Learning German (again)

More than a year ago, I learned about Duolingo from my students. Yes, from my students. Those who are really into it are always searching online. 😉 In December 2013 I wrote a reflection about using Duolingo. My first attempt didn’t go much further and the use of a notebook to keep vocabulary didn’t work out either.

Vicky’s new blog shared on twitter a week ago reminded me of my desire to learn German. Then on the 14th, I decided to give Duolingo another go. This time I’m using Evernote to keep a learning diary.

Day 1: I could do the first few lessons easily. As I did them all again, I paid especial attention to spelling. The recording/check tool for me is not really reliable. I’ve noticed that it accepts oral recording even though I know I have made a mistake in pronunciation/grammar. But it makes you practice pronunciation. And how annoying when it can’t understand you. I am not 100% sure that I really learned it just because I moved easily from one lesson to another. I still can’t really create my own sentences without a prompt. I think this can really fool us into thinking we are doing well or learning.

I didn’t practice for two days. My aim was to practice at least for an hour every day.

Day 2: I wanted to also read books as stories are for me very motivating. I try to read at least one fiction book a month through audible. I was browsing my audible account then, and found this book: Ich bleiben hier ( English version Don’t let me go ). As soon I read the summary in English I got very interested in the story. So after doing some lessons on Duolingo, I gave the book a shot. I tried working with the sentences in different ways, but the level of the book is way too high for me a total beginner to go much further without getting stuck. Identifying verb tenses is particular difficult as I haven’t really had much input on verbs yet. I got also the same ebook in German.

On the same day, Gemma posted her reflections.

Day 3: Duolingo has a tool that enables us to set the amount of points we want to make a day. I set it to 50. I didn’t understand yet what the STRIKE mean, but if we don’t keep practicing I think we lose something. Today I achieved my goal and then decided to try to find a book in German for Children in Amazon. There is this wonderful Kindle Unlimited that I got for Emanuel and I though I’d use it to get a book in German.

The book: Monsieur Caruso und der Erdbeerdieb by Fabian Lankes.

I downloaded a dictionary eng-germ and used google translator tool to help me build comprehension. I am also using a notebook.

I managed to read two paragraphs today and I’m glad that I was able to understand almost a full sentence without the help of the dictionary or google translator. I had to check only the meaning of a noun!

3 thoughts on “Learning German (again)

  1. Hi Rose,

    Great to have a Deutsch studdy buddy, you have certainly motivated me to try a few new tools so thanks! x

    P.s when do you have time to fit this in!? The fact that you manage to do so much is also v..inspiring 🙂


    • Hallo Gemma!

      Well, to be honest I am not in school yet. I will be from today on. So, now time might become an issue. I’ll try to stick to the plan. The 50 points a day goal might need to be changed. I can do through out the day about a lesson (10 p.) until I achieve the goal. Duolingo isn’t an issue, reading the book is because I spend sometime studying each paragraph. But still I can do bits and bits. Talking about beliefs… I never learned a language outside the target country, as I have written before in my blog I used a variety of strategies and none of them involve technology because there wasn’t any back then! But I have seen students become fluent speakers studying in a class after good 4/5 years of study. I prefer to think that immersion is the key and I always tell my students to use internet to their advantage and speed up their learning, so I’m trying to walk my talk here. I plan to find at some point a teacher to have conversations and give me feedback in my output (hate this word). lololol

      We will inspire each other and keep going! I’m happy to have you as studying buddy. Did you know that Vicky Loras also studies German? 🙂


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