Last Sunday, after much effort I finally got the Legendary Badge, this badge is the hardest to get for most of the people.
The reason why it is so hard to get it’s because you have to win the Diamond League, the league where all the most resolute learners (player) compete.
I resumed using Duolingo when I moved to Belgium 🇧🇪, I needed to study French 🇫🇷 and later also Dutch 🇳🇱 to know people and to integrate.
I had already used it in the past to for Japanese 🇯🇵 , Chinese 🇹🇼, German 🇩🇪 and Esperanto, but I had never used it seriously. My purpose was to learn new vocabulary, since it does not teach much grammar, so I started to learn French from Italian and Dutch from English.
French was easy because I had bought some books before and because the language is very similar to Italian; on the other end, Dutch is very difficult because I do not know the grammar so I do not understand things like word order, verb conjugation etc…
I spent my days happily doing some lessons a day, I did no care about badges, points, lingots or whatsoever…
Then I realised I could add friends and see their score, and I got notifies that I was ranking up in the leagues; I got curious and started gathering information.
Every week Duolingo creates groups of people called leagues, there are many of these divided by rank, i.e. many Bronze Leagues, Silver Leagues, Obsidian Leagues, …. At the end of the week the ten people who are at the top of the league move to the next rank (Broze to Silver, Silver to Gold, ….), while the ten at the bottom go to the previous rank. In particular the 3 top learners earn also some lingots.
Moreover you can get badges, if you get enough points, if you keep practising for several days in a row,of if you complete courses you will be awarded a badge.
There is a badge that you can get if you arrive first at the Diamond league, and as far as I know it is the hardest to get, but I made up my mind and decided to get it.
I searched on the web and the Duolingo forum how to grind points: the suggestion was to follow Stories rather than Lessons because Stories are faster to finish and give you more points. Unfortunately there were no Stories for any of the languages I was following. Stories are mostly only available for people that are learning German, Spanish, French or Portuguese from English, and English from Chinese if I remember correctly.
So I came up with a strategy:
First add all the romance languages, they look like Italian and do not require much effort. So I added:
- 🇫🇷 French from English (has stories)
- 🇪🇸 Spanish from English (has a lot of stories)
- 🇧🇷 Portuguese from English (has stories)
- Latin from English (studied at high school)
- Catalan from Spanish
- 🇷🇴 Romanian from English (as last resource)
I needed to complete the first level of each of the languages that had Stories, otherwise I could not access the Stories themselves.
I started grinding points doing many lessons a day, I reached the first level of the languages I needed, I tried to spend most of the time on languages that I needed for my real life, I familiarised with the German Stories. I did not care for the position in the league as long as I was in the top ten, so I could pass to the next one.
Arriving at the Diamond league was easy, I had no problem with most of the languages but:
- German: I had to restart because I forgot most of it
- Dutch: I arrived at a dead end because the sentences started making no sense to me and started reviewing the first lessons.
- Chinese: It has always been very hard
I wanted to make points following the rules as much as possible and really learn stuff. I did about 300 points in the morning the go to work and then up to 1000 point when I came back from work. I was lucky, very lucky: my biggest rival was Holly. I studied her behaviour and her progress during the past week: I could win. Some people needs as much as 17000 points to win the Diamond League but Holly did at most 1400 point per day I could overcome her.
Unfortunately, I suffered of headaches on Thursday and Friday that slowed me down, but I would have devoted my whole weekend to the cause.
When Sunday arrived I had finished the Latin Course, all the French Stories, did as much as I could of German, started Spanish and Portuguese Stories, and of course, I went on with Japanese, Chinese, and English from Italian. But Holly was tough, every time I took a pause, when I came back to Duolingo she was 300 points in front of of me. My roommate suggested me to add Italian from English to add easy points, and it was what I did. I skipped the initial test and did the one to go directly to the last level, but it just game me 50 points. I also get the 7 days premium trial to skip the ads and go faster.
I had some accidents on Sunday, but at about midnight I was ahead of 200 points, I could see that Holly was still logged in and still pursuing me but I had no intention of giving up. My roommate helped me and did some French and Spanish Stories for me, she is very smart and knows Italian, English, French, Japanese, Spanish and Catalan.
I was exhausted and I was thinking of doing stories on both of mobile phone and PC at the same time, but eventually Holly gave up. I continued till 1 AM and then I went to bed hoping that she would not change her mind. I was about at 9000 points and the league finished at 2:15 AM.
The day after, when I woke up I discovered that won!
At the end I spent a lot of time mostly on French, Spanish and Portuguese. Have I learned the languages? For sure I am more familiar with that at reading, I feel no confident at speaking but my vocabulary improved for sure. Honestly, the sensation that I am feeling now is confusion, I tried to learn too much stuff at the same time, so now a sentence comes into my mind in a different language than the one I want.
I liked doing it and I would do it again, but now I am thinking it is more than a game than a tool to learn a language. Now Duolingo is giving me warning that I could drop out of the Diamond league, I do not care since I got my badge…