https://www.duolingo.com/Soolrak

... and the impossible became possible!!!

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Well, this is my story.

I have been using Duolingo since September 11th, 2013. At that time, I knew some English, a little tiny bit of French (And Spanish, of course, since it's my native language) and that was it.

During this long and beautiful journey called Duolingo, one of the courses I have taken so far is German. At the beginning, all I knew in German was "Hallo". I completed the Tree and I got the Golden Owl for German, I felt so proud, but I wondered "Do I really know some German? Was this course and time useful for me?".

Some weeks after finishing the German Tree, I went to an exchange book event here in my city, and I was lucky because I found a book in German, and German is not common in my country at all, it is very difficult to find a novel in German in a bookstore, and if you find it, it is very expensive.

Well, the thing is that I got this book from the exchange event:

Imgur

Note my notebook's brand. "Búho" means "Owl" in Spanish :)

I started to read the book and tried to translate it. It was a very long and hard process which lasted for about 6 months, but there you go... I did it! I could read the whole book, sometimes translating word by word in one sentence. It took me around 30-45 minutes per page, which was absolutely demanding and exhausting. I was able to understand the sentences, paragraphs, and the book itself. There were nights that I slept 3-4 hours because I spent the night reading/trying to translate this book.

The thing is that I have seen some people on this forum saying that they cannot learn more than 1 language at the same time, or they don't know what to do to improve their target language. I can tell you guys that my main focus for a language (besides English and French) is reading and writing. If I am able to speak German someday, fine, but being able to read a whole book!! in this language, is something that I really really really didn't expect in my life... it's just priceless.

When I was a child, I always wanted to learn a second language (English in this case, because it's the most popular language around the world, in my opinion), but I didn't expect to learn French and being able to read a real book in German at all.

I know I have written too much, and I'm sorry about this... but I want to thank Duolingo for being such an important inspiration. I think I will never get tired of learning languages, despite my goal is to learn them for reading instead of speaking, but this is something that makes my life happier.

So yeah. I am proud of myself and I turned the impossible into possible! :-)

April 13, 2015

40 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/FresnoVegas
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This was NOT too long, and I enjoyed every word. When I read your story, a burning inspiration is stirred up in the pit of my stomach to experience the same thing. So, if that was your goal - mission accomplished. Also, as an aside, your command of English is splendid (In the opinion of this native speaker and former ESL teacher). One of the hardest things to do (even in your L1) is to conduct a narrative, which you have done eloquently. Thank you for sharing this!

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/roberto727

Wow! I don't know about your German, but your English is amazing if you only knew a little just a year and a half ago. If you hadn't told us, we would all have thought you were a native English speaker. Thanks for sharing your story and the encouraging words.

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
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Congratulations, Carlos! You've done so much in the year that I've observed you, and you continue to impress me! Your progress is astounding in all your languages, and best of luck to the continuing success. :)

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/hannah_codd

Yeah Carlos good job ! best of luck!you go girl! girl powahhh xxxxx

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger
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Written too much? A post is never too long if you wrote it, Soolrak! I always enjoy hearing from you, as do so many other people here.

As always, you are an inspiration! Keep up the good work my friend.

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
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Amazing! I know I wouldn't have had the patience to stick with it if it was taking me 30-45 minutes a page. You should be very, very proud of your accomplishment.

I've started to read simple Italian novels, and I agree the feeling of accomplishment is priceless.

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ShrimpCeviche

Inspirational! Thank you for this. I am way behind you in language learning but my journey with Spanish is similar. Another good post from Soolrak who recently lost a long streak.

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/M4rt4a
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That's great and you surely have a reason to feel proud! I understand how you feel about it, since reading and writing is my main goal with languages as well, speaking may or may not come along later but since I love books, I pay the most attention to reading. I remember when I first read a book in Spanish and I was just so amazed that I understood what it said! Sadly, as you have problems with German books, I cannot seem to find Spanish ones anywhere here... I mostly read Spanish news right now, to practise :)

Good luck with next books! :)

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Soolrak
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I really love that you love books as I do. Reading is my 1st or 2nd biggest passion in my life! You know what? I have a very close Polish friend who lives in Krakow and she studies Spanish in university, she has many books in Spanish and every time we talk we do it in Spanish (and sometimes a couple of words in Polish! :D). She said there is a big library at Instituto Cervantes. Maybe you can go to Instituto Cervantes in your city? Or maybe to a Spanish speaking country embassy in your city? What I have learned through time, is that impossible is nothing. There is always a solution :-)

Or maybe a book in Spanish in PDF? (I don't like reading PDFs though, there's nothing like the real book, the real pages!) If you need any help getting books in Spanish, I might help you :)

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/M4rt4a
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Unfortunately there are only two of Instituto Cervantes in Poland, one in Kraków and one in Warszawa, both far away from me. Of course impossible is nothing! For now I'm doing quite fine ordering them on the Internet, but I'd love to be able to go to a bookstore and just go trough everything they have to find something I like (It's so much better than just clicking 'Order' button :D)

I don't like PDFs as well, but they are the easiest to get, I'm currently reading Harry Potter in Spanish (I decided to go for something easy, just for practise). One thing is sure - when I finally go on my trip to Spain (it's still not in plans but it WILL happen one day :D) I'm going to come back with all the books I'll manage to buy :D

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrassTiger
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I'm reading Harry Potter in Spanish too! via ebook

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/oskalingo
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Congratulations Soolrak!

And BTW, was the book any good? Did you like it?

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/sophiabit
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Amazing. This story really does show that anything is possible as long as you have a lot of determination and work very hard to achieve it. I hope to achieve something similar in the future with a language I will have started from scratch through Duolingo. Congratulations, that is definitely something to be proud of! :)

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MirekChy
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Great story good sir!! I am extremely happy for you. You have every reason to be proud o yourself. Would you like to write a little bit more about yourself? I have now this image of you translating in the night, driven by curiosity and passion – and a truly beautiful image it is. I would gladly like to fill it with more details. How do the language learning fit into your life? Does your work is in any way connected to languages? Or do you work “with words” in general?

Once again, I am really impressed and inspired, a man driven by passion that is how I see you.

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Soolrak
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Thank you very much for your nice words. My work is not connected with languages, but I have always had this passion for words, such as reading, writing, languages, translation, etc. Any language fits in my life, since I use Couchsurfing a lot, and because of that, I have met many people from the whole world, so I sometimes meet people who come to Chile and they speak almost no Spanish and their native language (which is not always English), so this is useful for me when I meet someone from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, etc... but my biggest dream is to be able to read books in their original languages, such a Kafka or Goethe in German, Dickens or Brontë in English, etc.

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Saartje93
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Congratulations! I have "read" a children's book in Spanish, so i can understand how you feel. It took me hours to understand this easy, short story. Reading a thick book like that is an accomplishment you can be really proud of!

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/FreedomWind

This is so great! I have the same goal and I was able to find a couple of books in German. The minute I finish my German Tree, translating a book will be my next goal. Was I ever surprised when I read that you had achieved it. Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations on your achievement!

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/susannahfaithc

Good job! So inspiring :D

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Bvogel1
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Congratulations!

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/niamhwitch
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That's awesome! Congratulations!! Currently, I'm trying to read a novel that's entirely in Irish. I've been reading it for at least 2 months and I'm only 12% through it (e-book).

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/roberto727

Thought you book lovers might enjoy this poem I Found on Paula's website--yes the jefa of DL contest fame.

A Book by Edgar Guest

“Now” - said a good book unto me - “Open my pages and you shall see Jewels of wisdom and treasures fine, Gold and silver in every line, And you may claim them if you but will Open my pages and take your fill.

“Open my pages and run them o’er, Take what you choose of my golden store. Be you greedy, I shall not care - All that you seize I shall gladly spare; There is never a lock on my treasure doors, Come - here are my jewels, make them yours!

“I am just a book on your mantel shelf, But I can be part of your living self; If only you’ll travel my pages through, Then I will travel the world with you. As two wines blended make better wine, Blend your mind with these truths of mine.

“I’ll make you fitter to talk with men, I’ll touch with silver the lines you pen, I’ll lead you nearer the truth you seek, I’ll strengthen you when your faith grows weak - This place on your shelf is a prison cell, Let me come into your mind to dwell!”

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/FaRiha4
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Your post is really nice and inspiring....I didn not have any knowledge of Spanish before I joined Duolingo,but now thanks to Duo I can read many sentences.I often try to read Spanish posts by other members and when I understand them It feels amazing.I haven't finished my tree yet but when I do I'm surely going to try a spanish book :)

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuzzy_Eva

Impressive!

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/luvmybabes

You should be proud of yourself! Thanks for sharing your story :)

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ILoveFrench30

So inspiring! This helps me, because right now being able to read a book in French sounds pretty tough! THANKS!!!

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/rhythmixed
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This is such an inspiring story! I'm very happy for you!

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GrassTiger
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I remember learning about some famous man in history (can't remember who, but Mark Twain keeps coming to mind) who learned a language when his father handed him a book, handed him a dictionary, and then told him to write out a translation by looking up the words. It was tedious and laborious, but in the end he said he learned it. Slowly, he recognized the words and it got faster. I've always been inspired by that story. I haven't done what you have done, but I did start reading Harry Potter in Spanish in ebook form, where I can click on a word and get a definition or highlight a whole phrase, sentence, or paragraph and get an idiomatic translation. It has helped so much! Some words when I hear them, I actually remember which scene I learned it from. lol

Great job! And I wouldn't have known you weren't a native English speaker if you hadn't mentioned it! If only my Spanish were so good!

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/truelefty
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  • I know I have written too much, and I'm sorry about this...

No te sientas culpable, ¡es un logro envidiable! :D (Y tampoco es taaan largo el texto)

Herzlichen Glückwunsch!!!

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/b.trout-unicorn

That is amazing in so many ways! congratulations!

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/b.trout-unicorn

I love your love for words and want you to keep living with that knowlege:D

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/pseudoeden
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This is awesome! Congratulations! I am like you in that being able to read fluently in a new language is more important to me than speaking it (at least right now). I am about to start reading my first book in Italian -- Pinocchio! After reading some books in Italian, I would like to try translating one of my favorite novels into Italian because it hasn't ever been translated. This post is so inspirational! Thanks!

April 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/alistairdesu

Congrats! Here, take a lingot! :D

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/swagmom3

wow

April 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MauriceDun
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This was great to read and gives me so much motivation!

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/bakanisan

congratualtion mate :D

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/compicej

Hermano, eres una inspiración para mí y seguramente para muchísimos más. Seguiré tus pasos! :D

April 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Wyndlpoons

Such a great accomplishment to be proud of for sure. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.

April 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Pratyush.
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That's great thing. Being able to complete a book is really a great achivement. Those who have never learned the other language or tried to understand the foreign text will never know these feeling. It is really priceless. I know how difficult is to start another language and how painful it gets sometime, trying to make sense out of some foreign text. But it's worth it. It's rewarding and literally priceless. You should be proud. (I myself am proud on what I have done. I have completed a small french book not a novel, And I cannot forget that feeling.) :) . And your post is not long.

April 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MardiMonkey
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What was the book about?

March 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MardiMonkey
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That is so amazing. I'm speechless. Just speechless!

March 4, 2016
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