three different sites, but guess it's going to take even more effort. When it all gets down to it, sleep, eat, PRACTICE FRENCH.

February 9, 2015

I have finished Ger - Eng and Ger - Rus trees, but I did study some German on my own yet before Duolingo. I would define my knowledge as mediocre. Can read most texts (not Goethe's sources :)) and understand a reasonably clear speaking (obviously, when native speakers speak fast to each other, I am out).

So don't expect too much from Duo alone. It is a great complimentary tool, though.

February 8, 2015

Well kudos to you. I checked the German course here and I can't stand it :-) The voice felt too robotic, and sentences are bit odd.

But perhaps I should give it another try after Dutch.


February 8, 2015

I would personally start with German, because it is the most widespread germanic language. Having German & English in your pocket give you the rest (Dutch, Swedish, Danish & Norwegian) basically for free. Maybe it will work for you vice versa as well, because Dutch & German are pretty related.

Good luck anyways :)

February 8, 2015

@cridings, where did your post go? Thanks for the input. Great to hear your feedback!

February 8, 2015

I would start with irish

February 9, 2015

Start what with the Irish?

February 9, 2015


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