Question about Duolingo and Spanish.
Hi, I just wanted to talk to some of the people who have completed the Spanish skill tree or people who are just well versed in Spanish in general. Here is my story: I have been studying Spanish for about 2 years now in school, but I am nowhere near fluent. When I started Duolingo, I tested for a level 10, and I have gotten to a level 11 since, as I was going through all of the subjects Duolingo thought I already knew. Here are some questions:
How has Duolingo made you proficient in Spanish? as it made you just good at reading, just good a interpreting, just good at speaking, or all three?:
At what level (in Duolingo) do you consider someone to be capable of reading and interpreting Spanish news/articles/cartoons/TV?:
Thanks for any feedback.
If you complete the entire Duo program you'll get to a high beginner/low intermediate level, better in reading than in conversation. The 'levels' in Duo mean very little.
Well, first of all, "level 10" does not mean anything regarding proficiency. Duolingo levels are related ONLY to the number of experience points (XP) you have earned. You could do the first lesson a few thousand times and get to Duolingo's highest level, level 25, yet you wouldn't really know much Spanish at all. Or you could be a person like yourself, test out of most skills and then breeze through the rest as a refresher course and finish the entire course (they call it "completing the tree") at about level 13. So when you see levels, they are an indicator of the amount of time and effort a person has put forth here on Duolingo, but not an indicator of overall proficiency.
Duolingo will help you the most in reading, because that is what you do the most of here. It will help you pretty much with listening, too. If you want to become proficient at writing, you'll need to practice writing. I recommend Lang-8, where you submit articles/essays for peer review by native speakers and you, in turn review submissions from people learning English.
If you want to become proficient in speaking, you have to practice speaking. For that I recommend looking for a Skype or Google Hangout partner, or going to Verbling's "Community" section and speaking with others there. To find practice partners you can use ConversationExchange, WeSpeke, or iTalki.
Duolingo will get you to about a low B1 in reading, a high A2 in writing and listening, and I guess a low A2 in speaking. A1, A2, etc. are from the Common European Framework of Reference, or CEFR.
You can get better at reading by doing Immersion in Duolingo. And of course, there are TONS of other resources available for free on the Internet. This page from the Unofficial Duolingo Wiki has a bunch of good ideas from the Duolingo community.
Regarding being able to read/interpret television, radio, etc. Reading is always easier than listening. I think a person could read a newspaper at about B1/B2, read a book at about the same level, but television, movies, and radio? Those are tough. Just start by watching short news video clips several times through. Or watch Destinos (do a Google search) or Extr@ (on YouTube). Listen to music and sing along. Listen to podcasts. Listen to the radio. Watch your favorite DVD with the Spanish soundtrack enabled. The more you practice the more proficient you'll become.