What is the proper way to study?
I use Duolingo on my phone, and I generally try to do a 3 or 4 "Strengthen Skills", and then maybe 2 to 3 sections of a particular chapter.
I'm wondering what the recommended routine is? It really seems like more vocabulary becomes "need to practice" than I can handle (which is why I slowed down on lessons). Should I just be waiting until the section in the Skill Tree indicates that the whole section needs practice, or should I actually be going through "Strengthen Skills" until all words are above "need to practice?"
I have a "100 points every day" goal that keeps me pretty busy, and I feel like I'm learning a lot. When I discovered that Duolingo on the web includes a discussion board for every sentence, I started using the Web a lot more. Reading the comments from thoughtful and helpful experts really helps me.
I only recently hooked up with a few friends and family members, and we're starting to have some fun competing on the weekly leaderboards. Learning languages is a lot more fun when, well, there are other people to talk to.
The thing that I am enjoying the most, though, is immersion. And I'm talking about more than just the Duolingo Immersion features. I set up my smart phone in Italian. I'm looking for some good Italian news sites so I can listen to a few news reports a day. Even my browser favors Italian results over English ones. I picked up some classic literature translated into Italian, which I plan to work through soon. At family gatherings I discuss Spanish with my Spanish-speaking in-laws. My daughter is learning Chinese in school, so I'm Rosetta Stone-ing it alongside her. Language learning is currently the #1 pastime in my home.
Apple has a learning program called iTunesU, where you can view pre-recorded college courses for free. I found a fun one from MIT called "Speaking Italian with your Mouth Full" where they spend half the course doing language instruction, and the other half cooking Italian food. They have loads of Spanish courses that might interest you. I recommend checking it out.
Once I'm so immersed I start dreaming in Italian or Spanish, I'll know I'm on the right track. For now, it has been a pleasure to be on Duolingo.
Cool, that seems like a smart way to do it. How much of that time do you devote to new material, and how much to strengthening skills?
One thing I'll throw at you is lang-8, you seem pretty deep into language learning so you may have already heard of it. It's a journaling site where native speakers will correct your entries. The people over there have been incredibly helpful :)
I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the tip!
As for new material versus old, I just try to keep my language tree golden. When something decays, I freshen it up before learning new material. Because I come in every day now, that means I get to spend better than half of my time on new material.
I think your own instincts will help you balance it out, though. If there was a section you struggled with, don't hesitate to rework it, even if you already passed. Sometimes you may spend more time on new material, and sometimes not. Trust your gut, and good luck! As for me, I absolutely wrestled with Italian verbs in the present perfect tense, and I expect to revisit that section again.
I personally, when I start a lesson or skill, make sure I understand EVERY new word or concept before moving on. It makes it much, much easier later and makes for better retaining.
I also practice voraciously. Practice practice practice makes perfect.
What are some ways that you reinforce each new word before moving on to the next section?
Either I practice it through flashcards or Duolingo's vocab practice. It depends on what type of word--verbs I use duolingo, most other things I use flashcards. I would suggest also practicing in context as well, writing out sentences and what not.
Ah cool. I was thinking of using something like Anki with my Duolingo vocab. Do you know of any way to export your Duolingo vocab, or should I just do it by hand?
Anki has a database of flashcards called Ankiweb. There might be someone that already has uploaded vocabulary from Duolingo.
I haven't looked at the spanish flashcards but the last time I checked there was german vocabulary from Duolingo but it wasn't complete.
I'll check it out and see if they've got anything, thanks for the heads up :)
Yeah it would be great to import this stuff somehow, oh well. Thanks letting me in on your study process :)