https://www.duolingo.com/profile/steve17694

My journey down the French tree.

In early January i signed up for a French class, started Duolingo as well as watching French content movies and TV as much as possible. I am 117 days in and completed my tree today. I have spent at least one hour a day and some days up to three hours working the tree. For the first 90 days or so my tactic was to not and try progress down the tree unless it had been maintained 100% golden. I gave up on that a couple of weeks ago after hitting a brick wall of spending all my time on maintenance and making no progress for several days. Now my sights are on level 25. Guess I'm about a third of the way there based on points tally. I travel to France next summer and my goal was to be at B1 proficiency by then. I was very confident of this in January, still seems a long ways off right now. Today I am confident I could communicate my needs effectively in most areas, however I know my ability to comprehend any response from a native would be very limited. Since people seem interested in age I am 61 years old with no previous language skill experience, except I just about get by in English.

May 10, 2015

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robinactuary

I am also working hard to learn French and am also 61 years old. It's not easy at this age! I recommend that you now try the English tree for people who speak French- I found it very helpful.

May 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jean_Morgan

I'm 66 and I feel that whatever your age it's never easy. Let's think that children almost spend nights and days learning their mother tongue and they have nothing else to do. They however need more than ten years to achieve understanding and speaking. The good news is that if it is not easy, it might be though pleasant and driving. ;-) I wish Steve for a very good stay in France. I wish him a good time enjoying people and places.

May 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/steve17694

Thanks all for the encouraging comments. My strategy going forward is to practice weak skills until I get to level 25. After that I may try the reverse tree English for French speakers approach (as suggested by robinactuary below). Meanwhile I start my Practical French II at night school later this week. I have to say I can't imagine putting in more effort than I have and that leaves me very skeptical about any program that promises fluency in three months. At least for an oldie like me!

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alphabeta

I just re-gilded my entire French tree. My tip is to work from the bottom up, doing "refresh skills" without a timer on any skills that are not gold. You will spend more time at the bottom, but these are the harder skills and often by doing them you also gild the skills nearer the top. I did three lessons a day, and over about a month my entire tree is now gold. I will now pick the French to English tree back up again. Bonne chance.

May 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jean_Morgan

So right! It just depends on how fluency is defined. Within three months everybody can possibly say in whatever language, "Hello", Good Bye", "Thank you", "Please" and the equivalent to, "Sorry, my English is very bad." ;-)

May 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sheldolina

Congratulations on finishing your tree! :D Good luck with the rest of your French studies, I hope you will reach your goal :)

May 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/willcanaway

on a lot of dvds they have a french feature and you can watch those movies in french, so if you would like to get better at your comprehension then just watch movies but in french, it really helps

May 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JazzBlues

Well done. Remember practise, practise, practise. I read that you should not aim to understand every word (at first) but to pick out words that you understand.

May 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmirLFC

Félicitations !

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/girlpolyglot

Hahaha! I picked up "congratulations" in french from a random movie!

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/girlpolyglot

I had taken Spanish for two years... I learned gracias and hola! I felt like giving up, but not I had to know why polyglots learned languages so easily and why it was that I was getting no where. I discovered an impressive fact, but I will leave you with just this. "Have you ever seen a two year old studying grammer?"

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wildfood

Congrats!

May 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/compicej

Congratulations!

May 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nazario1967

Well done! I hope to make it too!

May 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/angelene.ca

Wow! That is amazing! Good for you! If I may ask, how are you preparing for your DELF B1? I'm wanting to reach B2 by next year. (Books, websites, etc. you recommend to use in prep.) Do you think that's possible?

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/steve17694

Really not too sure what is possible at this point. I was very optimistic for the first couple of weeks that B1 was possible with 18 months of fairly intense study. It is still my goal. My three focus areas are Duolingo, French classes at community college as well as watching French content media such as a French in Action. I will get back to you when I get to level 25 (likely 6 months away) to give you my confidence level at attaining B1 before my France trip next summer. Good luck with B2.

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/angelene.ca

Okay, thank you!

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RunningFrog

Congratulations! Good luck on reaching level 25 :).

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoseLuis0202

It's never too late to learn something new. Congratulations!

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/C_Musique

Congratulations!

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tommy_19xx

wow i should follow your learning style. thank you :D

May 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/herbtarlek

Félicitations ! Thanks for the great tip about not staying 100% Golden. I continue to move down the tree and only go back when Duolingo forces me. It feels like I am making progress. About 25 skills left now. It seems like you will have B1 by Summer 2015 at your pace. I have seen threads where people say finishing the Duolingo tree would get you to B1 or B2 (not including speaking). Has anyone taken online CEFR tests after completing the French tree?

May 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/steve17694

Finishing the tree has not improved my French to B1 level. I'm hoping that continuing to study the content through level 25 may get me close. At this point everything now is revision. I completed the tree after accruing about 10,000 points, it will take another 20,000 to get to L25. Have to admit my confidence isn't as high as it was 5 months ago. I intend to just keep plugging away and see if at some point it all starts to click. It certainly hasn't yet.

May 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/konahi2014

congrats! Think of how children learn english? parents put them in front of the tv and they watch kid shows that teach them english! i know it sounds funny, but watching french kid shows will reaaaaaaaaaaalllllyyyyyy help. good luck! and good job!

May 15, 2015
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