What I’ve Learned in 30 Days of Duolingo

30 days ago, I decided to try learning Norwegian, having zero previous experience and pretty much no idea where to start other than Duolingo. I’d used Duolingo to practice some pretty-much-dormant German and Spanish skills, but wanted to see what was possible to achieve from scratch.

So, after the first 30 days, here’s where I’m at…

Fluent for Free | 30 Days of Duolingo Norwegian

Lessons

I’ve completed 38 of the 114 lessons in the lesson tree, so roughty 1.25 lessons a day. I actually had really gotten ahead of myself in the first two weeks, before settling into a routine, and had begun overloading lessons without really internalizing the information. Eventually, I got to a point where I really didn’t know what most words meant in some of the practice sessions. No bueno.

At that point, I reset the tree and tested back to whatever level I really should have been at. I’m actually still working back through some of the lessons I had previously blitzed over – that’s how ahead of myself I had gotten.

I’m pretty excited about the pace I’ve been able to maintain, and with how well I’ve been retaining the lessons.

Over 1000 words

Since starting the Duolingo Norwegian Bokmål course 30 days ago, I have learned 1056 word, at least according to Duolingo. This was through a combination of doing a lot of practice sessions daily, and using a corresponding deck of flashcards on Memrise to really make sure everything sticks in my brain.

I’ve gotten really good at recalling words (I know this isn’t the best method for everyone, but for now it’s working for me), and have been steadily learning 30-40 new words a day. Not too bad, Duo!

Grammar

I’m still working with the present tense, with the exception of a few phrases here and there where it’s more memorization and less explanation. I know that more tenses are coming in the near future, but this can be rather limiting to only work with discussions about the present moment.

There are also a few things that still confuse me a bit, but I think a lot of that just comes down to practice and doing a lot of listening to get a feel for how things sound.

Listening Comprehension

This is the area where I seem to notice a more drastic increase in performance. I’ve been steadily relying less and less on repeating phrases, and even more so, have been using the slowed speech around once every 5 review sessions or so. At the start, I had to slow everything down constantly, so this is exciting for me.

I’ve also gotten better at inferring what’s being said, even if I didn’t quite hear it perfectly. I know part of this is just due to repetition, but still, it feels like progress.

Reading comprehension

I’d say I’ve got some solid reading comprehension with simple sentences. Again, present tense and some light past tense only. I’ve noticed that often times

Speaking

This is where I get a little off track. Despite talking to myself på norsk at any opportunity, I’m still definitely lagging in speech. I have yet to work up the courage to contact a language partner, so it’s on me here.

I think learning more than just the present tense will help as well. While knowing a lot of nouns is nice, I always prefer a good list of verbs. I can only talk about what bears eat so often.

In Summation

It’s only been 30 days, but I feel like I’m on the right track, especially for my first solo language learning experience, and my first real attempt at achieving fluency. I’ll be checking in more frequently than every 30 days in the future, because I think the paths people take to learning a language are all fascinating, and I’d hope that this helps someone in a similar boat!

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