It’s my Duoversary

By | 17 February 2020

A year ago today I signed up to Duolingo and started studying German on a daily basis, and occasionally played with other languages. I complimented this with listening to podcasts in German almost daily and making other attempts to learn languages.

I went from trying to get fifty experience points a day per day for months before a conference broke my streak as I was too exhausted by the end of the day to continue learning. Life got in the way. It was more important to spend time with people.

Since then I have kept up the streak for what will be my one hundred and sixty-first day in a row when I complete a lesson today. My goal is ten XP per day, i.e. one lesson but some days I get to one hundred XP and other days I do the bare minimum.

Every so often I hit walls. I want to study and I want to progress further but I just feel lost and just keep making mistakes. It’s at moments like this that I revise what I have already learned, in the hope that with consolidation I make progress sooner.

When I was in Spain over December I took a break from studying German to study Spanish. You might as well study the language of the country where you are at that moment.

After a year of practice, I have learned a theoretical 1600 words but I still feel like a beginner. The app is great at getting you to learn specific words and phrases but it is of limited utility to learn a language properly. First I was going lesson by lesson until I got to five stars before moving to the next and then, before I hit the wall I tried lessons up to level one before moving on and that’s when I hit a learning wall. I struggled with phrasing and word order.

On the plus side, I can understand more and more as I listen to news podcasts although the percentage of words I understand still needs to go up before I can understand half of what they’re saying.

When I took online tests to see what my German level was I am still classed as a beginner and it is frustrating after a year of effort. If I had continued with doing five lessons a day then I’d be further along.

It isn’t the first time that I try to learn German. As a teenager, I had German lessons but I found the teaching method was boring compared to how Spanish was taught. I was given extra English lessons instead.

This second attempt at learning German is going better but I feel that I should work to make more progress. After a year of effort, I should be further along. In two or three weeks I’ll be taking formal lessons and expect smoother progress.

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