https://www.duolingo.com/Ynhockey

Finished French Tree

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I actually finished four days ago but didn't have time to write anything on the subject. It feels good to be done after 500 days learning French. Throughout the course I made sure to return to old exercises, and never do a new one until all of the previous ones were gold, which prolonged the experience, but was great for learning. Moreover, they changed the entire tree in the middle so I had to re-do many lessons.

First of all, a huge thanks to Duolingo for giving me this opportunity, and a huge thanks to all of the course contributors and moderators.

Overall it has been an awesome experience, but it was also marred by some major problems. Overall it feels like the team built this amazing system that's 95% perfect, but now spends its time striving for the elusive 100% instead of expanding the system, adding features and words, new ways to earn and spent lingots, etc.

The gamification aspect of Duolingo has been slowly deteriorating, so that now there's barely any of it left, unfortunately. I was personally most affected by being unable to earn lingots for streaks and "perfect" exercises", but other than that there's a marked lack of things to do with lingots. I think more bonus skills has been a common suggestion, and why not, there are a lot more than 2000 words in each language so the potential here is limitless. Overall I would say that Duolingo has far more bugs and other issues now than when I started ~500 days ago.

Over the course of the ...course... I submitted hundreds of reports, and got a lot of feedback for "My answer should be accepted" reports (most of my suggestions were accepted), but unfortunately there is no feedback system for other types of reports. In particular, "this sentence is unnatural" or "the correct solution has an error" could use some feedback.

A bit disappointed that the entire French course did not include some very common words like garbage, railway and rocket. In fact I hope the entire transport unit is improved, as currently it has to do more with travel than transport. Maybe two separate units for travel/transport? (word comparison: http://tinyurl.com/pkclzom)

In short, thanks again to Duolingo and the mods for making this great language course, and hopefully you will have time to look into the issues!

Looking forward to the next language... Ukrainian!

May 4, 2015

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/languagelover0
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Congratulations! That shows a lot of dedication! You totally deserve that Owl!

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/parked91
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Here are the lingots that I promised. Have ten of them.

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/languagelover0
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Gracias!

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/parked91
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Ten more lingots to you.

May 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/-TashaJ-

Félicitations!

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Carolyn250

Félicitations! And thank you for your intelligent feedback. I share many of these concerns. (But I also share the gratitude for such a wonderful site!)

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/wstockall
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Just out of curiosity, now that they have expanded the French tree, what is the new word count for the completed tree? Did you include any or all of the bonus skills when you did your tree?

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ynhockey
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It says I know 1935 words, theoretically this includes the bonus skills which are in my tree.

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/awongcampos

Agree with your comment completely. French is the only language I've pursued to master and Duoling's been a great, essential help so far. Finished the tree myself a while ago and still practice.

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/NicknameK
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All these stories about finishing trees seem very inspirational. But I would like to address another issue: do you feel that you can speak the language? Personally I'm about in the middle of the tree but still I finc it really hard to build a sentence completely on my own

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ynhockey
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As a matter of fact I had the opportunity to go to Paris right before finishing the tree, which gave me the opportunity to test my skills. Basically I can say just about anything (in line with the theory that you can express yourself in any language with ~1500-2000 words), but could not understand anything, often even very basic sentences. The French speak very quickly, usually much faster than the "fast" audio in Duolingo. I wish French natives would record the French sentences in Duolingo—a number of other language courses are doing it, and maybe Duo could team up with external sites like forvo.com.

Still, being able to say things in French almost fluently, and being able to read simple texts (just started The Little Prince) is almost entirely thanks to Duolingo. I had a bit of French background, having studied it in Canadian elementary school, but it was practically useless. We learned something like 200 words there and barely any grammar.

When reading I use the dictionary extensively, but this is normal. From past experience: when I just came to Canada at age 10 and had to learn English (3rd language), we were reading the book Hatchet and probably 3/4 of the words were unfamiliar to me, so using the dictionary I understood the book pretty well, well enough to do school assignments. In French it's more like I understand 3/4 of the text in children's books, so this is much easier.

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/McMillargo

I think your issue with understanding natives is going to be an issue unless like you said you are able to hear natives speaking normally on a regular basis. Unfortunately that will not account for different dialects or accents depending on what area of the country you are visiting. Or where the person you are conversating with comes from. There is no way for a language learning program to accomodate all that. So they are stuck teaching basic PROPER words/phrases from that language.

I speak, read, and write in Italian. And grew up in the northern part of Italy. So the dialects and accents of northern Italy are what I am accustomed to. If I had to go down south. I wouldn't understand as well. Because they speak in a very long drawn out slooooow way that completely changes how something sounds.

So if you were to learn Italian here. And then go down to southern Italy. Good luck with communicating. LOL....

But bravo on your French studies!

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/gunungFR

I don't know if this is available internationally through streaming, but here in Australia we can access the news and other media in lots of languages, including French. See http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/french Listening to the news is really good because (assuming you listen to the news in English too and so you know what the topics are and a bit about them) you can get the gist of what they are saying even though they talk fast. (They're not really talking fast, any fluent speaker in any language sounds 'too fast' to a learner, alas). (TV news is easier than radio news because you have vision to help). But you can also see short French films with subtitles, and if you have time to watch the film a few times, you can find yourself not looking at the subtitles because your comprehension improves.
Another tip: try to keep a short daily journal in French. This is a good strategy because you will find that you often do more or less the same things each day (I watched TV, I took the dog for a walk) and so although you have to use the dictionary a lot in the beginning, you will soon find yourself confidently writing not just the vocab but also the sentence structures because you are repeating them so often. From there it is a short step to speaking those sentences in a kind of oral journal as you do your daily activities. (Just don't let the neighbours see you talking to yourself, in case they think you're a bit odd LOL).

May 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/McMillargo

I think it's very difficult to learn to conversate with this method of learning. Reading and writing are different from speaking. I have almost zero French capabilities when it comes to speaking (if you don't count commonly known phrases like hello/goodbye, thank you, you're welcome, etc etc etc) but I can read a little more than just the basics and understand what I'm reading.

BUT, this is absolutely a great way to start to learn a language and get some basics down pat if you are going to visit a place.

The best way to start speaking is to START SPEAKING. Like do your lessons here and then say thing out loud whenever you can. Even if no one else is learning around you. Then say it out loud to yourself when you're around the house. If you have a pet speak to them. Speaking it out loud is absolutely necessary.

Incorporating as much of what you learn into your life as you can will really help you build the language you are trying to learn.

I do this by saying basics like hello/goodbye, thank you etc etc to my son. And he then learns little bits as well.

I find myself needing to refresh my italian because I have no one to speak it to and then I get nervous when I am calling Italy to speak to family friends.

Say things out loud as much as you can. Otherwise you will finish your tree and not be speaking at all.....(or at least that is my opinion......)

But don't underestimate what you're learning here. This is a really really great site!

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/KristenDQ
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I'm not far behind....I have 10 topics left and I'm due to finish next month!

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MjF310
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Félicitations et merci de partager vos pensées et vos expériences avec Duolingo.

May 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lanasiege

Felicitations!(congragulations!)

May 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/gizzard123
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Congratulations!

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jktsmith
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Congratulations on your tree and streak -- I too took the 'scenic route' to finishing, and believe my French is stronger for it. (Surely it can't be that I was just slow?!?) As many have said, Duolingo should be supplemented with other language-learning sources, particularly listening. But, because of the three words you selected -- garbage, railway and rocket -- I have to recommend Lingvist. It teaches those exact words -- and even two words for garbage! -- plus colloquialisms and some slang. It is also free. And fun. Though that is coming from someone who got excited about two words for garbage.

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/-Nabilah-

Félicitations!

May 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr.Lopess
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do you want to practice ? call me on whatsapp ,so we can practice together +55 13 997085738

May 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/pizza-party

dont u mean russian not ukrainian

May 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ynhockey
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No, I already speak Russian fluently. I would like to learn Ukrainian, which will be in beta soon.

May 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Black_Panther
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You see? Even people in Duolingo don't believe you actually want to learn Ukrainian!!! :P

May 7, 2015
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