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  5. Finished my first tree in 42 …


Finished my first tree in 42 days

Hi fellow learners and the Duolingo Norwegian team!

Today after 42 days and countless hours I have finished my golden tree. I know it is just a beginning. I'm not the first one to do it either. I still felt that I wanted to celebrate with sharing my story with you.

All my life I have been told I will never learn a single one language properly, not even my native language. My German teacher started calling me Idiot on the first lesson and she used my real name only once in three years. Two days before high school final examinations my Swedish teacher said to me that I never learned Swedish and never will. She only let me pass the courses out of pity because she didn't want to see my face ever again. She ended the conversation saying that it's good that I'm better in other subjects so my graduation from the school won't be canceled when I fail the Swedish test. After what she said, getting the second worst grade felt more like a small victory than a failure.

After high school I avoided using other languages for ten years. Then I went back to school and I was given the opportunity to study in Norway. I didn't try to learn Norwegian before the trip. I thought, that with my nonexistent language skills, it is better to just stick with English. I regret that decision immensely. I fell in love with the country. Sadly I felt that there was a barrier between me and the locals when I couldn't understand them. I feel that I missed a great opportunity to build a network there.

After graduation I decided to try and learn Norwegian. After few other experiments I found Duolingo. For me it was the best way to get started. The lessons are fun to do and it got me hooked. I know I rushed down the tree bit too fast. I felt that it was important to maintain the feeling of accomplishment to keep me motivated. I will certainly need a lot of reviewing to fully learn all the grammar and words. Last two weeks I have been struggling with motivation, making the same mistakes time after time. With my limited English it feels like getting hit from both left and right. However I had set the 42th day as my goal and that I achieved. The Norwegian Duolingo team is clearly doing excellent work since you persuaded someone like me to finish the tree.

Sorry about the long post and many mistakes. Thanks to all who took the time to read it. To all others struggling with learning I want to say: don't give up, you can do it!

P.S. Who added all the amazing music/hit song references? I want to thank you so much! Often I had to take a break from the lesson, find the song and dance around in my room.

August 8, 2015



Congratulations! Wow, you have really had bad luck with teachers. No competent teacher would ever tell someone that they cannot learn something. As for your 'limited English', well, I think you are hurting yourself by not acknowledging that your English is, in fact, very good. If you can learn English, you can learn other languages, as well. :)


Thanks! My problem is learning grammar, spelling and punctuation. It must have been frustrating for my teachers to watch me repeat the same beginner mistakes year after year. I'm sure some of them thought I was just lazy. I put a lot of effort into learning English but forgot much of it. Doing Duolingo has brought some of it back but the grammar problems are still there. Looking back I feel my limitations were also a blessing because I had to pay a huge amount of attention to details.


I don't know what you mean with grammar problems because I seriously can't find anything wrong with your texts. I chat with native English people everyday, and I think you can teach some of them how to write better English. And that's not a joke. :')

I think your past experiences with language learning and the things they've said to you about never going to be able to learn another language turned you a bit too much into a perfectionist. Like I said, your writing skills are on a native level and even beyond it in some cases. So don't worry about English, I think it's safe to say that you can scratch "Mastering English" off your bucket list. Your teachers where plain wrong, you've learned a second language.


I feel speechless. I wasn't really expecting this kind of reaction. Thank you to everyone for kind words. You might be right Odin. I probably do concentrate much more when I write than average people.


Gratulerer så mye!

Your English is great, and your attitude is even more impressive. Not many people have the courage and perseverance to keep working on something they've been repeatedly told they have "no talent for".

Now I think it's time to let go of what you were told years ago, and own your new language skills! Spending time on proofreading your English doesn't make it less impressive, it means that you care about your writing being not only good enough - but the best it can be. And as much as I appreciate your kind words about our course, Team Norwegian didn't finish your tree for you - you did!

Keep learning, and we'll keep adding pop culture references! ;)


Thank you Deliciae! You make me blush! :)


You did what in how much time? Wow, congrats, how much time did you spend daily on Duolingo on average? And did you combine it with other language learning tools?

I had the same with French, they let me graduate because all my other grades where good, I failed French every year. I had 9 years of French in school and when I did the Duolingo test I couldn't even skip one lesson. English was different, I never really had to learn much for the tests but I'm still far from perfect in it either. My native language Dutch was ok at school too, but pretty sure a lot of people who finished the Dutch tree here make less mistakes against dt than I do. :')

Your English looks really great to me btw, so you can already show a middle finger to those who said you would never learn a language properly. I've seen native English speakers produce texts that where way worse than yours.

I think how much you like the language is one of the most important things to be able to learn a language, it should stay fun to do and you should have reasons to learn it to stay motivated. French didn't go well for me so I seriously started to hate it, I would've preferred getting all my nails pulled one by one instead of spending an hour doing French homework. Even though I hated it I still spent a lot of time studying it, while I learned English by just quickly reading the matter I needed to know before a test. The difference is I learned English by watching movies, playing games, reading on internet,etc I was learning it while having fun and not realizing I was learning. I liked the language so it went easy, while I was sweating over my French textbooks for hours and barely anything was sticking into my head.

So all in all I don't really think there's something like a language gene, I think people who are really good in language learning happen to have positive experiences with it in the past and just really like to learn a language. People who are so called bad in it, just have bad experiences in the past and started to dislike it.

So you're right, if we language learning deficient people stay motivated, keep it fun by taking a break with a movie or some music in the language we're learning from time to time we definitely can do it too.


In the beginning I did 220-250xp daily. For last two weeks I have been doing only about 80-150xp. The time varies because some lessons are more difficult for me than others.

I listen to Norwegian radio and do memrise daily. I try to read Norwegian news too, but its still difficult for me. I watch language videos in youtube and tried couple movies dubbed in Norwegian. Luckily we have some Norwegian programs in TV here. My favorites are Glimt av Norge and Nattpatruljen. I love the dialects of some of the police officers. Now I think I will go back to babbel. I also got a beginner level textbook in my language from the library.

I was lucky to have a good English teacher in high school. She always tried to find new ways to make learning fun for us. She said that if I work hard expanding my vocabulary I can have adequate skills for everyday use even thought it would not be good from her point of view. So I bought Chambers paperback dictionary and fell in love with the colorfulness of the language.

Nowadays I feel that as long as I get understood, the grammar mistakes I make don't matter so much. I know all the grammar trolls out there won't agree with me and that's fine. If I could, I would be like them. Having limitations is not going to stop me from using other languages anymore.


Wow, that's great! I'm learning Norwegian too. I wonder about one thing, since you said that you did 250XP+ a day. Did you learn in short but often sessions or you made long sessions? They say that the most effective way is to learn 15 mins , twice a day. So I have a lot of dilemmas, as 15 mins is really little and I always feel like I want to learn longer =D So I just wonder, what worked for you?


I didn't know that. I too want to learn longer. I just did as much as felt good. I did one longer session in the morning and then in the evening I strengthened those lessons that weren't golden anymore. I took little breaks if the new lessons started feeling exhausting.


It is proven that our brains remember the best, information learnt at the beginnings and ends of sessions. That's where the theory of learning 15 mins, twice a day comes from. I read about it recently and I know that people usually learn the language long hours. That's why I wondered what worked for you that you finished it so quickly. But your tactic is interesting too. Having 2 sessions. First longer and the next one to strengthen skills. Would you say that you talk with Norwegian natives comfortably right now? I mean, if you can make a decent conversation that doesn't turn out to use English back again, after 5 minutes of conversation. If you've had a chance to do so, of course.


Okay in all honesty you rock. And what do you mean by "poor English skills"? When I first started reading I thought you were American! Either way so glad this amazing place of learning had done so much for not only you, but all of us. It's success stories like yours that motivate us to continue to strive for not only fluency in a language, but a more global community based on connection and communication! That was a ramble, but thanks for sharing!


Thanks! I think Duolingo is an excellent tool for learning. I am grateful for the creators of the course. I certainly wish I would have had something like this earlier, but better late than never.


Wow MenniPeikko, you inspire me! I'm back to it now....


I'm glad to hear that. Lykke til!


I'm in a rut recently, I tend to do my 50xp a day on strengthening my trees, and I tend to put Norwegian podcasts on... go through some grammar books and watch Norwegian conversations on Youtube. I should really be extending my vocabulary! I mix it up with things like Memrise too it'll probably take me two months to finish the tree! Congratulations on your progress sir, if you'd like to have natural conversations on Skype and further immerse yourself I could do with a language partner!

Bit of an odd tip for you, but I recommend watching The Sims 4 Norwegian streams, it's great for learning household object names and hear people talk about daily tasks in ones life! they talk as if they are the sim going to work etc so it's great fun!


Thanks for the tip! Can you recommend me some Norwegian podcasts? I don't feel confident enough for Skype yet, but it's definitely on my things to do-list. Even though I can understand basic Norwegian most of the time I feel lost when I try to form sentences in my head. I need to start practicing writing.

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