Two weeks ago I got the Spanish Duolingo statue.duolingo_to_still_strong

Have been trying to get all of the skills to the highest level ‘still strong’.

The first two sections are at that level. A few have dropped down to three (out of four) bars and I have raised them back to four. Figure I will require myself to have everything previous at that level before working again on a new skill.

There are a couple ways to work on the skills:

Two options

1. Without a timer

2. Timed practice

Both help you practice, but there are a couple of differences.

Without a timer

For the option without a timer, it’s much like the lessons are normally. You have three hearts. So if you go past losing all the hearts, you don’t get credit.

An update includes the option to ‘fix’ small errors and regain half of a heart for each correction. At the end of the lesson when you complete it, the points are also rounded up for half hearts.

Maximum points for practice without a timer is 13. And if you lose zero hearts then you get a lingot.

Timed practice

The timed practice does not use hearts. There are more questions. You also have to think more quickly and finish things quickly. You don’t really want to spend time examining why you got something correct or not. And on timed practice I worry less about the accents on letters, since the program will point it out if they’re missing, but not mark things incorrect. Sometimes you just don’t really have enough time to include them.

To write one or two words isn’t bad. It’s a bit harder if you need to write a longer sentence or record something that is a bit longer.

Correct answers get you more time. And if you run out of time, as long as you have gotten at least one thing right, you will get credit for what you have done.

You can also get more points using the timed practice, seems like most times if I tend to get things right it’s 19 points. Perfect execution could get you a couple more points. Doesn’t seem like you get any lingots though.

Refreshing skills

If a skill is at a lower bar rating, one or two for example, you likely will not get to ‘still strong’ by practicing once. If you make mistakes sometimes, it can take three or more times to raise up the level.

Seems like a good setup since practice will help you strengthen skills and it’s often not immediate.


There are 63 skill areas in the tree.

I have 23 of them at ‘still strong’ (four bars)

3 are at three bars.

10 are at two bars.

27 are at one bar.

It’s going to take a little while to get all of them to ‘still strong’. My estimate would be three months give or take a month. Since I have approximately an equivalent to 35 at one bar and if I work on Spanish everyday (for a short while~20 minutes) I can get a one bar skill up to four bars in about two days.

(Kesten estimation problem style!)



Once you complete all the lessons in a language on Duolingo you get an owl statue!

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 8.16.01 PM

It was cool to get that. But it doesn’t really mean you’re a master of the language. In the words of the program though, it says you have ‘conquered’ the language.

It’s a goal to reach, a step along the journey.

The statue became a bit harder to get when they expanded the lessons and I imagine that the lessons will be expanded more times. Though you probably keep the statue even if it expands.

Duolingo has a feature that seems very useful for reaching a higher level with the languages. It mimics how your memory works with the different skills in that if you haven’t practiced something for a while, it starts to fade.

There are four levels:

1. still strong
2. pretty good
3. time to practice
4. overdue

I liked how they set that up. The program keeps track of how well you do with different words and skills. So this system where the skills fade encourages you to review things, especially those things you had trouble with initially.

So my new goal is to get all of the skills in the tree to the fourth level (still strong). I’m curious how much I can get to before the first things that I got back to ‘still strong’ diminish down to ‘pretty good’.

After about a week of using the ‘practice this skill’ function, I have the first section of the tree at ‘still strong’.


Today I also ordered some tacos in Spanish and replied to a question a guy asked me. In both cases people assumed I could speak Spanish, which was interesting, but probably shouldn’t have been all that unexpected given the festival that I was at.

Seems like if you speak Spanish and it sounds at least okay, you will probably get a response in Spanish here.

When I was in Germany, your German had to sound fairly good to get a response in German. If it didn’t sound very good, I saw people getting responses in English even if they said something in German first.

I think my accent is decent in German, but my grammar is fairly weak, something I would like to work on some more.

Probably will work on German a bit more in Duolingo, but hopefully after I manage to get all the skills in Spanish to ‘still strong’.


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