Ok, I am officially frustrated. DL has been an eight month project for me now and I have not been able to learn German grammar. I have learned how to read (very) basic german but I cannot write or speak well because I make constant mistakes in gender and case. I literally have no idea how to apply grammar. Anyone else have this problem and what is the solution?
My advice for you--stick with it. I moved to Germany 8 months ago and started Duolingo roughly 4 or 5 months ago. I was also making constant mistakes. Now, not so much (though of course with more complex sentences I struggle from time to time). The key? ABSORPTION. Watch German films, listen to German music, learn the lyrics, learn German poems, speak out loud to yourself in the bathroom, sing German in the shower, listen to SLOW GERMAN podcasts on Youtube, take a German course at least 2-4 times per week, hire a private tutor twice a week (if you can afford it), and make lots and lots and lots of mistakes (and then more mistakes).
Connect German to things you are passionate about. I am learning several poems by Rilke (as he is one of my favourite poets of all time). It is important to let the language feed into things that really excite you and move you (rather than just learning through dry grammar textbooks). I find grammar textbooks helpful too, but mostly just to support what I am learning more naturally.
I know it sounds overwhelming, but just keep at it. For me, the clouds began to part about a month ago when suddenly I just instinctively knew what sounded right or wrong (in relation to gender and case). It will happen for you if you persevere.
Oh, and MEMRISE is awesome for acquiring a ton of vocabulary. Learning a new language is not for wimps. Congrats on what you have already achieved and keep up the good work!!!
I have to say that I think we here in America have such little exposure to anything but English and perhaps Spanish. For me, learning another language is a very deliberate process. I have no need for German, only the desire to acquire it and I have no native speakers to interact with here. Being so heavily invested here in all aspects of my life I cannot anticipate a time when I would live in Germany. Still I am determined and I will improve. I like Wagner and Rammstein and have also found some novels in German. I rely on Der Spiegel and Spiegel TV for immersion. Thanks for the encouragement. I guess that is what I really need.
Duolingo is not a very good resource for learning how to use the language actively. It's great for acquiring some passive understanding (mostly reading) and the basics in general... But if you really want to learn a language, you should use other resources too.
The best resource for improving you active language usage is actual communication. There are many Germans (and Austrian and Swiss people too) that like to help foreigners to learn their language. Have a look at language exchange sites to meet some =)
Regarding the genders and cases... You mostly have to memorize them. Only practice will get you to a point where it feels natural. Use resources that explain the relevant grammar aspects a bit more in-depth than Duolingo (I don't know about German but Spanish Duolingo has almost no explanations for advanced grammar). Try to understand how it's used and compare it to the sentences you encounter. Try to adapt it when making your own sentences.
In my experience, it takes a long time until you can easily form sentences in German and speak without hesitation. For genders there is no other way than practice, practice and then practice some more (Übung macht den Meister!).
But for German grammar, if it is hard for you to pick it up from Duolingo, then I would suggest reading some other Grammar guids and resources as a complementary material to Duolingo. I very much suggest this website. It explains the grammar in an easy way and it is very thorough.
I used to go to a weekly German conversation class for A2/B1 level German students. Compared to other languages I've studied it was always rough to see how hard it was to actually speak German. Most of the international students I was with all felt German was a bit tough for them for one reason or another. And they all thought English was "easy" - sure they spoke it with mistakes, but after awhile I saw what they meant. German just has some complex structures to say basic things that can really throw you off. It takes great attention to detail. And the conversation teacher wasn't encouraging and actually shockingly insulting at times. :D Really. But to heck with that or anything/anyone that tries to discourage you from learning. Don't give up. If you can save up and take a class in your local area. I listen to a ton of German and after doing this for a couple of years now, religiously, it is so much easier to understand and even speak German. :)
Okay, I'm far lower level than you at German, but when Duolingo struggles to teach you grammar, I can recommend 1 thing. DON'T RELY COMPLETELY ON IT. So far I've used many many many sites to learn German grammar and word order, hope it helped :D!
Thanks, I am exploring other learning methods, DL was a great place to start. It was easy and convenient.
Try these sites and if you are not sure about a word, don't hesitate to look up its gender in a dictionary: http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/mis_04.html Grimm Grammer
http://www.canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/Wort/Ueberblick/index.html?MenuId=Word00 This site lists complete inflections.
Thanks for the resources, alot to get through...clearly this is going to be a Long process.
I think it is quite normal to hit a wall at some stage in language learning where you feel you're making no progress at all. We've all been there. And eight months (without actually being immersed in that language) is not a very long time. You probably will have to supplement Duolingo with other resources as people suggested already. But even though Duolingo does not explain grammar very well I would still recommend to stick with it for the time being. By simply doing a few exercises every day (or even just one) you will absorb sentence structures, gender and cases (through continuity and repetition alone). Also, cut yourself some slack and don't get annoyed by your mistakes. I can assure you they will get less and less over time. Finally, I would set myself small goals and concentrate on how far I've come already rather than on what I haven't achieved yet. If it's any consolation to you, I've spent a lot longer learning French (and I even live in a semi French speaking country) than you have German, and I still struggle immensely with speaking and listening comprehension.
You are right, perseverance is key. I am not really that hard on myself, it was just a moment of weakness and frustration. Merci!
I went to the Lingot store and bought the progress quiz. They congratulated me and presented me a certificate for my "successful" score of 2.88/5. I guess that is about 58%. I do feel, however, that because of DL I have been able to advance much farther than I otherwise could have using old fashioned recordings and books. More work to do...
I had this all typed up and whoosh - it vanished. LOL
I would suggest backing away from German for a little while and doing a review of English grammar. Are you able to diagram an English sentence? Do you know the difference between a direct object an an indirect object?
I am not trying to be condescending, but sometimes it's a good idea to do refresh our English grammar. It's easy to forget what transitive and intransitive verbs. Heck, at this moment, I can't remember!! Whenever I come to a stumbling block in German grammar, I ALWAYS take time to review the English concepts. In fact, I'm planning to spend some time reviewing the English subjunctive before I tackle any more German.
PS. Glad (at least you) have a sense of humor!!
The last time I diagramed a sentence the year was 1985. I don't remember anything called "subjunctive" so I guess a review couldn't hurt.
If someone said 'grammar!'- never mind. Anyway, some good tips to remember things are to put them in a notebook or something easily portable. I also recommend the German Collins Dictionary- there are a lot of grammar tips with examples, and here's a challenge: try to understand the beginning bit in German! Sorry this is hardly, but my previous comment got deleted >:( But one more tip is to try to relate words/grammar to anything familiar to you- if it's the English language, something you watch, whether it's silly or not! If you're able to note these links too, you'll learn a lot faster and enjoy it a lot more! Auf Wiedersehen!
Do you have any German friends on Facebook? Chit chat with a German and you will pick up a lot of vocabulary and you can see how it all actually works. One friend I have speaks English very well and has offered lots of advice on German. Also, he told me to feel free to ask him anything about Germany. Have a few other friends whose English skills aren't too good. They've introduced me to a few cool idioms like nimm dich in acht, unter aller Sau, and Butter bei die Fische. In Butter bei die Fische, you will notice die is used instead of den.
I am one of the 6 people in the world without a Facebook account...I want to try conversation exchange.
I'm actually a native German speaker. While I would not really be in a position to explain grammar (it's been a long time since school), I could possibly help with vocabulary and correcting mistakes. I am also fluent in English. You don't need a FB account but you can converse with German speakers here on Duolingo.