Esperanto in Eight Days!
I’m very excited to have finished my second tree on Duolingo, having been on the website since its initial beta. This post will be me sharing my thoughts about the course and the language as a whole through a complete beginner’s perspective.
To begin, my language background consists of English as a native language, four semesters of French, and three semesters of German. Unfortunately I’ve forgotten most all the German I ever knew when I decided to focus on my French. I’ve completed the French for English Speakers tree, as well as the English for French Speakers tree. Now moving on to Esperanto!
I have known about Esperanto for probably four years now. I’ve always been interested in languages and the idea of a universal, easy-to-learn, politically neutral language piqued my interest. However, I was never motivated to study it in any way… until now! Duolingo provides what I think is the best way for any beginner to start learning the language. So when the course launched, I was more than excited to start the tree.
What began as curiosity quickly evolved into an addiction. I can’t be sure how many hours I put into the tree in total, I estimate around three to four hours a day of work, adding up to just over a day’s worth of time. Of course the ease of learning Esperanto was really what made this achievement possible. (Considering it took me months of on and off work to finish the French tree)
In all, I think that Esperanto’s vocabulary being so close to French and English was the biggest thing that made it easy to learn—and not the simplified grammar*. Having 90% of Esperanto words be cognates to languages that I already spoke made doing every lesson very, very quick and painless.
However, I must say now that I really am in no way proficient in Esperanto, and have absolutely no confidence in speaking it. But, I can read bits of text in Esperanto! With that being said, my abilities are in line with my expectations. Eight days of work in a language cannot convert to proficiency—no matter how “easy” the language is.
In conclusion, I’m so thankful for all the hard work the whole incubator team put into the course, from the interesting sentences, to their incredible speed in responding to my sentence reports (of which I’ve received 20+ and rising responses back as of now). If anyone has any questions about the tree, my experience with it, or anything else, I’d be happy to answer them all!
*Having already studied French in depth, I was already familiar with every grammatical tool that was taught in Esperanto, so for me, the standard grammar wasn’t as big of a help as it would have been for someone who hasn’t learned a language before.
Now there's a tough question! I'd say I'm most proud of our Tips & Notes, which we're still improving. I'd say I'm least proud of how packed the Affixes lessons are (which I plan to fix when we get Tree 2.0), but I'm still proud that I was able to teach all the affixes in the course despite it not really fitting Duolingo's course system well.
Thank you! Although I don't think I will continue to study the language as intensely as I had been doing, I do plan learn more about Esperanto culture as a whole.
I originally wanted to finish the tree as well as have every skill golden, but due to the pace that I raced through the tree at, I found that after day six over half the skills had deteriorated--making me a lot less motivated. In the end, I chose to complete the tree not to ultimately learn the language but for fun and to achieve a personal goal of completing another tree!
My way more extensive thoughts after completing the tree are here, but I'd say I'm pretty decent at reading (tried some Harry Potter and was going through pretty easily) and can write on simple topics with looking up some words here and there, but I'm not sure about my speaking/listening skills. It's pretty difficult to judge without having ever had a conversation in Esperanto, but I might be able to manage some simple ones. Of course, I'll forget everything very quickly if I don't start reviewing to reinforce it though, so I'm going to work on that.