Two different tree approaches

I spent about a year on Duo conquering my first tree, Spanish. I began my French tree after the New Year and finished it today (!) .

My approach to the Spanish tree was much more typical of my usual style: I had already been studying Spanish before joining Duo (I was low intermediate). I didn't rush Spanish. In general, my priority was reviewing and getting all parts of the tree to gold before daring to move on... even reviewing modules on material I had already studied for years! * I was studying Spanish outside of Duo at the same time as well, relying on a Spanish book and listening to rock in español.

I went with a completely different approach with the French tree: no outside studying speed through; apart from a few times at the very beginning, I repeated no lessons I had no particular ambitions to speak French with the local community, as I did with Spanish seriously, I had a bet with a friend about who could earn owls faster, this was the whole motivation :) * It helped that this whole UPROAR about Duo adjusting XP to encourage us to do less review happened during this time... I was already on that path, so I just shrugged and rolled with it.

Here's the kicker... my listening comprehension in French already seems to be at least as good as my listening comprehension in Spanish. :P

Listening comprehension has always been my bugaboo (I studied Latin in school -- focus on grammar and vocab, screw listening and speaking! It's stuck with me whenever I study new languages.) And French pronunciation is so difficult, so I'm surprised that I am so comfortable with all of the listening exercises on Duo and even some of the music.

It could be that this language is more intuitive to me, but maybe it's just that not focusing on grammar and drilling to death has liberated my listening.

(But not speaking. God, not speaking. I can't seem to pronounce any given French word more than half-right!) :D

Just wondering if this strikes a chord or if people have had different experiences. My impression from the discussion page is that most people on Duo follow approach #1...

April 3, 2015


I completed my entire spanish tree in 40 days using the first approach. Then I spent about 2 weeks keeping my spanish tree gold.

I started my french tree with the same mentality, meaning re-gold all my spanish and french skills first, then achieve the goal of doing 8 new French Lesson. But the problem was I'd have to re-gold at least 12 skills daily and it was exhausting and I had little motivation to do 8 more lessons.

Now I'm a big fan of the famous Pareto's Principle - The 80-20 Rule, understanding that most important tasks with the highest payoff often comes from a small percentage of possible tasks. Ex: If I was in real estate, I could be organizing my desk, drinking coffee, but actually setting appointments and making calls would be the most productive tasks. Now the hard part of applying this method, is that the most productive tasks are often the hardest. So applying this, I've chosen to do my 8 new lessons first daily, and then only do I re-gold the rest.

April 3, 2015

Yeah, what you said really struck a chord with me, I am reviewing my fifth lessons now and it is becoming a bit tedious, that's why I'm here looking for inspiration. ^^ But I'm still in fear of missing out practice since I am a beginner in French, but once I am gold with French I plan to move on to Spanish without regilding French everyday. I might switch to Lingvist for French to be able to review in a different context but without repeating Duo.

April 3, 2015

That's really neat. I didn't know there was another name for the 80-20 rule, nor had I applied this to language learning.

April 3, 2015

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

April 3, 2015

[deactivated user]

    "(But not speaking. God, not speaking. I can't seem to pronounce any given French word more than half-right!) :D. " This is me, too!

    April 3, 2015

    Argggh, yes! Take my all-time favorite French word /sarc, deux:

    Husband: 'Dueh.' Me: 'Dueh.' Husband: 'No, not "dueh" -- "dueh"!'

    Cannot hear the difference myself. :P

    April 3, 2015

    Shouldn't that be "deuh" rather than "dueh"--unless you are specifically aiming for a Homer Simpson accent. Doh!

    April 3, 2015

    Fair point...

    I would have written it in IPA, except I'm not convinced I hear the nuances well enough to try!

    April 4, 2015
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