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Finished my German tree and all golden!

After one year with occasional blanks, I finally managed to finish my German tree with every single circle golden. Since it seems a tradition to talk about your journey in this forum, I’d like to talk a bit about myself and my language learning here.

I was born in Pinneberg, a small city near Hamburg, but my family moved back to Japan before I started toddling. After spending my school days in Japan up until at the age of 18, I enrolled a university in Scotland last year. Being born in Germany, I’ve always been anxious to learn more about the language and the country, but never got the time to earnestly learn German, simply because my hands were full with English and other school subjects.

In the spring of 2014 I joined duolingo, and I started to practice German with no prior knowledge basically. I was fascinated by the web design and the visualisation of learning process of duolingo, but couldn’t immerse myself in German as much as I eventually did later that year. As I started working part-time and preparing for university in my gap-term, my schedule became too tight for everyday learning with duolingo. I reached level 10 during the first 2 months, with just above 2300xp.

It was in late December that I got back on track again. I attended a thing called ‘language café’ held at my university, where people weekly gather up and speak languages they like. Each meeting has a variety of languages ranging from major European languages to minor Asian languages as long as there are speakers of that language. I came to know a great deal of language geniuses, which greatly surprised me, as I had hardly met people who speak more than two languages in my life. I have to admit that to some extent I was proud of myself being able to speak English fluently back in my country, so frankly that experience made me feel so small and incompetent. In the end, however, catching up with my friends by acquiring new languages became a big goal in my university life, which kept me motivated for language learning from that time on.

Then I made it to 66 day streak from that point, constantly learning German with approx. 1 hour every day, but on the 67th day, when I was working as an assistant for a cultural event, I couldn’t spare enough time to keep up. At that point I lost the motivation to continue and stopped learning German as I felt like all my progress had been lost, even though it was far from true. My problem was that my learning was driven by extrinsic motivators such as XPs and levels at that time, and I overlooked the importance of learning the language itself. Still, the reason why I somehow managed to continue for 2 months straight was that I invited a friend of mine to duolingo and sometimes talked about each other’s progress on FB. I would’ve given up much earlier if it were not for her.

Last month, I came back to duolingo for the second time during the Easter break, and finally finished the German tree, at the level of 16 with 9866xp. Since most of my skills withered to much weaker levels when I came back, I firstly started reviewing everything using ‘timed practice’, which is fairly easy and quick enough to review a whole bunch of skills, and then finished up the rest of the tree that I had left last March, with an average of 140 xp per day. For the time being, I’m planning to review all the skills again to cover the words that I missed in the reviewing part, and might start getting into the translation.

It feels like I’ve done a great deal of learning when I write down my learning process like this, but the fact is that my proficiency of German is still pretty much premature. I can barely communicate with native speakers and it takes ages to come up with proper words and to solve a word order puzzle. But I strongly believe that I made solid progress in German with duolingo, and I fully intend to continue studying with this amazing learning tool.

Vielen Dank, duolingo.


P.S. Thank you guys for warm and nice comments, I just took a Progress Quiz that I completely forgot, and scored 3.94 out of 5.00. Seems I got much more to learn from the tree. Will keep revising.

May 7, 2015



Hi K3ngo, it was fun reading your whole experience. Personally, learning languages while dealing with my normal life, job, partner and general stress also taught me a lot about time management, persistence to follow a long-time goal and that coming back after one had to make a pause due to temporarily loosing the interest or time to learn the desired languages can be a serious struggle. In addition to that, Duolingo's gamification aspects and engagement are psychological tricks to keep us motivated, but sometimes this could lead to the feeling of just doing it for the XPs and lingots. Since learning the actual language is much more important, it's great to read that you overcame this issue.

Since you have regildened your whole tree, try now to focus on expanding your vocabulary, use various other ways to tackle German. Trying to speak as much as possible will boost your knowledge and it will be much easier in the future to hold a conversation. Watch a lot of movies with subtitles in English (and later in German), it'll tremendously help you. Have you also already tried the reserve course? It could be quite a challenge ;-)

If you also have some recommendations for us how to improve our courses, don't hesitate to write us. Such passionate posts are much appreciated here. Way to go! =)


Hello, I really appreciate your comment and advice, and I totally agree with you about difficulties in balancing your personal life with constant learning. I also feel I learnt a lot about time management and found out how difficult it is. I'm always deeply inspired by those who keep their streak more than a year every time I come to this discussion forum, including you, Alex :)

Marvel's Daredevil, season 1 available on Netflix, is really rich in terms of different language options, it has Geman, French and Spanish in both audio and subtitles, so now I'm watching it with German subtitles. I haven't tried the reverse course yet, but I'm planning to do it along with my revision for my current German vocabulary.

Thanks again for this superb German course!


First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! It was a delight to read your post. I have always loved the German language. I studied it in school and at university, listened to German radio when I was a teenager, acquired a German pen pal (this was before the internet and Skype!) and actually lived in Germany for a while, mostly Berlin. Days would go by when I spoke nothing but German because I had to. But reality brought back to my native U.S.A. and I had little time to speak anything other than English. I was so happy to discover duolingo where I come across amazing stories such as yours. You seem to be a natural linguist, and this will open many doors for you in life. I wish you much success.


Thanks! Creating such immersive environment must have been really nice for your learning. My goal for the time being is to go back to my birthplace as a traveler and communicate in German there. Surely having ubiquitous network access is amazing these days, but it also has drawbacks as it is so easy to get distracted by Facebook messengers and email notifications while trying to concentrate on learning. Anyway, it's great that one can keep learning and get to know like-minded people through the Internet, which I think is crucial in language learning as it's all about interaction with people in the end. I also wish you fruitful learning!


It was a pleasure to read your comment... You have a very good English, by the way!


Das ist gut! Sehr gut! Gute Arbeit.


Gratulation! I just finished my German tree today and am so thankful for duoLingo. I took German way back in high school and then stopped because life got in the way. However, I made it a goal for 2015 to learn German, and I believe I am well on my way. To that end, I practice every day for at least two hours, take a course at a local German school for adults, and also have a tutor I meet with twice a week. In addition, I listen to German radio and TV at home and try to speak and use it as often as I can. Basically, if you use it everyday, or even hear it everyday, you will continue to learn.

It sounds like you have really come so far, which is great! Keep learning and immerse yourself as much as you can. You will find that you start to remember words and phrases that you learned using duoLingo.

Best of luck! Russ


Congratulations to you, too! It's really impressive how you got yourself into the habit of constant learning, two hours a day is not an easy task to accomplish every day!

Maybe you might find it a bit more difficult to earn XPs after you finish the tree, which is happening to me right now. Before I finished the tree what I had to do was pretty clear; to spot the withered skills and strengthen, and to learn new skills. But right now what I do is pretty much just to strengthen the general skills and review flashcards, which are rather repetitive and less rewarding in terms of XPs. As I mentioned I know it's not about XPs, but maybe I should figure out a new way to learn German and use duolingo as a subsidiary source to overhaul my vocabulary.

Anyway, it was inspiring to hear how you approach German with different methods, best of luck to you too!


Nice. I still have a long way to go. Only about a quarter of the way through mine at the most. But since you finished yours and are brushed up on it all, you now have to re-write your whole post in German as a final exam.

...j/k. Well, I wouldn't mind seeing it. Congrats regardless.


Just realised how difficult it is to translate English sentences into German, even though they're my own writing... I'm still a bit far away from translation but hopefully I'll get there soon. Aim for the next checkpoint and repeat it again and again, then you'll be at the end of the tree in no time. Good luck :)


Awesome! Congratulations, and happy learning! Gluckwunsch!


nice job keep going


congratulations!! i'm learning german too!! it's very difficult but im doing ok. i hope i can finish mine all golden too. i only have like three golden though lol.


Thanks! It took me a long time to get used to the complex and confusing grammar, but I managed to get the sense of it in the end, so don't worry, keep going!


Congratulations ;)

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